Professor Ceiling Cat gets a t.v. interview on atheism

UPDATE:  I’m told that the TV station is called TVN, and that the program’s name in Polish is ‘Dzien dobry TVN. My interview will start at about 9:30.

________________

I am astounded that this is even happening, but what I’m told is a fairly large nationwide t.v. station will interview me tomorrow morning (Monday) at about 9:30 a.m. The show is called “Good Morning, Poland,” and the amazing thing is that they want to talk about—atheism!

Remember, this is a country where “insulting religious feelings” is a crime punishable by a fine and, in principle, jail.  Right now, as I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s big news that a nonbelieving policeman has asked that a crucifix be removed from his office (crosses are everywhere!), and for that simple request he’s being prosecuted. He may be fined, lose his job, or even incarcerated, though I doubt he’ll see jail time.

Religious education–always by priests or nuns—is obligatory for two hours a week beginning in kindergarten (!) through high school—and although students can opt out, it’s done in a way that stigmatizes them.  The religious instructors are chosen by the local bishop and they can neither be fired nor told what to teach. This forced indoctrination, and the blasphemy laws, are the two biggest things obstructing the secularization of Poland.

So atheism is pretty much a taboo subject in a country whose inhabitants are 95% Catholic, and a t.v. interview is good opportunity for me to spread the gospel (so to speak) in a way that I hope will be persuasive.

The t.v. folks have submitted a lists of questions that they might ask me, and suffice it to say that those questions are both straightforward and provocative.

I believe the interview will take place outdoors, in the lovely town square of Cracow, so if there are any Polish readers who watch t.v., let me know how it goes. I have no idea how it will be translated, but it will be broadcast live.

56 Comments

  1. Posted September 15, 2013 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    Although I tend not too watch too much TV, this sounds like something “TVN” would organize, as they seem to be the only station really which has at least a bit of courage to discuss difficult (for the Polish people) subjects.
    I wonder what kind of questions and what kind of answers they are expecting – but such an interview is bound to cause “comments explosion” against Atheism AND science, unfortunately.
    What I’ve noticed over the past few months is that some people who declare themselves as staunch non-believers here, have a lot of respect of the Catholic Church, which is beyond my comprehension.

    Anyway, I will be tuning in tomorrow morning.

    • Posted September 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry – I seem to have posted two almost identically-sounding comments. I’d had this wordpress account for two years but only started using the reader there recently and I’m still getting used to it.

  2. Mike Herron
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    Do they have a Bail system there?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted September 15, 2013 at 4:38 am | Permalink

      Bail? For the policeman? If he didn’t walk out of the police station after being ntified of the charges against him, then something was going seriously wrong (in a legal sense ; in a moral sense, the charge itself is utterly wrong.

      • Posted September 15, 2013 at 5:00 am | Permalink

        I would wager that remark regarded Jerry’s well-being. In any case, it would be a good thing to know the location of the American Embassy there, Jerry. Shouldn’t be hard to find, as it’s right across the street from the cathedral.

        (and on another note, I love the reference to opting out being done in a way that “stigmatizes” high schoolers. It conjures images of pierced hands and feet – kind of like this scene from Tomkinson’s Schooldays.)

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted September 15, 2013 at 5:18 am | Permalink

          We had compulsory Religious education too. My final report card read:
          Exam score : 100%
          Comments : Top of the year! As an atheist, Aidan should be ashamed of himself!

          To which I replied “Know thine enemy.”
          To my shame, I’ve forgotten the teacher’s name, but he was a fair cove, if himself a Methodist lay preacher of some stripe. He taught the subject as an academic topic rather than a proselytising opportunity, to the extent that after the month of “Describe your faith in 15minutes, accepting questiions” exercises, even the class’s Jehovahs Witnesses continued attending the lessons. Which probably means they’re going to burn for all eternity, or something.

          • gbjames
            Posted September 15, 2013 at 6:34 am | Permalink

            “Describe your faith in 15 minutes.”

