This article describes my top 10 Christian Podcast Episodes and 5 interesting podcasts on Islam and Judaism. I use the term podcast loosely as these are largely a selection of YouTube videos. I chose the podcasts on Christianity with a few criteria in mind:
- Cover Christian fundamentals, evidence, and compatibility with science
- Recommend content creators that I think are both intelligent, generally correct, and also demonstrate exemplary behavior. Avoid smarty-pants jerks.
- Show diversity in Christian thought. Demonstrate specific claims, but also demonstrate open-mindedness, humility, continuous learning, and areas to be further explored.
- Don’t shy away from (hopefully polite) debate. The motivation here is to highlight some of the best anti-Christian arguments and thinkers. The motivation is not to encourage antagonism.
I specifically exclude topics that I feel are secondary, advanced, mysterious, or needlessly controversial.
The five podcasts on Islam and Judaism are hardly comprehensive, but I do make an attempt to review thoughtful conversations from two perspectives: A perspective from the other religion on itself from reputable thought leaders in that religion, and a perspective from Christianity on the other religion from reputable Christian thought leaders.
The “plus” of the 15+ in the title comes because some of the main suggested podcasts have related or follow-up episodes that I note with secondary importance.
Let me also note that I am a protestant and I think protestant thought is optimal, but I deeply respect my Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox family. One podcast is from a Roman Catholic Bishop. I have not found any podcasts from the Eastern tradition worth mentioning. This doesn’t mean I devalue the Eastern tradition. They have many interesting beliefs worth considering including the essence-energy distinction and deification. I simply find them lacking in quality podcast material.
3/25 Update, Eastern Orthodox Resources
An Eastern Orthodox friend of mine has recommended a few resources, saying:
- Sean McDowell, “Progressive vs. Evangelical: A Dialogue for Clarity“
- One of Sean’s great strengths is his model behavior. I wanted to start this list by prioritizing a model of mature conversation on religion, rather than prioritizing antagonism, animosity, aggressive or tactless proselytization, and so on.
- This video will also cover Progressive Christianity, a major denominational group.
- Capturing Christianity (Cameron Bertuzzi, featuring Dr. Chad McIntosh), “Over 100 Arguments for the Existence of God“
- This video documents the ocean of evidence for Christianity including scientific, peer-reviewed, and other high-quality arguments and evidences.
- This video prioritizes breadth of argument over analyzing each argument deeply.
- The cumulative case is important because it allows a believer to seriously consider that some arguments for and against Christianity are better or worse than others.
- Doubting specific beliefs and taking non-Christian arguments seriously is a sign of strong thinking, confidence, and maturity in the faith, not weakness.
- Shutting down important conversations is the real problem, not open-mindedness.
- Interesting follow-up here: “Does Having 100+ Arguments for God Actually Matter?“
- William Lane Craig, “The God Debate II: Harris vs. Craig“
- Sam Harris is a well-reputed neuroscientist and atheist thinker. He is one of the Four Horsemen of New Atheism.
- William Lane Craig has been a leading voice in the Christian response to New Atheism that has effectively rendered the arguments of New Atheism absolete by now.
- William Lane Craig is one of the best philosophers in the world, and perhaps the best public Christian Philosopher in the world. (Plantiga and others are also fantastic, but WLC is, I think, a much more vocal public speaker, whereas Plantiga occasionally speaks but is generally more recluse; these are my perceptions anyway).
- In addition to being a world-leading philosopher, WLC is also a very bright theologian. As one example, his thoughtful critique of John Darby and the Rapture View lead me to remove my support for the doctrine.
- William Lane Craig, “Did Adam and Eve Live Recently? William Lane Craig + Joshua Swamidass“
- WLC is the only person I will include on the list twice and he’s my favorite single thinker on the list. He is strong in philosophy, science, and theology. He’s simultaneously open-minded and ever-learning, but also opinionated and well-informed.
- I think WLC flexes his philosophy skills in the debate with Harris in 3, but here in 4 he emphasizes the scientific side of his thinking. His thought is fully compatible with, and even leading to further development in, modern science including evolutionary theory, cosmology, and more.
- J. Warner Wallace, “J. Warner Wallace: Is the New Testament Just a Fairy Tale?“
- J. Warner Wallace is a former atheist and an esteemed Cold Case detective, so he takes a firmly evidence-based approach.
- The apologetic work from Wallace includes analysis of the reliability of the formation and transmission of the Bible, dating of the Bible, reliability of the witness accounts in the Gospels, and historical reliability of the Bible inclusive of extrabiblical historical evidence.
- For related work on the early dating of the Gospels, also see “This Historian has NEW Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus” by Capturing Christianity with respected guest Gary Habermas.
