Undeceptions with John Dickson

By Undeceptions Ltd

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Subscribers: 109
Reviews: 3

Ben
 Dec 10, 2020
Wide ranging content relevant to Christians and those exploring religion

Lara
 Oct 2, 2019
Easy to listen to and thought provoking.

Craig Owens
 Sep 30, 2019
Well worth listening to.

James
 Sep 17, 2019
I really enjoy this show. The flow was clear, the guests and host are insightful, and it's even a good length (especially if you want to share it).

Description

Every week on Undeceptions we’ll explore some aspect of life, faith, history, culture, or ethics that is either much misunderstood or mostly forgotten. With the help of people who know what they’re talking about, we’ll be trying to ‘undeceive ourselves’ and let the truth ‘out’.

Episode Date
Jesus Philosopher
3855

The cliche is: ‘faith’ is the antithesis of knowledge … of wisdom. 

And therefore “Christian philosophy” is an oxymoron, right?

Our guests today, though are professional philosophers and they reckon that, while Christians could do with a healthy dose of philosophy, so could sceptics. We all need to think deeply about what we believe, and why we believe it.

And if you think – as atheists like Sam Harris and many others do – that scepticism or atheism doesn’t involve any mere ‘beliefs’, well, you probably especially need to think this stuff through. 


This episode is sponsored by Zondervan’s 10th Anniversary edition of Seven Days that Divide the World by John Lennox.

For the full show notes, go to undeceptions.com.

Nov 28, 2021
Paulos Apostolos
3876

This episode was sponsored by Zondervan's new book Believing Philosophy by Dolores G. Morris.

OUR GUESTS

Douglas J. Moo is a New Testament scholar who, after teaching for more than twenty years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, has served as Blanchard Professor of New Testament at the Wheaton College Graduate School since 2000. His latest book is A Theology of Paul and His Letters.
 

Lynn H. Cohick is an American New Testament scholar and author. Since January 2021 she has been Provost, Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary.

For the full (and often rather extensive) show notes, head to Undeceptions.com.

Nov 21, 2021
Just War
3924

This episode is sponsored by Zondervan's new book Person of Interest: Why Jesus still matters in a world that rejects the Bible by J. Warner Wallace.

Meet Our Guests

  • Nigel Biggar: Regius Professor of Moral & Pastoral Theology, and Director of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, & Public Life, University of Oxford.
  • Andrew Hastie: Australian Federal Member for Canning and Assistant Minister for Defence. Former Officer, Australian Defence Force.
  • Mike Bird was one of our 'phone a friend' guests for this episode. He wrote The Story of God commentary for the Book of Romans for Zondervan and is a lecturer at Ridley College.
  • Jarrod McKenna was another of our lovely 'phone a friend' guests for this episode. He is an advocate for non-violence direct action.

For our full show notes and links to everything we mention in this episode, go to undeceptions.com.

Nov 14, 2021
Between Testaments
4609

This episode is sponsored by Zondervan's new book Why is there suffering? by Bethany Sollereder.

Download the transcript for this episode here.

Meet our Guest
The Rev Dr George Athas

George is Director of Research and Lecturer in Old Testament and Hebrew at Moore Theological College in Sydney.

Featured Music
Michael Levyis a composer for the lyre. His music is a blend of some original ancient melodies and some of his own creations. His arrangements for solo lyre are based on reconstructions of some of the incredibly rare, actual surviving written music of antiquity. We played two of these reconstructions in our episode, with permission: Ma Tovu and Kandel's Hora. You can find out more about Michael's work, and listen to more of his music at ancientlyre.com.

Yamma Ensemble is an Israeli world music group who have a beautiful love of the Hebrew language and ancient instruments. We played parts of their live recordings of Psalm 104 (see below) and also a track featuring the ancient Shofar, based on the Mi'mekomcha, a Jewish prayer. All music used with permission.

For our full show notes and links to everything we mention in this episode, go to undeceptions.com.

Nov 07, 2021
Outer Space
3129

Some would say that an ancient faith like Christianity won’t survive outer space -- especially as we explore further than we ever have before. 


This episode is sponsored by Zondervan's new book 'The Theology of Paul and His Letters' by Douglas J Moo.
 
For the full show notes, with links to everything we mention in this episode, go to undeceptions.com.

Oct 31, 2021
On Friendship
3470

Download the transcript for this episode here.

COMPETITION!
We’re celebrating our 500,000th download this month - half a million! And so, with the help of our major sponsor, Zondervan, we are giving away a book pack of five of Zondervan’s newest titles. We’ll throw in a copy of my new book Bullies and Saints AND an Undeceptions T-Shirt.

To WIN, all you have to do is leave us a review on Apple Podcasts (what used to be called iTunes), take a pic of the review and send it to us. Producer Kaley will pick the best-written review on October 25 (and I mean ‘best-written’ not necessarily most glowing). So be quick, you’ve got two weeks! 

LINKS

Oct 24, 2021
Chinese Jesus
3815

Download the transcript for this episode here.

COMPETITION!
We’re celebrating our 500,000th download this month - half a million! And so, with the help of our major sponsor, Zondervan, we are giving away a book pack of five of Zondervan’s newest titles. We’ll throw in a copy of my new book Bullies and Saints AND an Undeceptions T-Shirt.

To WIN, all you have to do is leave us a review on Apple Podcasts (what used to be called iTunes), take a pic of the review and send it to us. Producer Kaley will pick the best-written review on October 25 (and I mean ‘best-written’ not necessarily most glowing). So be quick, you’ve got two weeks! 

LINKS

Oct 17, 2021
Good Life
3775

COMPETITION!

We’re celebrating our 500,000th download this month - half a million! And so, with the help of our major sponsor, Zondervan, we are giving away a book pack of five of Zondervan’s newest titles. We’ll throw in a copy of my new book Bullies and Saints AND an Undeceptions T-Shirt. 

To WIN, all you have to do is leave us a review on Apple Podcasts (what used to be called iTunes), take a pic of the review and send it to Producer Kaley at kaley@undeceptions.com. We'll pick the best-written review on October 25 (and I mean ‘best-written’ not necessarily most glowing). So be quick, you’ve got two weeks! 

LINKS

Oct 10, 2021
Outback Christ
367
This Henry Lawson poem, though written in the Australian outback in the 19th Century, still captures what a lot of people see as wrong with Christianity and what they wish it was like.
Oct 03, 2021
Afghan Refugee
1245
Shabnam Safa was just 15 years old when she arrived in Australia as a refugee. As a young child, her family had fled war-torn Afghanistan to a refugee camp on the border of Pakistan where she grew up listening to stories of the terror of life under the Taliban. She spoke to John Dickson about her distress about the Taliban retaking control of Afghanistan and her fears for her home country. As so many of us watch from our lounge rooms, is there anything we can actually do to help those fleeing danger?
Sep 26, 2021
Intersectional Jesus
605

Author and highly sought-after speaker Sam Allberry talks us through 'intersectionality' and ponders the wisdom and boundaries of this way of bestowing moral authority.

"Just as those who stand at an intersection can see in more directions than those who don't, so too - according to this thinking - those at the intersection of multiple minority and victim groups have more insight to bring to society." 

Sep 19, 2021
Nine Eleven Single
1513

Today is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a series of coordinated terrorist strikes in the US that killed almost 3000 people and changed the world forever.  

Our guest for this single, Hans Kunnen, was one of several Australians in New York that day and has told his story many times over the last 20 years. But what struck us about his story was not how close he was to the action, or how he described the flames, the smoke, the hurtling bodies.

It is how he talks about the kindness of a stranger - the hope amidst the chaos of what was the most traumatic day of his life.

Sep 10, 2021
The Terror Single
493

On the anniversary of the France's Reign of Terror, John asks where we got the idea that three centuries of the Spanish Inquisition represented the height of human cruelty.

In any objective history of human violence it would hardly rate a mention, especially when it stands alongside the terrors of the French Revolution.

Sep 06, 2021
Pro Life
4469

** We’re talking about abortion in this episode, and occasionally we mention sexual abuse and violence. Nothing graphic, we promise. But some listeners may find what follows distressing. Be safe. **

We're weighing up the arguments of the Pro Choice and Pro Life movements. Perhaps we can convince you that the case against abortion - the pro-life case - isn’t as dumb and mean as it's often portrayed to be, and nor does it depend on religious dogma.


This episode is sponsored by Zondervan's new book The Global Church: The First Eight Centuries by Donald Fairbairn.


LINKS

Aug 15, 2021
Ask Anything IV
3688

It's this season's Q&A episode, where listeners get a chance to ask John Dickson their burning questions. 


This episode is sponsored by Seven Things I Wish Christians Knew About the Bible by Michael F Bird, a new book published by Zondervan.