            Might have provoked: “I have no faith. In fifteen minutes I will still have no faith.”
            ;)

            • gbjames
              Posted September 15, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

              Oh… and sub.

            • Mark Joseph
              Posted September 15, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

              Very amusing. Reminds me of the first two panels in this comic: http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1988/04/24

              • gbjames
                Posted September 15, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

                And that classic scene from the movies:

                [Indy and his father have stolen a plane from the airship, and are now being chased by German fighters]

                Indiana Jones: Dad, you’re going to have to use the machine gun. Get it ready!
                [Henry turns around and gets the gun ready]
                Indiana Jones: [spotting an approaching fighter] 11 o’clock! Dad, 11 o’clock!
                Professor Henry Jones: [looking at his watch] What happens at 11 o’clock?

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 15, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

            as an atheist, Aidan should be ashamed of himself!

            I’d be so proud to have that as a comment on my report card! I found my Kindergarten report card a while ago and I find this particularly insightful but your’s is better:

            Language Growth: Diana has a large vocabulary and is expressing herself very well. She learns songs and verses quickly and is anxious to share her ideas with us.

            • JohnnieCanuck
              Posted September 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

              Yes, that was a very insightful teacher you had. After all these years, (well, not that many), people are still appreciating your willingness to share good ideas, well expressed.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

                Aww shucks. Thanks. I needed that today as I’m getting glum with the migraines.

  3. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    Having a list of questions is a good start. Your contacts (Cracow Rationalists?) can probably provide some background on the interviewer (known prejudices, hot topics). If there is likely to be a “counter interview”, to provide “balance”, can you find out who with, and if they have favourite memes or weak points where you can “get your defence in first”.
    Apart from the policeman story, are there current news items to be aware of? Buggering priests, or theiving ones acting as beacons of morality?
    Have fun ; when I’ve had to do TV interviews (about offshore safety), it’s always scared the willies out of me.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted September 15, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      There are always buggering priests.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 16, 2013 at 12:40 am | Permalink

        Don’t they ever get tired? Fancy a night off down the pub with the choir … OIC.

  4. Posted September 15, 2013 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a good way to land your butt in the local hotel, you know…the one with bars in the windows.

    I’d be thinking about having my bags packed and jumping in the cab to the airport right after the interview.

  5. Posted September 15, 2013 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    Two minor comments:

    Religious education–always by priests or nuns (…)

    Well, most “religious education” teachers are lay catechists, however.

    So atheism is pretty much a taboo subject in a country whose inhabitants are 95% Catholic (…)

    Yes, more than 90% Poles declare that they are catholics but that number is slowly but steadily decreasing (and the number of atheists is growing) and currently it may be even closer to 90% than to 95%.

    I hope the interview goes well!

    • George
      Posted September 15, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      How much of catholicism in Poland is cultural Catholicism? I think quite a bit. I am hoping the Poland follows the Irish model. The speed of the discrediting of the Catholic Church in Ireland has been amazing. Big scandals – not only sexual – help.

      • Posted September 15, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        George: How much of catholicism in Poland is cultural Catholicism?

        I think quite a lot – only about 8% of the Polish catholics actually follow the doctrine of the church (CBOS).

        By the way, according to the statistics from the Central Statistical Office (2012), at the end of 2011, 86.9% of the Poles were catholics. In 2008 it was 96%, so the decrease is significant.

      • Posted September 16, 2013 at 1:59 am | Permalink

        Those statistics are based on the fact that here in Poland works the tradition that everyone child has been baptized. So in regard for the church notes everyone is catholic. I think that mentality is changing but very very slowly. I am a biologist and atheist too and I think that promote of open mind is very needed here, especially to separate politics from religion.

  6. Posted September 15, 2013 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    I’ve noticed quite an interesting “trend” among my (obviously Polish) acquintances, who declare themselves to be Atheists or Antitheists: they still feel that somehow Catholic Church hasn’t been doing actually any real harm, as opposed to all the other religions, and that we were very lucky to have such a maginficent historical figure in the pope John Paul II. I realize that they are a small group of people, so it’s basically anecdotal evidence, but, to be absolutely honest, I am shocked. I would love to know how it looks like on the larger scale.

