Matters of Life & Death

In each episode of Matters of Life and Death, brought to you by Premier Unbelievable, John Wyatt and his son Tim discuss issues in healthcare, ethics, technology, science, faith and more. John is a doctor, professor of ethics, and writer and speaker on these topics, while Tim is a religion and social affairs journalist. We talk about how Christians can better engage with a particular question of life, death or something else in between.

Q&A: Should Christians use homeopathic medicine and why are climate scientists self-censoring in academic journal articles?

27 Sep 2023

A listener has emailed in to ask where we stand on alternative medicine, such as homeopathy or chiropractors. Is it fine for believers to partake in these kinds of complementary treatments and therapies, alongside traditional evidence-based scientifi...

Creation: The Brethren’s suspicion of the ‘world’, an explosion of joy, Eric Liddell’s sprinting epiphany, and celebrating beauty

20 Sep 2023

Today we start a new series unpacking the theological foundations of much of what we talk about on Matters of Life and Death. Many Christians, going back to church fathers, have understood the grand narrative of scripture through a four-part journey:...

Q&A: The science of the billions-of-years-old Earth, has God deceived us, and are philosophers so useless after all?

13 Sep 2023

Our latest episode tackling questions from the listeners starts by considering whether we can harmonise a belief in modern science and a literalistic reading of the Genesis account of creation. Did God really create the universe in six days only 6,00...

Lucy Letby: Murder on the neonatal ward, Munchausen’s by proxy, doctors versus nurses, and the banality of evil

6 Sep 2023

Britain has been gripped by horror by the recent conviction of a neonatal nurse called Lucy Letby, who murdered seven premature babies and attempted to kill six others at the hospital where she worked. In this episode we discuss this horrifying and t...

Q&A: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, psychosomatic disorders, AI acing exams, and the limitations of true creativity

30 Aug 2023

We have another episode of listener questions today. First, we respond to feedback from a listener with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also known as ME) who queried how we spoke about the condition in our previous episode touching on Long Covid. What exac...

Space: The James Webb Telescope, hobbits of the universe, astrobiology, and 16 billion billion Earth-like planets

23 Aug 2023

This week we have another classic episode of Matters of Life and Death from the archive. We invited theologian Andrew Davison to join us to talk through the spiritual ramifications of cosmology and what light thinking about the wider universe sheds o...

Evolution: The cosmic watchmaker, a 6,000-year-old Earth, the immorality of mutation, and intelligent uncertainty

16 Aug 2023

Evolution versus creationism is the internal Christian argument which doesn’t go away. We recorded an episode last year exploring this knotty problem and how believers might go about trying to debate it respectfully even if they disagree. We look at...

Abusive leadership: Mike Pilavachi and Soul Survivor, The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, Sigmund Freud's chaise longue, and Paul-Timothy relationships

9 Aug 2023

It’s been almost two years since we recorded an episode about abusive church leadership inspired by the downfall of Mark Driscoll and the Mars Hill church. Today we re-examine that conversation in the light of the latest scandal rocking the British e...

Suffering: Mystery and presence, the lamb slain from the foundation of the world, rediscovering lament and the Gethsemane prayer

2 Aug 2023

We’re bringing you a classic episode of Matters of Life and Death from the archive today, all about suffering. The problem of suffering has been one of the most intractable and painful theological debates for centuries. But is it perhaps not a proble...

Q&A: Karl Barth’s complicated home life, and single Christians considering adoption

26 Jul 2023

In our latest episode tackling some questions from listeners, we begin by thinking about whether it should matter if influential theologians and Christian writers had personal moral failings, and whether we can separate out someone’s theological work...

Covid reconsidered 2: Empty Nightingale hospitals, difficult triage decisions, a failure of Christian leadership, and reconsidering lockdown

19 Jul 2023

Our second ‘lessons learned’ episode looking back at the covid pandemic tackles how our healthcare systems coped, or failed to cope, with the unprecedented crisis of coronavirus. Did we see doctors forced to make impossible choices over who gets a ve...

Covid reconsidered 1: Pandemic amnesia, ‘Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save lives’, lingering Long Covid, and 13.47 billion vaccine doses

12 Jul 2023

This podcast happened to launch a week or two into the first lockdown in spring 2020, and so for the first year almost all we could talk about on the show was coronavirus. But since normality finally returned last year, it feels like nobody wants to...

Dementia: Listening to our bodies, 72 unique behaviours, multi-dimensional personhood, and the sacramental ministry of touch

5 Jul 2023

‘Granny’s body remains, but she was gone’. The public narrative around dementia often presumes that as our ability to talk, move and think gradually withers away, so does our personhood and sense of self. But if we believe as Christians that our huma...

Surrogacy: The intended parents, altruistic versus commercial, ancient Christians saving abandoned babies, and a post-genetic community

28 Jun 2023

The numbers of couples choosing to have children via surrogate mothers has been steadily rising in recent years. Now, the UK authorities are considering plans for a radical overhaul of the laws around surrogacy, making it more heavily regulated but a...

Digital church: Worship on Zoom, pandemic revival, time-shifting and Gnosticism

21 Jun 2023

We're both on holiday this week so we're bringing you an episode we first recorded in 2021 during the covid pandemic. It explores one of the most significant and potentially long-lasting ways the covid pandemic has affected church life – the shift to...