THE RELUCTANT THEOLOGIAN PODCAST

A podcast on God, time, and everything in between. The host R.T. Mullins (PhD, University of St Andrews) will guide listeners through topics on theology, philosophy, science, and heavy metal.

Kim Kroll

Today I am joined by Dr. Kimberly Kroll. We are talking about the Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Christian theology claims that the Holy Spirit indwells believers, but the history of Christian thought has not made it clear what that actually means. Kim recently finished her PhD dissertation at the University of St Andrews on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In today’s episode, we will discuss some of the key claims of the doctrine, and explore some different models of indwelling that have been developed by William Alston. In the next episode, Kim and I will chat about the work of Eleonor Stump, as well as Kim’s own model of indwelling. You can find out more about Kim's work on the Holy Spirit here

R.T. Mullins

In today’s episode, Dr. Ema Sani and I continue the chat about my brand new book God and Emotion through Cambridge University Press. In this episode, we discuss chapters 4 and 5 of the book, which covers the divine emotions of love and wrath. Ema and I ask a series of questions and consider several objections to both impassibility and passibility. We look at objections which say that the God of classical theism cannot satisfy its own understanding of divine love and wrath. We also consider objections against passibility which claim that an empathetic God cannot be a perfect moral judge.

R.T. Mullins

On a very special episode of The Reluctant Theologian Podcast, I share some different stories that compelled me to write my new book, "God and Emotion." In future episodes, I will go through some of the arguments of the book, but in this episode I explain how deeply personal this topic is to everyone.

Aku Visala

Christian theology says that humans are made in the image of God. But what does that mean? Does it mean that we are rational beings with free will? And what is free will anyway? In today’s episode, I sit down with Aku Visala to chat about human nature and free will. Aku tells us about different understandings of the image of God and human freedom. He also tells us what recent proposals in cognitive science have to say about human freedom and rationality.

Olli-Pekka Vainio

There is an interesting interaction between philosophy of language and theology. There are all sorts of difficulties surrounding the very idea of religious language. Some philosophers have objected to the idea of speaking about God. Perhaps it is impossible to engage in any talk about God at all. If that’s right, then theology is doomed from the start. In today’s episode, I sit down with Olli-Pekka Vainio to discuss his new book on religious language. In this episode, we discuss the challenges that arise from verificationism, expressivism, and apophaticism. Photo by

Jennifer Allen Craft

Some of you listening might be artists. Perhaps you paint or take pictures. Maybe you are a filmmaker or musician. Whatever you are, you make important contributions to our society. Your art helps create a sense of place in your community. It can even cultivate a sense of place within the church. In today’s episode, I sit down with my friend Dr Jennifer Allen Craft to discuss her new book Placemaking and the Arts: Cultivating the Christian Life.

Andrei Buckareff

In the last episode, Andrei Buckarreff and I discussed the metaphysics of pantheism and panentheism. We chatted about how to distinguish these models of God from classical theism and open theism. In today’s episode, Andrei and I will consider arguments for and against pantheism. Andrei offers two arguments in favour of pantheism. One from omnipresence, and another from omniscience. I then ask Andrei to consider two objections to pantheism. One from God’s rationality, and the other from God’s moral perfection.

David Anzalone

On today’s episode, I sit down with David Anzalone to chat about divine impassibility and divine passibility. One version of divine passibility is called omnisubjectivity, which says that God has perfect empathy with all of his creatures. David explains how different models of hell cause problems for omnisubjectivity.

Simon Hewitt

What can we actually say about God? Can I make positive claims about God, such as God is perfectly loving? Or can I only describe God in terms of what God is not like, such as God is not weak, or God is not ignorant? In today’s episode, I sit down with Simon Hewitt to discuss something called apophaticism, or negative theology. We chat about the apophatic approach to speaking of God, and some of the implications for theology, the problem of evil, and politics.

Francesco Giorgio-Serchi

There are many different kinds of robots out there. There are the hard robots that vacuum your floor, and the soft robots Big Hero 6. Did you know that there are also underwater robots that look like squids? In today’s episode, I sit down with Francesco Giorgio-Serchi. We chat about robots, pig brain transplants, and the possibility of achieving immortality through robots. We even ask if immortality would be good for society.

