In the second part of their discussion based on the book Coming to Faith Through Dawkins, theologian Alister McGrath and YouTuber Alex O’Connor discuss where we may be heading in regards to religion and atheism.
Evangelist Phil Knox, author of Story Bearer and The Best of Friends, shares some of his story with Ruth Jackson, speaking about the impact of his dad’s death at a young age. Plus, they discuss why evangelism matters and how we can share our story and be a “good news person in a bad news world”.
The Big Conversation - Episode 5 | Season 5
Journalist Heather Tomlinson explores near death experiences and theology in light of a recent Big Conversation on this topic
Former atheist, Dr Stefani Ruper, was intellectually convinced of secular atheism, but found that it lacked substantive answers for her life. More than 13 years of scholarly pursuit of truth led her to choose belief in God. Jana Harmon shares her story
Apologist Adam Coleman shares his thoughts about Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy 60 years after his iconic ‘I have a dream’ speech
60 years on from Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream’ speech, apologist Adam Coleman reflects on his grandfather’s first-hand experience of the March on Washington
Rev Sam Allberry, a close friend of Tim and Kathy Keller, delivered a moving tribute at Tim Keller’s memorial service on 15th August. Here’s what he said
Ana Ávila, author of Aprovecha Bien El Tiempo, shares her insights around how to identify and avoid burnout, how to rest well and how to master technology rather than letting it control us.
Alister McGrath explores some of the theological themes within Lewis’ trilogy, such as incarnation, atonement and the problem of evil. How did Lewis view the relationship between science and religion? What did he think about evolution? How did he critique certain worldviews through his fiction?
Entrepreneur Max Anderson reflects on his New York pastor and friend’s apologetic teaching
Entrepreneur Max Anderson reflects on his New York pastor and friend’s teaching on the Prodigal Son
Entrepreneur Max Anderson reflects on the many things he’s learnt from his New York pastor and friend
We dive into some of the important issues explored in Lewis’ Space Trilogy. Why was he so vehemently opposed to animal experimentation? What would Lewis say to those experiencing mental health struggles today? Plus, Alister McGrath responds to the accusation that CS Lewis was sexist and racist.
The CS Lewis podcast recently launched a new series focussing on one of Lewis’ lesser known works of fiction, his Space Trilogy. Here, Ruth Jackson shares why she and Professor Alister McGrath think the books are worth a read, despite their length and difficulty
Dr Jennifer Woodruff Tait, managing editor of Christian History magazine, discloses how looking at the past can help us with the future. She shares some of the interesting steps in her career, from preaching to her stuffed animals at the age of 4, to professor, music director, librarian and priest (and brown belt in Karate!). Plus, she offers her thoughts around the Asbury revival.
Nigerian pastor Hassan John reflects on the anti-Christian violence in his home country and considers the appropriate response
Apologist Clinton Wilcox explores whether the Bible mandates pacifism or if acts of violence can ever be justified
Erik Strandness takes a look at a number of biblical metaphors involving food and explores what they mean for our faith
Ben Clifton grew up in a non-Christian household and didn’t encounter church until his wife’s mental health struggles led her to attend. Here, Jana Harmon tells the remarkable story of Ben’s journey from sceptic to apologist
Father’s Day can be a really difficult time for many people for a variety of different reasons. Here, Elliott Rae, who works to support and champion families, shares his experience of fatherhood, mental health challenges and helping men to be more vulnerable
Is the occult just harmless fun? Or are there hidden dangers to alternative spirituality, satanism, and even new age practices? Increasingly the debate is not about good vs evil but my truth vs your truth.
Former atheist Stu Fuhlendorf felt no need for God, achieving high level of success and power in the business world. However, his achievements were tainted by emptiness and addiction, which helped him become open to his need for God. Jana Harmon shares his story
Erik Strandness challenges us to rethink the way we share our faith for the sake of our young people
Journalist Heather Tomlinson shares her thoughts on the sexual revolution and sexual ethics following a recent episode of The Big Conversation
John Swinton, professor in practical theology and pastoral care at Aberdeen University and a former psychiatric nurse, challenges the way we approach disability, ensuring we create spaces where everyone belongs and has their spiritual needs met. We also discuss difficult questions around dementia, such as what it means to know God when you have limited conceptual intellectual capacity.
