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Ultimate Concerns features interviews and discussions with religion experts about their research. Insights from these discussions are applied to contemporary cultural and political questions. Topics are related to many different religions (such as Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism) and methods of study (such as literary studies, history, theology, and philosophy). Ron Mourad, professor of religious studies at Albion College, hosts the show.

Dec 13, 2016

Can we achieve our highest moral aspirations through political effort? Can we even expect significant, long-term moral improvement in government? If not, what kinds of community are most worthy of our time and energy? Peter Kaufman and I discuss these questions, drawing on the countercultural, pessimistic political...

Nov 17, 2016

What is causing contemporary Islamophobia and how should we think about it ethically and politically? This episode features Carl Ernst, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. We discuss his book, Islamophobia in America: The Anatomy of Intolerance. It's available here:

Nov 3, 2016

Are we living in a virtual reality? If we are, what should we do about it? Jonathan Gold joins me on this episode to discuss how the first-millennium Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu might answer these questions.

We discuss Vasubandhu’s views about the hidden causes of the reality we experience and the mentally...

Oct 20, 2016

When Catholic theologians speak about God, what sources and what kinds of reasoning should they use? What role does faith play in the practice of theology? In this episode, I discuss these questions with Paul Griffiths, the Warren Professor of Catholic Theology at Duke Divinity School. We also discuss broader...

Oct 6, 2016

What happens in heaven and hell? Catholic theologian Paul Griffiths discusses his speculations about the afterlife. Our conversation is based on his book, Decreation: The Last Things of All Creatures (Baylor, 2014). We move through four main topics and a conclusion.

We begin in part one with the Catholic story about...