John Mason

Many people believe that there is a close connection between consciousness and the brain. Yet the human brain is still somewhat of a mystery to us. For example, we still know very little about the early stages of human brain development. Recently, scientists have started growing these little things called brain organoids to help them understand how human brains grow and develop. In today’s episode, I sit down with the neurobiologist, John Mason, to discuss his work on brain organoids, and some of the potential philosophical implications.

Steven Nemes

In today’s episode, I sit down with Steven Nemes. We discuss a recent debate that I had over at the Theopolis website on the doctrine of divine simplicity. Why are we discussing this? Well, because some of you theology nerds love to discuss obscure medieval doctrines that the vast majority of Christians have never heard of. Steven and I give you the break down on everything that happened with this debate at Theopolis. We give you the gossip. We give you the drama, and we give you all of the theology related to the doctrine of divine simplicity.

RT Mullins view

In today’s episode, Dr. Emanuela Sani and I discuss the question ‘what is time?’ This is an important question that most philosophers, scientists, and theologians refuse to answer. Ema asks me to discuss my definition of time. Then we chat about some of the different puzzles that arise from the nature of time. We also explore some the implications of time for the nature of God, creation, divine providence, and human free will.

J.T. Turner

Christianity claims that God has made human persons in His image, and that God plans on saving humanity from death through resurrection. But what does any of that mean? In today’s episode, I sit down with Dr. JT Turner to discuss human nature and resurrection. JT explains his functional understanding of the image of God, and his hylomorphic account of human nature. We also examine some of JT’s reasons for rejecting the intermediate state between death and resurrection. 

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Jamie Carrington

What makes a particular individual a human? One answer might be that a human is a biological organism with a particular kind of DNA. It is the sort of thing that lives, grows old, and dies. This raises further questions. What is DNA? What is the relationship between DNA, aging, and death? In today’s episode, I sit down with Dr. Jamie Carrington to discuss DNA replication, and different ways to achieve immortality.

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John Limanto

In today's episode, I sit down with John Limanto to discuss a theory of divine providence called Molinism. On Molinism, God is said to know what you will freely do in any possible circumstance that you might be placed in. Molinism says that God uses this knowledge to providentially arrange the world. In today's episode, John and I discuss some of the details of Molinism and human free will.

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Lins McRobie

Is God a psychopath?

Do you like ukuleles?

I sit down with the Uke of Edinburgh, Ms. Lins McRobie. We discuss different conceptions of God called impassibility and passibility, and consider objections to each view. And if you are lucky, Lins might just play a song for us on her ukulele.

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Joanna Leidenhag

 R.T. Mullins and Joanna Leidenhag discuss objections to panpsychism, and the nature of consciousness. This episode also introduces a new segment called "The Popcorn Round," where the guests don't know the questions ahead of time. The questions can be silly, and the answers more ridiculous. 

Emanuela Sani

In this episode I sit down with Dr. Emanuela Sani, molecular biologist at the University of Edinburgh. We chat about if there is a God and consider several arguments for its existence.

Scott Williams

Today I am joined by Dr. Scott Williams from the University of North Carolina. We are talking about a new book he edited called Disability in Medieval Christian Philosophy and Theology. Scott gives us an overview of the book, and some of the motivations for putting together this volume. Then we chat about a series of questions related to personhood and disability. What are some different conceptions of personhood? Do certain conceptions of personhood lead towards ablism? Can medieval understandings of personhood help us better promote the moral status of disabled individuals?

R.T. Mullins

In today’s episode, Dr. Ema Sani and I continue the chat about my brand new book God and Emotion through Cambridge University Press. In this episode, we discuss chapters 2 and 3 of the book, which covers classical theism and neoclassical theism. We get into all sorts of material that didn’t get into the book, so you will definitely want to hear this. Ema and I discuss the general idea of models of God and their relation to philosophy and theology.  We also talk about the role of empathy in the debate over impassibility vs passibility.