The Big Conversation - Episode 2 | Season 5
This week we play Justin Brierley’s personal favourite episode: the discussion he hosted live in California, between Christian apologist John Lennox and US talk show host Dave Rubin, from 2019.
Justin Brierley is moving on from hosting the Ask NT Wright Anything show. Before the baton gets passed on to fresh hands, he sits down with Tom to ask him the questions he would like to hear answered.
The Unbelievable? show has been broadcasting for over 17 years. Justin Brierley and Ruth Jackson take a retrospective tour through highlights from the show from day one to some of the most significant debates that have been hosted, before being joined by Dr. Vince Vitale for a special announcement by Justin.
In a special pastoral Q&A edition Tom responds to various questions on difficult family situations, unforgiveness and a church pastor who doesn’t know if he believes any more. Plus a musical treat from Tom. An archive show first broadcast in 2019.
In this replay podcast from 2019 Tom answered listener questions on how to have better conversations on sexuality in the church, co-habitation, whether the New Testament understanding of homosexuality was different to today and his thoughts on Transgender following a letter he wrote to The Times newspaper. First broadcast in 2019.
Tom answers practical questions about the role of those unable to be physically active - does their prayer and meditation make a difference in the Kingdom? A computer programmer questions whether his work is a worthwhile activity in Kingdom terms? Are there any forms of art that go against our image-bearing creativity?
Prof Saleem Ali of the University of Delaware is author of ‘Earthly Order: How natural laws define human life’ and describes the way order in the universe drives order in human and social settings. He engages with Dr Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute, whose book ‘The Return of The God Hypothesis’ makes the case that order in nature points to a divine mind.
Why bother with earth and not just create heaven? Why try to make the world a better place if God is going to fix it? Is the world getting better or worse because of Christianity? Can Christians achieve perfection in this life, as Wesley claimed? Tom Wright answers listeners questions on the ‘now-and-not-yet’ of new creation.
Tom answers listener questions on prayer including: ‘Is prayer just telling God what to do?’ and ‘What difference does prayer make if God has already decided what to do?’. Kelly is nervous about praying out loud before a meal in public, and Jennifer is questioning the legitimacy of public displays of prayer in the USA. Tom responds to these questions and shares his own habits of prayer, including keeping a prayer diary.
Tom and Justin are back with a fresh batch of questions from listeners who are having trouble hearing from God. Nicole asks why ‘Ask and you shall receive’ doesn’t seem to work in practise? Shelagh says she doesn’t hear from God the way she used to - is it because of disobedience? Robert asks how you can tell if you have misheard from God? Tom also gives an update on his health and work and reflects on how he hears from God.
In light of the tragic Kahramanmaras earthquake, apologist Dr Sharon Dirckx shares her thoughts on how we reconcile the idea of a good and powerful God with the presence of natural disasters
As we approach Valentine’s Day, Ruth Jackson carries on her conversation with author Lauren Windle, who shares her thoughts on singleness, dating and why the Church seems so obsessed with marriage.
Pastor Marc Lambert looks at how parents can lovingly walk alongside their children as they doubt, question and rebel against Christianity
2023-01-19T15:30:00+00:00By Erik Strandness
Erik Strandness voices his concerns about young people in today’s society and shares his thought on the rising number of teen suicides
Apologist and author Sean McDowell joined Justin along with hundreds of Unbelievable? listeners for a live show talking about Sean’s new book ‘A Rebel’s Manifesto’ and taking questions on LGBT, same-sex marriage, transgender, divorce, theology and more.
As the global pandemic subsides, the way the Covid lockdowns were implemented in churches still divides Christians. The Frankfurt Declaration has been signed by church leaders who are concerned that civil and religious liberties are being eroded by Government overreach.
Justin Brierley was joined by four guests and hundreds of attendees for a live webinar event Falling From Grace: Addressing power, leadership and abuse in the church.
Twelve-year-old Archie Battersbee died on 7 August, after months of legal wrangling between doctors who believed he was brain dead and wished to end life support, and his family who resisted this.
