In our September issue we ran a piece entitled "Dear Atheists...", in which Francis Spufford, author of the new book Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense, called on atheists to admit that they might be wrong about God, and suggested that it may be time for greater mutual respect between Christians and non-believers.
As you may be able to tell from my summary, those two points didn't necessarily go hand in hand, and there's no doubt that Spufford was prodding atheist sensibilities while simultaneously calling for greater agreement between the faithful and the faithless. When we publish such pieces, we do some with the aim of starting a debate among our readers, and it was no surprise to see emails coming in as soon as the magazine began to land on subscribers' doormats. In fact, we received more letters in response to Spufford than to any piece we've published before (certainly in our time working here), as well as an array of comments on the online article, Twitter and Facebook.
A few weeks after the magazine was published, our editor Caspar Melville went to interview Spufford for the Pod Academy, a growing podcast project focused on the latest research and writing in science and the humanities. Caspar put some of our readers' objections to Spufford, and you can hear the discussion between the two of them in the podcast, which has the wonderfully straightforward title "Does Christianity still make sense?"
We're now working in partnership with the Pod Academy when their podcasts cross over with our areas of interest, so you can listen to Caspar's interview with Spufford through our new Rationalist Association podcast channel, hosted at Soundcloud. Use the player below, or visit our Soundcloud channel to download it and subscribe to future podcasts.
Also, you can read many of the letters we received in response to Spufford in the new November/December issue of New Humanist, which is out this coming Thursday.