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Podthoughts: On Being

Vital stats:
Format: interviews (and at best, unedited interviews) concerned with religion or systems of belief and/or perception more generally
Episode duration: ~50m (produced shows) or up to 2h (unedited podcasts)
Frequency: ~8-10 total per month

I recall hearing years ago on Jordan, Jesse, Go! how much Jordan enjoys listening to On Being[RSS] [iTunes] with Krista Tippett, which constituted endorsement enough to get me tuning in as well. I also recall hearing years ago on Jordan, Jesse, Go! that Jordan enjoys hearing discussions about the consistency, or lack thereof, of the fictional “universes” in which movies, television shows, books, and video games take place. Those Jordanian enthusiasms might seem to have nothing to do with one another, but the more On Being I hear, the less they strike me as unrelated. Formerly known as Speaking of Faith, the show aims to “draw out the intellectual and spiritual content of religion that should nourish our common life” — or, as I think of it, to talk as clearly and non-judgmentally as possible about religions, broadly defined. Most shows about religion, I would think, come the perspective of the One True Faith — whichever of the One True Faiths to which its creators happen to subscribe — and therefore must reject outright the term “religion” in the plural. On Being, should it need a third title, might as well call itself Religions, Plural.

No one comes off as a believer in religions, plural as much as Tippett herself. She doesn’t sound like she actually follows all religions, or even several of them — she identifies, I gather, as some type of Christian — and indeed, the incompatibilities of their tenets would make that quite a difficult life. But you might say that the believes in their compatibilities, to the extent those exist. Or she believes in the potential for such compatibilities. To go back to the show’s about page, she operates on the premise that “there are basic questions of meaning that pertain to the entire human experience,” and often conducts interviews with religious or religion-oriented guests in pursuit of those questions. Tippett’s conversations thus make for valuable resources when you need to understand “the deal” with a certain faith: Brigham Young University professor Robert Millet on Mormonism, rabbi David Hartman (recorded in Israel, no less) on Judaism; nine different Muslims on Islam. If you like this kind of thing, make sure you don’t miss Tippett’s live conversation with not only a Muslim scholar, and not only a chief chief rabbi, and not only a presiding bishop, but the Dalai Lama too.

Read the whole thing at Maximum Fun.

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