Resuming our conversation about suffering, we think through some faithful Christian responses to evil and loss.
Almost half of Millenials and Gen Z in the USA identify as ‘nones’ (having no religious affiliation). Mikhaila Peterson who runs a popular Youtube channel and Podcast talks about her own recent journey to faith along with the journey of her father, renowned psychologist Jordan Peterson.
We’ve teamed up with the Panpsycast podcast to bring you this week’s episode of Unbelievable? ‘The Mystery of Consciousness’ was a live audience event recorded at the Tung Auditorium in Liverpool. The panellists are Rowan Williams, Anil Seth, Laura Gow and Philip Goff, moderated by Panpsycast host Jack Symes.
In the week the first images from the new James Webb Space Telescope were beamed back to Earth, we are joined by theologian Andrew Davison to consider the spiritual value of cosmology and astrophysics.
Today we’re going back to our conversation about simulation for part two of this re-broadcast.
For the next two weeks we’re dipping back into the Matters of Life and Death archive to bring you an episode we first broadcast last year. It’s all about simulation.
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?
What does the science of brain chemistry and consciousness tell us about the nature of our mind and our cosmos?
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.
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?
The world’s population is rapidly becoming older and older, with many developed nations seeing unprecedented proportions of their citizens in retirement age.
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.
If and when autonomous and intelligent robots come into existence, should they be granted rights, or even personhood?
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.
This is part two of our re-broadcast of last year’s John Stott episode, to mark what would have been his centenary.
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.
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.
Over the past 60 years a new field of medicine has emerged – palliative care.
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.
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 pick up our conversation from last week about transhumanism and how technology might redefine what it means to be human.
Billions of dollars are currently being spent by a suite of private firms, mostly in Silicon Valley, pursuing radical research to enhance human capacities.
To mark our arrival on the Premier network, we recap how Matters of Life and Death began and what we hope our intergenerational conversations might achieve.
Alister McGrath and Justin Brierley continue their conversation on the ‘meaning crisis’ in the West and how Lewis’ wisdom applies to today’s world and the modern mental health crisis.
The Omicron variant has in a few short weeks almost taken over the pandemic.
This week we are resuming our conversation about infertility which begun in our previous episode.
Today we are delving into a complex and sensitive topic – infertility and IVF.
Two former high-level Yoga practitioners, Mike Shreve and Chris James, tell their stories of converting to Christianity and engage the question of whether Christians should practise Yoga.
This week we’re digging into assisted dying. A bill to legalise it in England has been introduced to parliament – what does it propose and how likely is it to actually become law?
Is using punishments on children a form of coercion? What do you think about contraceptives? What children’s resources would you recommend?
There has been a revival of interest in psychedelics & hallucinogenic drugs. But are they a path to enlightenment or a spiritual dead end?
Mark Driscoll, the hermeneutic of suspicion, Sigmund Freud’s chaise longue, and Paul-Timothy relationships
This episode was inspired by John’s new book – The Robot Will See You Now
The West is experiencing a meaning crisis says cognitive science and psychology professor John Vervaeke. He discusses the solutions with Catholic convert Sohrab Ahmari, author of ‘The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the wisdom of tradition in an age of chaos’.
It’s been almost six months since we last dedicated an episode to covid, and since then a lot has happened.
The Enneagram has become a wildly popular personality tool in secular and spiritual circles. But is it a theologically valid way of understanding human psychology? Pastor and theologian Todd Wilson, author of ‘The Enneagram goes to church’ believes the Enneagram can be a transformative tool for churches. Ex-new ager Marcia Montenegro, author of ‘Richard Rohr and the Enneagram Secret’ believes it is a spiritual deception.
Last week marked 100 years since the late John Stott was born and there has been a flurry of events to mark the centenary of this highly influential vicar, Bible teacher and evangelical leader.
Today’s topic is simulation. We live in an era when digital technology is making it increasingly easy and cheap to create fake but compelling images or videos of people, or even entirely artificial human-like personalities.
This episode explores one of the most significant and potentially long-lasting ways the covid pandemic has affected church life – the shift to digital.
