PRX Announces “How God Works with David DeSteno,” A New Podcast At the Intersection of Science, Religion, and Human Experience

Guests will include authors, scientists, and spiritual leaders, including Sharon Salzberg, Rev. James Martin, Trungram Gyalwa Rinpoche, Michael Pollan, and Laura Carstensen

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Public media organization PRX today announced “How God Works with David DeSteno,” a new podcast on a journey through the intersection of science, religion, and human experience.

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On “How God Works with David DeSteno,” professor and author David DeSteno will combine cutting-edge neuroscience and ancient wisdom to lessen the boundaries between science and religion and to find ways to make life better for all, whether they are religious or not. While religion and science often seem at odds, one thing they can agree on is that people who take part in spiritual practices tend to live longer, healthier, and happier lives. The big question is: Why? The first season of the podcast will present listeners with eight new episodes every other Sunday from October 3, 2021, through January 9, 2022. The show is available free to listeners on-demand across all major listening platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

“How God Works with David DeSteno” is distributed by PRX and created alongside PRX Productions, PRX’s team specializing in high-quality storytelling.

On the podcast, DeSteno will host conversations with leading scientists as well as spiritual and religious leaders to explore what we can learn from fatih practices, including meditation, prayer, psychedelics, and even fire-walking. Guests will include world-renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg, “America” magazine editor-at-large James Martin, SJ, best-selling author Michael Pollan (“This Is Your Mind On Plants”), Tibetan Buddhist tulku Trungram Gyalwa Rinpoche, “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text” podcaster Casper ter Kuile, and Stanford University Center on Longevity founding director Laura Carstensen, among others. “How God Works” will also delve into complex human-centered questions, such as: Meditation was created to increase compassion and thereby reduce suffering, but does it work that way? How do we use psychedelics safely and effectively, and why do many people report that they produce one of the most meaningful spiritual experiences of their lives? Why does thinking about death lead to a happier life?

The “How God Works” podcast may also be listened to in companionship with DeSteno’s book recently published by Simon & Schuster, titled “How God Works: The Science Behind the Benefits of Religion.”

David DeSteno

DeSteno is a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, where he leads the Social Emotions Group and examines the mechanisms of the mind that shape vice and virtue. DeSteno is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association, where he has previously served as editor-in-chief of the journal “Emotion.” The author of the books “Emotional Success,” “The Truth About Trust,” and co-author of “Out of Character,” DeSteno’s work has also been featured by The New York Times, The Atlantic, the Harvard Business Review, “Radiolab,” and CBS “Sunday Morning.”

We had a few of our own questions for David about why he wanted to create this podcast:

PRX: What made you have an interest in a podcast in addition to the book?

David DeSteno: There were two main reasons. First, the book provides an overview of how religious practices help people thrive. But, by definition, an overview leaves a lot more room for exploration. So in the podcast, we’ll have a lot more time to take deeper dives into many practices. Second, and I think this is the more important reason, spirituality touches on more than just people’s own wellbeing. Debates around it shape society. What does it say about our yearnings that people are leaving the major faiths in droves? How, or should, spirituality play more of a role in medicine? What are the impacts of tech and social media companies trying to move worship online? These are the types of issues I want to explore that the book didn’t leave room for.

PRX: What’s different about the podcast vs. the book?

David: In the book, you “hear” my take on how faith practices work. In the podcast, I’m more of a guide. We’ll be on a journey together to hear and learn from some of the leading scientific and religious thinkers out there. They don’t always agree with me, or with each other. But it’s in the give-and-take of those conversations that I think we all learn the most (at least I have).

PRX: Anything else listeners should know?

David: Whether you’re a believer, an agnostic, or an atheist, I hope you’ll feel welcome to listen. I’m not here to push any agenda. We’re not going to debate God’s existence or intelligent design. I simply want to bring people together into a respectful dialogue so that we can all learn more about how and why spiritual practices can enrich people’s lives.

“How God Works” is produced by PRX Productions with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

About PRX

PRX is a public media organization shaping the future of audio by producing and distributing content, building technology, and training talented, independent producers. With an award-winning portfolio of iconic public radio programs such as ‘The World,” “This American Life,” “The Moth Radio Hour,” “Latino USA” “Snap Judgment,” and “Reveal,” PRX is also home to a growing body of podcast productions, including via the Radiotopia podcast network and the TRAX podcast network for tweens. More at



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