This American Life on “Things I Used to Believe.”

I don’t get to listen to TAL as often as I’d like so I try to make a point to catch up with it online when I can. I was reminded that it had been awhile while reading an entry on Friendly Atheist about the most recent episode. He was talking about Act II of the show which is described at the TAL site as follows:

This past Christmas a story swept the internet about a football coach at a Christian high school in Texas who inspired his team’s fans to root for the opposition: a team from the local juvenile correctional facility. Among the thousands of emails that the coach received in response to his actions, one stood out to him. Trisha Sebastian mentioned her loss of faith, and coach Hogan got a message from God that he was meant to bring her back. We eavesdrop on their phone calls.

You can listen to it for yourself by clicking here. The story hits home for me because back when I was going through my crisis of faith I had similar conversations. Not exactly the same, mind you, because my crisis came about through thinking too much rather than because I experienced a loss that made me question my faith, but similar in that the believers used pretty much the same arguments. I found it particularly interesting that host Ira Glass gave Trisha a better answer than the Christian football coach did when Ira is a non-believer himself. That’s another thing I’ve experienced first hand.

Anyway, I thought it made for compelling listening and thought I’d share it with you. I think it helps illustrate why their is often a disconnect when believers try to talk to non-believers about God.

5 thoughts on “This American Life on “Things I Used to Believe.”

  1. Wow!  I thought the story about getting the fans to root for the juvies was really pretty cool but I’m sorry, that coach was a dumb-shit.  He couldn’t even convert someone who WANTED to believe.  I found myself groaning with every tired argument he brought up, a classic disconnect.  I can’t believe he made many “converts” with those kind of arguments, and I have a sneaking suspicion that she thought he was a dumb-shit, but was too nice to say so (the comment about Hitler and arguments).  It’s too bad she seems more interested in getting back to God (or at least finding the answers she wants rather than the ones she needs.  She should talk to an Atheist.  After all, it’s only fair to get both sides of the issue.

    I liked the rest of the cast, though.  It’s a pretty neat show.

  2. I still contend that belief and faith are not a choice, and cannot be turned on and off like a light switch.

    And I have had both the religious and non-religious argue with me that it is a choice.

    Which just baffles me how anyone can on one hand believe in “Choice” and on the other believe in “Law of Causation”.

    My belief is you cannot believe in both without experiencing a major bout of cognitive dissonance.

    I guess I’m just a Tralfamadorian. Stuck on a lunatic asylum planet full of people who believe in “Free Will”. raspberry

  3. Very interesting story. My wife (a Christian) and myself (well there isn’t a great way to discribe me rolleyes) both listened to this on our way to Chicago and thought it was great… the whole episode for sure. We chatted about the minister preacher and came to the same conclusion, he probably did more to hurt her than help her and was probably the worst person in the world to chat to her. Actually my exact words were, “I think a bible beating preacher is proabably the worst person she could talk to.” Wifey said, “Yea, I would agree…”

    We also really liked the pants story! I know it wasn’t the purpose of this post, but wow was that hilarious and interesting.

  4. First, thanks for linking to the story and your thoughts. Almost every reaction I’ve had to the story can be found on my blog. I’d like to make it clear to one of your readers, swordsbane, though that I do and have listened to atheists (my best friend is an atheist) which is kinda how I started to become agnostic in the first place.

    Anyway, thanks again.

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