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.
Jan 21 - Griffin on Being Catholic at Harvard.
Featured Episodes
Date: January 14th, 2018

What makes for a “timeless hymn”? Prof. Anthony Esolen (Thomas More College) discusses his recent book “Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church,” and shares with us the importance of singing and poetry for the faithful. We review a number of important themes found within various hymns and reference a few of the greats over the past several centuries.

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Date: January 7th, 2018

Near the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century, physics went through a scientific revolution with a shift from the Newtonian paradigm of physics to the weird world of quantum mechanics. This not only affected the way we understand our material (and not-so-material) world, but it had an impact on the philosophical underpinnings of how humans perceive reality, allowing for theology to return to the discourse of science. Dr. Dillard Faries, a professor emeritus of physics at Wheaton College, explains the tensions within Newtonian physics, how quantum mechanics changed our understanding, and his own reflections on topics such as sin, free will, and reality.

Many good things on the way this year. Please tell your friends and colleagues about our free educational program.

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Date: December 31st, 2017

How are different religious traditions viewed at the ballot box? Prof. Quin Monson, a political scientist at BYU, discusses a recent study he and several colleagues conducted on religious biases and sanctioning of norm violations during the 2012 presidential election. Our conversation covers how norms are used in society, when violations of norms are punished by individuals, what religious groups are considered “outside the norm” and by whom, and whether and how attitudes towards different groups may change over time.

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Date: December 24th, 2017

Why was the partridge in the pear tree? This is all the more mysterious given that these birds can’t fly well. We answer this and several other questions related to the history of Christmas carols with special guest Rev. Mark Lawson-Jones, a chaplain for Mission to the Seafarers and author of the delightful book “Why Was the Partridge in the Pear Tree? The History of Christmas Carols.” We cover a broad swathe of history dating back to the medieval period when carols were used in various pageants, discuss the fun of wassailing, note that the Puritans almost killed Christmas fun, and then discuss the history and meaning of a few well-known songs.

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Date: December 17th, 2017

Is Superman the representation of the Christ figure in the DC Comics universe? And “who” among science fiction characters most closely represents the orthodox view of Christ? And does anybody really understand what “2001: A Space Oddity” was about? Jim Papandrea, associate professor of Church history at the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and frequent guest, answers these questions and more as we take a journey through superhero and science fiction cinema to survey how religion is portrayed on celluloid. This is a conversation that not only will enlighten you on popular movies, but will help you understand Christology and soteriology all the better!

Give the gift of knowledge during the holiday season. Tell your friends about our podcast. Best of all, it comes at no charge to you!

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Date: December 10th, 2017

While we are still on an extended sabbatical, we revive a favorite podcast from our archive. Prof. Adam Engish (Campbell University) discusses his book “The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus.” We learn about the true charitable bishop of Myra and his most famous act of charity, how that became transformed into our modern representation of Santa Claus, and many other details about this extraordinary individual who lived during an important era of Christian history.

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Date: December 3rd, 2017

Film critic, radio talk show host, and cultural crusader Michael Medved joins us to discuss how religion is portrayed in Hollywood. We focus on Michael’s life story and the accidental manner in how he became a movie critic. Our main focus, though, centers on how Hollywood went from partraying religion in a positive light in movies such as “The Bells of St. Mary” and “Going My Way,” to casting clergy and churches as corrupt. We cover Michael’s role in the critic scandal surrounding Mel Gibson’s epic “The Passion of the Christ” and also tackle the question of why Hollywood has not been making more faith-friendly movies considering the box office success these films garner. There are many more insights in this lively interview.

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Date: November 26th, 2017

During the 1930s and ’40s, the Nazi regime in Germany tried to eradicate Jewish culture through the pillaging and destruction of Jewish artwork, literature, and other documents as part of the broader strategy of the Holocaust. Prof. David Fishman of the Jewish Theological Seminary tells the story of a courageous group of Jews in Vilna (Vilnius), Lithuania who took it upon themselves to preserve these cultural treasures at great risk to themselves. The Paper Brigade, as they were known as, hid these documents from the Nazis and, later, the Soviets. With recent caches of these documents rediscovered in 1991 and 2016, we review the content of these findings as well as the importance of preserving history.

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Date: November 19th, 2017

We are taking an extended sabbatical to catch up with other academic-related work and to try to improve some issues with our audio files. In the meantime, enjoy this encore presentation with Tracy McKenzie (Wheaton) on a very seasonal topic — The First Thanksgiving. We hope to return shortly with some new episodes and fresh content, but until then please feel free to dip into our extensive archives that now contain over 350 unique episodes, nearly one for every day of the year!

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Date: November 12th, 2017

How does an economist discuss being a religious minority in America? Prof. Carmel Chiswick returns to the podcast to discuss her new book “Judaism in Transition.” Using the tools of economics — particularly the concepts of full price, time costs, and human capital — explains the challenges American Jews face in a Christian culture and how Judaism has changed over time to reflect responses to various costs and benefits. We also talk about some of the newer demographic challenges facing Jews, including intermarriage, later marriage, and empty nesters.

New visitors, please check out our archives and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@RoRcast) for updates on cool new topics.

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