QUESTIONS

  1. Is all “music” at its best good or beautiful and at worst simply neutral; or can some “music” be “bad”, “evil” or “ungodly”? (Check out our two episodes on music from Season 3: Creation's Music and Discordant Religion).

  2. Are there dangers in pop music we might steer our children away from for example? 

  3. Regarding the 7 Deadly Sins: what's their origin and their accuracy in terms of Jesus' teaching and Christian living? 

  4. If I have a conversation with a person who is sceptical of Christianity about the issue of race, I know they're going to bring up times when God ordered the wiping out of a city or a whole race (like when Israel wiped out the Amalekites in the book of 1 Samuel) as evidence that the Bible is racist. What should I say? (Check out our last episode of Season 3, Racist Church)

  5. Why were the Jews God's chosen people? According to a lot of Christian principles (at least the ones I was brought up with) people who were alive before Jesus but didn't know the Hebrew god would go to Hell for not knowing him. So, why did God choose the Jews? Why condemn the people who lived at the same time, but in other parts of the world i.e the Australian Indigenous peoples?

  6. A listener comment that we made into a question: I thought that you gave the Black Lives Matter organisation a very soft run in this podcast. It is not anywhere close to a Christ-centred organisation. Their website, until recently, noted that they were seeking to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement” and “foster a queer affirming network” and “do the work to dismantle cisgender privilege”. Did you go too soft on this whole ‘Black Lives Matter’ thing on the Racist Church episode?
     
  7. Andrew says he listened to that version of ‘Little Things’ by Ziggy Ramo and Paul Kelly, which tells the tragic story that Australia’s colonisation starts with the Pope’s ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ in 1493, which Captain Cook later used to claim Australia as ‘Terra Nullius’ - nobody’s land. He says he’s looked into the doctrine of discovery and it’s just terrible. Why did the church make such a decree?
     
  8. What do you think about the idea of machines being “persons.” (Check out our two episodes on artificial intelligence: Artificial Intelligence and Homo Deus)

  9. There seems to be a slew of so-called prophets coming out of the woodwork in the USA prophesying all sorts of messages especially about the political scene. What does the Bible say about this?

  10. How does one explain the Egyptian culture and the God's that they believed in and the afterlife they believed in? Was there any part of the God that we worship today? Was he the same god then? 

  11. Could the God of the Jews be the God of other faiths? Could other Faiths be just interpreting the same God in different ways? I've heard stories of other cultures around the world who hadn't been exposed to Christianity having similar principles and creation stories to that of the Bible. Could God have been revealing himself to them?

  12. I was listening recently to a podcast 'People I Mostly Admire' hosted by Freakonomics author Steven Levitt interviewing Magician Joshua Jay. They speculate whether Jesus' miracles were simply tricks and they claim tricksters at the time were doing exactly the same thing, obviously inferring Jesus was just kind of a trickster. I have never heard this suggestion before and I wondered if you could fact check it based on your study of Jesus' times. 

  13. Did the 100 Pages episode mention the talking donkey? How do you tackle weird and wacky thing in the Bible?

  14. At the end of the Gospel of Mark, Mark describes how the women went away and said nothing to anyone. But other gospels say they went away and told people. What can we say about this contradiction in the Bible? (Check out our episode Bible Mistakes for more)

  15. The podcast often proudly cites non-believing references. I value this approach but is there a weight behind all these people who know scripture so well but don't believe? 
Aug 08, 2021
Everyday Sacred
3536

Just when you imagine Christians are all so heavenly minded they’re of no earthly use … the Bible itself brings us back to the earth. That’s where the action is. In fact, the final great scene of the Bible doesn’t have us all floating up to heaven. It has heaven coming down to earth. 


Down … to … earth. There’s a lot in that phrase. 


As far as religions go, Christianity is arguably the most down-to-earth perspective you could imagine. 


LINKS

Aug 01, 2021
The Exodus
3827

The parting of the red sea is legendary today … and most people treat it as just that … legend.

Like many things in the Bible, the exodus from Egypt (recorded in the book Old Testament book of Exodus) is looked on with great scepticism by secular scholars - and some Christian scholars even.


It’s understandable. 


The existence of Moses, mighty prophet and prince of Egypt. The ten plagues that devastated that ancient civilisation. The blood of the passover lamb protecting the houses of Israel from the plagues. And, of course, the deliverance of the people of Israel en mass from the slavery in Egypt.


They all lack direct historical evidence outside the Bible. 


So it’s just made up, right? 


Well, sort of … not really! 


LINKS

LISTEN

Jul 25, 2021
Christian Revolution
3241

We all know Christianity thrives on ignorance, sunk us all into the dark ages, and has resisted human rights and equality for most of its 1500 year reign.


What have the Christians ever done for us?


Our guest today - who says he’s not a believing Christian - reckons many of us have things completely back to front. It’s Christianity, he insists, that gave us many of the secular humanitarian ideals we hold so dear.


LINKS

Jul 18, 2021
The best of Remembering Women
3509

John Dickson is taking a bit of a break to grieve the passing of his friend, Ben Shaw. So, in the interim, Producer Kaley and Director Mark have decided to choose their favourite Undeceptions episodes to drop into your podcast feed for two weeks. 

Week number two is brought to you by Director Mark. He has chosen to re-share the Remembering Women episode. John visits Dr. Lynne Cohick to chat about how early Christians valued and celebrated women in the first centuries of the church. 

Director Mark recommends it because unveils a side of feminine history he'd missed, gets us outdoors again in the middle of an Australian lockdown, and includes a whole gamut of contributions, including Producer Kaley's favourite music.

Jul 11, 2021
The best of Old Papers
2505

John Dickson is taking a bit of a break to grieve the passing of his friend, Ben Shaw. So, in the interim, Producer Kaley and Director Mark have decided to choose their favourite Undeceptions episodes to drop into your podcast feed in the next two weeks. 

Producer Kaley's favourite is the very first episode of Undeceptions, called ‘Old Papers’. It harks back to a time when we were allowed to travel overseas, and John visited the University of Michigan’s Papyrology department to get his hands on some of the earliest manuscripts we have for the New Testament. 

Producer Kaley reckons it’s what Undeceptions does best: it’s historical, it’s hands-on and it laid the groundwork for what this podcast wants to sound like - friendly and factual, with a little nerdy excitement thrown in. 

Jul 04, 2021
Facing Death Single
793

Ben Shaw and John Dickson were friends since childhood, became Christians together in their teens, formed a rock and roll band in their 20s, and went on to study theology and minister in the fields God opened up to them.

The death of Ben Shaw has provided John with an opportunity to reflect on the sort of book his best friend felt was worth using his last months to write, and the spiritual lessons he has learned from decades of standing beside him.

Jun 27, 2021
Unhealthy Anger Single
688

John Dickson invites solicitor and social commentator Stephanie Kate Judd to offer an opinion on the sexism that simultaneously abuses and silences women. 

Outrage, she says, is an appropriate response to significant wrongdoing, but unchecked rage can corrode the very hearts that feel that injustice most keenly.

Instead, Stephanie suggests a way in which we can confront a problem but still keep our anger healthy.

Jun 20, 2021
Teenage Jesus
2544

Jesus was once a teenage boy, right? Was he a rascal? Who did he hang out with? Was he considered the ancient equivalent of a jock, a cool kid, a nerd, or something else?


And how on earth did he get through the normal teenage years of angst and still be … the perfect incarnation of God?


There’s a bit of speculation about teenage Jesus. And we promise to cover all the evidence for it in this episode.


LINKS 

Jun 13, 2021
Big Porn
3543

For every voice decrying the evils of pornography, there’s another that says it’s healthy, part of our freedom of expression, “sex positive”! So, which is it? 

LINKS

I know some muddleheaded Christians have talked as if Christianity thought that sex, or the body, or pleasure, were bad in themselves. But they were wrong. Christianity is almost the only one of the great religions which thoroughly approves of the body—which believes that matter is good, that God himself once took on a human body, that some kind of body is going to be given to us even in heaven and is going to be an essential part of our happiness, our beauty and our energy. 

Christianity has glorified marriage more than any other religion: and nearly all the greatest love poetry in the world has been produced by Christians. If anyone says that sex, in itself, is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once … There is nothing to be ashamed of in enjoying your food: there would be everything to be ashamed of if half the world made food the main interest of their lives and spent their time looking at pictures of food and dribbling and smacking their lips. 

I do not say that you and I are individually responsible for the present situation. Our ancestors have handed over to us organisms which are warped in this respect: and we grow up surrounded by propaganda in favour of unchastity. There are people who want to keep our sex instinct inflamed in order to make money out of us. Because, of course, a man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales-resistance. God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. HarperCollins, 1997, 81-82)

Jun 06, 2021
God's War II
2672

This is the second part of our two-part series on the Crusades. For Part One, click here.

