Wed, 13 January 2021
Most of our podcast guests, especially those focusing on religious issues, tend to look at the world in a traditional way―meaning, their habits of mind tend to be traditional and conservative.
Many of our podcast guests, especially the rabbis and religious leaders who help us think about Jewish theology, tend to look at the world and speak out of the more conservative and orthodox orientation. But this week’s guest is—at least professionally—an outsider to that world. Joel Kotkin is not a rabbi or theologian but a social scientist, and he has turned his attention to the world of religion.
Kotkin recently published an essay in Quillette, “God and the Pandemic,” and he joins our Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver to talk about that essay, and to assess what’s happening in American religious culture today as the pandemic continues to take its toll. Kotkin, looking at religious life empirically, examines the role of technology and human adaptability in the present religious environment, and he tries to think about the long-term effects COVID-19 will have on synagogues, churches, mosques and other religious communities across the country.
Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.