Chad McIntosh

Aseity is one of those words that theologians love to throw around, but what does it mean? Is aseity the same thing as necessary existence? And what are the reasons for thinking that an a se being exists? In today’s episode, I sit down with Chad McIntosh to discuss the doctrine of aseity in all its glorious detail. We get into the principle of sufficient reason and cosmological arguments. We also chat about the implications of aseity for debates over the Trinity and divine simplicity. Chad gives us some spicy takes on simplicity that I am sure you won’t want to miss.

Hugh Burling

We live in a world with multiple religions, competing theological systems, and various models of God. With all of this confusion and variety of opinions, how do we know that we are referring to the same being when we use the word “God”? In today’s episode, I sit down with Hugh Burling to talk about a recent paper of his in Faith and Philosophy on the theory of reference as it relates to topics within in philosophical theology, religious experience, and worship. If you are a philosophy of language nerd, then this is the episode for you.

TJ Mawson

In today’s episode, I sit down with TJ Mawson to discuss a listener question on God and morality. We consider different issues related to moral philosophy, the divine nature, and providence. In what sense is God responsible for the moral landscape? What does it mean to say that God is perfectly good? And can an all-powerful God sin? After discussing these issues, we ask if God is obligated to provide atonement for humanity. And then we ask if the God of open theism can providentially guide the world without screwing things up.

Michał Trajdos

Today we decided to explore philosophical content in an alternative way through video games. Video games are a major part of our culture. I’ve even been told by several people that they listen to this show while they are playing video games. So in today’s episode, I sit down with Michał Trajdos to discuss various aspects of video games. We discuss the impact that video games have on culture, and whether or not video games can be considered a form of art. We ask what games tells us about our moral intuitions and our decision-making skills as humans beings.

Andrei Buckareff

As we are continuing our series on models of God, we have arrived at two models called pantheism and panentheism. Pantheism is said to be an ancient model of God that is found in different religions across the world. In today’s episode, I sit down with Andrei Buckareff to discuss the metaphysics of pantheism and panentheism. We chat about how to distinguish these models of God from classical theism and open theism. In the next episode, Andrei and I will consider arguments for and against pantheism.

Tasia Scrutton

In the last episode, Dr. Tasia Scrutton and I discussed arguments for and against divine impassibility. Then we started to consider the doctrine of divine passibility. In today’s episode, we pick up the conversation by considering objections to divine passibility related to omnipotence and perfect rationality. Then we chat a bit about Tasia’s new book, “Christianity and Depression.” We ask if the suffering God of passibility can really help us in our time of anguish.

Here is a link to her new book:

https://scmpress.hymnsam.co.uk/books/9780334058908/christianity-and-depression

Thomas Williams

In the last episode, Thomas Williams and I discussed a model of God called classical theism In today’s episode, Thomas and I consider several objections to classical theism. Can an impassible God love us? Can a timeless and immutable God create and sustain the universe without undergoing any change or succession? Is the doctrine of divine simplicity coherent? These are some of the objections we consider. Today’s episode also contains the ever popular popcorn round.

Ben Page

In case you are wondering, you are a conscious being. Have you ever asked what exactly is consciousness? And which particular things in the universe are conscious? Perhaps you think only souls can be conscious. Or maybe you think that material objects can be conscious. Whatever view you take, you need to ask where does consciousness comes from. In today’s episode, I sit down with Ben Page to discuss a family of arguments for the existence of God based on the existence of consciousness.

Listeners Questions

We have received so many interesting messages from listeners. The questions range over a host of topics, and we hope to address as many of them as we can. In today's episode, Ema Sani and I open up some mail, and respond to questions about the show, the nature of God, and the nature of time. We consider questions about the absolute theory of time, some confusions about the A-theory and B-theory of time, evil twins, Twitter gossip, and the essential and contingent attributes of God. 

Max Baker-Hytch

Have you ever wondered why God would create anything at all? Or perhaps you have asked why God would create a universe like this one. You might think that out of all the possible universes that God could create, surely He could have created one with less evil than what we find in our universe. In today’s episode, I sit down with Max Baker-Hytch to discuss problems related to God, evil, and the multiverse.

Chris Woznicki

In today’s episode of The Reluctant Theologian Podcast, I sit down with Chris Woznickii. He recently won the IVP Early Career Philosopher of Religion prize for an essay that he wrote on human free will, determinism, and prayer. In today’s episode, Chris and I chat about theological anthropology before turning to discuss the nature of prayer, and the relationship between free will and theological determinism.