A brutal slaughter at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem marked the end of the first crusade. The Crusaders had recaptured Jerusalem and the Holy Lands. They had regained control and care of The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, probably medieval Christianity’s most sacred site, built over what was believed to be Jesus’ empty tomb. 

Their job was done and most of the crusaders packed up and went home, bolstered in their belief that God had been with them and seized their victory. Job done! 


So, why the need for a 2nd Crusade? Or a 3rd, 4th or 5th for that matter? 


LINKS 

May 30, 2021
God's War I
2668

This is the first of a two part episode on The Crusades.
 

Over nine hundred years after the launch of the first Crusade, world leaders are still invoking their memory to explain ongoing conflict. But how plausible is that?


Chances are, whether you're a Christian or a skeptic, what you think you know about the Crusades is wrong. Or so says our guest for this episode.


What were the Crusades? How did they start? What did they achieve? Why did they stop? 


And does their shadow really fall over modern tensions between the West and Muslim lands?


LINKS

May 23, 2021
Religious Freedom
3555

LINKS

May 16, 2021
Guilty Conscience
3535

Guilt is a big topic - there is so much to say. Like the feeling of guilt itself, it is layered. 


We deal with guilt on an individual level and on a societal one. 


“Guilt is a religious problem which interests theologians, a social problem which interests sociologists and a psychological problem which interests psychologists,” wrote psychotherapist and theologian, Paul Tournier, in his book Guilt and Grace. 


People sometimes speak of  ‘religious guilt’ or ‘Catholic guilt’ and it’s almost always used negatively. The assumption is that if you are religious, you are dealing with much more guilt than the regular person, and certainly more than is healthy!


But maybe guilt is actually good? 


And maybe religion - Christianity in particular - is the maestro of listening to, directing, and silencing the guilt we experience in our lives. 


LINKS

"A culture of victimhood is one characterized by concern with status and sensitivity to slight combined with a heavy reliance on third parties. People are intolerant of insults, even if unintentional, and react by bringing them to the attention of authorities or to the public at large. People increasingly demand help from others, and advertise their oppression as evidence that they deserve respect and assistance. This only increases the incentive to publicize grievances, and it means aggrieved parties are especially likely to highlight their identity as victims, emphasizing their own suffering and innocence."

May 09, 2021
Mental Health
2709

Perhaps you’ve heard it before - religion is bad for your mental health. It triggers feelings of guilt, self-loathing and bigotry. 


But, actually, there are many ways in which the opposite is true. Karen Pang's story is testament to that, which you'll hear in this episode.


There’s also a growing body of research - authoritative, real-life, peer-reviewed research - that reports a significant benefit to wellbeing if you are religious. 


That’s right. You are more healthy if you are religious.


Do you need help? 

LINKS

Almighty God,
who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ
have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:
grant that, as by your grace going before us
you put into our minds good desires,
so by your continual help
we may bring them to good effect;
through Jesus Christ our risen Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

May 02, 2021
Unknown Soldier Single
628

It is the day after ANZAC Day, that occasion when Australians and New Zealanders commemorate those who died in the defence of our country. 

At a time like this, it is worth considering the inscription bourne by many military tombstones across the world - 'Unknown Soldier - Known Unto God'.

This is not just a way of saying, "We don't know who he is; I guess God does." It has a profound meaning about the peculiar way in which God knows His creatures.

Apr 25, 2021
The Troubles Single
706

Critics of Christianity have often pointed to The Troubles in Northern Ireland as proof that, "Religion ruins everything."

But how accurate is the statement? How accurate is it to even label The Troubles a religious conflict?

John Dickson shares a chapter of his upcoming book, Bullies And Saints, on how the Troubles got started and how Christianity helped to bring them to an end.

Click here to
order a copy of John Dickson's Bullies and Saints.

Apr 18, 2021
Western Fundamentalism Single
870

Gordon Menzies advised the federal government on the deregulation of the Australian dollar, underlining his credentials when it came to liberalism.

However, his new book titled 'Western Fundamentalism' suggests a more conservative way of seeing the world.

He tells John Dickson, though, that a Christian is capable of rejecting definitions of both left and right to forge a distinctly different path.

Apr 11, 2021
American Soul Single
576

Dr. Laurel Moffatt rejoins the Undeceptions team to consider the state of the American soul.

Researchers have revealed that this nation of the bold and the free is now united more by the things that its citizens hate than those they love.

Is there any way out of this emotional and moral quagmire? Dr. Moffatt thinks so.

Apr 04, 2021
Still Cancer Single
1111

How do you face the rapidly approaching end of a battle with cancer?

In Series 2, Episode 13 of Undeceptions, John Dickson met up with his friend Ben Shaw to discuss his recent diagnosis of that dreaded disease.

The It's Cancer episode raised serious questions about what place pain has in a world created by a good God.

Now, in the run-up to Easter, John returns to ask Ben if the call to face cancer has brought on new spiritual insights.

Mar 28, 2021
Racist Church
3716

Some would argue that Christianity itself is racist. Given the sweep of history, this is a charge that has to be confronted. 


So we’re going to speak to a couple of people who, despite all the things the church has done wrong -- and continues to do wrong -- and despite all the things the church should be doing but just isn’t - still see Christ as Lord. They are still part of the church. They still think Christianity is beautiful, even if parts of the church are not. 


You as listeners - whether you believe or not - are going to have to be the judges here. 


This is not an episode in which I feel competent to lecture anyone. 


I don’t know what it’s like to be a minority. That’s why we’re speaking to people today who do know. 


LINKS

More on Australia’s Aboriginal history

Here's the alternate view on racism in America

Undeceptions T-Shirts are here! Click here to get yours now. 

Jan 10, 2021
100 Pages
4008

Perhaps you’re sceptical, perhaps you’re just undecided - our challenge for you for 2021 is: read at least 100 pages of the Bible. 

This book has shaped much of our world. It would be great to think that you’ve got your head around at least 100 pages, as an adult, with all your grownup questions activated. 

Yes, the Bible is weird. It’s got wars, bizarre laws, talking snakes, perhaps even a unicorn or two, slavery, misogyny, and much more. But there is way to read this stuff, and there’s a way not to.

And we reckon today’s guest can help us with both, and make 2021 TO ETOS TES BIBLOU, the year of the Bible.


This episode is brought to you by Zondervan Academic’s new book How to Fight Racism by Jemar Tisby.


LINKS

"Among Australian creatives, too, literary lights such as Patrick White, Elizabeth Jolley, Tim Winton, Helen Garner and Christos Tsiolkas all make powerful use of biblical narratives and imagery. Songwriters from Nick Cave to the late Yolngu star Gurrumul have drawn on the scriptures in their lyrics.


"Biblical stories and symbols have also inspired visual artists such as Grace Cossington Smith, Arthur Boyd and Margaret Preston. Reg Mombassa’s popular creation, “Australian Jesus”, offers a subversive take on the gospels.


"Each of these Australians has found the Bible an enlarging influence on the imagination. Audiences can easily miss key elements of their work without a degree of biblical literacy."

Undeceptions Single series on slavery:


Swing low: The campaign against slavery was a shining jewel in the collection of social changes that swept the 19th century. However history shows us it was clearly not a secular viewpoint that set people free.

First Abolitionist: Gregory of Nyssa could have been the man who changed history, if history had listened to his theory on slavery.

Freeing Slaves: The early church adopted many approaches to rescuing people from the scourge of slavery and, when legal means failed, its members were ready to risk themselves on slave raids.

Medieval Manumission:What would you be prepared to give in order to set a slave free? How much would it be worth to you? One medieval man gave everything he had, right down to the shirt off his back. 

Indigenous slaves: Was Australia built on slavery, or wasn't it? It depends very much on who you ask.


Make 2021 TO ETOS TES BIBLOU, ‘The Year of the Bible’


Take up John Dickson’s challenge of reading at least 100 pages of the Bible this year. Here’s his Top Ten Old and New Testament Bible passages to get you started. 


Here’s some links to translations John Dickson recommends: 

Learn more about Greg Koukl’s Never Read a Bible Verse which he says is his attempt to His “rescue believers from a superstitious way of reading their Bibles that causes silliness, confusion, and sometimes even disaster.”

Here’s an overview of the storyline of the Bible.

The visual was created by a church here in Sydney, based on a book by friend of the podcast, Vaughan Roberts, titled God’s Big Picture.

Undeceptions T-Shirts are coming really soon!
We've got top quality Ts in medium, large and x-large that will help you promote the show and do your own bit of undeceiving. Head to undeceptions.com later this week - they'll be ready for purchase soon. 

Jan 03, 2021
Ask Anything III
3712

You may not feel ready to experience heaven or hell quite yet but Undeceptions listeners certainly had a lot of questions about it! In this season’s Q&A episode, John Dickson attempts to answer at least some of the questions you’ve thrown at us this year. 


