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Why is there something rather than nothing? Alex O Connor & Cameron Bertuzzi debate the Argument from Contingency

In the first of two philosophical ‘deep dive’ shows debating famous ‘cosmological’ arguments for God, YouTube atheist Alex O Connor (aka Cosmic Skeptic) debates apologist Cameron Bertuzzi of Capturing Christianity. They discuss the argument from contingency and whether the existence of the universe is contingent on a necessary being - God. For a video of today’s show on the Cosmic Skeptic channel https://www.youtube.com/user/alexjoconnor For Cameron Bertuzzi:...


Theistic evolution, biology and purpose – Denis Alexander & Perry Marshall (plus Dominic Done)

Dr Denis Alexander is a notable British proponent of theistic evolution – the view that Christianity and Darwinian evolution are perfectly compatible. Many atheist biologists claim that evolution has disproved the idea of purpose in biology. Denis’ new book ‘Is There Purpose in Biology? The cost of existence and the God of love’ sets out how he believes Christians can still discern God’s purposes in evolutionary history. Denis is joined in discussion by Perry Marshall, author of...


Faitheism: Why can’t atheists and Christians get along? Krish Kandiah & Terry Sanderson

Krish Kandiah’s new book ‘Faitheism: Why Christians and Atheists have more in common than you think’, aims to elevate the conversation between both sides. Krish is joined by Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society as they discuss the good, bad and ugly of how Christians and atheist engage each other. For Faitheism: https://www.hodder.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9781473648951 For the National Secular Society: https://www.secularism.org.uk/ For Big Conversation videos, updates...


NT Wright and Tom Holland: How St Paul changed the world

Renowned New Testament scholar NT (Tom) Wright returns to Unbelievable? to talk about his latest book Paul: A Biography (SPCK). Joining Wright is historical writer Tom Holland, author of popular books on the rise and fall of the Roman empire such as Rubicon and Dynasty, Tom Wright unpacks the life, character and untold story of Paul. Tom Holland explains why as an agnostic, he is nevertheless convinced of the massive cultural significance of Paul’s message in Roman culture and how it...


Leaving Islam: A Christian and atheist tell their stories. Abdu Murray & Aliyah Saleem

Aliyah Saleem was a Muslim at one time but is now an atheist. She tells her story and those of other former Muslims in ‘Leaving Faith Behind’. Abdu Murray, North America director of RZIM, was a Muslim but converted to Christianity. He engages with Aliyah on why they both left Islam but came to different conclusions about faith. For Aliyah Saleem: http://dltbooks.com/titles/2224-9780232533644-leaving-faith-behind For Abdu Murray: https://www.abdumurray.com/ For Big Conversation videos,...


Derren Brown & Rev Richard Coles: Can we have meaning without God?

In the third Big Conversation episode, Justin is joined by illusionist Derren Brown and popstar-turned-media-priest Rev Richard Coles. In a wide-ranging conversation they tell their respective stories of moving away from and towards Christian faith. Drawing on his book Happy: Why more or less everything is absolutely fine, Derren makes the case for living a fulfilled life as an atheist in the absence of God. Richard draws from his experience of ‘meeting the resurrected Christ’ as they...


Justin Brierley vs atheist David Smalley on Dogma Debate

In a podcast special Justin goes head to head with atheist podcast host David Smalley debating Justin’s arguments for Christianity in his book “Unbelievable? Why after, ten years of talking with atheists, I’m still a Christian”. They debate suffering, the moral argument and the evidence for the resurrection in a wide ranging discussion of over 2.5 hrs. For Dogma Debate: https://www.davidcsmalley.com/ Get signed copies of Unbelievable? the book and audiobook:...


Steven Pinker vs Nick Spencer: Have science, reason & humanism replaced faith?

In the second Big Conversation episode, Justin is joined by Harvard professor of psychology Steven Pinker and Nick Spencer of Christian think-tank Theos. They debate the future of humanity in relation to Pinker’s recent book ‘Enlightenment Now’, addressing his claim that science, reason and humanism are the drivers of progress in the world, rather than religion. Nick Spencer argues that science and enlightenment values are firmly tied to the West’s Judeo-Christian tradition. The Big...


Is there scientific evidence for Old Testament miracles? Colin Humphreys & Bob Price

Sir Colin Humphreys is a Cambridge scientist with an interest in Biblical studies. His book ‘The Miracles of Exodus: A Scientist’s Discovery of the Extraordinary Natural Causes of the Biblical Stories’ makes the case that events like the parting of the Red Sea, the stopping of the Jordan river and the sun standing still in Joshua all have a basis in scientific facts and natural causes. The miracle is in the timing of the events by God. Sceptical Bible scholar Bob Price debates Humphreys...


