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Matters of Life and Death

Matters of Life and Death

Author: Tim Wyatt & John Wyatt

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In each episode of Matters of Life and Death, Tim Wyatt calls up his dad John Wyatt to discuss issues in healthcare, ethics, technology, science, faith and more. Tim is a religion and social affairs journalist, while John is a doctor, professor of ethics, and writer and speaker on these topics. We talk about how Christians can better engage with a particular question of life, death or something else in between. If you want to go deeper into some of the topics we discuss, find more resources to read, listen to and watch at John's website: www.johnwyatt.com

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16 Episodes
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Digital church

Digital church

2021-02-2435:12

This episode explores one of the most significant and potentially long-lasting ways the covid pandemic has affected church life – the shift to digital. Ever since the first lockdown began almost a year ago, churches of every shape and size and from every denomination have been forced to offer worship online. And even though it has been legal to re-open buildings since last summer, most have continued to livestream, pre-record or video conference their way through the pandemic alongside some physical gathering. Will this continue indefinitely even when covid is long gone? Are we really seeing digital church spark a revival among non-churchgoers? And what implications for our worship and our theology does this brave new online world pose?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In today’s episode we’re taking a sideways step from the covid pandemic and instead are discussing social media and free speech.The banning of Donald Trump from every social media platform following the deadly riot earlier this month at the US Capitol building has prompted fierce debates, not only about free speech and censorship online, but also the role of social media in fostering hate and lies. Why is it that so much horrendous stuff accumulates and spills out of social media, from deranged conspiracy theories about coronavirus all the way up to the violent and often racist political rhetoric which inspired the Capitol insurrection? Do we need more regulation and moderation of what people are saying online, or less? What are the implications of unaccountable tech CEOs barring anyone they choose from the world’s dominant communications networks? And how should we, as Christians, think about the ethics of free speech and censorship in our always online 21st century world? Our previous episode on conspiracy theories and misinformation online about coronavirus - https://shows.acast.com/matters-of-life-and-death/episodes/coronavirus-misinformationResearch on the spread of false and true news online, published in Science - https://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1146'Information Overload Helps Fake News Spread, and Social Media Knows It', published in Scientific American - https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/information-overload-helps-fake-news-spread-and-social-media-knows-it/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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. And this confusion and fear have surged in recent weeks as the first covid vaccines have begun to be rolled out. But why have so many people, including many in the church, fallen for untruths about coronavirus? Where has all our trust – in government, in science, even in doctors – gone? How can we steer a clear path through the toxic brew of lies and misinformation swamping the internet and social media? Read the World Health Organisation's guide to navigating the 'infodemic' and verifying online information here: who.int/news-room/spotlight/let-s-flatten-the-infodemic-curve See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The first coronavirus vaccine jabs have already gone into the arms of people here in the UK, as Britain this week became the first country in the world to actually deploy a vaccine which had completed all its clinical trials and been signed off by the regulator. But there remain lots of questions about the vaccine – how has it been made so fast, can we be sure it is safe, who should get it first, and can Christians be given it without compromising on their religious convictions? Listen to previous episodes on covid vaccines here:Part 1 - https://shows.acast.com/matters-of-life-and-death/episodes/coronavirus-vaccinesPart 2 - https://shows.acast.com/matters-of-life-and-death/episodes/coronavirus-vaccines-part-2Read John's article on vaccines and Christian ethics here - https://johnwyatt.com/2020/10/08/article-coronavirus-vaccines-and-christian-ethics/ At the bottom is a document which has more detailed information on which particular vaccines have used which particular cell lines which may have ethical concerns, produced by the pro-life research centre the Charlotte Lozier Institute. John has also put together a document on his website tackling some of the frequently asked questions about the vaccine - https://johnwyatt.com/2020/12/21/faq-coronavirus-vaccines-frequently-asked-questions/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The second coronavirus lockdown started here in the UK on 5 November and is due to last the rest of the month. Unlike the first time round in the spring, we aren’t going into this with our eyes closed – we know the lockdown will cause immense economic damage, as well as impacting mental and even physical health. Is this crude, blunt instrument really the best way to tackle the second wave of the covid pandemic? What does the Christian ethic have to say about how to balance the goods of saving lives versus protecting livelihoods? Is there actually any alternative? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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. So we decided to respond to their question and thoughts with a special bonus episode looking over this issue and other developments in coronavirus vaccines since. You will probably want to listen to the main episode on vaccines first here: https://shows.acast.com/matters-of-life-and-death/episodes/coronavirus-vaccinesAnd we subsequently made a third vaccines episode - https://shows.acast.com/matters-of-life-and-death/episodes/coronavirus-vaccines-part-3John has also put together a document on his website tackling some of the frequently asked questions about the vaccine - https://johnwyatt.com/2020/12/21/faq-coronavirus-vaccines-frequently-asked-questions/We're really interested in hearing more questions and comments from you - if you have something you would like us to discuss or respond to, please email mattersoflifeanddeathpodcast@gmail.com. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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. The delivery of a vaccine is seen by many as the silver bullet which could end the pandemic for good. But they are more morally complex than we might at first assume. Join us as we sift through the ethical questions around clinical trials, testing vaccines on humans, how they can be most equitably distributed, and even what material they are made with. John's article on the ethics of vaccines, which includes a discussion of the rights and wrongs of using tissue from aborted fetuses to develop vaccines, can be found here: https://johnwyatt.com/2020/10/08/article-coronavirus-vaccines-and-christian-ethics/He has also put together a document on his website tackling some of the frequently asked questions about the vaccine - https://johnwyatt.com/2020/12/21/faq-coronavirus-vaccines-frequently-asked-questions/You can listen to the next two episodes which also discuss vaccines here:Part 2 - https://shows.acast.com/matters-of-life-and-death/episodes/coronavirus-vaccines-part-2Part 3 - https://shows.acast.com/matters-of-life-and-death/episodes/coronavirus-vaccines-part-3 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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. People are afraid of the virus, and understandably so after months of the government stoking our anxiety to get us to stay at home while the media pumps grim death statistics into our screens on a daily basis. Is it healthy or wise to remain in this state of anxiety and fearfulness? How can we see God at work during times of mental health crisis and perpetual anxiety about death? And how can we foster an appropriate, grounded but Christlike hopefulness in its place? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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. Are the major American tech companies are emerging from the crisis stronger than ever? Will coronavirus accelerate the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics in healthcare? And has the modernist pro-science movement struck a lasting blow in the battle of ideas against the anti-expert populists?You can listen to the first episode on coronavirus and technology here: https://shows.acast.com/matters-of-life-and-death/episodes/coronavirus-technology-part-1 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
One of the perhaps unexpected results of the coronavirus pandemic is how it has thrown up some fascinating debates about technology. Many countries, including the UK, have been grappling with if and how they could use Bluetooth apps to try and trace the spread of the virus. Around the world other nations have used the ubiquity of smartphones to quarantine and control potentially infected people, while poorer states have seen their efforts hindered by a critical lack of healthcare tech. In this episode of Matters of Life and Death, we delve into some of these discussions and try and look forward to see what impact the pandemic may have on our increasingly digital lives in the future. Listen to the second part of our conversation on covid and technology here - https://shows.acast.com/matters-of-life-and-death See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
For many years death has been described as perhaps the final taboo in British society. 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 which has already claimed over 50,000 British lives in various ways, is that changing? And how as Christians can we be modelling a different way to approach death – and serve those in their final days – particularly in these stressful and frightening times? In this episode of Matters of Life and Death we resolutely break the taboo and talk about death, about dying and about spiritual care. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Protect the NHS. It has been one of the key government slogans, designed to inspire us to stay with the lockdown so that hospitals do not get overwhelmed by coronavirus patients and services collapse under the pressure. In today's episode we examine what life in the NHS has been like during the Covid-19 crisis. Has it been protected? Has morale held up? What can the church do to support Christian medics? Is our relentless focus on PPE and self-protection having unintended consequences for the idea of medicine as a sacrificial vocation? And what lessons for the longer term future of our health service should we as Christians be learning during this time? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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? Triage, the practice of working out who to care for first, has been around in medicine for centuries but the concept has acquired a fresh intensity during the Covid-19 pandemic, when it was realistically feared the NHS might have significantly more patients sick with the virus than it had capacity. In this episode we discuss if it is ever right to pick between patients like this, and if so what methods might be wise - and which are ethically dubious. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Our third episode on coronavirus zooms in to focus on how Christians should be thinking and acting during the pandemic. We ask how we might square this global crisis with our belief in a sovereign and loving God and if we should look for anything good to come out of it. And what shape will our faith be in when all this finally comes to an end and something like normal life resumes?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this second episode in our series on coronavirus, we explore how Covid-19 is different to plagues in the past. Building on what we learned about how Christians in generations before us responded to similar crises, how should we be navigating these unprecedented times? What does it mean for followers of Jesus to be experiencing the very first pandemic of the information age? What trends are already emerging during the first few weeks of lockdown which we need to understand, or even challenge? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Our first ever episode of Matters of Life and Death kicks off a short series on coronavirus. Today we take a lightning tour through the history of the church, going all the way back to the Roman Empire, to try and see how Christians have responded to times of plague in the past. What might we have to learn by looking back at times when the world was, as today, convulsed by a devastating virus? Is there wisdom to glean from the way believers in previous generations have acted during pandemics? And why might we interpret these moments of crisis differently today? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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