- Mike Licona, “DEBATE: Bart Ehrman vs Mike Licona (Are the Gospels Historically Reliable? 2018)“
- Dr. Mike Licona is perhaps the world’s leading public textual scholar from a Christian perspective.
- Mike has debated Bart Ehrman on this several times and their debates are often informative. Dr. Bart Ehrman is a former Christian and perhaps the world’s leading public textual critic of the Christian Bible from a secular perspective.
- Bishop Robert Barron, “Christianity or Atheism?“
- While I disagree with many key points in Roman Catholicism, I nonetheless recognize many great thinkers present and historic from the tradition. Among modern Roman Catholic leaders, Bishop Robert Barron is my favorite.
- In this discussion, the Bishop importantly argues that the uniqueness of the Christian story is compatible with pure rationality, but not implied by pure rationality. The incarnation, creation, and so on, contain complex elements that we would never guess by pure rationality, so divine revelation becomes essential to their discovery.
- This discussion takes place on the Unbelievable Podcast, and Alex O’Connor is the secular guest. I strongly and generally recommend material from both of those sources. The podcast is great, and Alex is a great secular thinker in my view.
- I would also suggest three more Roman Catholic thinkers: Mike Schmitz, Gregory Pine, and Matt Fradd. Matt runs Pints with Acquinas, a popular-level source of material.
- Mike Winger, “My Response to Roman Catholic Apologist Trent Horn’s Rebuttal of Me“
- Two other talks from Mike on Roman Catholicism include this sermon from 2015 and this discussion with Lisa Laizure as part of the Contending for the Faith Conference in partnership with Women’s Bible Study / Connecting The Dots Ministries in 2020.
- I do not primarily refer Mike Winger due to his work against the Roman Catholic church, but I thought it would be a useful contrast in this list.
- Mike does have a solid amount of what we might call denominational apologetics, but again I don’t think this is his most interesting work. This work includes work critiquing Mormons, Jehova’s Witnesses, Roman Catholics, and several cults.
- Where I think Mike truly shines is in his ordinary bible study. He walks through the Bible in much the same way an ordinary preacher does, but gets far deeper into the technical study than your typical sermon does. He really provides an exceptional example of how to read the Bible well. Because of this, I tend to think of Mike as mainly an exceptional pastor, probably my favorite in the world, rather than an apologist, theologian, scholar, and so on, although he occasionally speaks on virtually all of those topics.
- For a recent example of where Winger shines through deep bible study, see his multipart series on Women in Ministry.
- Alvin Plantinga, “Science & Religion – Where the Conflict Really Lies“
- Plantiga isn’t much of a public speaker, but he is one of the greatest modern Christian philosophers. In 2014, Plantinga was the 30th most-cited contemporary author in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- If you feel more like reading that listening to a podcast, I highly encourage you to read a bit of his work found in Google Scholar.
- Plantiga has specifically given key insight into ontology, epistomology, naturalism, and the problem of evil that has in many cases been used in more public discussions by William Lane Craig and others on this list.
- Stephen Meyer, “Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and The Return of the God Hypothesis“
- I view the topic of intelligent design as entirely secondary and non-essential to Christianity, but I wanted a list of 10 so I added on Plantiga and Meyer to my original list of 8.
- Meyer’s book is the most interesting thing in the ID movement at the moment because it builds further on his already groundbreaking work regarding the Cambrian Explosion, taking the design concept out of biology and into a multi-disciplinary study that includes cosmology.
- For more research on intelligent design, also consider William Dembski and Michael Behe.
- For a more popular-level presentation of ID, check out the recent presentations from Lukas Ruegger created as part of a partnership between the Discovery Institute and the Deflate YouTube Channel. Lukas runs Deflate and he is an interesting Christian thought leader in his own right, having dealt with the problem of animal suffering as pronounced by Alex O’Connor among other things.
On Judaism and Islam
- Jordan Peterson, “Islam and the Possibility of Peace | Mohammed Hijab | The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast – S4: E66“
- David Wood, “New Testament Scholar DESTROYS Zakir Naik’s LIES about Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection!“
- I consider David Wood to be the world leader in Christian-Muslim apologetics. The recommended video is just David Wood’s newest interesting YouTube video. Please explore his YouTube channel for a much broader view of his holistic criticism of Islam and his many debates with Muslims.
- I specifically recommend checking out his rapid-fire, “50 Reasons Muhammad Was Not a Prophet (in Under Five Minutes)“
- Lex Fridman, “David Wolpe: Judaism | Lex Fridman Podcast #270“
- Lex Fridman, “Nationalism Debate: Yaron Brook and Yoram Hazony | Lex Fridman Podcast #256“
- This discussion was poised as a debate on nationalism, but it involves two Jews of very different ideological dispositions and as such provides great insight into Jewish thought from multiple leading perspectives.
- One for Israel Ministry, “Really?? You can’t be a Jew and believe in Jesus?“