Coffeehouse Questions



Does it take more faith to be an atheist?

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According to Ask An Atheist with Sam Mulvey, this question makes no sense whatsoever. In a podcast recorded on May 27th, 2018, the hosts were discussing common tactics that Christians use when talking to atheists. The second tactic they mentioned was that Christians say, “It takes more faith to be an atheist.”

The show hosts explained that this statement makes no sense because atheism doesn’t fall under the definition of faith. The “religious” definition of faith that they cited was, “A strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” This, according to them, “does not leave any room for atheism to be considered a religion.”

The second definition they mentioned for faith is having trust in a person. It is how you have faith in your wife, children, parents, or teachers. One host explained that having trust in a person isn’t faith by explaining her trust in her husband. She said, “No, I have nearly two decades of evidence to support this. Once that stops being true then I would reevaluate my perspective or perception of my spouse. That’s not faith, that’s evidence.”

What is Biblical faith?

Biblical faith isn’t what was described above as “religious” faith. As Alan Shlemon wrote, “Biblical faith, then, is not blind, but functions the same way as trust. You don’t blindly trust people. They have to earn it. You put your trust in people you have good reason to trust.” As Alan describes, biblical faith seems to more closely match the second definition from above.

Christians should understand this because of verses like John 20:30-31 which says, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Jesus also seemed to have this view of faith from verses like Mark 2:1-12 and Matthew 11:2-5.

Jesus did many signs right in front of people, including his resurrection from the dead. These things were done so that we believe and have life in him. Belief in Christianity is not the result of spiritual apprehension against the proof. Rather, it is trusting in the evidence.

Does it take more faith to be an atheist?

Using their definition of faith, I can see why the hosts of Ask An Atheist take exception to this. In fact, when we have the correct definition of biblical faith, then you understand that we all have faith. Christian faith is similar to the faith described by the one host who talked about having two decades of evidence to support her trust in her husband. We all have to put our trust in the evidence, and I’m convinced that Christians have a far greater amount of evidence to put our trust in compared to atheism. That is why it takes more faith to be an atheist.

As Greg Koukl wrote in Faith Is Not Wishing, “Faith is not about wishing, but about confidence, and the facts make the difference. You get a hold of the facts, you study, you learn—even a little—and you’ll realize that you’re not just wishing on a star about eternal things. You’ll realize Christianity really is true.”

As a Christian, I want to encourage you to be a seeker of truth and to study the facts with an open mind. I cannot list all of the evidence here, but I encourage you to look for it. Evidence That Demands a Verdict and I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist are two great resources. I hope that you will understand what biblical faith is and go see how much evidence there is for your position.


Look what was posted about Jesus on Snapchat

The Search for the Real Jesus Christ

Who was Jesus Christ? Was he God or merely a man? Was he a smart moral teacher? Did he even exist?

Articles from all sides are produced every year in an attempt to answer these questions. They mostly appear around Christmas and Easter due to the importance of those dates in the history of Christianity. It isn’t a surprise given the importance of those questions and the impact of Jesus Christ on human history. Discovering the truth of Jesus changes our understanding of all of human history and all of eternity!

Now, if you aren’t familiar with Snapchat, one of its features is “Discover” which is like a news feed. It is here that you will find news about sports, pop culture, tending profiles, and everything in-between. National Geographic is one of many groups who have a feed in the discover section of Snapchat. They published the story “The Search for the Real Jesus Christ.” When you click on the story, it takes you to this next screen prompting you to complete a quiz. There is only one question to this quiz. Could Jesus have been a real person?

Jesus Christ

If they have continued to hold your attention, the next step would be to swipe up and take their quiz. Here is the following screen.

Jesus Christ

Could Jesus have been a real person? Which one is it? Here is their answer.

Chose “yes” and you get a smiling emoji indicating your correct answer! A “no” response leads to a red square with a crying face for getting the wrong answer.

This was a bit of a surprise since I normally see published articles that doubt the historicity of Jesus. The surprising part of this is that the existence of Jesus isn’t doubted by mainstream scholars but is commonly doubted by popular publications. Since this is a popular post, I expected to see the opposite. However, here is the quote that concluded the quiz.

Jesus Christ

It is true that mainstream scholars don’t doubt the historicity of Jesus. Even one of the most popular non-Christian scholars, Bart Ehrman, affirms the existence of a historical Jesus. Here is his response to doubters in his own words.

So, what do we conclude?

Jesus existed. This doesn’t make Christianity true, but it should compel us to look further into who Jesus was. What we find is that there is strong evidence for the truth of the gospels and for his resurrection. These two facts lead to the best explanation being that Jesus was who he said he was, the Son of God.

AB 2943: Will the Bible be banned? Interview with Neal Hardin

There’s a lot of discussion surrounding AB 2943. Some Christians think this bill, if passed, is going to ban the Bible. Others don’t think the bill is any problem at all. Neal Hardin, writer at The Religion and Politics Blog, joined me to discuss the language of this bill and how it may affect Christians. He recently traveled up to Sacramento, CA, with a group of pastors in order to speak to the legislators who voted on this bill. What worries Christians is that it will make any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation unlawful business practices. This includes the reparative therapy that Neal has received in the past.

