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God Forbid - Podcast

Religion: it’s at the centre of world affairs, but profound questions still remain. Why are you here? What happens when you die? Does God matter? God Forbid seeks the answers.

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Artificial intelligence: Activating humanity's god mode

The heyday of World of Warcraft saw online players interacting together and forming guilds. Today, artificial intelligence is sophisticated enough that computers are beginning to fill that role ins...

Are animals friends or food?

We may all love puppies and kittens and want them treated well, but what rights – if any – should a fish have, or a cockroach? Kumi Taguchi joins two vegans – a Buddhist veterinarian and an animal-...

NAIDOC Week: The women who inspire us

Women in Christian leadership is a controversial topic in many churches, but for Indigenous Christians, women have been vital to the wellbeing of their communities. James Carleton speaks with three...

The Japanese paradox

Ritual is big in Japan, but faith isn’t. It’s the only country where you can be born Shinto, marry Christian and die Buddhist, but up to 80 per cent of Japanese people say they’re not religious. Wh...

Does religion make you happier?

Some people say religion makes their lives better, but does that mean they’re happier? If you could be happy some other way, would you bother with the religion? Whether you believe happiness is par...

Holy hot potatoes: Freedom edition

Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free! But how free are we really? James Carleton sits down with an Opus Dei bishop and a Uniting Church theologian to find out what happens when...

Does good spiritual health equal good mental health?

If you believe God is in control of all things, experiencing anxiety and depression can be a shock to the system. This week, James Carleton speaks to an Anglican minister and a Muslim slam poet – b...

Ramadan: Gotta go fast

It’s Ramadan — a holy month in the Islamic calendar for fasting and prayer. But it’s also about family and community, and many of the traditions around Ramadan get to the heart of what it means to ...

Who was the Buddha anyway?

Buddhists around the world celebrate the birth, death and enlightenment of the Buddha all on the same holy day – Vesak. Aspects of Buddhism are popular in the West, with mindfulness and meditation ...

Israel: Orthodox and Reform

As Israel marks its 70th birthday, Palestine mourns Nakba – the catastrophe. This week Jews celebrate the gift of the Torah during Shavuot. Israel was founded as a Jewish state, but does every expr...

Darling, you look divine

The Met Gala is the high holy day of everything fashionable and fabulous, and this year’s theme brought together Vogue and the Vatican. Inspired by the heavenly looks on display, James Carleton and...

Is there another schism forming in the Catholic Church?

Is the Pope a Catholic? Some believers aren’t quite sure. Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has become one of the most controversial pontiffs in hundreds of years. Will the church veer into ...

Holy hot potatoes: 2 holy 2 hot

Alright everyone, preheat your ovens, pray a blessing on your spuds and break out the sour cream – it’s time for some more holy hot potatoes. This week James Carleton feasts on the spicy issues fou...

A Christian and an atheist walk into a bar...

It’s no joke: For people of every faith – or none – whether you take alcohol or drugs is a big deal. But the rules vary wildly, even within a tradition. Some Christians include alcohol as a core pa...

Vaisakhi: Connecting Sikhs and Hindus since 1699

It’s Vaisakhi – the most holy say in the Sikh calendar. And while we’re at it, happy Hindu new year! In Australia, even though Sikhism and Hinduism make up only a small part of the religious patchw...

When is sport more than just a game?

Australians are becoming increasingly irreligious, but our devotion to sport is unwavering. As Australia tests its mettle at the Commonwealth Games, the national cricket team’s ball tampering has t...

The gift of a second chance

Oops! You’ve done wrong, and now you cannot pass Go, and you do not collect $200. We generally agree that to err is human, and to forgive is divine – but is forgiveness always possible? On the inte...

Indigenous Christianity: It's not black and white

Jesus said for his followers to go and make disciples of all nations, but it feels like something went wrong. James Carleton speaks to Aboriginal Christians Brooke Prentis and Kathleen Butler to fi...

Who can claim credit for the Enlightenment?

Sure, the Enlightenment was good, but it wasn’t everything. At least, that’s what these thinkers say. In this episode James Carleton hears about the past, present and future of western democracy.

