Spotlight: Conversations with Huston Smith (1919 – 2016)

Huston Smith and Michael Toms

Image source: New Dimensions Radio

In these four programs, specially selected from the New Dimensions program archive, you will explore the penetrating insights derived from a lifetime study of the world’s religions from the wisdom elder Huston Smith, in dialogue with Michael Toms.

The life of Huston Smith reads like an adventure novel. One of the most eloquent and accessible contemporary authorities on the history of religions and a leading figure in the comparative philosophy of religion, Smith lived in a missionary household in China, a monastery in Japan, and a sweat lodge in North America. In conversation with New Dimensions Radio host, the late Michael Toms, Smith discusses the role of religion today, the value it continues to provide for those who choose to listen, the commonalities of various religions, and much more. Although he describes the pitfalls of the “Modern Western mind-set,” Smith points to a new balance between the worlds of science and mysticism, and shows why physics and philosophy go hand in hand. He also shares his own excitement and curiosity about new developments in science and spirituality. As you listen to these programs, you’ll be inspired and energized by Smith’s quest for knowledge and truly understand what he means when he says, “I could never exhaust the profundity of one tradition, let alone all of them, in just one lifetime.” 

Smith taught at many prestigious universities and has been profiled in a PBS series by Bill Moyers. The World’s Religions (Revised, HarperSanFranscisco 1994) has sold 2.5 million copies. He is also the author of Cleansing the Doors of Perception (Putnam 2000) and Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief (HarperSanFrancisco 2001).

Find more New Dimensions programs with Dr. Smith here.


Huston SmithScientism, Religion And The Way Out
with Huston Smith, Ph.D.

Program 2858
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Here the World Religions scholar extraordinaire shares how we have become blind to the invisible world of spirituality through our reliance on the scientific method as the sacred cow of our society.  Smith refutes E.O. Wilson’s view that the battle for the human soul in the 21st century is between science and religion, and speaks on the potential of true religious practice. Read more »


Huston Smith

Wisdom, Ethics And Morality
with Huston Smith, Ph.D.

Program 2859
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The quintessential master of “the wisdom traditions” takes us on a scintillating ride through the foundation stones of the world’s spiritual heritage and reminds us wisely of the positive role religion can play in restoring the human spirit in the 21st century. His words quench the thirsty soul and bring hope out of the morass of cultural denial and distraction. Read more »


Huston Smith

Essential Mystery
with Huston Smith, Ph.D.

Program 2783
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The life of Huston Smith reads like an adventure novel.  One of the foremost religious scholars of our time, Smith lived in a missionary household in China, monasteries in Japan, and a sweat lodge in North America. Introduced to Vedanta through spiritual pioneers Aldous Huxley and Gerald Heard, he engaged many of the contemporary wisdom giants. Read more »


Huston Smith

Expanding Human Spirit
with Huston Smith, Ph.D.

Program 2784
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Westerners look to science to explain the way things are. Yet science often overlooks something essential to life: the human spirit. Although spirit cannot possibly be seen through the lens of a microscope, captured on a video camera or explained through scientific experiments, few of us would deny that it exists. Huston Smith breathes new life into our search for truth. Read more »