    As for the interview, it will undoubtedly stir the religious communities, but in my humblest of humble opinion, we need voices like Our Host here heard across the country.

    I don’t watch TV a lot, but I’ll be tuning in tomorrow morning.

  7. Chance
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Go Jerry!

  8. ladyatheist
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I hope you can write blog posts in jail! We’ll be pulling for you

  9. Posted September 15, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Congratulations! That is a remarkable and probably historic opportunity. Some Poles years from now will probably remember exactly where they were when they learned there is no g*d!

    • darrelle
      Posted September 15, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Thanks. Red Bull Zero is not recommended for a sinus rinse.

  10. Posted September 15, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    If you like, you can plug my book “God probably doesn’t exist” which is available in Polish. It has the text “Bez tabu” highlighted in red on the front. According to Google translate this means “No taboos”. What it is, though, is philosophy of religion simplified to the degree that teenagers should be able to get it.

  11. Posted September 15, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Diplomatic relations between the United States and Poland fluctuated during the Cold War, but since 1989 the United States and Poland have enjoyed warm bilateral relations. If anything goes awry, please contact Brynne Larson and her sisters, or head directly to the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw.

  12. Piotr
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Dear Professor, please let us know what TV channel you will be interviewed on. I’ll be at work tomorrow but I’ll gladly record it when it’s aired. Thank you

  13. Lianne Byram
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a wonderful opportunity. Best of luck breaking the taboo!

  14. Mark Joseph
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I’d say “Give ‘em hell, Harry” but (1) as atheists we don’t believe in hell, and (2) your name is not Harry!

    But, you know what I mean. Tell it like it is. I’m looking forward to the final score, Professor Ceiling Cat 1, Invisible Sky Ogre 0.

    • poxyhowzes
      Posted September 15, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Well, the counter-quote is Harry Truman’s perhaps apocryphal remark: “I don’t give them hell — I give them the truth and they think it’s hell!”

      -pH

  15. Steven Obrebski
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    My parents went to secondary school in Poland in the 1920’s. Catechism classes were mandatory. My mother told me that some girls learned to hold their breath till they passed out when the priest
    asked questions because if you didn’t answer correctly you got painfully whacked on the knuckles with a stick. The priests just let the girls lie there till they recovered and did not ask them again.

    When I was 7, just after the war before we left Poland, I was briefly put in a Catholic school briefly. The only school open nearby. They taught us French, among other things, and the priest whacked
    you good and proper on the behind with
    a big stick if you mispronounced the language so I grew up nursing a powerful, even vapid, anticlerical feelings and was definitely an atheist by my early teens, but did not develop a hatred for French.

    When I was a graduate student in the Paleontology department at the University of Chicago, in the early 60’s, a Jesuit from Quebec came to get a paleo degree owing to the then popular writings
    on evolution by the Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
    He already had a masters Theology and in French literaturespecializing in the symbolic poets Mallarmé, Rimbaud, Verlaine
    and of course Baudelaire author of “The Flowers of Evil”. I had minored in French lit in college and my favorite was
    indeed Baudelaire. The Quebecois Jesuit (to my shame I forgot his name) was a charming and brilliant conversationalist and he and I were partners during a field geology course in Texas, At one point he summoned me to an arroyo wherein lay a festering corpse of a cow roiling with maggots and the priest recited a Baudelaire poem (Une Charogne – A Corpse) describing just such scene. It was for me a moving and electric moment and I came to greatly admire the man. He never brought up religion with me, and I am not sure why he thought I was interesting company although I did like to talk about the
    books on evolution I was then reading. From this I learned to establish relationships with people on shared interests and ignore broad philosophical differences (within reason).

