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Soul Search

ABC (Australia)

Soul Search explores contemporary religion and spirituality from the inside out — what we believe, how we express it, and the difference it makes in our lives

Soul Search explores contemporary religion and spirituality from the inside out — what we believe, how we express it, and the difference it makes in our lives


Sydney, NSW


Soul Search explores contemporary religion and spirituality from the inside out — what we believe, how we express it, and the difference it makes in our lives




Spirit of Things ABC Radio National GPO Box 9994 Sydney 2001 (02) 8333 2829


Alexander Hamilton and the religion of the American revolution

Irrespective of whether or not you are a fan of Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical, Hamilton, it’s a fascinating and provocative take on the early American republic. So what are some of the questions the Musical opens up about religion and the American revolution?


The Pope and the working man’s paradise: Rerum Novarum at 130

Once upon a time, Australia was described as 'a workingman’s paradise.' But does that ring true – either in the past, or now? On Soul Search we’re looking at work, and at one of the world’s most influential discussions of it. 130 years ago this month, Pope Leo XIII, put out a statement on capital and labour known as Rerum Novarum, a controversial document, even in 1891, and it had a big influence here in Australia.


Green Buddhism with Professor Stephanie Kaza

How can we live in proper relationships with other species? We often consider environmental questions in terms of science, or perhaps economics or even politics. But what can religious perspectives - like Buddhism - add to the conversation? As the world marks Earth Day on April 22, on Soul Search we're revisiting a conversation with Professor Stephanie Kaza.


How the Tibetan Book of the Dead resonates with the living, plus the global ethics of Hans Küng

The Tibetan Book of the Dead is the most famous Buddhist text in the West, selling more than a million copies since the first English version was published in the 1920s. But why does the book of the dead resonate so deeply with the living? And, in our diverse and often divided world, can different faiths seek peace together? Catholic priest, writer and theologian, Hans Kung passed away recently. We revisit his ideas.


Poetry and worship with Sara Saleh, and Turkish Sufi Cemalnur Sargut

American poet W.H. Auden said that 'poetry, might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.' On Soul Search today, we meet two religious poets. Sara Saleh is an award-winning Arab-Australian Mulsim poet whose attuned to the messiness of life and the ambiguities of faith, and contemporary Sufi master Cemalnur Sargut, who is one of Turkey's leading spiritual teachers.


Art at the edge of time: Makoto Fujimura, plus the 2021 Blake Prize

On this Easter Sunday as Christians remember the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are joined by internationally renowned artist Makoto Fujimura as he reflects on suffering, humanity, time, and creativity. And we travel to the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in Western Sydney, to take a look at the 66th Blake Prize exhibition — one of Australia’s longest running and most prestigious prizes for religious and spiritual art.


Remembering for the future: Danielle Celermajer and Michael Twitty for Pesach

What kind of memory do we need to face an uncertain future? Jewish communities are asking that right now, as they recall the ancient exodus out of slavery in Egypt. Professor Danielle Celermajer reflects on how we might face up to the climate crisis, and African-American and Jewish culinary historian, Michael Twitty, explains how food and memory are inextricably linked.


The invisible beast: slavery today and in history

What does it mean to face up to slavery today? What exactly does slavery look like in the modern world? Were the convicts slaves? And what about Indigenous Australians? Jacob Sarkodee, Chief Impact Officer for the International Justice Mission and Jane Lydon, author of Anti-slavery and Australia: No slavery in a free land? join the program.


What is our life for? Henry David Thoreau’s search for justice

Today, we’re heading into the woods for a fresh look at nineteenth century philosopher-poet, Henry David Thoreau. What was Thoreau’s vision of the good life, and of the just society? Alda Balthrop-Lewis's new book is being hailed as a once-in-a-generation interpretation of Thoreau, and she joins Meredith Lake to discuss the man who wrote one of the great classics of American literature: Walden.


Mending the world: Eva Cox and Gemma Dashwood for International Women’s Day

Is it women who need to change, or the society and the institutions we live with? That’s our question as the world marks International Women’s Day this week. We are joined by an icon of the feminist movement, Eva Cox and Paralympic swimming champion, medical doctor, and ordained Anglican deacon, Gemma Dashwood.


I believe? Ben Myers on creeds in the contemporary world, Lent and Bob Dylan

What does it mean to believe? To say 'this is what I believe the truth to be'? Today on the show, theologian Ben Myers joins Meredith Lake in discussing the ancient Christian statement of belief, known as the Apostles' Creed. And, our mini-series on faith and sex concludes with a look at the role of intimacy in Hinduism.


From Crikey! to Karma: Religion in Aussie English

Today on Soul Search we saunter through the world of words. Two Australian lexicographers Sue Butler and Amanda Laugesen explore how words come about in a dictionary – and how religious words like karma, temple, and Zen entered popular use. Then part two of our series on faith & sex continues with a look at the role of intimacy in Islam.


Tradition and change: From Lunar New Year to Basant Panchami, plus religion & sex

Is it possible to be traditional and unconventional at the same time? To be steeped in a culture — but also open to change? Today on Soul Search we have a variety of stories that explore just that - from Lunar New Year, to the Indian subcontinental festival of Basant Panchami, and a new series on faith and sex.


New Norcia’s nuns and the riddle of reconciliation

Today on Soul Search we head to New Norcia in WA — the only monastic town in Australia. Founded by Spanish Benedictine monks over 170 years ago, New Norcia is a place with no smooth or easy stories; a place that stays with you - for better or for worse.


Casper ter Kuile: How everyday practices build joyful belonging

On Soul Search today, Meredith Lake chats to podcaster and author Casper ter Kulie whose been thinking about a big question: How do we make meaning as communities, and deepen our sense of connection to one another?


Reconciliation as a pilgrimage to justice

Today, we meet two visionary people on the long pilgrimage towards justice. Dr Anne Pattel Gray is a globally recognized expert on Black theology, and the first Indigenous Australian to be awarded a doctorate in theology in the 1990s. We also speak to Uncle Alf 'Boydie' Turner, the grandson of the legendary Yorta Yorta leader William Cooper whose lifelong pursuit of justice remains remarkably relevant today.


Pádraig Ó Tuama: The pain and poetry of reconciliation

As Brexit reshapes the Irish border, poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama reflects on the role of storytelling in fractured societies.


Beyond belief: theosophy in Australia

An in-depth discussion about the radical, spiritual movement - theosophy. What made theosophy so compelling to an influential minority of Australian society?


Remarkable women — from Indigenous health to the Navy

Join Meredith Lake as she meets two remarkable women who beat the odds. Lisa Jackson Pulver was once a runaway teen. Today, she is a leading figure in the field of Indigenous health and education; and Kamala Sharma Wing was once the only female - and Hindu - in her trainee cohort. Today, she is a Lieutenant in the Navy.


Professor Mona Siddiqui on living gratefully

The medieval mystic Meister Eckhart once said, “If the only prayer you said in life was ‘thank you’, that would be enough.” It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But there’s more to gratitude than it seems. In this episode, Professor Mona Siddiqui – one of Britain's most influential public intellectuals – tells RN’s Meredith Lake about her project on Christian and Muslim approaches to gratitude.