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Previous Episodes

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Why would a good God allow evil? 

Judaism & Christianity: Can we recover the Jewish Jesus?

Jesus was a Jew. But has Christianity become divorced from its Jewish roots? How should we understand the shared story and differences of these two great religious traditions? Journalist-priest Rev Giles Fraser who has been on a journey to rediscover his Jewish roots, interacts with Jewish scholar Prof Amy-Jill Levine, who has written extensively on the Jesus and Judaism.

Judaism & Christianity: Can we recover the Jewish Jesus? - Giles Fraser & Amy-Jill Levine
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The Origin of Life: Do we need a new theory for how life began?

Two leading voices in Origins of Life research, Paul Davies and Jeremy England, discuss whether a new understanding of physics could be the key to unlocking the mystery of how life first emerged. But where does this leave the concept of God as creator?

The Origin of Life: Do we need a new theory for how life began? - Paul Davies & Jeremy England
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The fine-tuning of the Universe: Was the cosmos made for us?

Many physicists have pointed out the extraordinary ‘fine tuning’ of the physical laws of the universe that have allowed life to develop within the cosmos. Luke Barnes believes it gives evidence for a designer behind the cosmos, whereas Sabine Hossenfelder disagrees, questioning whether we can even speak of ‘fine tuning’ as a phenomenon.

The fine-tuning of the Universe: Was the cosmos made for us? - Sabine Hossenfelder & Luke Barnes
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Identity, myth & miracles: How do we live in a post-Christian world?

Social commentator Douglas Murray engages theologian NT Wright on whether Christianity still makes best sense of the world in a post-Christian age, and how to address the growing meaning and identity crisis in the West. 

Identity, myth & miracles: How do we live in a post-Christian world? - NT Wright & Douglas Murray
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God, AI & the future of humanity: Is technology the key to immortality?

Prof Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University and Prof Rosalind Picard, director of the Affective Computing Research Group at MIT debate the philosophical and spiritual questions raised by AI.

God, AI & the future of humanity: Is technology the key to immortality? - Nick Bostrom & Ros Picard
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Christianity or Atheism: Which makes best sense of who we are?

Bishop Robert Barron of Word on Fire and Alex O'Connor of the Cosmic Skeptic channel discuss the evidence for God, the nature of faith and the problem of suffering.

Christianity or Atheism: Which makes best sense of who we are? - Bishop Robert Barron & Alex O’Connor
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Morality: Can atheism deliver a better world?

Justin is joined by Matt Dillahunty of The Atheist Experience and Glen Scrivener of Speak Life. They discuss the atheist movement and whether secular humanism can provide a solid grounding for morality. 

Can atheism deliver a better world? - Glen Scrivener & Matt Dillahunty
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History: Did Christianity give us our human values?

Belief in the dignity, value and equality of human beings has become a cornerstone of Western societies. But how did those values arise?  

Did Christianity give us our human values? - Tom Holland & AC Grayling
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Is God Dead? A conversation on faith, culture and the modern world

The West has become an increasingly post-Christian world with the rise of the ‘nones’ and the influence of new atheism. 

So, where are the next generation turning to in the search for meaning and identity? Is God finally dead, as Nietzsche once declared? Or is there space for a renaissance of religious belief in the modern world?

Is God Dead? - Dave Rubin & John Lennox
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The story of Jesus: Can we trust the historical reliability of the Gospels?

Arguably, no individual has influenced the course of history more than Jesus of Nazareth. Today, over 2000 years since he lived, his story still influences the lives of millions of people. 

The story of Jesus - Peter J Williams & Bart Ehrman
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The Universe: Where did it come from and why are we part of it?

Celebrated mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose talks to renowned Christian philosopher William Lane Craig about God and the Universe. 

God and the universe - Sir Roger Penrose & William Lane Craig
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Religion: Useful fiction or ultimate truth?

Is religion an evolutionary adaptation that has helped the human species to thrive? Or is there a basis to belief in God that goes beyond biological explanations? In a post-Christian age what will replace the repository of wisdom that religion has offered? 

Religion: Useful fiction or ultimate truth? - Alister McGrath & Bret Weinstein
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Do we need God to be good?

What is the basis for the value we ascribe to human life? How should we treat animals, the unborn and the profoundly disabled? Are rights grounded in our cognitive capacities and abilities or based in an inherent value that comes from a transcendent source?

