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Pretty good and balanced program
by Katthew
(5 stars)
As a Christian/former atheist I find this podcast to be very interesting...but I kind of feel at times that the Atheist guy is trying to make the Christian guy look like he is wrong. It is almost as if he is trying to catch him in his words. He even makes it sound as if Christianity is a joke at times, which is strange, because the atheist guy says that he was a former Christian.

Thought-provoking and Even-handed
by cartoonsandwich
(4 stars)
Norton and Emery challenge each other to articulate their beliefs and the reasons behind them, but respect each other at the same time. My only complaint is that they are sometimes unable to fully explore a topic before they move on. If you are interested in a thoughtful dialogue between a theist and an atheist, then this is the podcast for you.

I disagree with both
by Anonymous
(3 stars)
The atheist brings up some thought provoking items. I don't like the Christian speaking for me as a believer, because he says things I clearly don't agree with. Sometimes the atheist asks a simple "yes/no" question and the Christian doesn't give a clear answer. I wish I had time to contribute to the forum, but I don't.

Excellent
by Christo
(5 stars)
The topics and arguments have changed the way I think about some issues. Very intriguing. I highly recommend!

Boring and inarticulate
by Anonymous
(2 stars)
I have been a Christian for many years, but I find this podcast just as unhelpful as other debate programs I have sought after. Most programs like this are biased and made to portray atheists as unenlightened. Obviously, the believer on this program is able to be more articulate, the atheist tends to stumble over his words and thoughts. This point alone establishes a subtle bias that sets the tone of the rest of the program. I have only listened to one program, and the Christian led the discussion. Does the atheist lead other episodes? Bias? Hello?

This is not a true debate between two people who are equally well-informed, self assured in their beliefs, and able to maintain their point of view--giving valid reasons for why they believe. I think this is possible for both sides of the debate.

Plus, the Christian has that standard "youth pastor" cadence to his voice that I, as a seasoned Christian, find annoying and cookie-cutter.

However, I believe the questions asked are intelligent and valid, great conversation sterters...however, there is no solid conversation that results. In the very least, they should edit their podcast and review the questions beforehand so they appear more prepared on-air.

That would make this a MUCH better podcast worth listening to.


Don't bother
by Ferdinand_U
(1 star)
It sounds like two 12 year olds discussing a topic. Not worth the time.
 


Norton and Emery are the original hosts and creators of the podcast. Though they find themselves on opposite sides of the God question, they remain good friends and enjoy discussing the tough issues. Then one day they came up with the idea of recording their discussions, and distributing them as podcasts.

A couple years later, Norton took a leave of absence to start a family and found a church in the Midwest. Around 2008, Scott started appearing as a Christian guest, and took over the co-host spot the following year.

They have a lot of fun making these shows, though their wives wonder why they have so much time to make silly recordings, and so little for housework.

About Norton

Hi, I’m Norton. For reference, I’m the Christian in the conversation, but if you want to know a little more about me, keep reading. I was born and raised in Chapel Hill, NC. My parents were die-hard Southern Baptists and church was always a part of my childhood. As a kid, I learned about the Bible, God, and Jesus, and while I always believed what I heard was true, it didn’t really change my life. Being a Christian and going to church was like brushing my teeth, it was just a normal part of life.

It wasn’t until college that I really tested my beliefs. I wanted to know the truth and began asking questions. Could I really have a relationship with God and follow Jesus’ teachings? Was a Christian worldview the most logical conclusion when it came to life’s toughest questions? I intended to find out. Now, don’t get me wrong, I never had a major crisis of faith. But I asked lots of good questions and studied the Bible intensely. I even took several college courses on the Bible—the ones by the liberal professors who eat Christians for lunch. And though this phase didn’t shake me intellectually, my faith was challenged in other ways. Church seemed mostly irrelevant and I didn’t have many close Christian friends. I also had a difficult time knowing how to relate to an invisible God, and it seemed impossible to do all the things that a follower of Jesus should do.