    An acquaintance who grew up in Poland in the 70’s said that five of her girlfriends became literally hysterical when she told them shehad not been baptized. I suspect the church prefers those kind of believers as opposed to urbane educated Jesuits. Hence, keep the public agitated and define blasphemy as broadly as possible.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 15, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      I eagerly read your story about you meeting the Jesuit in adulthood, anticipating that ou were going to tell about how you turned the tables and whacked his fingers! :)

      There is a lot of beating when it comes to Catholicism of old. My grandmother (long story – dad’s side of the family in Canada who adopted my dad) was given over to the church to raise because her mom died during the Depression & her dad couldn’t look after her & all her sisters while working (usually smuggling booze to the US). All her life she was terrified of nuns. They used to do things like make her stand outside in a nightgown all night during winter for playing basketball (because that was for boys). Horrible! It’s probably where I get my irrational fear of holy people.

      • Steven Obrebski
        Posted September 15, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        In 1956 I went to live for two weeks with a farmers family in Quebec province to learn some French (some continental French people are horrified by this idea). The farmer had 9 daughters, 6 already in convents, and 3 sons. The village was crawling with all kinds of clergy. A priest hid behind a curtain in the movie theater spying on the young people. A girl was singled out and upbraided for having rolled up her shirtsleeves half way to her elbow. I left after a week and toured Quebec city instead.

        There is this joke about Quebec. The Pope notices that a Quebecois man and his wife have 16 children. He wishes to reward them for their fecundity. He sends a Papal delegate with a medal. The joke then recounts a long story about his arduous trip in the wilds of Quebec province. Finally the papal delegate finds the family with all the children roiling about and the parents sitting on the porch, looking tired. The delegate offers the medal from the Pope to the man. The man says he is a Protestant. The papal delegate exclaims “What, I cam all this way to give a medal to a sex maniac?”.

      • McCthulhu
        Posted September 16, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        I hope you were using “holy people” ironically. If so, you need to do finger quotes when you say it because, based on the anecdotes one reads here and elsewhere, their sadistic actions are anything but holy. If you subconsciously used it unironically,ween yourself from the habit. It gives credit where NONE is due.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

          I think the scare quotes are unnecessary at this site because it is understood that there is month such thing as “holiness” though I’ve seen recognition of “ass-holiness”.

  16. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Luckily this is in Poland. A non-pole a-theist is doubly neutral, hence twice over protected against charges.

    Give them non-hell!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 15, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Yes, I figure they’ll just think of Jerry as an odd foreigner and there won’t be any trouble.

  17. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I hope you get to say what all the atheists want to say but can’t! Awesome!

  18. RFW
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Just wait for the inevitable torrent of reports of sexual abuse of children start to come out into the open.

    The equation

    Power-mad priests + school-children = abuse

    will turn out to be as true in Poland as anywhere else.

  19. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Amarillo College sidesteps religious debate in education
    Here’s the course description of this now extinct class, courtesy of AC President Paul Matney: “Join the fun with this interesting subject. Pros and cons of neo-Darwinism. Most current information available. No science background required. Textbook optional, but what a great reference tool.”

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted September 15, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      He calls himself a journalist, but can’t seem to come out with the name of hte instructor, or the title of the optional textbook.

  20. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I assume the country had compulsory “socialist” indoctrination before the communists were thrown out – I would have assumed that they didn’t have compulsory religious indoctrination then, or am I wrong about that? If they didn’t, how long did it take after they replaced communist mind-numbing lessons with new (old) catholic mind-numbing lessons? Did they get any interval of actual freedom?

    • Steven Obrebski
      Posted September 15, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      I was told by a visitor from Poland that in the early days after the communists were ejected the church started flexing its muscles and many people accused the clergy of acting like the communists – i.e. not minding their own business. But the church was also widely popular for its support of Solidarity, etc.

