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.
Oct 11 - Hassner on Religion in the Military Worldwide.
Featured Episodes
Date: October 3rd, 2015

What is fashion theology? Why should religious individuals be concerned about the clothes they buy and how they are produced? Freelance journalist and photographer Whitney Bauck joins the program to discuss a Christian approach to fashion and the textile industry. We not only talk about the issue of modesty in appearance, but other issues such as sweatshop labor conditions and environmental ethics. Whitney lays out a model for ethical consumerism and how it has affected her understanding of faith.

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Date: September 27th, 2015

Why have women in the Middle East resorted to more conservative forms of dress in recent decades? And what happens when social order breaks down in Iraq following the US invasion in 2003? These two questions, along with an analysis of the rise of ISIS, are answered by Dr. David Patel of Brandeis University. He connects these threads via a political economy approach to religious institutions and behavior by showing how signaling and common knowledge are important in coordinating society, and how religious leaders may play a role in enhancing such coordination. David explains how and why Shiites were more successful in building social networks in Iraq following the collapse of the Hussein regime as compared to their Sunni counterparts, and what ISIS has been doing in recent years to account for its success.

Check out our archive for more great episodes on Islam and other topics!

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Date: September 20th, 2015

Dr. Joseph Castleberry, president of Northwest University, discusses how the recent wave of immigrants have been revitalizing religion in America, both spiritually and in terms of civil religion. He connects this revitalization back early “great awakenings” in American history that were spurred by waves of individuals coming to America in search of greater opportunity, and relays stories of how the “new pilgrims” are planting churches and inspiring success.

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Date: September 14th, 2015

How were the funerals for the dead managed in the period of “late antiquity,” roughly spanning the middle 3rd to late 6th century? Historian Sarah Bond of Maquette University surveys the “disreputable profession” of funeral workers prior to, and after, the Edict of Milan, noting how the change in church-state relations that occured had a dramatic impact on the this critical industry. In the post-Constantinian era, funeral workers were often used as bodyguards and personal militaries for bishops, and the process of interring bodies opened the door to a great deal of corruption (rent-seeking) within the Church.

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Date: September 6th, 2015

During the past two years, the Moroccan government has begun exporting various religious education programs as part of its foreign policy strategy in the North and West African region. Prof. Ann Wainscott explains how this new development is both an outgrowth if its domestic religious strategy, and a response by other nations to adopt some of the policies implemented in Morocco. The success of this foreign policy, as witnessed by its embrace by nations such as Mali and Senegal, is in part a function of Morocco’s cultural-historical legitimacy in the region, the existence of pre-existing educational institutions, and the ability to link religious education to great economic integration. Prof. Wainscott also explains the unique flavor of Moroccan and West African Islam.

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Date: August 30th, 2015

When it comes to welcoming a stranger to a new church, are mainline churches, evangelicals, or Catholics more likely to discriminate based upon racial-sounding names? Prof. Bradley Wright (Connecticut) reveals the findings from his field experiment designed to answer this question. We discuss the methodology of this study and how a focus on structural versus interpersonal justice may have affected the surprising results. Prof. Wright also gives us a brief taste of what is happening with his other innovative research project, SoulPulse, and how listeners can participate.

Click “read more” to discover Prof. Wright’s books and information about participating in SoulPulse.

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Date: August 23rd, 2015

Prof. John Inazu of Washington University Law School (St. Louis) explains how four of the main freedoms contained in the US Constitution’s First Amendment are interrelated and how a series of court cases during the latter half of the 20th century has boiled down these separate, but related, freedoms into a single free speech dimension. Our primary focus is on the relationship between the free expression clause and the freedom of assembly, though other issues come into play. We review important court cases from Roberts v Jaycees to Hosanna-Tabor.

Browse our vast archives to find many more interesting episodes.

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Date: August 16th, 2015

We examine the life and influence of Chuck Colson — marine, White House “fixer,” and founder of Prison Fellowship — with Owen Strachan, associate professor of Christian Theology at the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Owen discusses how this “swamp yankee” with a chip on his shoulder ends up in prison and then becomes a dynamic force in evangelizing culture in a rather non-traditional manner. This is a fascinating look into the personality and faith of an individual who looms large in contemporary Christian circles.

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Date: August 9th, 2015

What is just war theory and how can it relate to tort law?  What is the doctrine of proportionality?  And how do all these concepts apply to various conflicts including the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, Russia’s involvement its surrounding nations, and the Pig War of 1859?  Dr. Davis Brown, an assistant professor of political science […]

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Date: August 2nd, 2015

The following is an encore presentation of one of Tony’s favorite episodes recorded back in the fall of 2012. We will return shortly with fresh episodes.

Does quantum physics make it easier to believe in God? And what is the deal with that “God particle” that physicists just discovered? Did we really discover God and the origins of the universe? These questions, and many more, are answered by a real-honest-to-goodness physicist Dr. Stephen M. Barr (University of Delaware). Our discussion is both fun and informative as Prof. Barr explains, in terms a layman can undestand, what quantum physics is and how it relates to faith. While Prof. Barr argues that quantum mechanics does not make it necessarily easier to believe in God, it does make it harder to subscribe to a philosophy known as “materialism,” which often underpins a number of arguments for atheism. We also reflect on what it is like being a religious believer in the secular academic world.

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