This American Life on “Things I Used to Believe.”

I don’t get to listen to TAL as often as I’d like so I try to make a point to catch up with it online when I can. I was reminded that it had been awhile while reading an entry on Friendly Atheist about the most recent episode. He was talking about Act II of the show which is described at the TAL site as follows:

This past Christmas a story swept the internet about a football coach at a Christian high school in Texas who inspired his team’s fans to root for the opposition: a team from the local juvenile correctional facility. Among the thousands of emails that the coach received in response to his actions, one stood out to him. Trisha Sebastian mentioned her loss of faith, and coach Hogan got a message from God that he was meant to bring her back. We eavesdrop on their phone calls.

You can listen to it for yourself by clicking here. The story hits home for me because back when I was going through my crisis of faith I had similar conversations. Not exactly the same, mind you, because my crisis came about through thinking too much rather than because I experienced a loss that made me question my faith, but similar in that the believers used pretty much the same arguments. I found it particularly interesting that host Ira Glass gave Trisha a better answer than the Christian football coach did when Ira is a non-believer himself. That’s another thing I’ve experienced first hand.

Anyway, I thought it made for compelling listening and thought I’d share it with you. I think it helps illustrate why their is often a disconnect when believers try to talk to non-believers about God.

This American Life: Bad Bank

Want to understand the whole banking crisis thing? Go listen to the most recent episode of This American Life:

The collapse of the banking system explained, in just 59 minutes. Our crack economics team—the guys who explained the mortgage crisis, Alex Blumberg and NPR’s Adam Davidson—are back to help all of us understand the news. For instance, when we talk about an insolvent bank, what does it actually mean, and why are we giving hundreds of billions of dollars to rich bankers who screwed up their own businesses? Also, two guys go to New Jersey to look at a toxic asset.

I’m far from being an economist, but this put it all into perspective for me. It also brought home just how fucked we are. This is going to hurt regardless of how it’s handled the only question will be how much will it hurt and that depends on how it’s handled. The idea that we, as taxpayers, will see the government recoup the money they’ve given the banks is probably a bit of false hope given out to make the bailouts more palatable. We’re going to end up paying either way.

The surprising bit is the fact that Americans, as a whole, are at least partially responsible for the mess. Sure the banks shouldn’t have been handing out some of the loans they have, but the truth is most of us have been living beyond our means for a long time now. Which is particularly frustrating to someone like myself who has been doing his best to live within his means for years and is still going to get hurt by the financial melt down.