Crossing Channels

What is the future of religion?

Listen on

Episode notes

Rory Cellan-Jones talks to Iza Hussin and Paul Seabright about recent trends in world religions, the interplay between politics and religion, and the economics of religion. 

This episode unpacks the widespread myth/belief that religion is in decline, and explores why this view is mistaken. Leading experts discuss the intersection between religion and politics, the rivlary within and between religons, and how wider socioeconomic trends are both impacted by and impacting religious movements. 

This episode is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones (former technology correspondent for the BBC), and features guest experts Iza Hussin (University of Cambridge) and Paul Seabright (IAST). 

Listen to this episode on your preferred podcast platform

Season 2 Episode 10 transcript

For more information about the podcast and the work of the institutes, visit our websites at and

Tweet us with your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouse

Audio production by Steve Hankey

Associate production by Stella Erker

Visuals by Tiffany Naylor

More information about our guests:

Iza Hussin is Associate Professor of Asian Politics at the University of Cambridge and Mohamed Noah Fellow at Pembroke College. Her research and teaching are in the areas of comparative politics, Islam and Muslim politics, law and society and religion and politics. Her recent book, The Politics of Islamic Law: Local Elites, Colonial Authority and the Making of the Muslim State (University of Chicago Press 2016), explored the construction of Islamic law in colonial India, Malaya and Egypt. She is Editor of the Cambridge University Press series Asian Connections, and a member of the Editorial Boards of the Social Science Research Council's The Immanent Frame, and of the University of London's SOAS Indonesia and the Malay World. She holds a PhD from the University of Washington, an MA from Georgetown University and an AM and AB from Harvard University.

Paul Seabright is a professor of economics at the Toulouse School of Economics and a two-year fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, from 2021 to 2023. He was Director from 2012 to 2021 of the inter-disciplinary Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse. Paul did his undergraduate and doctoral studies at the University of Oxford. Paul’s current research lies in the intersection of behavioral economics and the economics of organizations, including firms and networks. He is working on a book about the economics of religious rivalry that will be published in March 2024 by Princeton University Press.

Rory Cellan-Jones is a former technology correspondent for the BBC. His 40 years in journalism saw him take a particular interest in the impact of the internet and digital technology on society and business. He has written multiple books, including his latest “Always On” which was published in 2021. @ruskin147