(RNS) — True crime and self-help podcasts are all the rage. But even avid listeners might not know about a trove of podcasts aimed at those interested in religion.
If your resolution this year is to learn more about the experiences of people of faith around America — or even to hear from people who have disavowed the traditions in which they were raised — here are six podcasts aimed at the spiritually curious.
See Something, Say Something
Every week, over a cup of chai, BuzzFeed writer Ahmed Ali Akbar sits down with comedians, politicians, scholars, reporters and others to discuss what's on the minds of Muslims in America. When BuzzFeed launched "See Something, Say Something" in 2016 — the name is a reference to the post-9/11 security-driven culture that critics say endangers innocent Muslims and people of color — The New York Times named the podcast one of the year's best. Listen on iTunes and Stitcher.
Pass the Mic
"Pass The Mic" is a weekly podcast hosted by "The Witness: A Black Christian Collective." The discussion and interviews, conducted by Pensacola, Fla., pastor Tyler Burns and Jemar Tisby, president of the collective, look at religion, race, justice and culture through the lens of the Bible and the traditions of the black church. One standout episode: “Am I an Evangelical?” — which centered on women and black Christians. Listen on iTunes and Stitcher.
Oh No, Ross and Carrie!
Since 2011, co-hosts Ross Blocher and Carrie Poppy have been investigating spirituality, fringe science, religion and the paranormal with a blend of humor, curiosity and scientific rigor. They've tackled Scientology, flat-earthers, Seventh-day Adventists, anti-vaxxers and everything in between. Listen on iTunes and Stitcher.
Co-hosts Cass Midgley and Bob Pondillo have been interviewing people about their spiritual journey since 2014. The Nashville, Tenn.-based podcasters' focus is losing faith: their episodes normally probe the stories of everyday people who were raised in deeply religious homes — usually Christian — and then, as they put it, "deconstruct their childhood faith to various degrees of unbelief." Listen on iTunes and Stitcher.
This new documentary-style podcast features an atheist and Christian in conversation about — who else? — Jesus. The Philadelphia-based friends Drew Sokol, a Christian pastor, and Cory Markum, an atheist writer, successfully crowdfunded this story-based look into the life of Jesus. Before that, they produced a prelude podcast called "Hinge: The Making Of" that quickly hit iTunes Top 20 in Religion & Spirituality. The 10 episodes of their new endeavor are being released from now until March (as of publication of this piece they're five in). Listen on iTunes and Stitcher.
You can't always judge a podcast by its title. But with (w)Holy Media, there's a lot to parse in the title alone: It's simultaneously a pun (the show is wholly about media) and a subtle nod to academia's heavy use of parentheses. And it fits the show well: Every month, host and Ph.D. student of media and religion, Ashley Campbell interviews experts about media depictions of faith, spirituality and belief. Listen on iTunes and Stitcher.