This episode is brought to you by Zondervan Academic’s How NOT to read the Bible by Dan Kimball 


LINKS

QUESTIONS 

  • Is the punishment of Hell proportional to our acts on Earth? 
  • Are there levels of Heaven? 
  • Why do we know so little about Heaven? 
  • What are we to think of God who is always present, even in the face of evil and abuse? 
  • Why is it considered Good News, if so many who don’t believe will end up in Hell? 
  • Do we lose our free will in heaven? 
  • Are demons real? 
  • Should Christians eat meat? 
  • Is there any benefit in reading the Apocrypha?
  • Even if I believed in God, why would I believe in the Christian God? What makes Jesus so special as opposed to, say, Islam?
  • Has the modern church tried to white-wash Jesus?
  • Is the church trying too hard in its attempts to persuade same-sex attracted church people to live holy lives rather than relying on God and the power of the gospel?
  • What should we do about the health, wealth and prosperity gospel? 


Extra questions John answered this season


Drew asks,

The highly regarded scholar David Bentley Hart’s somewhat recent translation of the New Testament translates the Greek work ‘aion’ [i-on] or ‘aionios’ [i-on-ios] to be the more temporal description of ‘of the Age’ rather than the traditional ‘eternal’.

This seemingly impacts the well-established Christian doctrines of heaven and hell. Is the claim of life eternal through Jesus now seriously up for debate?

Listen to John’s answer at undeceptions.com 

Follow up this question with some extra reading: 


Steve asks, 

I just listened to the first podcast - Old Papers. I had always thought Paul wrote Hebrews, lately my various pastors have suggested that, no, Paul did not write Hebrews. Hearing that Hebrews was in these old papers of Paul’s writings made me think,  I wonder what the answer is?

Listen to John’s answer at undeceptions.com

Dec 27, 2020
World's End
4092

Christianity has plenty to say about the future and what the end of the world might look like -- though some think it says a lot more than others.


Christians have, in fact, been accused of being obsessed with end times, so much so that they stop caring about the world they’re in right now. And sometimes that’s true. 


But apocalyptic Christians aren’t the only ones dwelling on all this. Plenty of us are more interested than ever - especially this year! - in how the world will end. The stories we tell ourselves in culture are becoming increasingly apocalyptic. 


Why is that? 


This episode is brought to you by our season sponsor Zondervan Academic, publishers of the Collected Essays of N.T. Wright.


LINKS

Movies and TV referenced in this episode

EXTRAS

Here’s John Dickson and Professor Bauckham’s discussion on ‘the Millennium’ in the Book of Revelation. Listen here. 


WIN! 


We’re giving away 20 copies of John's book, 666 And All That: The Truth about the End Times, which he co-wrote with Dr Greg Clarke. If you’d like to win a copy, you just need to be one of the first 20 new subscribers to the Undeceptions e-newsletter. So quick! Head to undeceptions.com, scroll down to the bottom of the homepage and subscribe now. We'll be in touch with the winners in the first week of January. 

Dec 20, 2020
Danger: Proselytising
3687

Proselytise: to convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.


Why are Christians such god-botherers? Is it possible to share your belief system with someone who doesn’t accept without being a jerk?

Many people today would have you believe that there is no context in which proselytising could be considered a good thing. 


This episode is supported by Zondervan's MasterLecture Series. 


LINKS

Want to send John Dickson a question? He loves them. Just click here to provide a query for our next Q and A show!


Undeceptions is part of the Eternity Podcast Network, an audio collection showcasing the seriously good news of faith today.

Dec 13, 2020
Homo Deus
2807

Transhumanism is the transformation of the human condition through sophisticated technologies that modify our physiology and intellect. 


This episode, we continue our conversation about Artificial Intelligence with Professor John Lennox, and Dr.s Vicky Lorrimar and Grenville Kent.


This episode is brought to you by series sponsor Zondervan Academic, publishers of How to talk about Jesus without being THAT guy by Sam Chan.


LINKS 


Movie and Television referenced in this episode: 

Want to send John Dickson a question? He loves them. Just click here to provide a query for our next Q and A show!

Undeceptions is part of the Eternity Podcast Network, an audio collection showcasing the seriously good news of faith today

Dec 06, 2020
Artificial Intelligence
2722

"I'm all for technology being used in a good sense. I often say to people, AI is like a knife, a very sharp knife. You can use it to operate with, or you can use it to kill people." -- Professor John Lennox 

Artificial Intelligence is the buzz phrase of the 21st century. 


For some, it’s a welcome step into a future that promises all manner of good. For others, AI is damaging at best and, at worst, a step towards our own destruction.


This episode, with the help of the great John Lennox, we ask the question: is Artificial Intelligence an under-estimated threat… or the saviour we’ve been waiting for?


This episode is brought to you by series sponsor Zondervan Academic, publishers of Telling a better story: how to talk about God in a skeptical age by Josh Chatraw.

LINKS 

All the movies referenced in this episode: 

Want to send John Dickson a question? He loves them. Just click here to provide a query for our next Q and A show!

Undeceptions is part of the Eternity Podcast Network, an audio collection showcasing the seriously good news of faith today.

Nov 29, 2020
Canon Fodder
3824

How did the New Testament actually come together? Some have argued that is a “chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents” that has been revised and ‘improved’ over centuries.

Others have argued it is a deeply political document, created to quell rebellions and placate a growing and agitated movement. 


Millions of people put their trust in the New Testament. It’s time to get to the bottom of how it was created. 


This episode of Undeceptions is brought to you by Zondervan Academic, publishers of 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity by John Lennox. 


LINKS

Want to send John Dickson a question? He loves them. Just click here to provide a query for our next Q and A show!

Undeceptions is part of the Eternity Podcast Network, an audio collection showcasing the seriously good news of faith today.

Nov 22, 2020
Childish God
3813

For years, people have argued that our minds’ natural default position is non-belief. Left to ourselves, we would never grow up thinking about God.

Religion is, therefore, an imposition on the susceptible minds of children. Some have suggested that teaching kids about God comes close to a form of brain washing.


Our guest for this episode, Justin Barrett, says that is actually getting harder to argue.


Research from the last 20 years indicates that thoughts about God aren’t by-products of American or Western culture. It’s not indoctrination. These thoughts are natural.


Believing that someone - not something - governs the world comes as easily to kids as curiosity, imagination and play. 


Special thanks to Zondervan Academic, our show sponsor, publishers of How NOT to read the Bible, by Dan Kimball.


LINKS

“Storytelling, for Pullman, is a way into our world—not out of it. He loves folktales and fairy tales for their clarity and everydayness; he loves William Blake; he loves what we might call the Luciferian or deity-defying side of John Milton. He even, in a cranky and rather beautiful way, loves Jesus. But he hates the bloody Church.

“You’ll pick this up quite quickly when you watch the first episode of HBO’s new dramatization of His Dark Materials. A body called the Magisterium holds a centuries-long dominion over the earthly realm. It spews doctrine; it crushes heresy; it circumscribes knowledge and inhibits discussion. Its priests are everywhere, like secret police. It’s also stealing children.”

"The church without a Savior is an empty shell, a vacuum that inevitably seeks power. And in His Dark Materials, the absence of Jesus is strikingly conspicuous even though he is never named. Pullman told Williams in 2004 that Jesus does not exist in the realm of his Magisterium, an acknowledgement that his church offers no redemption and is only an organization of human power. And in a world where the church controls the government, it is hardly a fantasy that the human authorities use religious manipulation to cement their control.

"The New Testament has a fair amount to say about structuring the church so that it supports the goal of pointing its people to Christ and it describes a church body with dispersed power. Without Christ at the head, the church is a slave to sin instead of proclaiming its purpose: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1)."

Want to send John Dickson a question? He loves them. Just click here to provide a query for our next Q and A show!

Undeceptions is part of the Eternity Podcast Network, an audio collection showcasing the seriously good news of faith today.

Nov 15, 2020
Discordant Religion
3404

In Episode 28 (Creation's Music) we spoke with Jeremy Begbie and Kirsty Beilharz about how music can point us to God. But what if it's music we just don't like? What about music that's genuinely bad. Or dissonant. What is the purpose of that type of music? Can music that's really hard to listen to still point us to the divine? 

Special thanks to Zondervan Academic, our show sponsor, publishers of How to Talk about Jesus (without being that guy) by Sam Chan.

LINKS: 

Want to send John Dickson a question? He loves them. Just click here to provide a query for our next Q and A show!

Undeceptions is part of the Eternity Podcast Network, an audio collection showcasing the seriously good news of faith today.

Nov 08, 2020
Creation's Music
3175

What is music and what is it about music that stirs the human soul?


Is it just a series of sound waves producing neurological responses … or could music be - as so many ancients believed - a signal from God?


Join us for this episode as we take a look at the enduring love affair between music and the human heart. 