This bill also forced Summit Ministries to cancel their young adult conference in California. I was on staff at Summit, CA, the last two years. However, due to this bill, I will not be joining Summit again this summer.

“Summit’s program helps students develop an intelligent, defensible Christian worldview before they go to college,” Summit President Jeff Myers explained. “Our speakers are leading Christian experts who base their presentations on theology as well as sociology, psychology and science. But the wording of AB2943 is a dog whistle to the left that intelligent Christians holding traditional views are fair game for discrimination, smears and frivolous lawsuits.”

Summit’s program would fall under the proposed law because its lineup includes defenders of traditional man/woman marriage and people who advocate pursuing only those sexual activities approved in the Bible. Myers said it has also been common during prior trainings for students to ask questions of Summit staff about how to address confusion over gender identity and sexual attraction in the context of their faith. By prohibiting such conversations, AB2943 would cripple Summit’s ability to care for and equip its students, Myers said.

“This is the most blatant chilling of free speech in America in my lifetime.”

This is Neal’s third time on the Coffeehouse Questions podcast. Our first discussion was on how Christians can respond to the secular culture in which we live. In our second show together, Neal shared his testimony of same-sex attraction and response to the Nashville Statement. Now don’t miss our third show together as he continues to have great insights on how Christians should be involved in culture and politics.

As mentioned in the show:

Please call these five California Senators and ask them to abstain or vote no on AB 2943. If they do not take your call, please share with the person answering the phone in a kind, loving way, that you’re asking them to abstain from voting or to vote no on AB 2943 when they hear the bill in the Judiciary Committee.

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (Chair of the Committee) – 916-651-4019
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg – 916-651-4018
Senator Bill Monning – 916-651-4017
Senator Henry Stern – 916-651-4027
Senator Bob Wieckowski – 916-651-4010

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. If you don’t have iTunes, find the podcast and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player. Finally, if you’d rather stick to the radio, you can listen to the show on 100.1 KGBA every Saturday night from 9-9:30 PT.

Like the Facebook page or follow on Instagram to interact with Ryan and his guests on future shows. Your questions and comments help to make the show more interactive. So, send in those questions at, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Human Value and the Image of God – Truth Matters TV

I had a great time joining Truth Matters TV for the second time. The first time on the show we talked about the evidence for the resurrection. This time the topic was the Imago Dei and how it changes what we care about and why we should care. Watch below to see how the image of God becomes the foundation for human value, human rights, and much more!

If you are interested in me speaking at your church or youth group, click on the Endorsements & Speaking page, look through the speaking topics or suggest your own, and contact me at I am happy to help in any way I can. God bless!

Desperate HopeIn celebration of my 2nd anniversary podcasting, I am giving away 50 copies of Desperate Hope! This opportunity ends in April, so don’t miss out. Simply subscribe to this blog and share it with your friends on social media in order to get your own personalized copy. Once finished, send an email to with your address and I’ll ship a copy to you completely free!



2018 Imperial Valley Apologetics Conference Recap

I had the great privilege of speaking at the 2018 Imperial Valley Apologetics Conference this past weekend in El Centro, CA. I feel bad that it came at the expense of my friend, Tim Barnet, getting sick. But when he asked me to cover for him, I was happy that my Saturday was open.

During the day-long conference, I gave three talks and had a Q&A session. My talks included: Does God exist? Are science and faith compatible? Is the New Testament reliable? IMG_4497

Thank you to Calvary Chapel Bible College El Centro and everyone in attendance. You all are doing an incredible work, and you made it a very special day. And thank you to the visual team for putting together this short recap video from my first talk on the existence of God. You guys were amazing!

If you are interested in having me speak at your church, camp, or youth group, click on the Endorsements & Speaking page and email me at You can select a topic from the list or suggest your own. I am happy to help in any way I can. God bless!

What is the key to discovering truth?

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The topic of truth seems to be confused in our culture. Some think the truth is based on what makes you happy, and because God wants us to be happy, whatever makes me happy is true and good!

Others think that each person has their own truth. I saw an advertisement this past summer at UC Berkeley for voice lessons which give “vocal techniques to ‘free the natural voice,’ combined with gentle spiritual exercises empower you to SPEAK YOUR TRUTH” (emphasis theirs). This has become a popular phrase in our culture and was even used by Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes when she said, “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have” (emphasis mine).

Do we just have “your truth” and “my truth”? What happens when your truth contradicts my truth? What happens when someone’s truth hurts other people? We wouldn’t agree with someone speaking their truth when they believe that murder or racism is a good thing. Instead, we need to focus on the Truth. We should seek and believe the truth even if it doesn’t make us happy.

But how can we even discover the truth when people have different beliefs? Dr. Jeff Myers, president of Summit Ministries, gives four worldview tests in his book, Understanding the Times. We are going to briefly look at the first two.

#1 Test for Truth: Reason

Is it reasonable? Can it be logically stated and defended?

It is important to start with these questions. If something goes against reason, we don’t need to look for evidence or think about whether it is true. Illogical statements are self-refuting and falsify themselves.

