Your host, Anthony Gill, is professor of political science at the University of Washington and distinguished senior fellow at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion.  Learn more.
May 29 - Moore on Buddhist Political Theory.
Featured Episodes
Date: May 22nd, 2016

While many parishioners often look to their pastor for emotional and spiritual support, it is not often that we think that members of the clergy need such psychological assistance as well. Nonetheless, the demands of the ministry can be highly demanding and their unique professional role may often lead to isolation from important social support networks. Profs. Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell (Duke) and Chris Adams (Azusa Pacific) discuss the results of a recent study on the mental health of ministers within the United Methodist Church. The focus is not only on trying to address negative mental health outcomes, but ways in which positive mental health predictors can be encouraged. We also talk about how one counselor (Dr. Adams) has put this research to use in his own role as a counselor to seminarians and missionaries.

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Date: May 15th, 2016

Billie Livingston, an independent novelist and poet, discusses the role of faith in her life and fictional writing. Our conversation meanders broadly through a number of different topics including the publishing industry, where works of literature are inspired from, and how the role of mercy and guilt play into Billie’s own writings. We discuss her most recent novel “The Crooked Heart of Mercy” and learn how she views her spiritual journey in light of her many life experiences.

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Date: May 8th, 2016

Happy bicentennial to the American Bible Society, celebrating its 200th year in operation on May 11, 2016. To celebrate, we invite historian John Fea (Messiah College) to discuss the history of the ABS and his recent book “The Bible Cause.” We track the changes to this quintessential American institution over time, emphasizing how it reflected and shaped our society over the past two centuries.

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Date: May 1st, 2016

Prof. Christopher Hale (U of Alabama) discusses how religion is connected to political protest in Mexico. Building upon some foundational work in the religious economies school, he explains how institutional decentralization and lay leadership fosters socio-economic activism. He also addresses the role of ideology and religious competition.

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Date: April 24th, 2016

When a congregation splits from a denomination, what becomes of the church property? More specifically, how have US state courts wrestled with the issue of religious property disputes while trying to preserve the autonomy of church doctrine? Prof. Michael McConnell (Stanford Law School) answers these questions in historical context. He notes how judicial decisions have changed from the traditional “English Rule” favoring hierarchical denominations over congregations, to perspectives that are less intrusive into the internal doctrine and organization of a faith, nothing that there is still a great deal of ambiguity in the law. He argues for an approach known as “strict neutral principles.”

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Date: April 17th, 2016

Prof. Francis Beckwith (Baylor University) discusses his new book “Taking Rites Seriously,” and how secular rationalism has permeated our legal decisions and what that means. He discusses the intellectual framework surrounding secular rationalist arguments, why he considers them limited, and discusses how this affects the freedom of religious believers. We cover issues such as abortion, intelligent design, and the Pledge of Allegiance.

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Date: April 10th, 2016

Do citizens in religiously-active countries prefer to have members of the clergy directly intervene in the politics of their nation? While one might assume they would, Prof. David Buckley (U of Louisville) discovers the opposite finding; religious individuals prefer to see their spiritual leaders less involved in governmental decision-making. Dr. Buckley discusses how religious leaders in such countries already have informal networks of influence and how direct involvement in politics runs the risk of tarnishing the moral authority of clergy and dividing their flock.

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Date: April 3rd, 2016

The rise of charter schools over the past quarter century has altered the way in which we think about the nexus of religion and state with respect to education. Prof. Aaron Saiger of Fordham University Law School documents changes in the American educational system and how religious communities are reacting to the charter school movement.

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Date: March 27th, 2016

Can the evolving state of science give us greater insight into God and vice versa? We talk with former atheist Nancy Ellen Abrams about her journey through the history of science and how she has come to understand God and spirituality, as well as her new book “A God that Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet.” This is one of our most unique interviews blending humanity’s evolving understanding of the universe with a bit of theology.

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Date: March 20th, 2016

During the week before Easter, we visit with Dr. Michael Licona (Houston Baptist University) to discuss the historiography of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Is the Resurrection merely a tale pulled from pagan rituals or an example of mass hysteria? Dr. Licona examines these questions and other counter-arguments to the story presented in the Christian Gospels, and explains why it is important for Christians not to accept the validity of the Resurrection on faith alone, but to think closely about the historical evidence with respect to all alternative explanations. This, he says, can help counter doubt and strengthen one’s own faith.

We have over 275 episodes in our archives. There is likely to be something of interest to everyone.

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