In the last ten years or so, my journey of faith has continued. I’m no longer a card-carrying Southern Baptist (that makes two of us Emery!). But I’ve participated in several different communities of faith and found strengths in each one. I even went to graduate school and studied the tedious details of Hebrew and Greek biblical texts. All in all, I still believe that God exists, that grace is my only hope, and that Jesus is worth following. I’ve also learned that it’s okay to ask hard questions and that the Bible doesn’t answer all of them explicitly. Finally, I’m discovering that genuinely loving other people is best way to actually be what I claim to be—a Christian (though I’m still not very good at it.)


About Emery

Hi! Here's a little about me, the godless atheist of the podcast. I was raised a conservative Christian in a small midwestern town, and remained a Christian until age 22. Though I mostly attended a Southern Baptist Church, my family and I also spent a few years in Witness Lee's Local Church. Most of my time, however, was spent as a born again Christian at Calvary Baptist Church in Rapid City, South Dakota. There I served as church pianist, was heavily involved in church activities, and occasionally annoyed my high school friends by trying to convert them. Underlying all this, however, was my relationship with Christ, and my commitment to serving him as Savior and Lord. I was certain that I could never deny my faith, and following Jesus was the first and most important thing in my life. A close second was trying to get girls to like me. Sadly as a young man, only the first goal met with any success.

Later during college, I realized that logical and ethical inconsistencies in the faith made it impossible for me to remain a Christian, and after lots of prayer and soul searching, I left. It was a tough decision, and the first thing I did was write a paper called "Why I am no longer a Christian," and send it to my pastor, my folks, all the Christians I knew, churches, and my favorite televangelists. I even sent one to Billy Graham, though it was funny that his office never replied, even though I worked at the Domino's Pizza in downtown Minneapolis, right next door to his headquarters. He never ordered a pizza either--probably he was busy on the road crusading. I did receive many replies from others, however, and I pored over them, hoping to find something that would enable me to return to the faith I still longed for. That was many years ago.

Since then I have remained interested in Christian beliefs, and have assembled some of my early thoughts at Losingmyreligion.com. Though now I am an atheist, I understand the attraction of Christianity, and am always interested to see how people manage to remain in the faith. Leaving Christianity was one of the best things I had done for my life, and I hope to help others in similar struggles to think clearly and honestly when evaluating their faith.


About Scott

Hi, I’m Scott and it’s my job to balance Emery’s godless and spiritually bankrupt worldview. Sarcasm and self-depreciating humor are like love languages to me, so if that kind of thing makes you a little grumbly in the tumbly, it would be good to keep some antacid handy since I tend to lay it on pretty thick.

I am a pastor of a small church in Northern Indiana, and have been a Christian for most my life. I grew up attending Vacation Bible School, Christian summer camp, and youth group. My church was fairly conservative and the Christian high school I attended made sure I was well versed in the finer pints of self-righteous legalism. That makes me a double-threat, in case you’re keeping score.

Though I don‘t remember I time when I haven’t known about Jesus, I find it interesting that my formative years were punctuated by repeated on-again off-again spiritual epiphanies that would often result in me “asking Jesus into my heart one more time…just to make sure.”

It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that my faith began to drastically shape my life. I realized that the commitment to follow Jesus wasn’t an easy one and it demanded a bit more from me than weekend-warrior-type fealty.

Since then I have been doing my best understand what it means to follow Jesus and have tried to encourage others to consider doing the same. I do not like bible-thumpers, racists, or door-to-door evangelism. CHICK tracks (google it…or better yet, DON’T) trigger a pretty severe gag reflex, as does the merchandising of Christianity in the form of quippy bumper stickers and plastic Jewelry. One of the happiest days of my life was when the “Got Milk” slogan eclipsed the “WWJD” slogan as the most played-out, tired, and thread-bare marketing idea ever.

I enjoy being part of the community here at A Christian and an Atheist, it has been a good experience for me and I look forward to converting as many of the godless heathens here as possible.

 
 
   
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