This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, our host, Rev. Welton Gaddy will examine the intersection of science, public health, government and personal liberty in the current debate around mandatory vaccinations. Kara Loewentheil, Director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project at Columbia Law School, will join him. We’ll also hear from philosopher and author Peter Rollins on his latest book, The Divine Magician: The Disappearance of Religion and the Discovery of Faith. Later in the show, Welton will speak to Ryan Bell, a former longtime pastor, and learn about his “Year Without God” experiment.

Mandatory Vaccinations & Personal Liberty
Mandatory childhood vaccinations have made a splash in national headlines this past week as politicians, pundits, and presidential aspirants seemed compelled to pick sides in this debate of public health and personal liberty. After an outbreak of measles at California’s Disneyland, the role of personal liberty – religious and otherwise – in parents’ choices to vaccinate their children has been challenged due to public health concerns. Kara Loewentheil, the Director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project at Columbia Law School, will join us to discuss this delicate balance – private rights versus public welfare – and the key issues at stake in this debate.

Reading Faith in Peter Rollins’ Newest Book
Attempting to uncover the authentic core of belief has been the object of theologians for centuries. Challenging Christian dogma and continually pushing the boundaries of traditional religious expression, author and philosopher Peter Rollins will discuss his latest book The Divine Magician: The Disappearance of Religion and the Discovery of Faith with Welton. How can frozen doctrines serve as an obstacle to spiritual maturity – and how can that be overcome?

Ryan Bell’s Year Without God
The jury is still out on Ryan Bell’s life-changing decision to live, in his own words, “A Year Without God.” Especially for a seminary instructor and Seventh Day Adventist pastor. Burned out and disillusioned, Ryan took a sabbatical from faith – and today, with those jobs gone, identifies as Atheist. A disarmingly earnest seeker, Ryan is a popular public speaker who has found that his openness about his journey has tapped a deep vein of pain and frustration among many other people of faith who are struggling both with faith – and with the taboo of struggling with faith.

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