Special thanks to Zondervan Academic, our show sponsor, publishers of Evangelical Theology by Michael F Bird.


LINKS: 

Want to send John Dickson a question? He loves them. Just click here to provide a query for our next Q and A show!

Undeceptions is part of the Eternity Podcast Network, an audio collection showcasing the seriously good news of faith today.

Nov 01, 2020
Good Earth
3318

Whether you’re a believer or doubter in Christianity, this episode is really more about whether you’re a ‘believer’ or ‘doubter’ in climate change … and the things that often lie behind such beliefs (hint: faith is just one factor!) 


But, if you listen to Katharine, climate change shouldn’t be about belief anymore. It’s real. It’s happening. The question now is, what can we do about it? 

Special thanks to Zondervan Academic, our show sponsor, publishers of How To Fight Racism by Jemar Tisby.


LINKS

Want to send John Dickson a question? He loves them. Just click here to provide a query for our next Q and A show!

Undeceptions is part of the Eternity Podcast Network, an audio collection showcasing the seriously good news of faith today.

Oct 25, 2020
Bible Mistakes
3225

In the first episode of our third season, we're taking a close look at the New Testament - the second part of the Bible. Many scholars have pointed out historical inaccuracies in the gospels, or inconsistencies between the gospels that would surely call into question their reliability as sources for the historical Jesus. Some have suggested that the gospels weren't actually written by who we think they were written by. Or claim that many of the letters written by Paul that appear in the Bible weren't penned by Paul at all. 

Professor Craig Blomberg has spent a lifetime digging around these 'Bible mistakes'. And he's not convinced that they are, in fact, mistakes. 

LINKS

Want to send John Dickson a question? He loves them. Just click here to provide a query for our next Q and A show!


Undeceptions is part of the Eternity Podcast Network, an audio collection showcasing the seriously good news of faith today.

Oct 19, 2020
Introducing Season 3 of Undeceptions
290
We're back with a new season of Undeceptions. Join us as we chase down facts and explore the best arguments, to explode some of the myths about history, science, psychology, and the good life … and how it all relates to the Christian faith. This season, we're talking climate change, public health, why belief in God is natural, how music points to the divine, mistakes in the Bible, and … the end of the world.
Oct 14, 2020
Tax Free Single
734

John Dickson takes a deep dive into the murky world of church finances to discover the pagan ruler responsible for granting Christian congregations their special financial privileges.

When the most powerful man in the world becomes a believer, things are definitely going to change.

But what did this ruler actually have in mind when he gifted churches and clergy their tax free status? Press play to find out.

Oct 04, 2020
Confederate Statues Single
516

Dr. Laurel Moffatt makes a return to Undeceptions with a single aimed at making us consider the level of our indifference.

The Black Lives Matter campaign has focussed America's attention on statues that commemorate the great military leaders and politicians of the slave-supporting Confederacy. 

Should these symbols be taken down and our values rebuilt? Or would that leave a greater human failure still standing? 

Sep 27, 2020
Indigenous Slaves Single
592

Matt Andrews makes a guest appearance on Undeceptions, tackling the thorny topic of slavery in Australia.

Have Aboriginals been enslaved at various times in Australia's history? Certainly. Was that the intention of its British leaders? Certainly not. 

There are two key things to undeceived of here, but you'l have to click play to find out what they are.

Sep 20, 2020
Medieval Manumission Single
519

Eligius of Noyon was a French jewellery smith of uncommon talent who counted royal families and the highest nobility amongst his clients. As a young man, his success allowed him to dress so exorbitantly, his sense of luxury made it into the history books.

However when Eligius' attention turned from kingly clients to the Kingdom of God, an incredible transformation took place. He became so concerned for the slaves around him, that his finery became the means for setting them free.

In this fourth single on the hidden Christian history of slavery, John Dickson shares how Eligius impoverished himself so that others might know the grace of God.

Sep 13, 2020
Freeing Slaves Single
481

St. Augustine was the Bishop of Hippo and the leader of the Christian church in a city that had become a hub in the ancient world's slave trade.

He led his followers in an ambitious buy-back program for those captured by unscrupulous traders. But when church funds failed, these meek and mild believers didn't hold back from carrying out dangerous slave raids.

Join John Dickson as he takes us through a first hand account of what early Christians risked to save less fortunate men and women. 

Sep 06, 2020
First Abolitionist Single
369

The fourth century bishop, Gregory of Nyssa, led the charge on ending slavery centuries before modern champions like William Wilberforce and Frederick Douglass ever stepped on to the stage.

His arguments regarding the value of human beings would fuel abolitionists and civil rights movements fifteen hundred years after he was dead. 

If only we'd listened sooner.

Aug 30, 2020
Swing Low Single
657

John Dickson delves into the history of the abolition of slavery in the 19th century and discovers its deep roots in Christian theology.

His investigations reveal secular claims that Christianity was a leading cause of slavery are without foundation. In fact, the campaign for freedom arose from a distinctly Christian world view that had existed for well over a thousand years.

Yet the church could clearly have done a lot more, a lot sooner.

Aug 16, 2020
Paddling Through Single
487

Dr. Laurel Moffatt is a writer and researcher based in Sydney, and a special guest for our Undeceptions 'Single' this week.

On a recent kayaking trip, she discovered a connection between our desperate need for 'places of safety' during this pandemic, and international statistics that show a growing desire to communicate with the Almighty. 

Leveraging the wisdom of Augustine, she shares how prayer can become your safest place. 

Jul 26, 2020
Eternal Adieu Single
479

A remarkable event occurred on this day at 11:30am, 25 June, 1788. The 21 year old convict, Samuel Peyton,  entered into eternity courtesy of the hangman's noose. 

But unlike many of his convict comrades who suffered a similar fate, Peyton left behind a testament to his belief that, even in death, he was “firmly relying on the merits of a Blessed Redeemer.”

Listen in for one of the most heartfelt stories of repentance Australia's colonial history has to offer, as well as a pointer to a Christian hope that still holds true today.

Jun 25, 2020
LGBTI Christian
3127

Rachel Gilson says she grew up knowing two things instinctively: she was romantically attracted to women and Christians were NOT ok with that. 

Smart, sophisticated, with a love for big ideas not small minds … Rachel Gilson sounds like she’s the poster girl for that common critique of Christianity - that it’s unhelpful and unhealthy for those with lesbian, gay, or bisexual orientations. But that is not her story.

Rachel discovered that it was possible to walk a round that led between her same-sex attraction and a love of God. Her conclusions, including her life choices will surprise you. 

Yet Rachel’s quest to understand God and His opinion of her desires provide one of the most provocative, interesting and inspiring stories Undeceptions has had privilege to present.


LINKS

May 31, 2020
Ask Anything II
3199

The end of the second season of Undeceptions is drawing night, so it's time to start unpacking all of the questions we've collected.

This episode John Dickson tackles everything from is the Old Testament History to is the New Testament a re-write of Jesus' real perspective?

If you enjoy listening to hosts squirm, you'll love season's two's Undeceptions Q and A.

LINKS

  • Both atheistic evolutionists and literalistic creationists want you to read Genesis the same way, but is there a different take on the foundational book of the Bible? John asks Professor C. John Collins, Professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary, in the Undeceptions episode Six Days.
  • Undeceptions brings to life the forgotten women of the early church so we can learn just how significant the fairer sex were for the spread of the Gospel with international expert Dr. Lynn Cohick in our episode Remembering Women.
  • Studies continue to show that most people have a fairly positive view of the founder of Christianity. But that’s a long way from accepting that there’s any history - let alone relevance - in the alleged events of Easter. John tackles the top questions in Easter Myths.
  • While you're clicking, have a look at the Undeceptions web site for all sorts of cool stuff related to undeceiving the world
  • Special thanks to Zondervan Academic, our show sponsor
  • We encourage you to especially check out Zondervan's new book, 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity by John Lennox.
  • Ridley College, where John lectures in Public Christianity
  • You can click here to sign up for the Life In Wartime podcast with David Robertson and Stephen McAlpine.
  • Want to send John Dickson a question? He loves them. Just click here to provide a query for our next Q and A show!
  • Undeceptions is part of the Eternity Podcast Network, an audio collection showcasing the seriously good news of faith today.
May 24, 2020
Remembering Women
3415

This episode, we’ll be zooming in on the early Christian women, for whom we have good evidence, and who had a profound impact on the church and its teaching in their time.

Our guide is Dr. Lynn Cohick, who's written books on the topic, including Christian Women in the Patristic World: Their Influence, Authority, and Legacy in the Second through the Fifth Centuries (co-authored with Amy Brown Hughes) and Women in the World of the Earliest Christians.

She paints a vivid picture for us of what life in ancient Rome might have been like for the first women to hear the gospel.