Do we need God to be good? - Peter Singer and Andy Bannister
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Are we more than matter?

The human brain is an amazingly complex organ. But can a naturalistic worldview account for the nature of consciousness? And if we live in a physically determined universe, can we speak of free will?

Are we more than matter? - Daniel Dennett and Keith Ward
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Science, faith and the evidence for God

Has science replaced God as an explanation for life and the Universe? Or has the rise of New Atheism sold the evidence for God short?

Science, faith and God - John Lennox and Michael Ruse
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The search for happiness: Can we have meaning without God?

People in the West increasingly identify as ‘nones’ – having no religious commitments. But where does meaning and happiness come from in the absence of God? Is the story of Jesus Christ still relevant to people searching for meaning in a modern world?

The search for happiness - Derren Brown & Rev Richard Coles
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The future of humanity: Have science, reason and humanism replaced faith?

Are science, humanism and ongoing moral progress the result of an atheistic Enlightenment philosophy, or the product of a Judaeo-Christian worldview?

The future of humanity - Steven Pinker & Nick Spencer
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The psychology of belief: Do we need God to make sense of life?

What are the psychological roots of faith beliefs?  Can we make our own rules for life or are we subject to a higher level of meaning? Can we dispense with religion as a ‘virus of the mind’, or are even atheists fundamentally religious deep down?

 

Jordan B Peterson and Susan Blackmore debate these questions and more in the first episode of The Big Conversation.

The psychology of belief - Jordan Peterson & Susan Blackmore
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Justin tells the story of Unbelievable?

With the release of the audiobook version of "Unbelievable? Why, after ten years of talking with atheists, I'm still a Christian", show host Justin Brierley plays the Introduction and Chapter 1 on this episode.

He tells his own story of faith and how the Unbelievable? show came to be, some of the memorable moments along the way, the role of apologetics, and why atheists began tuning in to the weekly podcast.

"Unbelievable? Why, after ten years of talking with atheists, I'm still a Christian" - Justin Brierley
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Where did the laws of nature come from?

Justin is joined by Christian astrophysicist Hugh Ross, founder of Reasons to Believe, and atheist scientist Peter Atkins of Oxford University, to debate whether the laws of nature came from ‘nothing’ or from God.
Peter Atkins’ new book ‘Conjuring The Universe: The Origins of the Laws of Nature’ claims that the Universe and it’s laws reflect the ‘nothing’ from whence they came. Hugh Ross has recently released a 4th edition of ‘The Creator and the Cosmos’ and explains why he believes the scientific evidence is continually growing for a creator of the universe and its life-permitting laws.

 

Where did the laws of nature come from? - Hugh Ross vs Peter Atkins
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Why would a good God allow evil?

Sharon Dirckx of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics discusses the problem of suffering with Hannah Timson, head of Humanist Students UK. Hannah explains how she lost her faith in her late teens, in part because of the issue of suffering.
Drawing on her book ‘Why? Looking at God, Evil and Personal Suffering’ Sharon responds to Hannah as they discuss their different stories and the problem of evil. 

Why would a good God allow evil? - Sharon Dirckx & Hannah Timson
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5 Proofs of the Existence of God

Ed Feser is a Catholic philosopher whose latest book ‘Five Proofs of the Existence of God’ presents five classical arguments that he believes present compelling evidence for theism.
He debates two of the arguments on the show with atheist Cambridge philosopher Arif Ahmed. They talk about whether modern atheists take such arguments seriously, and then dive deep into debating the Aristotelian Proof and the Rationalist Proof… your brain will be stretched!

5 Proofs of the Existence of God - Ed Feser vs Arif Ahmed
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Can faith survive cancer and science? 

Rev Gillian Straine is an Anglican priest with a background in science. She tells the story of how she dealt with the spiritual and medical challenges of being diagnosed with cancer aged 21, as told in her book 'Cancer: A Pilgrim's Companion'. 
She also shares news of a free public lecture by internationally renowned physicist Marcelo Glasier in London on Tue 22 May.
Atheist guest Alom Shaha is a secondary school physics teacher and engages with Gillian on the question of faith, illness and science. He shares his story of rejecting his Islamic upbringing after the death of his mother and how he fell in love with the world of science. Alom has recently authored a book of practical science experiments for kids 'Mr Shaha's Recipes For Wonder'.

Can faith survive cancer and science? - Gillian Straine & Alom Shaha
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