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.

Prenatal screening 2: The prohibition on soothsaying, transcending genetic determinism, a client-technician relationship and Heidi Crowter’s joyful self-advocacy

22 Jun 2022

Could it be that some knowledge – including whether your unborn child has a serious genetic condition – is actually not helpful, and even harmful to us? In this episode we dig further into the complex ethics of prenatal screening and explore what the...

Prenatal screening 1: Peering into the unknown, less than 1/150, blood tests over the internet, and disability doublethink

15 Jun 2022

Pregnant women today are offered a battery of tests and screening for their unborn child, looking for an ever-increasing range of conditions and risks. But is the onward march of technology in this sphere always an unmitigated good thing? With aborti...

Old people 2: Aging congregations, transcendence at the Arsenal, understanding life backwards, and honouring prayer warriors

8 Jun 2022

Demographic trends reveal clearly the next century will be one increasingly dominated by older people. If God is giving us a lot more folk in their later years, what are they for in church life? Has the modern church, terrified of decline, alienated...

Old people 1: The demographic transition, Reverend Thomas Malthus, Hasidic Jewish outliers, and the grey vote

1 Jun 2022

The world’s population is rapidly becoming older and older, with many developed nations seeing unprecedented proportions of their citizens in retirement age. Why is this taking place, and does this presage an era of economic stagnation or a utopia of...

Robot rights 2: Rejecting self-definition, the citadel of human uniqueness, rehashing ‘God of the gaps’, and evangelising at androids

25 May 2022

In the second part of our conversation on robot rights, we explore three Christian responses to calls for robot personhood, spanning the spectrum of hostility to optimism about the development. What Biblical truths and doctrines can we turn to as we...

Robot rights 1: Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws, fauxbots, whimpering miniature dinosaurs, and inherent or conferred personhood

18 May 2022

If and when autonomous and intelligent robots come into existence, should they be granted rights, or even personhood? A growing number of technologists argue governments must lay out what status conscious and rational machines would have before they...

Pregnancy crisis 2: Paternalistic gynaecologists, holding truth with grace, ambiguity in the ultrasound clinic, and refusing the culture war

11 May 2022

Abortion is a flashpoint issue in both the church and wider culture, with the very language you choose used as a cudgel for either side. So how can Christians talk about it and respond to it in a way which cools tensions rather than inflames them? Ho...

Pregnancy crisis 1: A constructive Christian response, heads versus hearts, feeling like a ‘bad feminist’, and the three options

4 May 2022

Rates of unplanned pregnancies rose significantly during the coronavirus lockdowns. What kind of support is out there for women (and men) facing this situation, and how can the church try and plug the gaps? In this episode we speak with Sophie Guthri...

John Stott 2: Christians in the public square, an untried ideal, talking and living like Jesus, and the challenge of evangelical hagiography

27 Apr 2022

This is part two of our re-broadcast of last year’s John Stott episode, to mark what would have been his centenary. Is Stott’s vision of lay Christians persuading for Christ in the public square a naïve fantasy in the 21st century? And should we be m...

John Stott 1: Double listening, a conservative radical, redefining ‘the ministry’ and salt as preservative

20 Apr 2022

This month marks 101 years since the late John Stott was born, and his centenary last year prompted a flurry of events to mark the centenary of this highly influential vicar, Bible teacher and evangelical leader. ‘Uncle John’, as he was affectionatel...

Palliative care 2: Resisting assisted dying, the ‘superskill’ of listening, DNAR discussions, and euthanasia-free-zones

13 Apr 2022

In Britain as in many countries there is a growing campaign to legalise assisted suicide and to make doctors prescribe on request lethal drugs to terminally ill patients. In the second part of our interview with Sarah Foot, a Christian palliative car...

Palliative care 1: Dogs and Guinness on the wards, ‘living until you die’, deathbed prayers, and complicated grief

6 Apr 2022

Over the past 60 years a new field of medicine has emerged – palliative care. In this episode we interview Sarah Foot, a Christian palliative care doctor, who explains how she treats the physical, mental, social and even spiritual needs of those who...

Climate anxiety 2: Listening to the Global South, alienation from creation, throwing pebbles into God’s river, and rediscovering lament

29 Mar 2022

Following on from our discussion last week on the rise of climate fatalism, we discuss what an authentically Christian response to our environmental crisis would look like. How can we steer a middle path between complacency and despair? Does our diff...

Climate anxiety 1: ’Delay means death’, media apathy, Extinction Rebellion, and fatalism among the young

22 Mar 2022

The latest report from the UN's climate scientists was both incredibly downbeat about climate change and almost entirely ignored by a media fixated on Ukraine. In this episode we consider the communication and changing narratives around climate chang...

Human enhancement 2: Techno-optimism returns, the yuck factor, cultivating our bodies, and the divinisation of humanity

15 Mar 2022

In this episode we pick up our conversation from last week about transhumanism and how technology might redefine what it means to be human. We consider what place technology has in today's social narrative and whether it makes sense as Christians t.....

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