LINKS

May 17, 2020
Post Christian
3064

Greg Sheridan cut his teeth at the legendary news magazine, The Bulletin, before moving on to the national daily newspaper, The Australian, where he’s been the foreign editor since 1982.

John catches up to talk to him about Christianity's struggles in Australia and why, of all times, he would choose to out himself as a believer.

However, Greg is not so glum on the future and underlines that because the faith is beholden to no particular political party it has the ability to reinvent itself that is more inline with its roots.

LINKS


May 10, 2020
Miraculous Physics
2987

Ian Hutchinson is Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Plasma Science and Fusion Center.

Among many, many other things he wrote the standard monograph on measuring plasmas, Principles of Plasma Diagnostics. That's right, he literally wrote the book on plasmas.


He’s also a fellow of the American Physical Society, a fellow of the Institute of Physics, and of the American Scientific Affiliation.


And… he believes in miracles - healing, resurrection, all of it.

Find out why.

LINKS

May 03, 2020
Scientific Theology
2707

It’s a popular misconception. If science is your guiding light, you’re going to see the world a particular way. And if you hold to religion well, you’re going to imagine the world a particular way. At least that’s how it seems.


But Alister McGrath is the Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, and he makes a pretty convincing case that, while science and religion are fundamentally different, they remain complementary. 

So what does Alister do with the all the objections scientists throw at him? Play them back with a perfectly straight British bat. Tune in and tally the score for yourself!


LINKS

Apr 26, 2020
Confronting Christianity
2973

Dr. Rebecca McLaughlin is a learned, feisty academic who's not afraid to confront the challenge that this two thousand year old faith has run its course.

Claims of institutionalised homophobia, that religion is bad for us, and scare tactics surrounding the teaching of Hell - they all surface in this episode.

Faced with the most challenging questions of the day, Dr. McLaughlin offers a spirited defence of Christianity that John Dickson thinks amounts to the best answer to troubling questions since Tim Keller's Reasons For God.

LINKS

Apr 19, 2020
Hindu Priest
3669

What do you do if you devote your entire life to one religion, then slowly realise you belong somewhere else?

This episode isn’t an exploration of a forgotten piece of history, a tricky topic, or an ethical dilemma, but a story, plain and simple about a search for personal peace, which is just what our anxious world needs right now.

Rahil Patel was one of the Hindu world's leading evangelists, who spent decades establishing temples all over Europe and Russia, until one day he woke up to discover that his heart belonged to someone else.

LINKS

Apr 12, 2020
Easter Myths
2635

It’s Easter, and billions of people pause to contemplate the death and resurrection of Jesus. Alongside them are plenty of folks who look at Christ quite differently.

Studies continue to show that most people have a fairly positive view of the founder of Christianity. But that’s a long way from accepting that there’s any history - let alone relevance - in the alleged events of Easter.

We had a lot of fun looking at the Christmas Story through the lens of history. We thought it would be good to do the same for Easter. Bring on all of your questions about the historical authenticity of this central Christian celebration, and listen to what happens when they collide with the evidence of history.

LINKS

Apr 05, 2020
Pandemic Exposure Single
472

In ancient Carthage, those who faced the Cyprian Plague discovered that there were two sets of symptoms to contend with: those that afflicted the outer body, and those that afflicted the inner person.

COVID-19 is having a similar effect. It is turning out to be not just a physical trial but a moral test. 

The pandemic is revealing the best and the worst of our characters. The former we can celebrate together. Our faults, though, are also worth our contemplation.

Apr 01, 2020
She Persuades
2417

If you’re preparing yourself for an assault on conservative Christian doctrine regarding women in church leadership, or different approaches to women teaching … you’re going to be disappointed.


This is an episode about a more fundamental ‘deception’ the western world seems to hold: that Christianity places no value on the contribution of women, or offers them any pride of place.


However, Dr. Amy Orr-Ewing is the Joint Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and the counter to that claim. 

She is an academic, world-traveller, social media queen, and born persuader who is gaining significant influence in Britain and Europe as she advocates for the Gospel. 


LINKS


Mar 29, 2020
Pandemic Equality Single
462

Church leaders and impassioned Christians want to suggest that the Bible promises a special deliverance from COVID-19 for those who put their faith in the Son of God. However John Dickson resurrects the wisdom of an ancient bishop who also faced a massive plague to give us a different perspective.

Mar 26, 2020
Six Days
2915

Last season we brought you John Lennox, talking about the compatibility of faith and a scientific mind, and Ard Louis discussing the evidence for a rational universe … but we sidestepped one obvious debate.


Creation versus evolution - 6 days versus 13.8 billion years - young earthers vs. ancient universe-ers. 


It’s a pretty hot argument in the minds of some believers and non-believers alike. Sometimes both sides think there’s only one way to take Genesis, and that’s at face value.

This episode, though, we talk to Professor C. John Collins, Professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary, who suggests there's another way that honours both the message and the intellect.

LINKS

Mar 22, 2020
Pandemic Love Single
442

Simply taking care of yourself and those closest to you might seem enough - even the most important thing - at this time of international concern. But John Dickson picks out the story of a wealthy, ancient woman to suggest another way. Rome's Fabiola powerfully demonstrated the level of sympathy that hearts changed by Christ can hope to rise to.

Mar 18, 2020
It's Cancer
2344

In this episode we’re delving into that frightening world. 


According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death internationally, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million fatalities in 2018 - that’s 1 in 6 deaths. Cancer is an undiscriminating disease. It can appear in almost any part of the body, and any age group. Each year, 300,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed in children alone. And the costs for those who can pay for treatments and preventative measures are staggering - cancer costs the world economy 1.16 trillion US dollars a year. 


But cancer isn’t just a medical battleground, it’s a spiritual one as well. Through the ages, myriad human voices have cried out, “My God, why!?" How do people who reckon there is some kind of good God in the world - which surveys say is most human beings - cope with cancer in the world? Meet Ben Shaw and his wife Karen who heard those two words in the title, and the epic faith journey they travelled together.


LINKS

Mar 15, 2020
It's almost here!
45

The return of Undeceptions for 2020, kicking off with God and cancer, a better way of reading Genesis, woman leading the charge in explaining Christianity, Easter myths exploded and proof the faith you grow up with isn't the final word on what you believe. Plus much, much more! Let the Undeceptions begin... Monday, March 16.

Mar 10, 2020
First Church Service Single
895
It's February 4, and the anniversary of Australia's first church service. But this wasn't a morality lesson from the chaplain to the prison colony. The Rev. Richard Johnson had something much more significant on his mind.
Feb 02, 2020
Australia Day Single
434
On the day we commemorate the history and character of our nation, it may be worth considering how we build healthy, respectful lamenting into our national celebrations.
Jan 25, 2020
Christmas Single
477

This Christmas, as you rightly enjoy the good things God's given you and share them with your nearest and dearest, spare a moment to consider how your generosity might spread further afield. 

Links that might prove helpful:

Dec 23, 2019
BONUS Undeceptions Theme
139

Thanks for being great supporters of the first season of Undeceptions! We hope you enjoy this little gift from us, and have a happy Christmas with your loved ones and the God who made this all possible.

Yours in all truth,

John, Kaley, Bella and Mark

Dec 03, 2019
First Noel
2815

Jesus was born in a manger, right? But what does that mean exactly? And how about that inn? Or the star hovering over the stable? How does history address our most cherished images of the birth of the King of Kings? And what did The Life Of Brian get right? Join John as he undeceives us about everything that can and can't be said about the birth of Jesus.

Thanks to our season sponsor – Selah – for all your travel needs, whether you’re a doubter or a believer. Find out more at myselah.com.au.

Links related to this episode:

Send us a question

Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. In season one, we’ll be dedicating an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for? Let us know here, or leave your question as a voicemail at 02 9870 5678.



Dec 02, 2019
Ask Anything
3130

Each week of our first season of Undeceptions, we've asked you to tell us some of the things you'd like to be 'undeceived' about. This episode John Dickson tackles the top questions sent in, covering everything from questions raised by our various guests to crackers you've come up with on your own.

Press play to hear more about whether Islam actually invented science, why historians still reject the idea of a resurrection, and what the difference is between New Testament and Old Testament Miracles. Plus West Wing references and Jesus own 'top questions' to ask!

Thanks to our season sponsor - Selah - for all your travel needs, whether you're a doubter or a believer. Find out more at myselah.com.au.

Links related to this episode:
Curiosity aroused by others' questions? Easy links to...

And check out the beautiful new Undeceptions web site!

Want to send John a question for our next Q and A? Here's the place to do it! 

Send us a question

Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. In season one, we’ll be dedicating an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for? Let us know here, or leave your question as a voicemail at 02 9870 5678.

Nov 25, 2019
Historical Jesus
2045

This episode, we've put John Dickson in the hot seat to talk about his new book: Is Jesus History. Anita Savage is our guest host, and she grills John on one of the greatest questions out there: did Jesus really exist?

