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.
Sep 28 - Religious Liberty and Business.
Featured Episodes
Date: September 21st, 2014

Why do strict churches that demand much of their members, including seemingly irrational sacrifices and stigmatizing behaviors, perform so well in the religious marketplace? Prof. Larry Iannaccone of Chapman University discusses the economic logic behind sacrifice and stigma and what studying the organizational requirements of churches can tell us about society more generally. We also discuss the growing field of “economics of religion.”

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Date: September 14th, 2014

Johannes Kepler is perhaps best known for his modifications to the Copernican theory of heliocentrism, but few people remember how his science was guided by his deep personal faith. Prof. Russell Kleckley of Augsburg College discusses the natural philosophy and theology of this gifted mind. Kepler’s story is an interesting encapsulation of the scientific and religious ferment that was occurring in Europe in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Plus, we learn all about “Scuba Jesus.”

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Date: September 7th, 2014

In an encore presentation, previously broadcast in January 2011, Prof. Eric Carter of Georgetown College joins Tony to discuss the difficulties facing professional athletes in the National Football League (NFL) and what role religion plays in helping stabilize the lives of those lived in the NFL spotlight based on unprecedented access to over 100 pro players. The rapid ascension to fame and fortune often places these young men into situations where they experience severe difficulties in coping and finding stable relationships. Our conversation turns to what role religion helps in overcoming many of these difficulties. As an added bonus, both Eric and Tony reveal their Super Bowl predictions for 2011. See if they were correct!

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Date: August 31st, 2014

Of all the countries in the world, why would anyone consider North Korea a territory for Christian evangelization? With one of the most repressive and atheistic regimes, that thrives on a cult of personality of its founding leaders, this would not seem to be fertile ground. Darren Slade discusses the political and religious background of this communist nation and what missionizing strategies have been employed in an environment that is extremely hostile to Christianity.

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Date: August 24th, 2014

What was the function and rationale of the Oracle of Delphi? And how does its operation help us understand the Temple of Shiloh, the role of the Vatican in the Middle Ages, and the physical location of Washington, DC and Sacramento, CA? Prof. Colleen Haight applies some basic economic principles to understand why the Delphic Oracle was so important to ancient Greek civilization and how it relates to so many other historical and contemporary phenomenon. Being both fun and informative, this is an instant Research on Religion classic!

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Date: August 17th, 2014

As we solemnly observe the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, historian Philip Jenkins joins us to discuss the religious dimensions of “The Great & Holy War” (which is also the title of his new book). We survey the spiritual, apocalyptic, and even occult language and imagery that was used to understand the war, mobilize troops, and even guide it on occasion. Prof. Jenkins also lays out the consequences that this pivotal historical event had on the global spiritual landscape … consequences that we are still experiencing to this very day.

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Date: August 10th, 2014

Prof. Sean Everton of the Naval Postgraduate School discusses his examination of The Jesus Seminar, an ongoing project that has examined the authenticity of the historical sayings of Jesus. We learn about the history of The Jesus Seminar, its research procedures, and then talk about Sean’s statistical examination of the votes taken on the sayings of Jesus.

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Date: August 3rd, 2014

In light of the recent victories in favor of same-sex marriage across the US, is there any future for the Religious Right? Prof. Hunter Baker of Union University reviews the history of this (mostly) Christian conservative movement, focusing on some of the lesser-known intellectuals underlying the movement’s early years including Carl F.H. Henry, Frances Schaeffer, and Chuck Colson. He then identifies the peak of the movement at about 2005 and discusses the generational shift happening within the Religious Right and what shape it will take in the near future. Hunter reveals his take on whether right-wing evangelicals need to take a “season of silence” or not as he discusses the work of Jonathan Malesic and James Davison Hunter.

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Date: July 27th, 2014

What could be better than a discussion of international religious liberty combined with banjo music? Prof. Robert P. George of Princeton University discusses his role on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), various threats to the universal rights of conscience around the globe, and how he views the theory of natural law in his policy work. While this is a very serious and heavy topic, we lighten things up at the very end as Robby entertains us with some banjo pickin’ with his band, Blue Heart.

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Date: July 20th, 2014

Pulitzer Prize recipient Karen Elliott House joins us to discuss her career as a diplomatic correspondent in the Middle East for the Wall Street Journal and a number of important changes that are occurring in what many consider to be one of the most stable countries in that turbulent region. After discussing the life of a female reporter covering a male-dominated culture, which has a few surprising benefits, we review Saudi Arabia’s socio-economic landscape and internal tensions that are generating support for reform.

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