by Kelsey Winter
On this episode of Talks with Tyger, Isabel Hanberg joins Tyger Gruber for a conversation on Christianity (Episode 25). Tyger writes in the summary of the podcast that this episode will be the first of many religious conversations, Christianity just being the first. I applaud Tyger for allowing people of various religions to tell their story and I am looking forward to listening as more episodes are released. Tyger throws hard-hitting questions at Hanberg that leads them down into a rabbit hole of some religious topics, but there are few things that are brushed over where Tyger could have pushed harder on.
Tyger is known for pushing the limit. In many of his episodes, he takes the route of playing devil’s advocate. If he has a liberal on the episode he assumes the role of conservative and vice versa, we hear that in episode 30 with Jason J Dorsette and other episodes. I grew used to Tyger putting himself in an uncomfortable conversation because of how it opened up his guest. In this episode, Tyger didn’t do that and the conversation missed the mark in a way.
There were moments that made me sit up straighter in my seat, but they were quickly brushed over and they moved on to another area of Christianity. For example, Tyger begs the question about people of Jewish faith and how they have been persecuted (12:30). The discussion isn’t pressed much and he then asked if Hanberg would be friends with someone from a different faith. “Yeah. I get curious and think about backgrounds and history. I get interested in the individual and say a prayer for their salvation because I believe Jesus is everything.” (13:17).
Tyger doesn’t press it anymore, but the question stands, does Hanberg think that someone of a different faith is going to Heaven or Hell? There are a couple more times that I wanted Tyger to push the conversation deeper to really get what Hanberg thinks about things and create a larger discussion. Later in the episode, homophobia comes up and it’s dismissed with the listener assuming that Hanberg is against homophobia. She gets very emotional and wishes that there wasn’t so much hate in the world, but Tyger never asks her on her opinions on someone who comes out gay or lesbian or trans. If they follow Christ but decided to change genders does Hanberg think they are going to hell or not. It’s an uncomfortable topic, but I was surprised that Tyger didn’t go for it. I think there is a whole bigger conversation surrounding religion that wasn’t talked about. It may make religious people uncomfortable, but some opinions of religion make society uncomfortable and it’s worth pressing the subject. In the future, it would be compelling if Tyger questioned things like heaven and hell, dating in religion, sex and religion, abortion.
Overall, Hanberg gave some good insight into a religious girl who was raised within the church. However, it would be fascinating for Tyger to do another episode about Christianity and bring on a guest who knows more about the history of the religion, such as a pastor or a religion teacher. It would make for more fact-based discourse rather than chalking it up to just a belief in God.
In the end, it was interesting to hear all the questions Tyger does have. He never expresses his stance on faith, even though his religious views can be assumed he never trashes religion and he continued to be respectful of Hanberg’s views and wanted to learn more about the inner thoughts of someone who walks the path of God. Throughout the whole episode, Tyger applauds religion on the sense of community and the love they radiate. It’s almost as if you can hear Tyger nodding excitedly at the words Hanberg says. The conversation is important but it barely brushed the surface on all the things that go into religion.
I am looking forward to listening to more episodes about religion and getting the viewpoint of someone who is Buddhist or Jewish or even someone who used to be religious but is now atheist or someone who became religious later in life. Overall, it would be interesting to hear Tyger’s stance on religion and how it may change the more he talks with people of various religions.