With everything going on around the world, I nearly forgot that this week marks the beginning of Lent. The 40-day-period, named after an old English word meaning ‘lengthen’, is an opportunity to reflect on the cross and resurrection as we approach Easter. Christians have traditionally used this time to either give or take something up, and as I pondered what to do this year, I was drawn to a previous Lenten fast.
Tom shares his thoughts on heart-breaking pastoral questions from listeners around how to respond to grief and mental health. You can listen to part one of the podcast here.
In today’s episode we’re taking a sideways step from the covid pandemic and instead are discussing social media and free speech.
Tom shares his thoughts on the difficult questions listeners have around issues such as dementia, death, the global pandemic and whether God himself suffers.
Microchips. Bill Gates. The mark of the beast. 5G cell towers. False positive rates. Big pharma. DNA alteration. It’s been hard to avoid the swirling morass of misinformation and conspiracy theories around the pandemic.
Can Christians be given the vaccine without compromising on their religious convictions?
Is this crude, blunt instrument really the best way to tackle the second wave of the covid pandemic?
We received a fascinating question from a listener after our last episode on vaccines, picking up on the competing and perhaps contradictory philosophies behind the anti-vax movement.
There are about 40 different potential covid vaccines already being tested on humans, with almost a hundred more at earlier stages of development in the lab.
We’re back after a slightly longer than expected summer break with a new episode, all about our fears, anxieties and hopes amid the pandemic.
Tom tackles a variety of questions on ‘hot button’ political issues that have been sent in, including the place of faith in politics, abortion, racism and ‘critical theory’.
In the second part of our conversation on technology during the coronavirus pandemic, we look into our crystal balls and try to imagine what the world of tech will look like in the future, thanks to Covid-19.
One of the perhaps unexpected results of the coronavirus pandemic is how it has thrown up some fascinating debates about technology.
Rarely it is deemed polite to mention the uncomfortable fact that one day we all will die, let alone try to bring faith or spirituality into that conversation. But in the midst of a pandemic, is that changing?
In another show recorded pre-lockdown, Tom answers questions from listeners on whether the world is getting better or worse, on poverty and economic justice, and what climate change activism means for the theology of new creation.
In this episode we examine what life in the NHS has been like during the Covid-19 crisis.
First come, first served? Or key workers and politicians before everyone else? How can doctors decide who to treat in a healthcare emergency when there are not enough beds or ventilators to go around?
Our third episode on coronavirus zooms in to focus on how Christians should be thinking and acting during the pandemic.
In this second episode in our series on coronavirus, we explore how Covid-19 is different to plagues in the past.
Our first ever episode of Matters of Life and Death kicks off a short series on coronavirus.
Evangelist Becky Pippert, bestselling author of ‘Out Of The Saltshaker’, talks to Justin Brierley about how Christians can be a faithful witness to Christ during the COVID-19 lockdown and about her new book ‘Stay Salt: The world has changed. Our message must not’.
In a podcast special recorded from his home in Oxford where he is self-isolating with his wife Maggie, Tom talks to Justin about the Coronavirus pandemic.
In a podcast special recorded from his home in Oxford where he is self-isolating with his wife Maggie, Tom talks to Justin about the Coronavirus pandemic. They cover: How Christians can maintain spiritual health during isolation, the pastoral implications for churches now and in the future, and why God created a world where disease and sickness exist.
In a special edition of the show, recorded from home, Justin looks at the present Coronavirus crisis, how the pandemic will change global society and how the church can respond.
Tom answers listener’s pastoral questions including a man racked by guilt over whether his wife’s miscarriages were a judgment on his porn addiction, a family wrestling with the death of a family member, and someone on a journey back to faith but unsure where to begin.
Tom answers listener questions about marriage including: What will our married relationships look like in the new creation? What advice do you have for someone about to get married? What do you think about divorce? Can I get married to a non-Christian?
In the wake of two high profile Christians who have renounced their faith, Tom responds to listener questions on what defines being a Christian, whether we can lose our salvation, and what to do when a loved one cannot respond to the Gospel because of dementia.
Atheist philosopher, Julian Baggini and Christian apologist, Vince Vitale sat down with Justin Brierley to share their perspectives on the purpose of suffering.
