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.
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Featured Episodes
Date: June 17th, 2018

In the Bunhill Fields cemetery across from Wesley Chapel in London, there are three graves of prominent English dissenters — John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe, and William Blake. Our guest this week, Prof. Curtis Freeman (Duke Divinity School), encountered these memorials a few years back and he was sent on a scholarly journey that investigated the role of “undomesticated dissent” in British and American history. He shares his findings and why a deeper understanding of these three writers are important for the context of democratic governance.

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Date: June 10th, 2018

One of the unsung heroes of religious liberty in the United States is Isaac Backus. Dr. Brandon O’Brien (Redeemer City to City) explores the life and struggles of this colonial preacher and fighter for religious liberty, showing how Backus was able to thread the needle between government endorsed religion and a secular society.

Stay tuned for a big announcement.

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Date: June 3rd, 2018

What, if anything, might happen if we one day discover that we are not alone in the universe? Alternatively, what might happen to extraterrestrial life if they discover we exist? Prof. John Traphagan explores the ethical considerations behind the active search for extraterrestrial life (Active SETI) and uses his knowledge of cargo cults to frame the discussion and challenge some of the assumptions underlying current efforts to reach out to ET.

Stay tuned for an important announcement!

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Date: May 27th, 2018

Prof. James Hudnut-Beumler returns to our show to discuss his new book “Strangers and Friends at the Welcome Table,” an academic and “road trip” look at Christianity in the contemporary South. We look at Southern religion as it was in the past and what trends are reshaping the landscape today, including the rise of megachurches, homeschooling, and acceptance of alternative lifestyles.

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Date: May 20th, 2018

We’re back! Our guest this week is Rev. Doug “Banzai” Douma, author of a biography of Presbyterian philosopher Gordon H Clark. We discuss who Gordon Clark was, his impact on Presbyterianism, and then spend the second half of the interview talking about Doug’s efforts to create a Christian hostel for hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

This is our first podcast in the new AAC audio format. Enjoy.

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Date: May 13th, 2018

Prof. David Smith of the University of Sydney returns to discuss the role religion plays in international relations and foreign policy. We chat about why international relations scholars have de-emphasized the role religion plays in cross-national interactions and how this might be changing. David also reviews how scholars now think that religion plays a role in diplomacy and foreign policy.

We are still sorting things out with the podcast. Please be patient.

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Date: May 6th, 2018

What motivates some Islamic clerics to advocate political violence? Prof. Richard Nielsen (MIT) talks about the frustrated pathways that many imams — who see themselves as scholars — face. When their intellectual ambition is blocked by actions of the state and other social conditions, one possible pathway is to advocate rebellion.

We are back from a short sabbatical and hope to have more fresh episodes in the offing.

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Date: April 29th, 2018

We are still on a break.  In the meantime, enjoy one of Tony’s favorite interviews from the past. Why have many women in the Middle East resorted to increasingly conservative modes of dress in recent decades?  And what happens after a political regime rapidly collapses leaving society in near total chaos as happened in Iraq […]

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Date: April 15th, 2018

While we are still on a short sabbatical, please enjoy this popular “blast from the past.”

Prof. Charles North discusses his research linking religion to the rule of law and economic development. We survey the literature on religion and economic growth, and then chat about North’s findings wherein Protestantism, Catholicism, and Hinduism were statistically linked to higher support for “rule of law” and lower levels of corruption. We discuss some of the potential causal reasons for this connection, which takes us back to medieval Europe and the rise of canon law.

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