America’s Most Popular Podcast Is about the Bible

Jan. 18 2021

While it is easy to read reports—or find signs—of the vulgarization of popular culture and public discourse, decreasing religiosity, and the weakening of venerable traditions, a single statistic suggests something else. According to Apple’s own numbers, the most popular podcast on its platform is currently The Bible in a Year, a course taught by a Catholic priest named Mike Schmitz. Alexandra DeSanctis comments:

Each episode is about 25 minutes in length and features Schmitz . . . reading Scripture aloud and exploring its historical context and theological meaning. During the first week of episodes, he has read through several chapters of the book of Genesis, as well as a number of the Psalms and some chapters of the books of Job and Proverbs.

What are we to make of the fact that The Bible in a Year has now spent more than a week sitting atop the charts ahead of wildly popular, long-running news and crime podcasts such as The Daily by the New York Times, Crime Junkie, and the Ben Shapiro Show?

So many of us are hungry for more than the news, for rest within a world fraught with division. People long for clarity beyond the sound bites, for a reality that is meaningful and soul-filling, for an answer to the ache we feel for peace and stability amidst suffering and turmoil.

Efforts such as these—and their consistent success, especially with young people—don’t often garner the attention of media, pundits, or the papers. And why should they? They repudiate the click-generating falsehoods that evil and death might have the final word, that our neighbors are our enemies, that the right politics could be our salvation, and that fallen men are our gods.

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Read more at National Review

More about: American Religion, Bible, Christianity

 

Iran’s Dangerous Dream of a Triple Alliance with Russia and China

Aug. 16 2022

Unlike Hamas, which merely receives support from the Islamic Republic, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—with which Israel engaged in a short round of fighting last week—is more or less under its direct control. In fact, the recent hostilities began with a series of terrorist attacks launched by PIJ from Samaria, which might in turn have been a response to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call “to open a new front in the West Bank against the Zionist enemy.” Amir Taheri writes:

In Gaza, the Islamic Republic has invested heavily in promoting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. . . . Islamic Jihad is in a minority in Gaza, hence the attempt by Tehran to help it create a base in the West Bank.

Reliable sources in Baghdad say that [Iran’s expeditionary and terrorist paramilitary] the Quds Force has been “transiting” significant quantities of arms and cash via Iraq to Jordan, to be smuggled to the West Bank. The Jordanian authorities say they are aware of these “hostile activities.” King Abdullah himself has publicly called on Iran to cease “destabilizing activities.”

But such schemes, Taheri explains, are part of a larger strategic vision of creating a grand anti-Western alliance even while engaging in nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and Europe:

Last month, Khamenei praised Vladimr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. And this month, China’s ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, praised the Islamic Republic for supporting China in “asserting its sovereignty” over Taiwan.

It is clear that some dangerous pipe-dreamers in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have fallen for the phantasmagoric vision of “three great powers” banding together and with help from “the rest,” that is to say, the so-called Third World . . . to destroy an international system created by the “corrupt and decadent.”

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: China, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Russia, West Bank