"When we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit. It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives." —Fred Rogers
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The Evolution of the Science-Religion Debate
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Jim Bradley + Michael Ruse —
The Evolution of the Science-Religion Debate

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We tend to frame our cultural conversation about science and religion as a debate — two either/or ways of describing reality. With mathematician Jim Bradley and philosopher Michael Ruse, we trace a quieter evolution of science and religion in interplay — as not a matter of competing answers, but of complementary questions with room for humanity, nuance, and humor.

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Behind the Scenes in Our Studios; The Joys of Oman; Your Audio Selfie in NYC; Cartesian Anxiety; Receptivity and Gratitude in a Time of Angst

by Trent Gilliss (@TrentGilliss)

A cowboy looks perplexed and doubtful
"Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith."
Dan Collison summoned these words of the renowned theologian Paul Tillich in his guest submission to our blog this week. It's the prompting, thoughtful nature of Dan's essay that's vital to our public discourse — and to the betterment of our personal lives. Bonus: he introduces us to the phrase "Cartesian anxiety" (which I had never encountered); read on to learn what this means.
A man hugs and holds his daughter
"What we need is here."
Our Quaker elder-in-residence Parker Palmer got many of us over the hump on Wednesday by drawing on the words of two poets, Wendell Berry and William Stafford. They remind us that we must embrace receptivity and gratitude in order to live a full life.
Your Audio Selfie with Nathan Manske
Last week we kicked off the Your Audio Selfie project at Northern Spark. Our senior producer also took this on the road. In New York she interviewed Nathan Manske, founder of I Am Driftwood, an oral history project collecting written and video stories from the LGBTQ community in all 50 states. Listen in as he tells a story about an experience in a small town in Oklahoma.
Pop Tarts in Oman
Last week I featured Maria Kochetkova' Instagram. This week, I present Ms. Stephanie Dahle. A former Fulbright fellow, she now works at the Brookings Institution as a publication coordinator. Currently traveling in Oman, her photos deliver us into a world most of us will never know or see — like the one above of a grocery store in Muscat:
"I don't even eat Pop Tarts, but I'm always grossed out that they're in the pork section."
Stephanie Dahle eats frankincense ice cream
Frankincense ice cream? Yep. It exists. And apparently it's pretty tasty.
A grocery store in Oman
On the eve of Ramadan, workers at Lulu, a major grocery store chain, are on strike:
"On the few lanes that are open, lines stretch down the aisles. I wisely chose the freezer section."
Grand Mosque in Muscat
As she visits the Grand Mosque in Muscat, she offers this perspective:
"Ancient cathedrals were made with magnificent arches and detailed mosaics on their ceilings, drawing eyes upwards, connecting beauty with their creator. I find the same principles here. This masjid is awe-inspiring from the outside, and takes my breath away whenever I step foot inside. Ramadan Kareem, friends. I wish you all fasts that draw you closer to God, family, and communities."
Stephanie and her husband
But, in the end, I'm a bit of a romantic. Sharing in her newlywed bliss, how can I not totally dig seeing her British husband wearing a Minnesota Twins cap!
Krista Tippett sits behind the desk
Last but not least, I leave you with this. Turning a camera on Krista and the staff, our former intern Josh Rae captures a small piece of the radio production process for a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to produce On Being.

A warm thanks to all of you who write with your suggestions and your encouragements. I'm deeply grateful for the feedback. Reach out to me by email at or via Twitter at @trentgilliss. And, as always, advice, criticism, pitches, leads. I'm open to all of your feedback.

May the wind always be at your back. (Or, as my Irish friend puts it, Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl.)

About the Image

Photo by Oli Scarff / Getty Images

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A cowboy looks perplexed
The Muse of Doubt, Cartesian Anxiety, and The Winding Path of Faith

What would happen if, rather than "making an idol out of certainty" and shunning uncertainty, we leaned into it? A pastor wonders whether doubt might make us more empathic and less anxious society.

A father embraces his daughter
What We Need Is Here

Parker Palmer draws on the words of two poets to remind us that we must embrace receptivity and gratitude to live a full life.

Wild horses in Montana
Leonard Cohen Rings True; Ami Vitale Shows You the World; Northern Spark; The Courage of Small Offerings; The Memory of a Daughter Caught Waiting

Our weekly roundup of all things curious and inspiring, including a photo series that speaks to the quiet human dramas of daily life, an inspirational story of a healer finding his calling, music from Leonard Cohen that offers solace, and an unusual and poetic meditation on loss.

Abraham Lincoln with a fly on his pants
Lincoln's Melancholy and the Better Angels of Our Nature

A video with Parker Palmer discussing Lincoln's depression and how he sees the 16th U.S. President's ability to reconcile the darkness and lightness within himself as a lesson for us all in healing the heart of democracy.

Students hold vigil for a fallen student
The Courage of Small Offerings

Some thoughts on Leonard Cohen, our small and imperfect contributions to solving big problems, the "potluck supper approach to social change," and how the light gets in.

About the Program

On Being is a spacious conversation — and an evolving media space — about the big questions at the center of human life.

Contact Us

Send us your comments about our work, and let us know how we're doing! If you have an idea for a radio show, drop us a line at If you would like to support On Being and Krista Tippett Public Productions — or if you are interested in underwriting the show — please contact Trent Gilliss at

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