Religion and NPR

I listen to NPR all the time. I love NPR. They are accused of being liberal and there is a bit of a leftward lean but they tend to be much more moderate then anything else. Also, I like the fact that they don’t spend only 5 sentences on a news story. They try to dig into it a little and let you know what’s going on. Often they will bring in two different perspectives and let us hear from them.

The one topic that they most often bother me about is religion. Not just Christianity, but religion in general. Whenever someone they are speaking to is strongly religious, they always seem to somehow imply that there is a reason for it other than sincere belief. The one I’ve picked up on more often than not is when they imply that some personal trauma has lead to the individual’s deep religious belief. In other word, the person has a crutch. Another motive they seem to insinuate is that religious convictions are held for sociological reasons. For example, a person opposes abortion on religious grounds because they have an agenda for women. NPR will usually repeat that what the person believes, that is that life begins at conception, but somewhere along the way, the commentary will imply that there are other reasons as well.

What really bothers me is the personal trauma one. People only turn to religion in response to crisis, they seem to think. But we don’t always or necessarily often. I didn’t respond to the gospel because of a crisis. My life was going pretty well at the time. I had just gotten married, was doing well at work, I was happy. I responded to the gospel, well, I’m not sure why. I had heard it often enough growing up and never really got it. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t respond to it either.

I can’t think of any particular NPR story that illustrates my point, it is more of a general observation. But I’ll be listening and when I come across a story, I’ll post a link and analysis.

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  • *cough* P O D C A S T *cough*

  • and they are moderate … how? I listen to NPR, too, but only for a “balanced” perspective and the indepth analysis you mentioned. But that analysis usually carries with it a distrinctly anti-supernatural bias.

  • Politically moderate with a left lean. The rest of this point is making the point that they are biased on religion. I agree with you. I should have been clearer.

  • Religion on NPR is very secularized. I mean that they take a very “sociologoist” stance on religion as you described. It is very much in line with Durkhiem: “Religion is an important institutin for the greater good of society because it provides a means to lives etc.” Yes, I have had teh same thoughts. Although, I think I hear the general love of pluralism in some stories on religion. for example I heard the first Muslim military chaplain interviewed and they just loved him and his rhetoric about military life and on Christianity and Christian chaps. I also heard a story on raising children to be devout athieists and how that can be just as good as other relgions… for those socilogical reasons again.

    And I agree tim on thier fair and balanced approach. I will take NPR over most AM stations for news any day. Too bad I can only pick up a very fuzzy NPR station here in the cornfields.

  • My distress with NPR’s treatment of religion is their apparent inability to see religion apart from politics. Many NPR commentators use the term “Christian” to mean right wing, conservative, Republican. As a Christian, this causes me grief, not for the commentators’ errors, but for the failure of the church to give a clear witness of Christ and His gospel. It reminds me of the unending need for Christians to preach Christ, and Him crucified, and to acknowledge humbly that any political position a Christian takes is a matter of conscience, not a condition of membership in some ecclesiastical club.

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