5 (or so) Podcasts That Really Are Worth Your Time

5 (or so) Podcasts That Really Are Worth Your Time April 29, 2022

Time spent online, posting on social media or watching podcasts or reading these articles, can often be a tremendous waste of our most valuable resource. We all know the feeling of catching ourselves after hours of clicking, viewing and commenting have seemingly passed into oblivion. We awake from our web-induced slumber wondering where our day went and whether or not it was worth it. With so many options and so much freedom to click and view this, that, or the other thing, the sense that we must find some way to restrain our engagement with online material or at least optimize our time online is very real.

To assist those of us who border on information addiction, especially of the philosophical and theological sort, let me offer a short list of 5 or so podcasts that can optimize one’s time online. These are podcasts or video series that I believe can enrich the intellectual life of the thoughtful Christian (or non-Christian) viewer. If you watch these podcasts, you can rest assured you will not regret the time you spent surfing the web. If you do feel regretful after watching any of these, I can assure you the feeling is not tracking well with reality. The content in these series is objectively good, some of the best material available for those who want to think well about God, man and the world.

I am ranking these in order of excellence.

Number 1: Arthur F. Holmes’ “A History of Philosophy”

Arthur F. Holmes taught philosophy at Wheaton College in Illinois for over 40 years. Born in England and a veteran of WWII, Holmes epitomized the man of classical learning. He stuck at Wheaton his entire career and pretty much built the philosophy department there. Many notable Christian philosophers, like William Lane Craig and C. Stephan Evans, got their start under Holmes’ tutelage. The fact that his entire 81-session lecture series on the history of philosophy is online for free is an incredible gift to humankind.

 

Number 2: Al Mohler’s “Thinking in Public”

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Seminary, is a luminary in the Evangelical world. Those who might seek to criticize Mohler’s ability or character either are ignorant or depraved. Mohler’s grasp of the Bible, theology, philosophy and history is intimidating to the common man. He is easily one of the most well-read people in America today and is the type of voice that churchgoers can rely on for good information and great insight.

However, Mohler’s podcast, “Thinking in Public,” is not so much about his own work or thought. It is a high-level series of interviews with, as he says, “those who are shaping the cultural and theological issues” of our times. Moreover, although himself a conservative Evangelical, Mohler’s interviews deal with a wide range of topics and his guests come from various backgrounds, religious and non-religious alike. But all of them are leaders in their fields and brilliant in their own right. The fact that Mohler can engage with every one of them without missing a beat, adding substance to the conversation as he goes, shows that even Bible-thumpin’ Evangelicals can discourse with the best and brightest in the culture and hold their ground.

 

Number 3: Daniel Bonevac’s Philosophy Lectures and History of Christian Philosophy

Arthur Holmes died in 2011. Dr. Daniel Bonevac, professor of philosophy at UT-Austin, is picking up where Holmes left off. Bonevac’s online material, his philosophy lectures from UT-Austin and his new series on the history of Christian philosophy, are the new gold-standard for online philosophical and theological content. Not only does Bonevac provide incredible overviews of major philosophical movements, but he has several videos that go into great depth on particular arguments for certain views. Then there is all the content on applied ethics, which is, as far as I know, unparalleled on the internet.

But Bonevac’s repertoire doesn’t end there. He is also an astute analytic philosopher with a firm grasp of traditional and modern systems of logic. Further, he includes in almost all his lectures robust historical background information relevant to the philosophical ideas he is presenting. He also deftly expounds on the classic works of the western literary canon, covering authors like Orwell and Dostoevsky given the philosophical milieu of their times. In short, Bonevac is a true polymath, someone who can lecture with equal acumen on topics as wide ranging as Game Theory, Thomas Aquinas and Animal Farm. To have all this free and at your fingertips is too good to be true.

 

Number 4: Glenn Loury’s “The Glenn Show”

This is the only podcast on my list that is not really about Christianity, philosophy or theology. I don’t know where Glenn Loury stands with regard to his once professed Christian faith, nor does it really matter with regard to the content of his program. That said, this fellow Southside Chicagoan often brings me to tears when I hear him speak. Maybe it is because we grew up in the same area and I know that “socially constructed” world from whence he hails. Regardless, when I hear Loury address the issues of our times, it gives me hope there is a spiritual bond that goes beyond mere intellectual affinity.

Loury is a world-renown economist, a professor at Brown University and current fellow at the Hoover Institute (itself run by another luminary of our times, Condoleezza Rice). He is a man of singular brilliance and someone who exudes wisdom. He can speak with knowledge and compassion on a range of issues that should matter to Christians, especially issues of race and economics.

Loury often does his show with John McWhorter, who is by no means a friend of Christianity or religion generally. Nevertheless, McWhorter is also someone worth listening to. In fact it is not just McWhorter’s ideas that are worth entertaining, but literally his words. You will not find a greater master of the English language than McWhorter, and his exchanges with Loury and various topics can only enrich the life of the mind.

 

Numbers 5, 6 and 7: Sean McDowell, Justin Brierley “Unbelievable” and Cameron Bertuzzi “Capturing Christianity”

As someone who possesses a Master’s Degree in Christian Apologetics, I would be remiss not to mention some of the better Apologetic’s podcasts out there. And there are many to choose from, too many in fact! Since some of them are real garbage, I decided to mention the best. I hope this can help those enthusiastic about the Bible and the Christian faith avoid error, or just poor quality programming.

Since all of these podcasts tend to deal with roughly the same topics and often have the same guests, I consider them all a tie for 5th place. This means, of course, that I really gave you 8 podcasts to listen too, not 5, something which could work against the original intent of this essay. But, oh well!

That said, my former professor at Biola, Sean McDowell is one of the most charitable defenders of orthodox Christianity online today. Sean was bred to be a Christian apologist, his father Josh one of the “all time greats” in the discipline. The sheer amount of content that Sean puts out every week and the variety of apologetical topics he touches on makes his podcast worth one’s while.

Second is Justin Brierley’s “Unbelievable?” podcast, which has been running for well over a decade. Brierley has consistently produced some of the best online debates between Christians and non-Christians over the years, as well as doctrinal discussions between Christians of varying persuasions. His guests are always, or almost always, top-rank thinkers and scholars who specialize in Christianity, philosophy, theology or the sciences. The shows are almost always worth watching.

 

Finally, Cameron Bertuzzi’s “Capturing Christianity” channel has become a recent go to for many apologetics nerds. Bertuzzi is not a philosopher or theologian himself, but he has excelled at bringing together some of the best philosophers, theologians and apologists active today for robust, cordial discussions on all the major issues relevant to a historic Christian faith. When I find myself unable to read another word but still hungry for something of theological or philosophical value, I can trust I will find something of substance on Bertuzzi’s channel.

 

Certainly there are other podcasts worth watching (like this one), but I truly believe that one cannot go wrong with those I have introduced here. If you feel it is important to be more disciplined with how you spend your time online, then hopefully a guide like this can focus your engagement and help trim the online fat.


Browse Our Archives

Close Ad