Religion and Philosophy

Crossing the plains of the Gnostic Gospels

The religion scholar Elaine Pagels introduced the world to the ancient Gnostic Gospels. 25 years later, she's finally ready to talk about how her own grief — after the deaths of her young son and husband — shaped her religious imagination.

Greg Cootsona was born again on February 8, 1981. And this is his “testimony.”

Religious historian Jeffrey Kripal believes that anomalous experiences — near-death experiences, telepathic dreams and other primal spiritual encounters — are the deep roots of religion. You might call it "religion before it becomes religion."

The spiral of the edges of belief

Jeff Kripal is a highly original, even maverick, historian of religion. In this conversation — part of a collaboration with the LA Review of Books — Kripal takes Steve to where all the weird stuff we can’t explain lives ... or hides.

Adam and Eve

We decided to trace Western culture's fixation on guilt back to one of its earliest origins — the story of Adam and Eve. It's only a page and a half in the Bible, but literary historian Stephen Greenblatt told Steve Paulson why it has been so influential.

guilt for smoking

A lot of people feel guilty about something - diet, money, relationships or something else. Our host Anne Strainchamps and writer Devorah Baum definitely do. So we asked them to sit down to talk about how we wound up about in a giant cultural guilt trip.

ate that cake

It creeps into everything: guilt that we're not good enough, fit enough, smart enough. As we peruse Instagram, all we see is the perfection of others reflecting our own failures back at us. Why do we spend so much time feeling guilty? Should we?

Women Who Rule

It's common in literary and historical accounts of powerful women to make them out to be villains — witches, demons, succubi, changelings — or erase them entirely. Historian Kara Cooney, author Madeline Miller, Religious scholar Serenity Young, and classics scholar Emily Wilson talk about why that might be.

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