Thom Atkinson

In the last episode I sat down with Dr. Thom Atkinson to discuss the debate between physicalists and dualists over human nature. Thom and I began to talk about implications of this debate for understanding immortality and the resurrection of the dead. In this episode we continued the conversation on physicalism, dualism and the resurrection. we also discuss philosophical and theological objection to dualism.

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Wiebke Nahrendorf

Malaria is one of the most deadly diseases in the contemporary world. It kills almost half a million people every year, and can be transmitted into humans by a single mosquito bite. In today’s episode, I sit down with the immunologist, Dr. Wiebke Nahrendorf. We discuss the immune system and the nature of malaria. We also talk about possible cures to malaria, and the discovery of Gin & Tonic. Today’s episode also has the ever popular popcorn round. 

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Thomas Jay Oord

 I ask Thomas Jay Oord to consider objections to his model of God. Does essential kenosis deny God's freedom? Does it make God a creature? Does it imply an infinite past? How is it consistent with miracles? Check out Tom's answers to these objections, and more.

David Barrass

Have you ever wanted to know more about cloning? If I made a clone of myself, who would be the real me? In today's episode of The Reluctant Theologian Podcast, I sit down with biologist David Barrass, who worked with the team who created Dolly the sheep. David explains some of the benefits and downsides of cloning. We also discuss some of the philosophical implications of cloning for personal identity. This episode also contains the ever popular popcorn round.

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Joanna Leidenhag

R.T. Mullins and Joanna Leidenhag discuss the emergence of consciousness, panpsychism, and its relation to theology. 
Joanna Leidenhag (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is a research and teaching fellow in science and theology at the University of St Andrews. 

Joanna's PhD examines the dialogue between Christian theology and the theory of panpsychism in philosophy of mind, both historically and in constructive contemporary forms.

R.T. Mullins

In today’s episode, Dr. Ema Sani and I finish the chat about my brand new book God and Emotion through Cambridge University Press. In this episode, we discuss the final chapter of the book, which covers passibility and the problem of creepy emotions. Given omnisubjectivity, God feels everything that you feel. Do you really want God feeling absolutely everything that you feel? That might be kind of creepy.

R.T. Mullins

In today’s episode, Dr. Ema Sani and I chat about my brand new book God and Emotion through Cambridge University Press. In this episode, we discuss the first two chapters of the book, which cover the history of the debate over impassibility, and an introduction to the philosophy of emotions. In the next three episodes, we discuss the arguments of the remaining chapters. 

Aku Visala

If you were listening to the last episode, you heard my conversation with Aku Visala on the imago dei, cognitive science, and free will. In today’s episode, we pick up the conversation on free will. We ask if free will is compatible with divine determinism, and consider some different debates in theology between Martin Luther and Erasmus. We also look at some of the evidence from cognitive science about the role of belief in free will in our moral and social behavior. This episode also contains the ever popular popcorn round.

Olli-Pekka Vainio

In the last episode, I sat down with Olli-Pekka Vainio to discuss various challenges to theology on the basis of philosophy of language. In this episode, Olli and I chat about issues surrounding our talk about God in terms of analogy, univocity, and equivocation. Does all of our talk about God need to be analogy? Would it be a problem if we spoke about God univocally? Olli and I also ask if all the religions in the world are referring to the same God. This episode also contains the ever popular popcorn round.

Ross Cordiner

As science and technology are advancing, we are entering into uncharted waters with what we can do with DNA. From biohacking, to beer tasting, ancestry, and criminal cases, the possibilities are wide open. Some of the possibilities seem like merely science fiction, while others raise legal and ethical concerns. In today’s episode, I sit down with Dr Ross Cordiner to discuss what is science fiction, and what is reality concerning our DNA.

Mike Hranica
from
"The Devil Wears Prada"

In today's episode, I sit down with Mike Hranica from The Devil Wears Prada. We talk about heavy metal, French existentialism, and free will. We also talk about the new album The Act, what it is like to stop being straight edge, and so much more. 