Is God a feminist?

Feminism can be seen as an F-word in communities of faith, and given what’s said about women in many holy texts, feminists can be just as sceptical of religion. James Carleton speaks with two reli...

Fabulous and faithful

On the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras, James Carleton asks, is it possible to be fabulous and faithful? Godly and gay? Holy and homosexual? Same-sex marriage is now law of the land, but LGBTIQ peop...

Holy hot potatoes!

Religion is full of issues you wouldn’t raise in polite company, but this week James Carleton is joined by two firebrand Catholics who aren’t afraid to tuck into the issues others find too hot to h...

Conversion: Think different

The classic slogan from Apple aimed to convert Windows users to a different operating system, but don’t worry, we’re not trying to sell you anything—we’re talking changing religion.

Iran: Revolution, religion and reform

It’s only been 39 years since Iran went from Shah to sharia. Replacing 2500 years of Persian monarchy with a new Islamic republic isn’t exactly simple – so where to from here?

Helping the haves and have-nots

What happens when the rich and poor come together to worship?

Hello? Who's calling?

No, not a phone call, but a vocational call – not to a career necessarily, but to fulfil your life’s purpose. How do you figure out what that is? There’s too much to choose from!

Can you make a rational case for Christianity?

Sorry not sorry, we’re exploring apologetics. James Carleton is joined by an ex-Mormon atheist and a Christian apologist who, amongst other things, once gave a Bible to a senior Taliban leader.

Seeking Sikhism through slam and song

Sikhism has quietly contributed to Australian society for the last 150 years – it wouldn’t be the same country without it!

Radical religion

Does religion cause violence?

Living clean to feel serene

People used to get that inner-glow through karma or Christ, but now it can be achieved through cleansing, contemplation and colonics.

God and pop culture

James Carleton is joined by two Christians who seek to find the divine spark in screen and song.

Money! Money! Money!

Do you buy stuff you never use? And then do you throw it away? Is it choice, or is there something more destructive going on ?

The myths that make us

From Homer’s Odyssey to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, the hero myth is ubiquitous. Sacred stories are fundamental to the major religions, too. So, how relevant are these ancient myths in modern soci...

Christianity, science, reason

How compatible are the sciences with religion and belief?

Anti -Semitism

Antisemitism: It’s sometimes called the oldest hatred.

The Reformation

500 years ago, Martin Luther took on the biggest power in Europe: the Catholic Church.

Faith and caring for the environment

This week, five Anglican archbishops urged world leaders to keep their promises ahead of climate summit in Bonn, Germany, next month.

War, religion and peace activism

Are the "ethics" of war and torture an oxymoron? And George Gittoes, the Australian artist known as the peace activist who goes to war zones.

The future of faith

In a country where a growing number are identifying as atheists, where do young people stand? Evangelicals are the biggest group of Christians on university campuses, but is that reflected elsewh...

Jews and Judaism

The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur took place Saturday September 30. It is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Women and Islam

What does it mean to be a feminist in Saudi Arabia? And how should we navigate the politics of head coverings? This week, three Muslim women from vastly different backgrounds tackle the common misc...

Same Sex Marriage

As the postal survey on same sex marriage gets underway, we take a look at the arguments of the 'YES' and ' NO' campaigns , including some unexpected ones.

Death, dying and grief

It was the late psychiatrist Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's book On Death and Dying that changed our attitudes to death and grief. Kubler-Ross was passionate about palliative care and what she saw as ...

The Partition of India

What purpose does partition serve? It's 75 years since the sub-continent was divided into India and Pakistan, and later, Bangladesh. But what does it mean when as many Muslims live in India as they...


It's a journey of a lifetime taken by many people of faith to seek healing, to find out what's important in life, or to walk in the steps of the prophets.

Witchcraft, Paganism and Satanism

We're culturally fascinated by witchcraft  – and Satanism - and the mysterious side of religion.

Technology and religion in bioethics, social media, and the military

For science week, God Forbid takes a forensic look at social media, military and medical technology.

