Very rarely do I myself find an interview that I’ve done very interesting — usually because they are often on the same topics, over and over again. And I almost *never* listen to one afterward. This one is an exception. Everyone has her or his preferences, but I really like this one.
It is also one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever done. This guy contacted me out of the blue about a new podcast he was doing. He lived in Chicago. I was going to be in Chicago to give a talk at a conservative evangelical “apologetics” conference; the three other speakers were all hard-core evangelicals who believed the Bible is “inerrant,” and I was speaker number 4. That in itself was going to be a scream (it was; I had a great time). But this guy wanted to interview me. He was going to the conference. And he was a Muslim.
I’m thinkin’: Really?!? He asks for an interview a couple of times; I tell him I’m not sure the organizers are going to give me any time to do it: I fly in the night before, there’s a dinner, I do the event all day Saturday, and then rush to the airport to get back home. He asks if we could do the interview in the car on the way to the airport. Uh, wow: I’d never tried *that* before.
So we did it. It too was fun. But the main thing is that he’s a young, interesting, kind of hip guy who knows a lot about a lot of things, including early Christianity but also pop culture and politics, and so on. If you have a stereotype of “Muslim-fellow-interested-in-religion,” you need to listen to this interview.
But the other thing is the topic. I’ve never been interviewed on this before. He wanted to know about how I go about doing my public debates. He did not want to get my views about the *topics* I debate, but about why I do it, how I prepare, what it’s like, if I’ve ever realized I just got creamed, and so on.
The podcast is called Sultans and Sneakers. The fellow who runs it is Mahin Islam, who designs the podcast to be quite different from other Muslim podcasts (which, I must admit, I have never listened to!), which typically involve Muslims talking to themselves (as I suppose most Christian podcasts are as well). Part of the point of the podcast is to have conversations with people who differ from Muslims not only religiously but on all kinds of subjects — for an audience that is both Muslim and non-Muslim.
If you’re interested in learning more after hearing the interview, you can get on his mailing list at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or check him out on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (Sultans and Sneakers).
The interview took place (in his car, driving to O’Hare!) in November 2019….