Thanks to our season sponsor - Selah - for all your travel needs, whether you're a doubter or a believer. Find out more at myselah.com.au.

Links related to this episode:


Get to know our guest host

Anita Savage is a TV and radio journalist who has worked for 2UE, Sky News, Channel 9, Bloomberg Television and ABC TV and radio. In 2019, Anita joined the Hope Media team to lead the new Hope Media News Service. She joins us for this episode of Undeceptions as guest host, interviewing John Dickson.


Send us a question

Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. In season one, we’ll be dedicating an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for? Let us know here, or leave your question as a voicemail at 02 9870 5678.

 

Nov 18, 2019
Dominus illuminatio
2383

When Sarah first arrived at Cambridge on a scholarship, and then later took a job at Oxford, she thought Christians were anti-intellectual.

And perhaps that’s what we’ve come to expect. Smart people have no time - no headspace - for God. They know too much. They think too deeply for the ‘shallows’ of theology.

This episode, we’re talking with people who’ve witnessed the opposite. Universities like Oxford and Cambridge are melting pots, where people can find their beliefs - or unbelief - turned upside down, just like Sarah.

Thanks to our season sponsor - Selah - for all your travel needs, whether you're a doubter or a believer. Find out more at myselah.com.au.

Links related to this episode:

Get to know our guests


Dr Sarah Irving-Stonebraker is senior lecturer in Modern European History at Western Sydney University. She was awarded a PhD in History from Cambridge University in 2007.

Vaughan Roberts is Rector of St Ebbe's Church in Oxford. He studied law at Cambridge University and theology at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford before entering ministry. Roberts is also Director of the Proclamation Trust, an organisation that encourages and equips Bible teachers. He is a popular conference speaker and author of several books.

Send us a question

Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. In season one, we’ll be dedicating an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for? Let us know here, or leave your question as a voicemail at 02 9870 5678.

Nov 11, 2019
The full Teresa Morgan interview
1729
In episode 4 of Season 1 of Undeceptions, John spoke with Professor Teresa Morgan about the ethic of love at the heart of the New Testament. It sounds like ‘common sense’ to many today – it’s what any rational person would think about the good life. But it certainly wasn’t ‘rational’ in the Roman world, and it hasn’t been for most of world history. Listen to the full interview with Professor Morgan, a Fellow and tutor at Oriel College in Oxford University in this special bonus episode. You'll get more insight on how radically Christianity changed the moral values of the ancient world … and how we continue to see the results today.
Nov 04, 2019
The full John Lennox interview
2495

Head to undeceptions.com to listen to Episode 3, 'God Science' with John Lennox. 

Oct 28, 2019
Cybersex trafficking
2357

CONTENT WARNING: This episode contains content that may be distressing for some listeners. The episode deals with the online sexual exploitation of children and is confronting and often disturbing. If you need to talk to someone, support is available:

1800RESPECT: In Australia, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732.

Lifeline: Call 13 11 14 anytime for confidential telephone crisis support.


This episode of Undeceptions was a difficult one for us to make. But we believe it's an important one. It's a myth that there's no such thing as slavery in modern times. And just as Christians were at the forefront of anti-slavery work way back in the 5th century, and again in the 19th century, we’ll be speaking to today’s heroes, continuing that tradition, fighting for the absolute end of slavery in their lifetime.

We've worked with International Justice Mission - the largest anti-slavery organisation in the world - to bring you the story of Cassie in the Philippines. Cassie was rescued from a neighbour who had lured her into a world of online sexual exploitation. We speak with some of those who worked to see her released from slavery, and who continue to work to rescue countless other victims both in the Philippines and other parts of south east Asia, the epicentre of this heinous crime.

Thanks to our season sponsor - Selah - for all your travel needs, whether you're a doubter or a believer. Find out more at myselah.com.au.


Links related to this episode:

Get to know our guests

Caroly Houmes is Chief Executive of International Justice Mission (IJM) in Australia, and was previously executive director of IJM in the Netherlands. An experienced legal professional, Caroly as a Masters in International and European Human Rights Law.

Jacob Sarkodee leads IJM's operations team and has over 10 years experience in the international aid and development sector in Australia.

Glenn De Guzman is a pastor currently serving in the Philippines as IJM's Church Partnerships Manager and spends most of his time inviting church leaders and faith-based organisations to participate in the fight against online sexual exploitation of children. Glenn actively seeks ways for the Church to move the Philippine government to a more effective criminal justice system by creating public demand for accountability, mobilising prayer groups and raising volunteer support.

Rev Stephen Gualberto (also known as Pastor Bong) is the senior pastor of GMA Church of the Nazarene in the Philippines. Pastor Bong led the Church of the Nazarene as they established the first IJM assessment centre for children rescued from online sexual exploitation. Shechem Children's Home opened its doors on September 8, 2018.

Send us a question

Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. In season one, we’ll be dedicating an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for? Let us know here, or leave your question as a voicemail at 02 9870 5678.

 

Oct 21, 2019
Gospel truth
2524

In episode 7 we ask: can we really trust the Gospels in the Bible? And how do the gospels - considered our best evidence for the existence of Jesus - stack up against the evidence for other historical figures of the day?

John Dickson chats with Dr Peter Williams, the author of Can We Trust the Gospels? about how solid our sources for Jesus really are. Many would say they're not as solid as, say, sources for the Emperor Tiberius, the second Roman emperor who reigned from 14 AD to 37 AD during the time it is said that Jesus lived. But Dr Williams may just change your mind... 

The necklace that John wears around his neck: a coin from the reign of Emperor Tiberius. 

Thanks to our season sponsor - Selah - for all your travel needs, whether you're a doubter or a believer. Find out more at myselah.com.au.


Links related to this episode:


Get to know our guests


Dr Peter Williams

Dr Peter Williams is principal of Tyndale House, a Cambridge-based research institute housing one of the worlds' most advanced libraries for biblical scholarship. He is also the chair of the International Greek New Testament Project which is currently producing the world’s most comprehensive information on the manuscripts of John’s Gospel. He is also a lecturer of Hebrew at the University of Cambridge.

He has spoken in churches, universities, seminaries, high schools and at conferences and seminars/workshops across the US and the world on Biblical subjects including Bible translation, apologetics, and how to understand the Scriptures.

Dr Williams is the author of several books, including his most recent published at the end of 2018: Can we trust the gospels?


Send us a question

Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. In season one, we’ll be dedicating an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for? Let us know here, or leave your question as a voicemail at 02 9870 5678.

Oct 14, 2019
Rational universe
2478

Professor Ard Louis is one of the world's leading theoretical physicists. He sat down with John Dickson to talk about why he fervently believes that we don't need to prove God exists.

Ard is serious in his quest to have a coherent system that makes some sense of the world. It’s what he gets out of bed to discover every day. And he's not afraid that the more he discovers, the less he'll need God. Quite the opposite:

"Science is one of the parts of the world that actually increases the likelihood of God being there," he says.

Thanks to our season sponsor - Selah - for all your travel needs, whether you're a doubter or a believer. Find out more at myselah.com.au.

Links related to this episode:


Get to know our guests

Ard Louis is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford where he leads an interdisciplinary research group studying problems on the border between chemistry, physics and biology. From 2002 to 2010 he was a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. He is also an associate of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion.

He also has a keen interest in molecular gastronomy, applying science to the art of cooking.

On a lighter note, Ard says in his bio, his Erdos-Bacon number is 6. "I have an Erdos number of 4 through Jonathan Doye and I have a Bacon number of 2 through Morgan Freeman."


Send us a question

Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. In season one, we’ll be dedicating an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for? Let us know here, or leave your question as a voicemail at 02 9870 5678.

Oct 07, 2019
Social capital
2310

Andrew Leigh thinks Australia is disconnected, and he’s written a book about it. In Disconnected, Andrew spends a whole chapter outlining why the decline of religion is making social cohesion worse, and the benefits to society of having more religious believers.

 "I just had a cracking conversation with Australia’s ‘social capital’ expert Dr Andrew Leigh, the Member for Fenner and Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities. We explored the sad decline of community connectedness in Australia, the remarkable effect church attendance has on volunteering and philanthropy in this country (for secular as well as religious causes), the logic of seeing ‘advancing religion’ as a genuine charitable cause, and the importance of street parties for your neighbourhood!" -- John Dickson

To be clear, Andrew says in his book that he’s an atheist. That made John Dickson want to speak to him more.

While Andrew can’t sign on to the churches’ theological views, he can see the good that religion does in society. And he’s done a bucket load of research to prove it.