Photo By Henry Laurisch - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27064152

RT Mullins

In today’s episode, I’m continuing my series on rival models of God. Dr. Ema Sani and I chat about two models of God called neoclassical theism and open theism. We discuss the difficulties in defining neoclassical theism, and then turn to topics such as the incompatibility of timelessness with divine passibility. Afterwards, we discuss various objections to models of divine foreknowledge and providence, such as theological determinism, simple foreknowledge, Molinism, and open theism.

Tasia Scrutton

Have you ever thought about God’s emotional life? What is an emotion, and what kind of emotions does God have? In this two part episode, I sit down with Tasia Scrutton to discuss the debate over divine impassibility and divine passibility. We discuss the philosophy of emotions, and the role that emotions play in debates over the divine nature. In part 2, we continue the conversation about this debate, but also consider the implications of this for issues related to mental health, and the problem of suffering.

Thomas Williams

In contemporary theology, there are multiple models of God to consider. One could be a classical theist, an open theist, maybe even a panentheist. In today’s episode, I sit down with Thomas Williams to discuss classical theism. We chat about great thinkers like Augustine, Aquinas, and Scotus. Then we explore divine attributes like omniscience, timelessness, immutability, simplicity, and impassibility. We even consider some of the implications for human freedom and religious language.

Vaishak Belle

From driverless car, to robots helping surgeons in hospitals, we are increasingly accepting the role of machines and artificial intelligence in controlling our lives and taking decisions for us. But should I be really worry about my Alexa device taking over the world? In today’s episode, I sit down with Vaishak Belle. We discuss the nature of artificial intelligence, and an array of ethical questions that arise from our use of AI.

Steven Nemes

I sit down with Steven Nemes to discuss something called the modal collapse argument against divine simplicity. The modal collapse argument has been defended by myself and many other philosophers over the years. It is an argument that some people love, and that other people love to hate. In today’s episode, I ask Steven to explain how he understands the argument, and why it is a serious problem for the doctrine of divine simplicity. After that we chat about his strategies for avoiding the modal collapse.

Natalja Deng

Most religions affirm that God is an eternal being. But what does it mean for God to be eternal? Is God timeless or is God temporal? Why should I even care about God’s relationship to time? In today’s episode, I sit down with Dr Natalja Deng to discuss her new book God and Time. We will discuss some basic issues within the philosophy of time, and talk about the role they play in debates over God’s eternality.

J.T. Turner

Have you ever thought about heaven? Perhaps you have wondered what resurrected existence might be like. In today’s episode, I sit down with Dr. JT Turner to discuss some of the current hot topics that people are asking about heaven and the resurrection. Will people with disabilities have their disabilities forever? Will there be sex in heaven? Check out JT’s answers to these burning questions and more. 

Thom Atkinson

We are continuing the series on human nature.

What is a human person? Is a human person completely physical? Or does a human person have a soul? In today’s episode, I sit down with Dr. Thom Atkinson to discuss the debate between physicalists and dualists over human nature. Thom explains different arguments for and against the existence of the soul. We also talk about the implications of this debate for understanding immortality and the resurrection of the dead.

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John Limanto

If God knows the future, do you have free will? A theory called Molinism says yes. But this theory faces several serious objections. In today's episode of The Reluctant Theologian Podcast, John Limanto and I discuss some of the leading objections to Molinism from Calvinists, Thomists, and open theists.We also talk a bit about methods within analytic theology.

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Thomas Jay Oord

In this episode we discuss Tom's provocative account of God's uncontrolling love, and the implications it has for the problem of evil, divine providence, and human freedom. I ask Tom about the role of philosophy, scripture, and science within theology. We also discuss whether or not God knows the future. This episode will give you a deeper insight into some of the underlying metaphysical claims within Tom's theology, as well as his method for doing theology. Stay tuned for the next episode when I ask Tom to consider objections to his views.

David Barrass

Do you want to clone your own dinosaur? In this new episode of The Reluctant Theologian Podcast, I sit down with biologist David Barrass, who worked with the team who created Dolly the sheep. David explains how Dolly was cloned. David also discusses whether or not we can clone dinosaurs, and why some chickens have teeth.

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R.T. Mullins

This is an in depth episode of the Kalam argument.

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