Along with following blogs, another way of getting right to the matters you’re really concerned about in today’s time-poor world is podcasts. I listen to podcasts when I’m driving, riding my bike, doing housework, gardening – just about any activity I’m doing alone. I’ve been listening to podcasts for maybe seven years now and over that time, some have died off, or dropped off my list. But listed below are the ‘stayers’; podcasts that have endured on my ipod (my daughter’s cast-off, works perfectly), in no particular order are:
Freethought Radio – Hosted by Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, this is the podcast of the Freedom From Religion Association. Occasionally interesting guests, together with reporting on FFRF’s latest First Amendment legal challenges. The latter can be quite bizarre… like “only in America” bizarre. Stopping football coaches from joining their team’s pre-match prayers, for example (it’s a church/state separation issue!). My reaction ranges from dismissing the triviality to thankfulness that we don’t have to fight creeping theocracy in Australia.
Inquisitive Minds – a religion studies professor from Concordia U and his PhD student discuss religion. This one has only recently started, but already I’ve greatly appreciated their insight. It’s always good to hear a mainstream view in a field so often saturated with sectarian slants.
Reasonable Doubts – despite it’s derivative title (a play on the repugnant William Lane Craig’s ‘Reasonable Faith’), this is about the best podcast out there on the topic of religion. A panel of university scholars discuss topical news, counter-apologetics (‘God thinks like you’) and mythology. Occasionally beyond me when they discuss psychology of religion, but always top-notch in their arguments and reasoning.
The Infinite Monkey Cage – a superb BBC podcast in which particle physicist and science educator Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince lead a panel discussion on an issue of science, with a studio audience. Highly informative and entertaining.
The Bible Geek – New Testament scholar Robert M Price answers listeners’ questions about The Bible and religion. A font of knowledge with a skeptical stance, Price’s willingness to read out questions in a variety of accents (‘Billy Graham’, ‘German scholar’, Texan, his execrable ‘Australian’, etc.) belies his serious intent and deep insight. Price will answer any question, no matter how basic, with patience and respect.
The Human Bible – Price also produces an occasional podcast for the Centre for Inquiry, and more introductory in its presentation than The Bible Geek. Aimed at scientists and atheists who never went to sunday school and don’t know what The Bible and Christianity is all about. Enjoyable regular segments include ‘Is that in the Bible??’ and ‘Apologetics means never having to say you’re sorry’.
Unbelievable? – One that I used to be very keen on, but these days I only download particular episodes that pique my interest. Produced by Christian apologists, it usually has a ‘meeting of minds’ of an apologist and an atheist, or some other opposing views. There have been some outstanding episodes in the past, but there are also constant (and annoying) reminders that the producers’ stance is wholeheartedly for what I call “Sunday School Christianity” and their ultimate aim is evangelism, not the advancement of knowledge.
Sunday Night Safran – John Safran and Father Bob McGuire host a show on JJJ, with guests, discussing “religion, politics, and all things ethnic”. Usually interesting and entertaining, Safran can be occasionally (and annoyingly) ignorant, whilst Father Bob’s amiable and potty Catholic priest persona belies a man with actual views on matters (but views he doggedly keeps to himself, whilst on the show playing a chameleon who agrees with all the guests, including the crazy ones).
I’m keen to know of any podcasts you listen to that have a religion bent. There’s always room for more on my antique ipod!