Americans don't like atheists much. It's something we get reminded of every December, as Fox News commentators decry a secularist "war on Christmas." But the distrust spans seasons: Barely half of Americans say they would vote for an atheist for president; forty eight percent, meanwhile, would disapprove of their child marrying one. Still, atheist America is growing: One fifth of the public is now religiously unaffiliated.
So how do you build an atheist? Or a whole country of them like the Czech Republic, where 48 percent of the public opts for the description "not a religious person" and another 30 percent is a "convinced atheist"? In the last decade, a growing body of research has begun to home in on an answer. In this week’s show we cover all of that and more with Ara Norenzayan, a pioneering researcher on the psychology of religion.
This special Christmas episode also features a discussion of whether buying your kids tablets for Christmas so they can play lots of video games is bad for their brains (you'll be surprised at the answer), and how Santa Claus will soon be Canadian if Canada succeeds in its dastardly plan to claim the North Pole.