Brad Allison is an Evangelical pastor in Philadelphia. John Gordon became a Christian in college. His scholarship led him away from religious fundamentalism. He is now the chaplain at Albright College. The two religious leaders speak with Fresh Air listeners about their faith.
Fresh Air broadcasts a special feature produce for the month of October called On This Side of Paradise. The miniseries focuses on the state of religion in America today. The first installment features stories of people who converted to Christianity during their adult lives.
Theologian Harvey Cox's new book explores the growth of religion, particularly amongst politically active or disenfranchised communities. He explores how this trend manifests itself in both fundamentalist circles on the right and practitioners of liberation theology on the left.
Reverend William Sloane Coffin is known for his activism in the Civil Rights and peace movements. Coffin served as the chaplain for Yale University for 18 years where he was active in leading anti-Vietnam War demonstrations. Coffin left Yale in 1976, and is currently the Senior Minister at New York 's progessive Riverside Church. Coffin's latest book is "Living the Truth in a World of Illusions."
Religion historian Martin Marty Marty, who teaches at the University of Chicago, is one of the foremost authorities on religion and society. He's the author of a four volume work on religion in the 20th century. His new work is a multi-volume look at fundamentalism. The first volume has just been published , and that's what he'll be talking about.
Professor Robert Jay Lifton is distinguished professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of the Center on Violence and Human Survival at John Jay College, City University of New York. He's been studying cults and fundamentalist groups for many years. Lifton will talk about the armed cult in Waco, Texas run by David Koresh of the Branch Davidians--how typical they are, and what can be done to deal with them.
Professor Robert Jay Lifton specializes in the study of extremist religions and cults. Hel talk with us about John Walker, the American captured in Afghanistan fighting for the Taliban. Lifton is Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the Graduate School University Center and Director of The Center on Violence and Human Survival at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at The City University of New York. He written books on many topics, including the Japanese cult which released poison gas in the Tokyo subways, Nazi doctors, Hiroshima survivors and Vietnam vets.
Krakauer is the author of the book Into Thin Air, about the disastrous 1996 Mount Everest climb in which eight climbers were killed. His new book, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, is about Mormon fundamentalism and the story of the two Lafferty brothers who murdered a woman and her infant daughter because they say that they had received a revelation from God to do so. Krakauer reports there are some 40,000 Mormon fundamentalists in the American West, Canada and Mexico. The Mormon Church does not recognize fundamentalists as part of their faith.
His new film, The Clay Bird, is set in 1960s Pakistan, before Bangladesh gained its independence in 1971. It tells the story of Anu, a student torn between Muslim and Hindu worlds. Masud spent much of his youth in an Islamic seminary school in Bangladesh before the war for independence. He is a founding member of the Short Film Forum, the main organization for alternative filmmakers in Bangladesh.
How does organized crime influence terrorism? Investigative journalist David Kaplan discusses the relationship between terrorism and criminal syndicates, and how that relationship may have played out in the recent attacks on Mumbai.