Where did the laws of nature come from? Hugh Ross vs Peter Atkins

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 Cosmos and the Creator’ and explains why he believes the...


Highlights from #JustAsk: Rob Parsons, Glen Scrivener, Sharon Dirckx, Ken Samples & more

Justin presents selected highlights from last weekend’s Unbelievable? The Conference 2018 #JustAsk. Includes Glen Scrivener’s spoken word ‘Given’, Rob Parsons on keeping the faith when life is tough, Sharon Dirckx on why the world is broken, Andy Bannister on Bible reliability, Ken Samples on the divine claims of Jesus and excerpts from the panel Q&A. Pre-order the Unbelievable? Conference 2018 DVD/CD or Digital Download http://www.premier.org.uk/shop Get updates from Unbelievable’s Big...


Important announcement! The Big Conversation is coming.

Justin presents a mid-week bonus podcast to make an important announcement about the forthcoming Big Conversation series. The Big Conversation is a new series of video conversations on science, faith, philosophy and what it means to be human featuring leading atheist voices. Be the first to watch, listen, download and get the newsletter at http://www.thebigconversation.show Be part of the Unbelievable? Live recording in London on Wed 18 July...


Is John’s Gospel historically accurate? Lydia McGrew & Craig Evans debate

Christian philosopher Lydia McGrew has recently accused evangelical scholars such as Mike Licona and Craig Evans, of undermining the historical reliability of John’s gospel. She cites Evans’ interactions with Bart Ehrman in debate as giving away too much ground to a sceptical view. New Testament scholar Craig Evans defends his view that John’s gospel is historically reliable but also includes theological development by the Johannine community who knew Jesus’ teaching. Also, at the end of...


Is Christianity sexist? Paula Gooder & Francesca Stavrakopoulou

New Testament scholar Paula Gooder joins Justin to talk about her new book ‘Phoebe: A Story’ a fictional account of the life of the woman that St Paul entrusted with delivering his letter to the Romans. But have the ensuing centuries lost sight of the role of women such as Phoebe in the early church? Sceptical Bible scholar Francesca Stavrakopoulou joins Paula to discuss whether Christianity is inherently patriarchal and sexist. They debate passages such as 1 Timothy 2: 11-12 and how much...


How Can I Believe? John Cottingham & Richard Norman

Christian guest John Cottingham is a philosopher whose new book ‘How Can I Believe?’ offers advice on why belief in God can make sense and the human quest for the transcendent. Atheist philosopher Richard Norman engages with John’s case for belief, and responds to the question: ‘What would it take for an atheist to believe?’ Richard is the editor of the book ‘Religion and Atheism: Beyond the Divide’. For John Cottingham https://spckpublishing.co.uk/how-can-i-believe/ For Richard Norman...


Why would a good God allow evil? Sharon Dirckx & Hannah Timson

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. For Sharon Dirckx http://rzim.org/bio/sharon-dirckx/ For Hannah Timson...


Jordan Peterson, William Lane Craig & Rebecca Goldstein debate the meaning of life. A Podcast special.

A recent dialogue event at Wycliffe College, Canada saw Jordan B Peterson, Rebecca Goldstein and William Lane Craig in conversation on the question “Is there meaning to life?”. In this podcast-only edition of the show Justin introduces the event. One of the participants, Jordan B Peterson, has become an increasingly influential voice and will join Justin in person on Unbelievable? for the start of a series of special programmes called The Big Conversation in early June.


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

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...


Is death a tragedy for atheists, is resurrection wishful thinking for Christians? Glen Scrivener & Michael Collett

In this Easter weekend edition of the show Justin hosts a dialogue between evangelist Glen Scrivener (who is speaking at Unbelievable? 2018) and atheist journalist Michael Collett. Glen’s recent book ‘Divine Comedy, Human Tragedy: What is life?’ is an evangelistic book on why Christianity makes sense of the tragedy of death. Michael Collett, an ex-Christian and a fellow Aussie, discusses why as an atheist he believes life can have meaning even if death is the end, and why he can’t believe...


Does Calvinism excuse sinners and make God guilty? Guillaume Bignon & Paul Franks

Calvinist theology holds that everything is pre-ordained by God. Critics say that such a deterministic view makes God morally responsible for evil and means that sinners can’t be blamed for their wrongdoing – after all they were predestined to do it. Guilluame Bignon, a French convert to Christianity who is now a Calvinist philosopher/theologian, seeks to answer these questions in his new book Excusing Sinners and Blaming God: A Calvinist Assessment of Determinism, Moral Responsibility,...