  21. Steven Obrebski
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    RE: transition from communism to free Poland.
    I was told the following by a woman who worked as a public librarian and also as an accountant in various businesses.
    When the communists left the church started campaigning for women to stay home and have children and not work. As a result, many older women were summarily fired from their jobs and younger (cheaper) ones hired since the new labor laws or customs weren’t as protective of women’s rights. Ads appeared in the papers “Wanted young buxom woman with secretarial skills” or something to that effect mentioning that good looks were important. Many older people acquired the apartments they lived in and had previously
    rented from the government. So the murder rate of older, apartment owning folks by family members went up. I’m not sure how true all this is.
    Today, Poland has one of the lowest per capita birth rates in Europe.
    I was also told that in pre-WWII Poland you couldn’t get a birth certificate unless you were baptized in the catholic church or Jewish. Protestants, orthodox or old believers could not get a birth certificate. How they managed I don’t know. Again, I am not sure of the veracity of all this.

    • Posted September 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Steve: as far as I can remember, the first big campaign of the church was not to tell women to stay at home and have more children, the first big campaign that involved the church’s “morality teachings” against abortion and contraception. Abortion was banned, is allowable only in special cases (I’d say, similar to Irish laws). As for the contraception, I’ve been hearing on the grapevine that some pharmacies are beginning to boycott selling “the Pill”.
      I don’t think people got the apartments they were living in for free. While it is true that there was a period when it was easier to “buy out” your flat, my mother and her father had to cough up quite a lot to repay what then consitituted the mortgage.
      And those things I remember very clearly, as I was a late teenager/young adult then.

      I can’t say anything about birth certificates before the war. I do know about “Numerus Clausus”, though – only certain percent of Jewish people could study at Universities. (My Grandmother couldn’t study medicine at the Jan Kazimierz University in Lwow/Lviv now/ because of Numberus Clausus).

      • Steven Obrebski
        Posted September 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Hello lostinmaths,

        I think that in communist times you paid
        rent. I should have mentioned that they had to buy out the apartments.

        You are undoubtedly right about the move on contraception and abortion. Before the war the only abortion method was called “skrobanka” which comes from the noun scrobać which means to scratch off. My mother indicated that doctors were available to provide this service and given that she and many of her colleagues were sexually active it may have been a common practice for those who could afford the cost.

        As is clear, a lot of my knowledge is second hand and questionable.

        When I was there 33 years ago (for 3 weeks)
        the society was messed up. It seemed that offices were always manned by 2/3 of the employees, the other third out shopping for something because of rampant scarcity. I saw a line of 92 people (I counted) at a stationary store. I asked what they were waiting for and was told it was toilet paper. There was always a shortage of that. My aunts told me that many people carried a bit of string to tie the toilet paper packs with because you could never buy more than a weeks supply or so. People were short tempered and looked preoccupied. The Polish charm would when I showed my American passport.

        And some beautiful sweetness would manifest itself repeatedly. A toothless old lady climbed on a tram in Warsaw and asked if she
        could sing a little song. Everyone agreed and she sang an amusing and charming song about farm life and the animals there in a high, somewhat frail, soprano. Everyone smiled and laughed and applauded her.

        Anyway a few stories from you about your more informed experiences there could be informative while we are contemplating Poland on this blog.

  22. Posted September 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    OK, I seem to have lost yet another one of my replies. I’m sorry if it turns up suddenly. Anyway, I was born in the early 70s during what you might call “the Gierek Golden Times”, when Poland was living off the money borrowed from the World Bank (correct me if I’m wrong), and the situation didn’t seem as bleak as it did right before and after the introduction of the Marshal Law in Dec, 1981, which I remember vividly. Unfortunately, you are right concerning the society at that time. Actually, toilet paper was one of those desperately sought after items, as was toothpaste , soap, and virtually anything you need for a normal life. I remember collecting “makulatura” (old, and not so old , newspapers and other unnecessary stationery) for school. If you brought enough, you could be rewarded with a roll of toilet paper, or, for some unbeknownst reason, a thick tea glass.
    The queues were ever-present during that period.

    As for the current religious indoctrination, it’s not that there wasn’t Catholic indoctrination simultaneos with the regime indoctrination, so the moment we became a “democracy” (of sorts), all the efforts turned to the religious indoctrination.
    But the irony is, in my case anyway, that I’m more villified for my roots (I’m sure you can see from earlier posts of Our Host the mention of antisemitism, which, unfortunately is widespread in Poland) than for the fact that I’m an Atheist.

