Reporter Brett Martin tries to use the tools of modern marketing to invent a new religion...one that would serve all the Americans who don't associate with any particular organized religion. It's a lot of people: Forty-three percent of the country says they don't consider themselves religious (according to a 2002 USA Today/Gallup poll).
Poet Michael Warr talks with Ira and reads some of his poems inspired by his childhood. Warr grew up as a Jehovah's Witness and found that he had some problems with the religion's rules.
A chat with Reverend Richard Harris, an African-American minister in Florida who's trying not to be angry about the election...because it's against his religion.
Religion professor Elaine Pagels explains the roots and evolution of Satan in religious texts.
The story of how an understanding of Bible prophecy by the FBI could have prevented the tragedy at Waco at the Branch Davidians compound.
An explanation of what Christians and Muslims talk about in a place you might not expect them to get along at all: Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Host Ira Glass talks with Georg Taubmann, a relief worker with the Christian missionary group Shelter Now, who built houses and did other good works in Afghanistan for seventeen years, until he was arrested by the Taliban in August.
Writer Russell Banks tells the story of a teenager, estranged from his family, who plans a triumphant return home for the holidays. But when he puts his plan into action, it drives his family further away, and simultaneously puts him on the wrong side of the law.
Alex Melamid and Vitaly Komar hired a polling firm to investigate what people want to see in paintings. Then, using the data, they painted what people want.
Mary and Manfred Rauer have been married 22 years. He's a devout Christian, goes to church every week, reads the Bible every day, was head of his congregation.
We hear a quick rundown of all the ways that Christian conservatives are making headway in advancing their values as public policy, why they think total separation of church and state is not what the founding fathers intended. And why they're wrong.
Susie Putz-Drury reports on Bethel Church in Dandridge, Tennessee. It's an all-black Presbyterian Church with a white pastor, who does not always agree with his own congregation on the best way to worship God.
A story of faith lost, thanks to a book about extraterrestrials and a Rabbi.
David Ellis Dickerson tells the story of heading home to Tucson after six years away, having rejected the evangelical Christianity of his family. David came prepared for war, armed with new beliefs.
Two stories about people who suddenly realize they're the only ones around who value the separation of church and state. Paul Williams, a city councilman in Janesville, Wisconsin, wants to make sure a Salvation Army built with public money doesn't proselytize.
Host Ira Glass talks with Erin Einhorn, a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, who went to Poland to find the Catholic family that had sheltered and saved her mother from the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. She found that in Krakow where she was living, in a country where Jewish populations had been vilified and then exterminated by the Nazis, Judaism was suddenly trendy.
A private basketball coach teaches a young student some things his parents don't agree with. David Kestenbaum has the story.
Will McMillan found a home in the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses when he was a teenager.Ultimately he was kicked out of the church.
Serry and her husband's love story began in a place not usually associated with romance: The West Bank. That was where the couple met, fell in love and decided to get married.
Alix Spiegel revisits a story she reported in 2006 - which caused more listeners to email us than any other story we've broadcast. It was about a Muslim American girl named "Chloe," who was tormented at school after the students had a lesson on 9/11.
Ira talks with Shalom Auslander, who was raised as an Orthodox Jew and who made a pivotal break with his faith at a Rangers game. Shalom Auslander is the author of a book of short stories, called Beware of God.
Sam Slaven is an Iraq War veteran who came home from the War plagued by feelings of hate and anger toward Muslims. TAL producer Lisa Pollak tells the story of the unusual action Sam took to change himself, and the Muslim students who helped him do it.
Peter Clowney reports on Christmas at the Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church. Music from Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church all through the hour.
Cody's parents try to get him to unlearn some of what AJ taught him—and it's difficult.
Alix Spiegel in Colorado Springs, where a massive prayer project is underway to pray for every person, business, and school. When she arrives, she finds the Christians speak a kind of Christian jargon she does not understand.