Atheist Ira Glass Believes Christians Get the Short End of the Media Stick

So, an atheist and a devout Christian walk into a Tacoma hotel restaurant-bar…

Wait, though, it’s not what you think! The atheist in question is public radio star Ira Glass, amiably sitting for an interview with amateur spiritual anthropologist and former This American Life guest Jim Henderson. The mutual respect is refreshing. Henderson makes it his mission to seek out influential people who are “unusually interested in others,” and willing to “stay in the room with difference.” Glass’ relaxed and chatty demeanor translates to mission accomplished.

The non-believing child of secular Jews does his tribe proud by volunteering the opinion that Christians get a bum rap in the national media. The portrayal of Christians as “doctrinaire crazy hothead people” doesn’t square with fond recollections of former public radio colleagues who kept Bibles on their desks and invited him to screenings of Rapture movies (At WBEZ? Really?).

The civility of the discourse could renew your faith in mankind, whatever your beliefs.

You can watch other parts of the longer interview on YouTube here.

Related Content:

Ira Glass on the Art and Craft of Telling Great Radio Stories

The Unbelievers, A New Film Starring Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Werner Herzog, Woody Allen, & Cormac McCarthy

Does God Exist? Christopher Hitchens Debates Christian Philosopher William Lane Craig

Alain de Botton Wants a Religion for Atheists: Introducing Atheism 2.0

Ayun Halliday is in Ira’s camp. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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Comments (10)
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  • Rain,adustbowlstory says:

    When it comes right down to it, who doesn’t, on television,get the short end of the stick? Unless you’re Ken/Barbie?

  • Ben says:

    Here is the Prayer Shield episode of TAL they are discussing:

  • Karen Falgore says:

    Christians can be intense and the media loves to rip us apart in the political arena. Overall though most people tend to lean Christian in the media so it’s not that bad.

  • Thank you. How did you happen to “discover” my interview with Ira? One correction- saying I’m ” devout” is probably a bit overstated-:)

  • Ayun Halliday says:

    Welcome, Jim! Let’s just say life has turned me into an excellent unearth-er of interesting things, and how would you feel about “committed” as a description?

  • Ayun perhaps this will give you a feel for how I view the idea of dedication. I hope that when I see Jesus his first words to me will be ” nice try” -:)

  • Adam Malooly says:

    This was a really interesting interview. Thanks for doing it Mr. Henderson. It was nice to hear a popular atheist talk about bad Christian portrayal in the media. It’s so frustrating to watch. Maybe its a self perpetuating cycle of a fear to say something about what we believe and then lashing out with all this pent up emotion and sounding like an idiot. It’s also probably because most of the people grew up with a sour taste in their mouth for the staleness of the church and are overly critical and find the nutters on purpose. I have a friend who’s that exact situation and its funny to watch him try an put his spin an his angry view of Christianity.

  • Peter says:

    Hey… I too work at WBEZ and would say that it is a workplace as well as a public radio station. Meaning, in addition to the egghead/secular reporter types you might expect, we also have deeply religious people who run our business and maintain our offices and process our payrolls. Our office manager is a lay preacher. It’s a great place to work, for that among many reasons.

  • Brandon G says:

    This was such a encouraging and interesting interview. I am a devout/committed Christian who also loves NPR and This American Life. I don’t get spun up that Christians are portrayed so negatively in media, but really just that it is so unrealistic. I also get frustrated that some Christians dismiss NPR with being uneven and leaning too liberal. This interview kinds of slaps down both of those issues for me. Loved it. Love Ira Glass too.

  • Tom Molinaro says:

    Wonderful and enlightening interview. Thank you.

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