We started the Word on Fire Show back in 2015, right after Bishop Barron was consecrated bishop. Now, three years later, after 170 episodes and 6 million downloads, we’re ready for the next phase. But to get there, we need your help! Learn about the future of the show and why your support will be critical to making it happen.

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John Henry Newman’s classic book An Essay on the Development of Doctrine shows how doctrine isn’t stagnant but in fact develops over time, much like an acorn grows into a sprouting oak tree. In today’s episode, we share the first half of a talk Bishop Barron gave on the book and its influence. (Pick up your Word on Fire Classics edition of Newman’s Development of Doctrine, which includes a Foreword by Bishop Barron!)

What’s actually happening when we pray? In this episode, Bishop Barron answers the deepest questions about prayer—not necessarily how to pray but what is prayer? A listener asks about the Rosary prayer and how it operates.

NOTE: As we move into Lent, sign up for Bishop Barron’s free daily Lent reflections at LentReflections.com

Bishop Barron recently visited the headquarters of Amazon, in Seattle, WA, to take part in a “Fishbowl” discussion about his new book, Arguing Religion. Around 200 Amazon employees were in attendance. Listen to the whole conversation in today’s episode.

Pick up your copy of Arguing Religion >> http://wordonfireshow.com/religion

Recently, Bishop Barron watched several YouTube conversations between Sam Harris, a well-known atheist, and Dr. Jordan Peterson, one of today’s most prominent and beguiling intellectuals today. We’ve talked in past episodes about Dr. Peterson’s reliance on Carl Jung, and his archetypal reading of the Bible, but today we explore Dr. Peterson’s similarities to Immanuel Kant, especially when it comes to the question of God. A listener asks why a Hindu should become Christian if Hinduism seems to have a more peaceful history.

The recent confrontation between a grinning young high school student and a Native American elder has led to much anger and vitriol, especially on social media. But as Bishop Barron suggests, it also exemplified the “scapegoating mechanism” described by philosopher René Girard. How do we avoid this scapegoating? How can we bring more light to the online world? Bishop Barron has some advice. A listener asks whether our memories will transfer to Heaven.

In this episode, Bishop Barron discusses a recent New York Times article by David Brooks titled “The Morality of Selfism: The Gospel of Saint You.” It’s a tongue-in-cheek affirmation of a culture that puts tremendous emphasis on self, self-care, and self-display. Bishop Barron explores some of the dangerous outcomes of such a culture. A listener asks whether it’s helpful or troubling that the Catholic tradition includes so many definitions of God.

Ross Douthat recently published an op-ed in the New York Times titled “The Return of Paganism.” He argues that maybe there actually is a genuinely post-Christian future for America, one that mixes pantheism with civic religion. Bishop Barron and Brandon Vogt discuss the article. A listener asks why God needed a second coming of Christ and couldn’t have accomplished everything during his first coming.

Bishop Barron takes listener questions from all over the world, including:

  • What are examples of popular films that convey the Gospel without being preachy or poorly produced?
  • Which beings have souls, and where do we draw the line?
  • If prayer doesn’t change God’s mind, then when we get what we pray for, would we have gotten it anyways?
  • How can laypeople encourage priests to do more evangelization?
  • Since there’s no time in heaven, when I die, will the rest of my family already be there even if they’re not dead yet?
  • How do you defend the faith through social media when so few people are willing to engage serious arguments?
  • How can Catholic laypeople determine which Church leaders to follow and imitate?
  • Are we at a spiritual disadvantage without deep friendships in our lives? Are there any virtues of loneliness?

According to data from BibleGateway.com and YouVersion, the popular Bible app, the most popular Bible verse of 2018 was Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear.” Bishop Barron looks at several other verses that cracked the list and reveals the right (and wrong) ways to understand them. A listener asks for clarification on Bishop Barron’s comments about the salvation of Jews on Ben Shapiro’s interview show.