    Ah, “skrobanka” was in the vernacular in the 80s and 90s as well, and if I’m not mistaken, is used to this day when somebody wants to undermine an abortion procedure.

    I’m sure my fellow citizens can fill in the gaps in my post.

  23. Adam Felton
    Posted September 16, 2013 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    They’ve posted the interview on the website linked. Unfortunately the Polish translation is so loud it makes it very difficult to hear the discussion (makes perfect sense if you’re Polish of course)…Hopefully English subtitles can be added at some stage? I wonder if Prof. Coyne could get a hold of the original English version from the station?

  24. Posted September 16, 2013 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    First of all, it was fantastic to hear Prof. Coyne saying on TVN (as I expected it wouldn’t have been the “national television”), which has a very large audience, that religion(s) are a dangerous idea and that we, as the nation, ARE oppressed by it. I loved what Professor said about the Western culture – people tend to forget about the roots of democracy and the real roots of science. It’s as if for most Poles the intellectual exploration of the world started with…Jeebus.
    I don’t know the journalist who was conducting the interview, but “witches and zombies”? He might have mentioned demons and exorcisms as well. But as I say, I don’t know him, and he was asking what he’d been told to ask. I think a lot of people in the public light here, even minor journalists, are afraid of losing their jobs should they reveal their real beliefs.

    Secondly, the comments under the interview. Why do they always have to play the (hinted) Hitler and Stalin were atheists card? Don’t those commenters know that Hitler wasn’t an atheist, au contraire? And Stalin had his own agenda?
    Apparently, it’s impossible to function without the notion of god.

    All in all, I’m glad to have been able to watch the interview, as I couldn’t go either to Warsaw or Kraków :( And I’m under the impression that a lot of my fellow citizens don’t read critically, or don’t read at all…

    • Posted September 16, 2013 at 3:20 am | Permalink

      More of a question (I’m two left hands as far as computers are concerned): when I comment via my b**g, I’m “lostinmaths”. When I just put an URL of my site, and put my first name in the Name Field, it stays there.
      I don’t want to be perceived as troll – so, to be clear, “lostinmaths” is Paulina Wojciechowska (the whole name doesn’t fit in the name box), which you get anyway when you click on the link.

      Again, thank you for the interview!

      • JBlilie
        Posted September 16, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the news from Poland!

  25. Posted September 16, 2013 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    My comments have a tendency to vanish if I don’t log into wordpress. So, here I go again:

    Professor Coyne, it’s been high time we acknowledge that religion is dangerous. You most certainly stirred the waves of doubt in some. Yes, some will be angry and, as one or two commentators under the interview has done, will pull out the old “Hitler/Stalin” card, not realizing that Hitler was religious – yes, they still play the Nazi card here. But I truly hope more Atheists/Rationalists will come out of the closet thanks to your visit here.

    It must have been really hard not to laugh at the “witches and zombies” question.
    But what really bothered me was “the western civilization owes so much to Christianity”. It’s not only this particular journalist, who was obviously in the spotlight and under the scrutiny of his bosses, but a lot of people sharing this view. As if the Enlightenment had started with Jeebus?! I don’t know if people have stopped reading altogether, or stopped reading and thinking critically because of sometimes harsh conditions of their lives here. Or because they’re just lazy?

    And religion classes not being forced upon children and teenagers? What about “the recollections”, when the whole forms are abducted to the church, and you don’t want your kid to go, or your kid herself doesn’t want to go?

    We need to hear things like you’ve said more often. And start doubting.

    I couldn’t be in Warsaw or Krakow for your lectures, and I’m really sorry because of that. But at least I watched the interview :) so thank you for giving it.

  26. Slawomir Budziak
    Posted September 16, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Hi Professor,

    Thank you for the lecture and ensuing debate in Krawkow. I enjoyed them both greatly.

    Slawomir (“the model-guy”)

  27. JBlilie
    Posted September 16, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    In Cracow, lucky you!


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