I could never have done radio without a boost from an atheist, and some help from the old priest-rabbi-and-a-minister routine. My very first radio broadcast included those very same clergypeople as the panel on KABC’s “Religion on the Line” program, which ran for two hours, commercial free, on Sunday nights.

The evening of my debut, the show’s host decided to add a fourth participant, representing Atheists Anonymous. I was not able to contribute too much that evening because the moderator, the host, wanted to go for the atheist’s jugular himself, and hardly allowed the rest of us an opportunity to speak. I returned to the program a few months later and was greatly surprised to learn that the same atheist had also been invited back. Having overcome my neophyte jitters, I was much more confident and assured, and chomping at the bit to score a few points. Without waiting for the opening bell, I took advantage of the brief moment where we were all allowed to introduce ourselves and add a few words. I said, “I am so happy to see my colleague from a previous show, the gentleman from Atheists Anonymous who has proven one of the traditional thirteen principles of the Jewish faith.” Listeners could not tell of course, but daggers were flying from his eyes. The host took the bait and asked me to explain myself. I explained that according to the formulation of Maimonides, one of the thirteen principles of faith is the future resurrection of the dead. Since we had so thoroughly demolished the atheist in his last appearance, his coming back proved that people could rise from the dead. The atheist was not pleased by this little sidebar, and it served to keep him off-balance for the rest of the broadcast, which of course had been my exact intent.

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