Category: Religion & Popular Culture


Linda Weiser Friedman on Jewish Humor (Encore Presentation)

Yep, we’re still on summer break, but please enjoy a laugh or two and learn something about Jewish humor with Linda Weiser Friedman as she talks about her book “God Laughed,” co-written with her husband Hershey Friedman. In such serious times when our ability to joke has seemed to fade, this interview is a great reminder the role that humor can play in our spiritual and secular lives.

Stay tuned for fresh episodes.

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Louis Markos on the Poetry of Heaven & Hell (Encore Presentation)

We’re still on summer break, so please enjoy this favorite interview of mine (and a few other folks). Prof. Louis Markos of Houston Baptist University explains how images of heaven and hell have changed over the ages, makes a case why Christians should pay attention to pagan writers, and covers territory from Plato to C.S. Lewis.

We are working on some updates on the audio portion of the website and hope to return with fresh episodes soon. Stay tuned.

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Donald Kraybill on The Amish (Encore Presentation)

As we take a short summertime break, we bring back a superb interview by Donald Kraybill regarding the theology and lifestyle of the Amish and Old Order Mennonites.

For more great episodes, search our voluminous archives. Find topics to share with your friends.

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Matthew Moore on Buddhism, Meditating Machines, & the Robopocalypse

Can robots meditate? And with the “near-future technology” of artificial intelligence (AI) and whole brain emulation (WBE), how are humans to wrestle with the concept of suffering? Political theorist Matthew Moore (Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo) returns to our program to discuss these issues from the spiritual framework of Buddhism. He argues that the Buddhist conception of how to deal with suffering offers a number of important insights into policy-related questions regarding if we should proceed, or how we should manage, AI and WBE. Along the way, we talk about the possibility of a Robopocalypse! A futuristic discussion that may be of “near future” relevance.

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Andrew Chesnut on Santa Muerte

The cult of Santa Muerte is one of the fastest growing religious movements in the Western Hemisphere, yet little scholarly attention has been paid to it. Prof. Andrew Chesnut of Virginia Commonwealth University discusses what this folk saint is, how it emerged historically and recently, and how devotions are practiced.

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Steven Pfaff on the World of 1517

What did Europe look like economically, politically, and religiously on the eve of the Protestant Reformation? What broad historical trends facilitated the success Martin Luther’s schismatic break from the Catholic Church where others in the past had failed? Prof. Steve Pfaff (Sociology, University of Washington) discusses the factors spurring on the Protestant Reformation, sharing some of the most up-to-date research on how social movements spread.

The second in our series devoted to the people and events of the Protestant Reformation. Great for classroom use.

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Sarah Dreier on Anglicans, Lutherans, and African Churches

As certain Christian denominations in Europe and America turn towards progressive values such as the support for same-sex marriage and other LGBTQI rights, how do their affiliated churches in Africa manage this cultural change? Sarah K. Dreier, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington, explores this often overlooked tension within transnational organizations. She discusses how African Anglican and Lutheran churches that have a stable source of funding and/or are facing significant competition from Pentecostal churches are more likely to vocally oppose progressive policies on sexuality and gender issues.

Check out our expansive archives, now over 330 unique episodes!

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Christian Novetzke on Kung Fu Fighting and Eastern Religions (Encore Presentation)

Get into the octagon with Prof. Christian Novetzke as we spar intellectually about the relationship between the martial arts and Eastern religions. Karate, jujitsu, tai chi, tae kwon do, and even yoga are discussed in our fascinating interview that also explores Buddhism, Zen, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism and the connection between Christianity and the mixed martial arts (i.e., cage fighting). We discover the importance of self-actualization that connects all these different philosophies and martial activities.

We are taking a break for the Easter holiday but will return with fresh episodes soon. Enjoy this great interview from our archives.

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Marion Larson on Bubbles, Bridges, and Multifaith Engagement

In an increasingly pluralistic world, can Christians break out of their bubble and engage individuals from different faiths while still retaining their own spiritual identity. Prof. Marion Larson of Bethel University discusses how she and her co-author, Prof. Sara Shady, have approached this subject theoretically and as a matter of practical experience. Prof. Larson shares her thoughts on the topics of ecumenism, tolerance, and approaching others with an attitude of hospitality.

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Kelsey Dallas on Religious Journalism

Deseret News journalist Kelsey Dallas joins us to discuss her path towards religious news writing, the importance of the Religion News Association, and a number of the stories she has covered throughout the years. We talk about stories regarding life on other planets (and how it would affect religious believers), pilgrimages to Chimayo (New Mexico), football prayer circles, and what has become of the faith of all these Millennials. A wide-ranging, uplifting, and fun conversation.

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