Sex Education

Salt 'n Pepa's 90s song Let's Talk About Sex was a hit among young people, but it's a subject that can still be awkward to talk about with your kids. And in the religious world, sex education ...

Losing my religion

What happens when you can no longer ignore those doubts about your faith?

Faith in a secular country

Australia is increasingly becoming a secular country. No longer is the church dominant in public and social affairs, and following the sex abuse scandal that's rocked it, the church has lost m...

Comedy, Satire and Religion

A well-timed joke is truly a blessing, but can one laugh about their religion? What about somebody else's?

Women and religion

Historically they haven't gotten much recognition - and in many traditions they are barred from becoming clergy - but without women religious life would grind to a halt. In this episode we hear fro...

Small faiths, big beliefs: Minority religions in Australia

Religion! It's not just about Christians and Muslims, you know. Minority faiths comprise an important part of the Australian religious landscape. In this best-of episode, James Carleton finds out a...

What's the secret to happiness?

A clinical psychologist, a mindfulness practitioner, and a positive psychology expert join forces to discover if heaven really is a place on earth.

Identity politics: Indigenous, Muslim and Syrian Perspectives

No matter how you feel about identity politics, it’s changing political discourses. This week, James Carlton asks how our ethnic and religious identities affect our approach to the world.

Being Christian in an increasingly secular country?

This week we ask the God Forbid panel is it hard to come out as Christian in an increasingly secular country?

Sikhs in Australia

The little known history of Sikhs in Australia has many surprises

Extremism, its survivors and those fighting back

Fighting terrorism needn't be on the battlefield. Our two guests have used satire and comedy to challenge religious extremism. And we go to the Top End to talk to the first rapper in Indigenous l...

Hinduism, India and the diaspora

A very special edition this week because we have two Hindus you won’t forget. Therefore it’s Gods Forbid.

Politics in the churches

Should religions be be politically engaged? What does it mean to be progressive? Or conservative?

Religious persecution, the Bahá'í and loving your enemy.

This week, we talk to members of the Bahá'í community, an Anglican priest here in Sydney e to take part in theatre sports, legendary music maker Louie Shelton, and the non violence message of Marti...

God Forbid: Science vs Religion ?

There's probably more than a middle point here

Music and healing, Muslims in the media

Meet the guests. Burning Issue: Healing , caring and dying with music. Contesting the ANZAC legacy with song. Burning Issue: Muslims in the media. Please Explain. Wit's End.


This week, we hear stories of adversity, change and resilience. The man who was on your TV screens for 25 years, now homeless. His waterfront house replaced by a waterfront view from the can h...

Sects, Cults, Religion - and Amy Winehouse

This week we explore the colliding worlds of religion, sects and cults, with a cult-busting expert among the panellists . Also, an Amy Winehouse exhibition coming up later this year, and a cultish ...

Faith and evidence, Yusuf Islam, morality, monstrances - and a quiz

The rational case for Christianity, Yusuf Islam and the controversy that won't go away, three remarkable women, morality without religion, monstrances and more.

Section 18C, the post-truth world, making fun, taking offense, a new world music single - and the quiz

Changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, the problem of relativism in a post-truth world, the poking of fun, the taking of offense and more.

Women priests, Lent, bioethics, the child sex abuse crisis - and a quiz

An all-Catholic panel tackles a number of thorny issues around bioethics and the role of women in the church.

Apostasy, post-faith blues, marriage equality and more

Leaving religion behind can be a complex process: you might celebrate your new-found freedom, you might grieve for your lost faith, or you might do both.

Mixed marriages, marriage equality, International Women's Day, The Bible Society turns 200 - and a quiz

Marriage, feminism, bible translation and more

Religion and violence, halal certification, radicals vs moderates - and a quiz

Does religion cause violence? Are Muslims being ripped off by 'halal extremism'? and more.

Muslim feminism, public pulpit vs personal politics and more

Is Islam the "most feminist religion"? and much more.

The Book of Mormon, Silence and more

Is it OK to make fun of religion? is God relevant to contemporary Australia? and more.

Introducing God Forbid

God Forbid is a new RN show for 2017. James Carleton and guests ask, does God matter?