At the turn of the year, we look at how American culture's encounter with religious ideas and people has evolved in the past decade — and this radio project with it.
Featuring clips from:
Globalization and the Rise of Religion
Experts once predicted that as the world grew more modern, religion would decline. Precisely the opposite has proven true. Two leading thinkers, Boston University sociologist Peter Berger and Harvard Business School's Rosabeth Moss Kanter, discuss why religion of all kinds is increasingly shaping discussions of world politics and the global economy and political order.
The Spirit of Islam
We experience the religious thought and spiritual vitality of two Muslims — male and female — both American and both with roots in ancient Islamic cultural, intellectual, and spiritual traditions. They reveal how sound, music, and poetry offer a window into the subtleties and humanity of Islamic religious experience.
Evolution and Wonder
From the Scopes Trial to school board controversies in our day, Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution are portrayed as a refutal of the very idea of God. With Darwin biographer James Moore, we learn about the world in which Darwin formulated his ideas and how he took religion seriously.
The Soul in Depression
We explore the spiritual aspect of clinical depression and its aftermath with author Andrew Solomon, Quaker author and educator Parker Palmer, and poet and psychologist Anita Barrows.
No More Taking Sides
Robi Damelin lost her son David to a Palestinian sniper. Ali Abu Awwad lost his older brother Yousef to an Israeli soldier. But, instead of clinging to traditional ideologies and turning their pain into more violence, they've decided to understand the other side by sharing their pain and their humanity.
Joe Carter and the Legacy of the African-American Spiritual
The spiritual is the source from which gospel, jazz, blues, and hip-hop evolved. It was born in the American South, created by slaves, bards whose names history never recorded. We celebrate the life of Joe Carter, who explored the meaning of the Negro spiritual in word and song — through its hidden meanings, as well as its beauty, lament, and hope.
Seeing Poverty after Katrina
Hurricane Katrina brought urban poverty in America into all of our living rooms. In this program, David Hilfiker tells the story of how poverty and racial isolation came to be in cities across America. He lives creatively and realistically with questions many of us began to ask in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Many are grappling with the shame that comes in American culture with the loss of a job, and many are seeking community in old places and new. For some, economic instability — a kind of life on the edge — is not new. They've been cultivating virtues of patience, self-examination, service and good humor that might help us all. We feature the voices of our listeners.
A History of Doubt
Poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht has published a sweeping, lyrical history of the world's great doubters, and she shows that the act of questioning, as much as the act of believing, has changed the world.
Desmond Tutu's God of Surprises
An intimate and joyous conversation with the Nobel laureate on how his understanding of God and humanity has unfolded — from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission through the violence that marks South Africa today, and even in his friendship with the Dalai Lama.
Whale Songs and Elephant Loves
Trained as a musician, acoustic biologist Katy Payne was first to discover that humpback whales compose ever-changing song to communicate, and first to understand that elephants communicate with one another across long distances by infrasound. We hear what she has learned about life in this world from two of its largest and most mysterious creatures.
The Spiritual Audacity of Abraham Joshua Heschel
Born into an esteemed Hasidic family in Poland in 1907, Heschel became a public intellectual and a provocative leader in 1960s America on race, war, and interreligious encounter. We explore his teachings and his legacy for people in our time.
The Body's Grace
An unusual take on the mind-body connection with author and yoga teacher Matthew Sanford. He's been a paraplegic since the age of 13. He shares his wisdom for us all on knowing the strength and grace of our bodies even in the face of illness, aging, and death.
Planting the Future
A 2004 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and native Kenyan, Wangari Maathai was the first African woman to win the award. She is founder of the Green Belt Movement — a grassroots organization that empowers African women to improve their lives and conserve the environment through planting trees.
The Meaning of Faith
We examine what it means to be a person of faith with a diverse group of religious writers and thinkers. Born-again Christian and writer Anne Lamott says "Faith is a verb," while Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg calls faith "an opening of the heart." Rabbi Lawrence Kushner and Muslim theologian Omid Safi examine why it is so difficult — and so important — to talk about faith in our time.
To Listen to the Retrospective Episode and to Listen to the Featured Episodes