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Episode 471: Oreos, Ethics, & Afghanistan with Matthew Soerens

With religious believers among the most likely to downplay the seriousness of both the pandemic and climate change, a recent article claims secular people and atheists are now more empathic and moral than conservative Christians. But is the problem really that evangelicals are less moral, or that they’re more easily deceived? Then, Matthew Soerens from World Relief talks about the unfolding tragedy in Afghanistan. What dangers do the thousands of Afghans who helped the American military face as the Taliban takes back the country, and what obligation does the U.S. have to help them? While evangelicals remain widely opposed to welcoming refugees, will they make an exception for those who risked their lives to help American troops? Plus, a strike at Nabisco threatens the country’s Oreo supply, launching Phil into a rant about cookie varieties and late stage capitalism.

Patreon Bonus with David French:

News Segment:

Nabisco strike and Phil’s rant about cookie varieties [4:22]

Afghanistan, Haiti, wildfires, floods, heatwaves and droughts [19:12]

Christian’s history with Afghanistan [20:40]

Current situation in Afghanistan [24:40]

Are Christians less empathic and moral, or simply more easily deceived? (Discussion of article below) [32:50]

Interview with Matthew Soerens:

“Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate” -

Interview Start [56:00]

Talking with church leaders about Afghanistan crisis [58:00]

Overview of current situation and America’s history/promises in Afghanistan [59:24]

Responding to the rhetoric that opposes welcoming refugees [1:08:20]

Evangelical Immigration Table - Statement to President Biden [1:12:34]

Practical ways to support [1:14:22]

Ongoing crisis - DREAMers and DACA program [1:17:01]


I think the thought that Christians are just more gullible is overly generous. I do think American Christians are more gullible and less trusting of science, but I don't think their decisions are based on what they think the moral action is. Or, at least, that's not how it starts.

I think it works in the other direction, that they already hold beliefs based on their cultural/political views and desire for personal comfort/finances, and when science doesn't support those views, they sacrifice the science. No one is comfortable supporting views contrary to their morals, so they find scientific opinions or theological opinions to support what they already believe.


Sep 01, 2021

This post makes me sad, annoyed, stunned. Christian talking about her son's dilemma; Skype arguing that Christian gullibility destroys their witness; Phil pointing out that Christians, those charged with caring for the poor and the alien, are ignorant about the good work that the US does in accepting refugees. I would feel doomed, if not for Jesus.


Josh Santel
Josh Santel
Aug 29, 2021

For the amount of time taken to speak about Nabisco, it made me sad to hear so much more focus on joking about Oreos, while not talking about the strike and terrible conditions that Nabisco workers are in. Since that problem isn't something that really affects podcast hosts, I see why you pass over it without thinking. No one's trying to be insensitive, I get it. But, when you completely ignore the struggle these people are having vs a huge business that couldn't care less about them, it does not come off well at all. We should show compassion for these workers and view their struggles rather than treating this story as something funny.


Andy Russell
Andy Russell
Aug 28, 2021

I truly love the podcast but I am so frustrated with y'all's take on Afghanistan. How could you not mention we invaded in order to protect US security interests? Bringing democracy, education for women, etc was secondary at best. It wasn't important that we asked Afghans if they wanted these things because we were there to impose our will. I have spent 2/3 of my life watching us occupy a country while billions of dollars funneled to military contractors. If Afghans don't like Taliban rule they'll need to figure it out themselves. Because we clearly lack the capacity or willingness to create systemic change there. And I pray to God that therapists and religious leaders can help service members find…


Interesting side-note. Sarah Chayes was on an interview this week and pointed out that early in their existence, one of the Taliban's key spokespeople to the UN and the international community was one, Hamid Karzai.

chalk that up to "things that make you say hmmm...." ...ank

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