DeWitt, Jerry — From Pentecostal to Atheist Part One

The freedom to think and the freedom of religion are constitutional keystones and givens in the United States.  However, when those freedoms lead a Pentecostal pastor to come out as an atheist, he is shunned by some and praised by others.

Jerry DeWitt, whose ministry began when he was seventeen, is the author of “Hope After Faith:  An Ex-Pastor’s Journey From Belief to Atheism.” He’s our guest in this two part conversation about his 25 year dialogue with faith, his early beliefs, his evolving skepticism and his embrace of free-thinking humanism.

As it is for all of us, early life experiences are most often taken for granted and form the basis by which we compare subsequent experiences and develop new understandings. 

So when Jerry DeWitt and I visited by phone from western Florida on December 13, 2013, we began the first part of our conversation with a description of his early childhood.

Jerry DeWitt’s website provides information about his book and links to the resources and topics discussed in our program. 

The books Jerry DeWitt recommends are those written by Joseph Campbell.

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Wagner, Sally Roesch — Suffragist, Matilda Gage, Almost Jailed for Voting

This program is about Matilda Joslyn Gage, who lived from 1826 to 1892 and was a vibrant and leading figure in the suffragist movement of that century.

Matilda Joslyn Gage, an outspoken leader for women’s rights, and an advocate to abolish slavery and religious bigotry, became historically invisible in pursuit of her liberty to think and speak as she thought proper.  She was threatened with jail for voting in New York in 1871, and later was inducted into the Iroquois nation after publicly declaring Christian theology to be a primary source of the oppression of women.

Historian and chautauqua scholar Sally Roesch Wagner, who portrays Matilda Joslyn Gage, brought Gage into the limelight by creating the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, based in Fayetteville, New York.  The Gage Foundation is dedicated to educating current and future generations about Gage’s work and the power of her work to drive contemporary social change.

I met with Sally Roesch Wagner in the studios of Radio Curious in December 1996.  Our conversation began when I welcomed Matilda Joslyn Gage to Radio Curious.

The book Matilda Joslyn Gage recommends is “The Secret Doctrine:  The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy,” by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.

The book Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner recommends is “Women, Church and State,” by Matilda Joslyn Gage.

This program was recorded in December 1996.

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Cohen, Jeff — When Journalism is Neither Fair or Accurate

Who gets to be in the media and who doesn’t?  That’s the topic of this edition of Radio Curious in a conversation with Jeff Cohen, co-founder of FAIR-Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

A commentator on Fox news, CNN and MSNBC, Cohen offers an insider’s critique of mainstream media today.  He is the author of “Cable News Confidential, My Misadventures in Corporate Media,” published in 2006.  We spoke in the studios of Radio Curious March 13, 2012 and began our conversation when I asked Jeff to discuss the subterfuge that exists in media today.

Jeff Cohen’s website is www.jeffcohen.org.

The book he recommends is Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”

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Krol, Debra — Native American Art of the Southwest at the Heard Museum

Founded in 1929, the Heard Museum’s mission is dedicated to educating people about the arts, heritage and life ways of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, with an emphasis on American Indian tribes of the Southwest. Committed to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native arts and cultures,  the museum successfully combines the stories of American Indian people from a personal perspective with the beauty of art, showcasing old and new hand woven baskets, kachina dolls, other art and cultural objects.

The museum showcases the art and regalia of Apache, Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo, and Yaqui, to name a few.  More than 2000 items make up the museums exhibition.  Artwork ranging from pottery, baskets, beadwork, dolls and paintings are on display.

Our guest is Debra Krol, the communications manager who shared portions of the Heard Museum with me on December 10, 2011.  We began our conversation with Krol when she introduced us to the Heard Museum and the unique features that reflect the evolution of south western Native American art.

Debra Krol recommends two books: “Ishi’s Brain,” by Orin Starn, and “Indians, Merchants and Missionaries: The legacy of Colonial Encounters on the California Frontiers”, by Kent G. Lightfoot. Our interview with Orin Starn may be found here.

The Heard Museum website is www.heard.org.

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Katz, Leo — Why Our Law is so Stupid and Perverse

Have you ever asked yourself ‘why is the law so perverse? Why is it directed away from what is right or good?’ This program is about the why the law is sometimes called stupid, irrational or perverse in a conversation with author and Pennsylvania law professor, Leo Katz.