Links related to this episode:

With OmniPoll, I've just updated data on how many friends Australians have & how well we know our neighbours. The trend in "Disconnected" seems to be worsening. Lanai Scarr writes it up in today's press: https://t.co/hcKMJslYAd #Reconnected #SocialCapital #auspol @RobertDPutnam pic.twitter.com/aqlbJo2czs

— Andrew Leigh (@ALeighMP) July 2, 2018


Get to know our guests


Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Fenner in the ACT. Prior to being elected in 2010, Andrew was a professor of economics at the Australian National University. He holds a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences.

His books include Disconnected (2010), Battlers and Billionaires (2013), The Economics of Just About Everything (2014), The Luck of Politics (2015), Choosing Openness: Why Global Engagement is Best for Australia (2017) and Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Changed Our World (2018). Andrew is a keen marathon runner, and hosts a podcast titled "The Good Life: Andrew Leigh in Conversation", which is available on Apple Podcasts.


Send us a question

Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. In season one, we’ll be dedicating an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for? Let us know here, or leave your question as a voicemail at 02 9870 5678.

Sep 30, 2019
Moral classics
2014

The ethic of love at the heart of the New Testament sounds like ‘common sense’ to many today - it’s what any rational person would think about the good life.

But it certainly wasn’t ‘rational’ in the Roman world, and it hasn’t been for most of world history.

In episode four of Undeceptions, John Dickson speaks with Teresa Morgan, a professor of Graeco-Roman History at Oriel College, Oxford University about what life was like for the average person living on the outskirts of Rome at the time of Jesus. What did they believe and what shaped their ideas of the 'good life'. And how did the arrival of Jesus change everything?


Links related to this episode:


Get to know our guest


Professor Teresa Morgan has been a Fellow and Tutor at Oriel College in Oxford University since 2000, having studied classics at Cambridge, Theology at Oxford, and violin and viola at the Royal Academy of Music. She teaches and writes on Greek and Roman history from the eighth century BCE to the Byzantine era. She is currently working on the evolution of Christian faith between the second and fifth centuries and its impact on the later Roman empire.


Send us a question

Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. In season one, we’ll be dedicating an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for? Let us know here, or leave your question as a voicemail at 02 9870 5678.

Sep 23, 2019
God science
2529

We're talking to John Dickson's "favourite Northern Irishman", and one of Christianity's greatest "undeceivers". That's right, it's John Lennox.

John Dickson sits down for tea in the gardens of Green Templeton College with renowned 'undeceiver' John Lennox. 

In his new book, 'Can science explain everything', Lennox addresses one of the greatest deceptions of our age: Science explains everything, so there's no need for religion. 

We sit down in the gardens of Green Templeton College to quiz him about science, God and how in the world thinking Christians deal with those pesky things called miracles.


Links related to this episode:

  • Find out more about John Lennox.
  • Get Lennox's book, Can Science Explain Everything? 
  • Here's an interesting article from 2018 in Physics Today wrestling with Newton's hypotheses non fingo and why so much of research is driven by hypothesis today.
  • Watch John Dickson and Lawrence Krauss on the 2013 episode of ABC's Q&A. 
  • Watch The God Delusion Debate between John Lennox and Richard Dawkins (filmed Oct 3, 2007) (mentioned in this episode)
  • The UK's Premier Christian Radio podcast Unbelievable hosted a live debate between Lennox and fellow Oxford professor Peter Atkins, and well-known atheist, earlier this year on science and faith. Check it out here.
  • Find out more about fine tuning with the book our 'phone a friend' guest Luke Barnes co-wrote with Geraint F. Lewis, A Fortunate Universe: Life in a finely tuned cosmos.
  • Read the obituary of Antony Flew, who John Dickson mentions in the podcast as accidently coming to a belief in a Creator late in his life.
  • Watch John Lennox talking about his memories of listening to C.S. Lewis lecture at Cambridge.


Get to know our guests

John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University (emeritus) and Emeritus Fellow in mathematics and the philosophy of science at Green Templeton College, a graduate community also at Oxford. He is also an adjunct professor at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. Prof. Lennox studied at the Royal School Armagh, Northern Ireland, and went on to Cambridge University from which he took his MA, MMath, and PhD. He worked for many years in the Mathematics Institute at the University of Wales in Cardiff, which awarded him a DSc for his research. He also holds a DPhil from Oxford University (by incorporation) and an MA in bioethics from the University of Surrey.

Lennox is the author of over 70 published mathematical papers and several books on the interface between science, philosophy and theology including God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?, Gunning for God, God and Stephen Hawking and Can Science Explain Everything

Send us a question

Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. In season one, we’ll be dedicating an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for? Let us know here, or leave your question as a voicemail at 02 9870 5678.

Sep 16, 2019
Old papers
2397

Thousands of scraps of paper that have been buried in the sands of Egypt for over two millennia are now stored in museums and universities all around the world.

These little scraps - often no bigger than your mobile phone - provide a powerful window into ancient life - its troubles, its personalities and its ethics.

One of the most important of these pieces of paper - or papyrus - is 86 pages of the letters of the Apostle Paul, the author of much of the New Testament of the Christian Bible.

These 86 pages are known as P.46, and they are among the most precious artefacts of ancient history.

In our first episode, we got to play with them.

We speak with Dr Brendan Haug, from the University of Michigan's Papyrology department, and the home of some of the letters of Paul known as P46.

One of the biggest myths about the Bible is that it's been changed throughout history, like a kind of Chinese whispers. What we see in our Bibles today is nothing like the original.

Artefacts like P46 give great insight into how parts of the Bible were copied. With P46 being dated somewhere around the third century, we can also compare it to other later copies - and our Bibles today - to see what exactly is different.

"Here's the cool thing about New Testament studies: we have so many copies! We've just been talking about P.46 in this episode, the earliest. But we have hundreds of manuscripts, fragments and huge portions from different periods of Roman history and different parts of the empire, and we can line them up all together and work out where the variations have taken place." -- John Dickson, episode 1


Find photos related to this episode at undeceptions.com.


Links related to this episode: 

  • Read more about P46 from UM's collection.
  • Find out more about Hilarion's letter to Alis, that John mentions in his introduction.
  • Discover the extent of the University of Michigan's Papyrology Collection, a world-renowned collection of ancient texts dating from about 1000 BCE to 1000 CE.
  • Check out "the maserati" of biblical copies - the Codex Sinaiticus.

Get to know our guest

Dr Brendan Haug is the archivist at the University of Michigan's Papyrology Collection and Assistant Professor in the Department of Classical Studies. He is particularly interested in papyrology and the history of Graeco-Roman Egypt, Egyptology and Egypt in the European colonial period.


About the University of Michigan's Papyrology Collection

The Papyrology Collection at UM houses an estimated 18,000 pieces of papyrus. Just this year, the collection was valued at approximately $100 million. It's the largest collection of papyri in North America and the 5th largest in the world.

Send us a question

Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. In season one, we’ll be dedicating an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for? Visit undeceptions.com, or leave your question as a voicemail at 02 9870 5678.

Sep 09, 2019
Football free
1922

Us Aussies tend to mock players who thank the Almighty for their victories on the field.

But when John Dickson was invited to speak to the Green Bay Packers - a professional American football team in the NFL - on humility, he was suddenly thrust into an alternate reality. Religion was everywhere in the NFL. Chapel services, team chaplains, prayers before the games, prayers after the games. What's that all about?

Are we right to be cynical about the displays of faith we see in our sportspeople today? Are they deceiving us - and themselves - about whether God really cares for football ... or baseball ... or cricket? 

This week, John speaks with members of his favourite team - the Green Bay Packers - about how they navigate their faith in God with their love of the game.

I like to say God really doesn’t care who wins or loses… God tends to care what you’re doing with the talents that you’ve been given -- Pepper Burruss


Links related to this episode:

Get to know our guests


Mason Crosby is entering his 13th year with the Green Bay Packers, after being picked in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He was a member of the Packers' Super Bowl XLV championship team when the won against the Pittsburgh Steelers. A kicker for the Packers, Crosby's field goal stat is 80.4%.


Troy Murphy is the Green Bay Packers chaplain and a former US Marine. He has been a church planter, motivational speaker and entrepreneur.


Pepper Burruss was the long-time Packers athletic trainer. He retired this year after 42 years in the NFL. He was with the Packers for 26 years after spending 16 years with the New York Jets. That's 883 NFL games, 567 of those with the Packers. He was named NFL Physicians Society’s Outstanding NFL Athletic Trainer in 2012.


Send us a question

Oh boy, does John love questions. So don’t be afraid to send them in. In season one, we’ll be dedicating an episode or two for John to answer all your burning questions about Christianity. Want to know something more about a previous episode? Or perhaps you’ve got a question about faith that you’ve been struggling to find an answer for? Let us know here, or leave your question as a voicemail at 02 9870 5678.

Sep 09, 2019
Introducing Undeceptions
143
Coming soon, a new podcast series from author and historian John Dickson. Prepare to be undeceived.
Aug 29, 2019