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.
Nov 29 - Religion & American Exceptionalism.
Featured Episodes
Date: November 22nd, 2015

Do you want to sound extra smart around the holiday dinner table? Check out our encore presentation of Tracy McKenzie discussing his book “The First Thanksgiving” (originally recorded in 2012). We separate the fact from fiction, and take you back to the time of the Pilgrims as well as discuss how the holiday evolved over time.

While you are passing the pumpkin pie, please let your family and friends know about our educational delicacies as well!

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Date: November 15th, 2015

When and how did embracing religious pluralism become an American value? Prof. David Mislin (Temple University) discusses the significant changes that occurred within mainline Protestantism between 1875 and 1925 that helped shape the way the United States manages religious diversity. David argues that increased global travel, the rise of new scientific theories, and other cultural changes prompted a number of clergy and theologians within the mainline Protestant tradition to embrace religious pluralism, an intellectual shift that has had lasting impact to this day. At the end of the podcast, Tony asks Prof. Mislin a “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” question.

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Date: November 8th, 2015

How does a Christian economist approach the religious charge of helping one’s neighbor? We talk with Art Carden about the relationship between Christian ethics and economic growth. The podcast starts out with a dose of good news in these troubling times, and we try to figure out why the past two centuries have been truly unique in human history. While a good portion of our discussion relates to economic history, we dip into the issue of how Christian ethics can assist or retard economic growth. Prof. Carden reminds us that economic growth is about getting the institutions right and getting the rhetoric right; it is the latter theme where Christian theologians and followers can make a big difference.

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Date: November 1st, 2015

Prof. Daniel Philpott, professor of political science and peace studies at Notre Dame, makes the case for why it is important to defend and promote religious liberty around the world. He reviews some common critiques regarding the promotion of religious liberty and then discusses why religious freedom is a universal human right and how best to ensure it flourishes globally.

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Date: October 25th, 2015

Our annual Halloween special takes us back in history to the 16th century when Europe faced a wave of witchcraft trials. To learn why these episodes took place when and where they did, we consult with economist Peter Leeson who enlightens us as to how economics can be used to understand these questions. He also explains the seemingly irrational behavior of human sacrifice in India through the lens of rationality and connects it to an episode that happened in his apartment complex. To find out what that is, you will have to listen.

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Date: October 18th, 2015

How did the media report on the recent visit to the US by Pope Frances? And what role do think tanks play in shaping the religious landscape and government policy? We ask Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics & Public Policy Center, these questions and many more in a discussion that looks at how religious individuals can influence the political realm.

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Date: October 11th, 2015

How do armed forces around the world accommodate religious beliefs and practices into the rigorous structure that is often required for combat operations? Prof. Ron Hassner of UC-Berkeley surveys a number of the critical areas where the management of belief and practice can become difficult for military commanders. We discuss cases in the United States, India, Israel, Japan, Canada, and Iran.

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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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