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.

Contemporary spiritualities: Nominal atheism, New Age prayers for £25, moving on from Empty Tomb evangelism, and the church of social justice

3 May 2023
50:46

The non-religious are an ever-increasing segment of the population, in the UK, the United States and across the Western world. But what do they actually believe, and indeed not believe, in? In this episode we’re joined by evangelist and author Glen S...

Effective altruism 2: Tithing, second-hand stuffed toys in Turkey, the Parable of the Lost Sheep, and one-hundredth of a guide dog

26 Apr 2023
33:50

In this second part of our effective altruism conversation, we explore the Christian sub-community within EA and ask whether the movement’s fundamental ideas are compatible with Christian tradition on giving. Is Christian EA a welcome challenge to ou...

Effective altruism 1: QALYs, longtermism, Jeremy Bentham’s embalmed corpse, and ethical elitism

19 Apr 2023
28:05

A movement founded at the University of Oxford in 2009 has now captured the imagination – and the wallets – of some of the brightest and most successful across elite Western academic and business circles. Effective altruism, a 21st-century data-dri.....

Webinar 2: Totalitarian regimes, the tobacco regulation lag, eternal life for materialists, and ‘Don’t be afraid’

12 Apr 2023
00:00

In the second part of John’s webinar with Premier Unbelievable, he takes questions from listeners on everything from whether AI tech is inching us towards the end times to how families can stave off the destructive influence of smartphone addiction....

Webinar 1: Redefining human-ness, testing for consciousness, hoodwinked by ChatGPT, and a black box

5 Apr 2023
25:47

We are taking a few weeks off over Easter but to give you something to chew on until normal service resumes, we’re uploading in two parts a webinar John took part in for Premier Unbelievable. Called ‘How to live faithfully in a technologically confus...

Friendship 2: Walks in the Garden of Eden, David and Jonathan, covenantal clarity, and red flags

29 Mar 2023
38:30

God’s understanding of friendship is very different to the sexualised and suspicious framework society now inhabits. In this episode we take a lightning-quick tour through the Bible to consider what we can learn about friendship there – with God, bet...

Friendship 1: The hermeneutic of suspicion, Classical ideals, scandalising middle-class Vienna, and the ‘mysticism of materialism’

22 Mar 2023
32:33

Somebody once said that in contemporary society we all want to ‘have sex with our friends, and be friends with our sexual partners’. There is a broad suspicion of intimate but non-sexual friendships, especially those which are intergenerational or cr...

Listener questions: Polarised culture wars, the challenge of elder care, and childlike sexbots

15 Mar 2023
39:01

To mark one year since Matters of Life and Death joined the Premier Unbelievable network, we have a special one-off episode answering some questions emailed in by listeners. We discuss everything from whether Christians should lean into the culture w...

Public sector strikes 2: Taking patients hostage, employment as service, slaves and masters, and Christian peacemaking

8 Mar 2023
32:19

There are two strong Christian traditions when it comes to robust political or industrial action such as strikes. One argues for enduring oppression and unfair employment in the manner of Jesus and points to Paul’s teaching in the Bible on slaves and...

Public sector strikes 1: The Winter of Discontent, austerity-era pay freezes, Christian socialist solidarity, and continuity of patient care

1 Mar 2023
31:45

The UK is currently gripped by a wave of strikes from public sector employees – nurses, teachers, postal workers, train drivers, paramedics, and soon junior doctors too. But this raises complex ethical questions. Few Christians would deny it is legit...

Surveillance capitalism 2: QR codes in China, privacy, the manipulation of desire, and a neo-Benedictine Rule of Life

22 Feb 2023
33:22

If surveillance capitalism permeates all of modern society, how on earth can we step back to think critically about what it may be doing to us? In this episode we think through more of the implications of living in a non-private digital village in th...

Surveillance capitalism 1: Trillions of data points, clickbait, an advertising arms race, and BF Skinner’s pigeons

15 Feb 2023
32:59

Every tap, swipe and click we make on our phones, tablets and laptops is being recorded by big tech firms. This is often called surveillance capitalism – a network of products and services we use every day which sucks up large quantities of data abou...

Cryptocurrency 2: Technicism, the Parable of the Talents, get-rich-quick schemes, and the wheat and the weeds

8 Feb 2023
35:03

In the second part of our discussion with Chris Goswami, we dive into some of the ethical arguments for and against cryptocurrencies. Are they providing financial liberation for some of the poor and excluded communities in the developing world, or si...

Cryptocurrency 1: Bitcoin, warehouses of computers solving maths puzzles, the dot.com bubble, and FOMO

1 Feb 2023
33:00

Recent news headlines have been full of discussion of the current ‘crypto winter’, a season where the value of cryptocurrencies has plummeted causing financial devastation and destroying what looked like thriving crypto institutions. This week we’re...

Medical Assistance in Dying 2: Suicidal ideation, no crystal balls, conscientious objection, and Hippocrates’ successful medical practice

25 Jan 2023
33:54

In our second conversation on Canada’s euthanasia regime, we chat with a Canadian doctor about the troubling expansion of Medical Assistance in Dying to those only suffering from mental illness. Can the families of mentally struggling patients be con...

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