The full version of the debate on suffering. Justin is joined by Julian Baggini and Vince Vitale, as they go head to head on this most important question. Why Suffering?
Ann Furedi of the British Preganancy Advisory Service (the UK’s largest abortion provider) debates Gregg Cunningham of the pro-life Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.
Justin launches the Video Website of Unbelievable? The Conference 2013 www.premier.org.uk/apologetics
In the USA Kermit Gosnell is being tried on counts of murdering children born alive in illegal late-term abortions at his unsanitary practise in Philadelphia.
The religious right wing primarily campaigns on abortion and homosexuality - but is this the way Christians should be involved in politics?
A varied New Year’s Eve show with contributions from Revd David Robertson on his life-threatening illness. Reflections on the passing away of Christopher Hitchens from listeners and debate oppponent Prof John Lennox. Humorous “Praxman &…” sketches. An extract from a forthcoming interview with sometimes controversial US pastor Mark Driscoll. Audio ...
Three Christians of different theological persuasion discuss the existence of demons. John Tancock (JT) is involved in Charismatic Church leadership. He believes demons are real. As well as pursuing apologetics, he is involved in deliverance ministry and had regularly prayed for demons to be cast out of people. Will Van ...
Continuing our Mind, Body and Soul month of programming on Premier, Justin is joined by a Christian and an atheist as they discuss whether people’s religious experiences can be explained by brain activity alone. Revd Dr Aladair Coles is an academice neurologist in Cambridge and part of the Faraday Institute’s ...
Recent statistics on abortion in the UK saw just under 190,000 abortions in 2010. Figures were also released for late abortions carried out because of physical and mental disability.
William Lane Craig & AC Grayling debated at the Oxford Union in 2005. Does the existence of evil and suffering in the world preclude the existence of the Christian God?
Lord Richard Harries is a life peer in the British House of Lords and the former Bishop of Oxford. His book “The Re-enchantment of Morality” has been shortlisted for this year’s Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing.
Os Guinness is an author, cultural critic and Christian apologist. He co-founded the Trinity Forum which “seeks to transform society through the transformation of leaders”. Baroness Mary Warnock is a moral philosopher and atheist. She is a cross bench peer in the House of Lords and an influential voice arguing ...
Should people suffering from terminal illness or in terrible pain be allowed to take their own life? Should doctors help them?
Is belief in the supernatural inherent from birth? Is Christianity a psychological crutch or a path to emotional wholeness? Is God belief simply a result of evolution? Would it make belief untrue if it were?
Peter Hitchens is a writer and regular columnist for the Mail on Sunday. Unlike his atheist brother Christopher, Peter is a committed Christian having himself been an atheist in younger years.
Are societies better off with the influence of Christianity? Are Christians more caring than atheists? What role should faith play in society?
Hundreds of thousands died in the Haiti earthquake of Jan 2010. Many more are still suffering. So where was God?
A re-broadcast of a compelling debate with listener input on the issue of abortion.
Many “New Atheists” have written books claiming that Christianity is bad for people.
Former UK Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt recently tabled an amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill seeking to allow people not to be prosecuted for aiding others to die at overseas euthanasia clinics.
Justin is joined again by Charismatic Christian Gerald Coates, “Cessationist” Christian Mark Johnston and agnostic skeptic Stephen Pilcher. They discuss the healing revival occuring in Lakeland Florida under the ministry of Todd Bentley and claims of the miraculous.
If passed, the HFE Bill could entail big changes to abortion law. With 600 abortions carried out every day Dan Boucher of CARE explains why he believes the law needs to change. Pro-choice advocate Dr. Wendy Savage argues that a woman’s right to choose should come first.
The HFE Bill going through Parliament will allow the creation of animal-human “hybrid” embryos. Lord David Alton says respect for human life is being trampled on. MP Ian Gibson says that it will allow medical progress. With contributions from Andrew Fergusson of the Christian Medical Fellowship.
Two Christian ministers in Taunton made the news recently when they refused a Yoga instructor the use of their church halls. Some have labelled their actions narrow-minded and intolerant. We discuss whether it’s ok for Christians to be involved with Yoga.