Podcasts are a really useful medium for learning about or engaging with topics because you can listen to them on the fly. In the last week, I have mowed the lawn, sharpened garden tools, walked to the shops, driven in my car, washed carpets and so on, all the while listening to counter-apologetics and biblical exegesis. My exciting life! Life, with only 24 hours in a day, has been, for many years, a series of opportunities to multi-task, to kill two birds with one stone.
I will soon be compiling a webpage here for the menu above linking to a superb list of podcasts and what have you.
The purpose of this post, however, is to wax lyrical about my favourite podcast – Reasonable Doubts. This Grand Rapids, Michigan, -based show is so good on many levels. It is a radio show, put out on Public Reality Radio (WPRR). The podcast is then posted on the Reasonable Doubts blog, hosted by Freethought Blogs. The radio’s description of the show is as follows:
A production of WPRR Reality Radio, “Reasonable Doubts” takes an informative and humorous look at religion from a freethinking perspective; offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, agnostics, humanists, courageous religious believers looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions. In addition to interviewing the top minds in skepticism (former guests include Christopher Hitchens, Susan Jacoby, Paul Kurtz, Edward Tabash, DJ Grothe) RD offers regular segments on counter-apologetics, biblical criticism, creationism intelligent design and church state issues. RD also examines the psychology of religion, reviewing recent and exciting research you won’t hear about anywhere else. Tune in for a hard-hitting critique of religion balanced by plenty of humor, a fair-minded attitude and a commitment to critical thinking.
So why do I love it? Primarily because I learn something new every time I listen to it, or I get inspired to post something on one of the variety of topics that they cover. The team is fantastic, comprising Dave Fletcher, Jeremy Beahan, Luke Galen and teen-pop sensation Justin Schieber. They have a wide-ranging knowledge and set of backgrounds. The geographical area in which it is based is famous for a strong Calvinist following, and several of them have their past rooted in such backgrounds. Here are their bios:
JEREMY BEAHAN teaches Introduction to Philosophy, World Religions, Bible as Literature, Aesthetics, and Critical Thinking at Kendall College of Art and Design.
DAVID FLETCHER is an Adjunct Professor of Mythology and the programming director for Public Reality Radio. He and his wife Kris have five daughters and they co-host WPRR’s Reality Check.
LUKE GALEN is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Grand Valley State University. He teaches classes on: the Psychology of Religion, Controversial Issues in Psychology, and Human Sexuality.
JUSTIN SCHIEBER is an active member of CFI Michigan and enjoys promoting critical thought, more specifically, a friendly yet firm skepticism towards religious claims.
The psychology often covered is fascinating, and is what makes SIN’s very own Great Plains Skeptic so interesting and such a good read. The psychology of belief is yet another powerful set of arguments against theism.
The podcast is split into various segments. The opening section deals with religious news hitting the headlines, or even going under the headlines, since the previous podcast. This section is vastly fascinating, covering subjects from tax and charitable statuses with regard to churches, and religiously motivated gaffes by political leaders or church figures, to demographic reports or journal publications.
The main section might be an interview, or a large counter-apologetics segment, or an exposition of a particular system, such as presuppositionalism. The talks are always satisfyingly rigorous, and the hosts instantly likable.
If the main segment is something else, then there will always be a counter-apologetics segment, led usually by Justin Schieber. The God Thinks Like You segment is almost always present, concentrating on the psychology of belief. There are other segments which pop up from time to time. The final section that closes the show is the Poly-Atheism part, dedicated to exposing mythology in the knowledge that it is just “one more god not to believe in”. Always of interest.
I must also thank the podcast for allowing me to have a debate, hosted by them, with apologist Randal Rauser, on the historicity of the Nativity narratives.
They are, simply, the best podcast on the internet. Fact. Long may my love affair continue. Which it will, since I am working my way through a backlog of a further 90 episodes…
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Now it’s your turn. What do you listen to and why do you like them? Please also try to check out Skepticule, a podcast which features my very own small counter-apologetics segment.