Religion & Spirituality Podcasts

Platform addresses on ethical topics and issues recorded live from the Ethical Society of St. Louis. These lectures cover a number of areas including ethics, religion, values, and humanism. To discuss our podcasts please visit us on Facebook -

Platform addresses on ethical topics and issues recorded live from the Ethical Society of St. Louis. These lectures cover a number of areas including ethics, religion, values, and humanism. To discuss our podcasts please visit us on Facebook -


United States


Platform addresses on ethical topics and issues recorded live from the Ethical Society of St. Louis. These lectures cover a number of areas including ethics, religion, values, and humanism. To discuss our podcasts please visit us on Facebook -




Inspiring Each Other, Part 2; James Croft, Outreach Director, 2-Feb-2020

The Ethical Society of St. Louis is the largest Ethical Society—and one of the largest Humanist congregations—in the world. We don’t often reflect on our status as a major Humanist cultural institution, but in this Platform—the second of our annual Pledge Drive Platforms—we will look at how our Ethical Society is inspiring the Humanist movement more broadly, and how we could play a bigger role in the future.


Rites of Passage in the Modern Age; Antigone Chambers Reed, 19-Jan-2020

Historically, the Rite of Passage ceremony has served to initiate a person into a society or community. Typically, this pivotal point in a person’s life happens within a group. Sometimes the group is enacting upon one person, sometimes the whole group itself is involved in the process. In the end, there is usually growth, a heightened sense of development and awareness, and possibly a change in social status. But what do Rites of Passage look like now, in this modern age? We are so consumed...


Is Marriage a Dying Institution?; Kate Lovelady, Leader, 12-Jan-2020

Marriage has been one of the major Rites of Passage for people in every part of the world. Yet today more and more people, those with and without partners, are choosing not to marry. Why is this? What are the pros and cons of getting hitched? And what effects might a shrinking percentage of married people have on a country?


So This is the New Year; James Croft, Outreach Director, 5-Jan-2020

For millennia, people have celebrated the turning of the year as one of the most important rites of passage in the calendar. But why do we organize our years as we do, and what significance do different cultures place on the new year? How can we use the turning of the year as a time of renewal and regeneration?


Our Human Potential; James Croft, Outreach Director, 8-Dec-2019

Human potential is a central concept of Ethical Humanism: We believe that human beings have the potential to grow, improve, and change our circumstances. But what are the limits of our potential? How far does human potential extend, and how can we realize it best? In this Platform we’ll explore the idea of “human potential” and learn some ways to maximize our own.


Potential in Every Person; Kate Lovelady, Leader, 1-Dec-2019

Come learn the newest news about the Uganda Humanist Schools and how the Ethical Society is helping bring out the potential in young lives across the world. We will also celebrate the legacy of member and educator Ed Schmidt.


Coming of Age in Popular Culture; Don Miller, 17-Nov-2019

Documenting the evolution of teens and media from the 1950s through 2010, Don Miller’s book Coming of Age in Popular Culture examines the films, books, television shows, and musical artists that affected American culture and shaped the “coming of age” experience for each generation. Don is a local author, playwright, and Webster University professor, and he will share various examples from pop culture media that are tied to ethical issues, spanning six decades of recent history.


Losing Our Innocence; James Croft, EdD, Outreach Director, 20-Oct-2019

Loss of innocence—the disillusionment that occurs when the world doesn’t live up to our expectations—can be one of the hardest experiences to grapple with. It can be shattering to discover that our view of things was too optimistic, that the world is worse than we believed. How can we go on after our innocence has been lost? How do we rebuild our worldview and our confidence?


Retaining Our Innocence: Beginner’s Mind; Kate Lovelady, Leader, 13-Oct-2019

As we go through life we gain knowledge and experience, and we lose the innocence we had as children. This is an important process in becoming mature people. Yet there is also an argument for striving to keep a version of that early innocence—a state of openness and “unknowing” that in Zen Buddhism is called Beginner’s Mind. When is it helpful to have such an attitude, and how can we cultivate it?


2019 Ethics in Action Award—Joyce Best; Mary Jane Schutzius, Jane Mendelson, Judy Kulczycki, Joyce Best, 6-Oct-2019

A special Platform presenting the 2019 Ethical Society of St. Louis Ethics in Action Award to Joyce Best, lifelong activist for peace, justice, and racial equality. Joyce and her husband, Steve Best, worked together for many years on various social causes, and they raised their children at the Ethical Society of St. Louis. Joyce was an active member of the Committee on Racial Equality and was featured in the recent Missouri History Museum’s exhibit on the civil rights movement in St. Louis....