His book, “Why the Law is So Perverse,” presents the multiple conundrums based on legal consequences that are sometimes unintended. We visited by phone from his home in Philadelphia, PA on November 27, 2011, and began our conversation when I asked him to describe, using the examples in his book, how the legal system in the United States evolved to create conundrums, contradictions and unintended consequences.

The book Prof. Leo Katz recommends is, “The Assault,” by Harry Mulisch.

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Socrates & Ron Gross – Socrates of Athens, in Conversation

Socrates’ Way: Seven Masterkeys to Using Your Mind to the Utmost

Socrates of Athens, who lived before the Common Era, is respected as one of the greatest independent thinkers of all time. Socrates himself refused to be recognized as a teacher. Instead, Plato, his well-known student and reporter of Socrates’ dialogues, tells us he asked to be seen as a “midwife of ideas.” Socrates’ passion to achieve self-understanding, and the proper ways to live, continues to be studied and emulated to this day.

Socrates recommends “The Trojan Women,” by Euripides. Ron Gross recommends “The Clouds,” by Aristophanes.

Originally Broadcast: January 13, 2003

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Basta, Michael — Relationship Warning Signs

Why some couples get along and others don’t, sometimes to the extent of terminating their relationship, is a curious question, the answer to which is likely to bring both pleasure and unhappiness to each of us. Michael Basta has been a licensed clinical social worker based in Sonoma, County California, since 1988. He is trained and certified as a Gottman Couples’ Therapist. This training identifies the traits and behaviors of couples that are useful to predict how long their relationship will last. Michael Basta visited Radio Curious on May 21, 2010, and began by describing the negative traits and behaviors that indicate a dark future for the relationship.

The book Michael Basta recommends is “The Female Brain,” by Dr. Louann Brizendine.

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Stiefel, Frank — “Ingelore,” Speaking Without Hearing

What would it be like for you if you were deaf? If you could not speak your first word until you were six? If you had three years of education, your first language was German, and you later emigrated to another country where they speak English?  Ingelore is the first name of a woman who was born in Germany in 1924, and came to America in 1940 at the beginning of the Third Reich, right after Kristallnacht. The film “Ingelore” was made by Inglelore’s son Frank Stiefel, and it tells his mother’s story.  This edition of Radio Curious begins with we a piece from the movie “Ingelore” in which she explains who she is and a little of her story. As we hear is her ability to articulate words in English it’s important to remember  she cannot hear.

This interview was recorded on May 29th, 2010 with Frank Stiefel from his home in Santa Monica, California.

The books that Frank Stiefel recommends are “Hand Of My Father,” by Myron Uhlberg, and “The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy.

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Menasian, Helen — No Child Left Inside

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Helen Menasian, director of the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project, located north of Ukiah, California. Ukiah is a small town in a long narrow valley that has been occupied by the Pomo People for about 11,000 years. About 150 years ago when Europeans and other foreign settlers arrived  the wilderness of the Ukiah valley was interrupted by pavement, waterworks and mechanical noise.

The book “The Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder,” by Richard Louv describes some of the central ethos behind outdoor education for children. The book reminds us that parents have the power to ensure that their son or daughter will not be “the last child in the woods,” and discusses the importance of the nature-child reunion. During this conversation we hear how the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project seeks to regain that connection. We began by asking Helen Menasian to explain just what the project does. This interview was recorded in the studios of Radio Curious, Ukiah, California on February 8th 2010.

The book Helen Menasian recommends is “The Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder,” by Richard Louv.

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Bennell, Alan — A Horticultural Extravaganza in Scotland

Some of us may be curious about the vast diversity of plants around the world and might wonder who collects and identifies new species and where might we see them displayed? In this edition, the 2009 Radio Curious tour of Scotland continues as we visit with Alan Bennell, head of visitor services at the Royal Botanic Garden located in Edinburgh, Scotland. Alan Bennell guides us through this horticultural extravaganza and describes how the collection has grown since it opened in the 17th Century and how the research conducted there is used in conservation efforts around the world.

This interview with Alan Bennell was recorded on May 18th, 2009, a windy rainy day with birds singing in the background, in the Royal Botanic Garden located in Edinburgh, Scotland. We begin the conversation by asking him to introduce himself and the gardens. Please ignore the sounds of the wind and rain, but do enjoy the chirping of the birds.

The book recommended by Alan Bennell  is “The Chronicles of Bob Dylan,” by Bob Dylan.

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