How We Got Here: Missouri’s Past and Present Chains of Reproductive Oppression; Dr. Colleen McNicholas, Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood, 29-Sep-2019

Missouri tragically exemplifies the dangers of what happens when a slow but persistent effort to chip away at reproductive autonomy succeeds. Our current reality should be a lesson to others. We are fighting an abortion ban, universally felt to be one of the most restrictive bans across the United States. We are simultaneously defending the license of Missouri’s last abortion-providing clinic from regulatory attacks. And we are navigating illegal attempts by the legislature to deny payment...


In The Beginning: Our Origin Stories; James Croft, EdD, Outreach Director, 22-Sep-2019

Human beings have always been fascinated by the question of our own origins: how did we come to be? Throughout history different cultures have created many stories to explain the birth of humankind. In this Platform we will examine some of these creation stories, to see what we can learn from the myths we have told about our ourselves.


Moving Through the Stages of Life; Kate Lovelady, Leader, 15-Sep-2019

Come learn about the Ethical Society’s themes for the 2019-20 year and how they relate to our lives personally and as a community.


Ethical Humanism and Christianity; Kate Lovelady, Leader, 25-Aug-2019

For this year's “compare and contrast” Platform address, we’ll look at what Ethical Humanism has in common with and where it differs from Christianity, in its many forms. Some of the founders of the first Ethical Societies had Christian backgrounds, and many members today grew up in Christian households of one kind or another. Christianity is also still the dominant religion in America. What is the relationship between Ethical Humanism and Christianity today?


How Do You Solve a Problem Like Religion?; James Croft, EdD, Outreach Director, 18-Aug-2019

Ethical Humanism was founded as a new religion, a revolution in religious thinking which put people at the center, rather than God. Yet today, many would consider Humanism a non-religious philosophy, given that we do away with so much that is central to traditional religions. So what to do? How should Ethical Humanism – and Humanists in general – relate to religion?


Black Nonbelievers: Past, Present, and Future; Mandisa Thomas, 11-Aug-2019

Black Nonbelievers was founded in 2011 to provide support and increase the visibility of black atheists and religion doubters. Mandisa Thomas will discuss the organization’s historical context, its founding, its work, and her vision for the future. Mandisa Thomas, a native of New York City, is the founder and President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. As the president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., Mandisa encourages more blacks to come out and stand strong with their nonbelief in the face of such...


The Spiritual Atheist: Finding Awe in the Natural World; Dr. Rich Feldenberg, 4-Aug-2019

In modern culture, the concept of a spiritual dimension to life is commonly associated with religion, the supernatural, or new age concepts. But more and more, the idea that there can be spirituality without religion, and without any appeal to the supernatural, is being recognized by non-believers as a fundamental quality necessary for living a fulfilling and meaningful life. It may finally be time reclaim the idea of spirituality and its benefits for humanists. Rich Feldenberg, M.D., is an...


Empowering Students to Take Action Through Voice and Choice: Ways to Help Young People Shape the Future; Dr. Karen Hall, 28-Jul-2019

Since July 2012, Dr. Karen I. Hall has served as the superintendent of the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District, where she oversees more than 1,500 students, 275 employees, and a $25 million budget. She joined the MRH district as assistant superintendent in 2008, coordinating a wide array of programs: human resources, professional development, curriculum and instruction, federal grants, home visits, gifted instruction, and social justice training, among many others. Dr. Hall has held...


Lead By Example; James Croft, EdD, Outreach Director, 21-Jul-2019

One of the most important roles we each play for others is that of mentor. People learn from example, and we can choose to set a good example by identifying our best qualities and relentlessly living up to them. At a time when there are so many poor examples in public life, it’s important to remind ourselves that by living up to our own highest standards—by being our best selves—we can help others to do the same.


Leading with Empathy; Dr. Will Ross, 14-Jul-2019

Dr. Will Ross grew up in a gritty, hard-scrabble ghetto in Memphis, Tennessee. His life was changed at age 15 when a prominent Jewish couple was able to send him to a summer program at a boarding school in New Hampshire, as well as provide financial support until he graduated from college. Mr. Wexner, a local businessman, and his wife, Shirley, were both active in the Civil Rights movement in Memphis and instilled in Will a strong sense of social justice and an embrace of Dr. Martin Luther...