You don’t need to look for evidence of a married bachelor. If you’re married, you’re not a bachelor, and if you’re a bachelor, then you’re not married. You can’t be both! If I were to tell you about a square circle outside, you don’t go looking for it. It is logically impossible for square circles to exist. So, we need to begin by checking to see if the statement or fact is in accordance with reason. Once it passes the “test of reason,” then we move on to our second test.

#2 Test for Truth: External Support

Is there some external, corroborating evidence to support it?

First, one of the key words in this question is external. This is looking for something outside of a personal experience, emotion, or feeling. The fact that I feel good about believing I’m a millionaire doesn’t make me a millionaire. When you check the external evidence of my bank account you will see that my internal belief was false (in fact, really false).

Second, make sure the external evidence is actually corroborating the claim the person is making. I often see examples of people using evidence that supports a claim that is different from their original claim.

For example, I once read an article claiming to “prove” Darwinian evolution of how one animal kind is able to change into another animal kind. The evidence given was that a new kind of shark was discovered, but this evidence didn’t corroborate their view. Their evidence supported microevolution because when two different sharks breed you get a new type of shark. This is not a change from one kind to another but a change within a kind.

We have to remember that there is truth to be discovered in our world even if it is not obvious. Sometimes the truth is right in front of us, but people think it’s irrelevant.

Because of this, we might have to put in a little extra work. We must discover the truth, live by that truth, and help people around us see its importance. The truth is worth it. In reality, we all know this.

How can I start defending my faith? Interview with Dr. Craig Hazen

If you are reading this blog, then I suspect you realize how important it is for Christians to defend their faith. We live in a culture that is putting forth ideas that are contrary to Christianity, and we have people that are demanding for Christians to give reasons as to why they believe what they believe. These questions or issues may have driven you to study apologetics and the defense of your faith. I am excited to know that there are some of you who read this and fall into that category. However, the problem is that not everyone understands this need.

Some of you may have a desire to share the knowledge you have with others, but you don’t know how that is possible without a platform. You might be brand new to apologetics and worldview issues, and you feel overwhelmed by the amount of information to learn and don’t know where to start. What should you do?

Dr. Craig Hazen, the Director of the M.A. in Christian Apologetics at Biola, joined me this week to discuss how each person can turn the world upside down and stand up for Christianity. You don’t have to know all the facts or have degrees. You just need to know where to start and have a passion for sharing the truth. I hope that you are encouraged by this episode as you begin or continue your journey in defending your faith.

Comment below with any questions you have about defending your faith!

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. If you don’t have iTunes, find the podcast and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player. Finally, if you’d rather stick to the radio, you can listen to the show on 100.1 KGBA every Saturday night from 9-9:30 PT.

Like the Facebook page or follow on Instagram to interact with Ryan and his guests on future shows. Your questions and comments help to make the show more interactive. So, send in those questions at, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Why does God allow evil? Interview with Dr. Clay Jones

This question is probably asked more than any other, and it is one of the most common objections against the Christian view of God. If God is all good and all powerful, why doesn’t he stop evil? Questions like these are frequently asked and it is important for Christians to respond well.

God Evil

Dr. Clay Jones, an Associate Professor of Christian Apologetics, joined me to discuss his new book, Why Does God Allow Evil? This book covers a wide range of questions helping you to have answers for some of the toughest questions.

What is evil? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why didn’t God create a world with free creatures who always choose good? How does eternity relate to our suffering here?

Listen and get answers to these questions and more!

What are other questions you have about the problem of evil? Comment below!

You can follow the Coffeehouse Questions Podcast and have it automatically downloaded to your device by subscribing on iTunes. If you don’t have iTunes, find the podcast and follow on SoundCloud or search “Coffeehouse Questions with Ryan Pauly” on your Android podcast player. Finally, if you’d rather stick to the radio, you can listen to the show on 100.1 KGBA every Saturday night from 9-9:30 PT.

Like the Facebook page or follow on Instagram to interact with Ryan and his guests on future shows. Your questions and comments help to make the show more interactive. So, send in those questions at, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Are Genesis 1 and 2 contradictory creation accounts?

I remember the first time a Christian told me that Genesis 1 and 2 were contradictory. He seemed to say it as if it didn’t matter. It was like saying, “There are contradictions in Scripture, but don’t worry about it and just have faith.” This, I believe, is a huge problem. It seems to limit God’s omnipotence or His goodness. It becomes difficult to explain how God, the author of Scripture, would contradict himself. Does God error?

I agree that there are apparent contradictions in Scripture, but just like other apparent contradictions, they are cleared up when understood correctly. Christians can’t avoid this issue in Genesis 1 and 2 by saying they don’t contradict. Instead, we have to give reasons why.

What is the apparent contradiction?

It has often been said that Genesis 1 and 2 provide contradictory accounts of when man was created in relation to other created things. Genesis 1:26 puts the creation of man on the 6th day after all plants (day 3) and animals (days 5 and 6). Genesis 2:5-7 seems to say that man was created before the plants and animals. So the question becomes, were Adam and Eve created near the beginning or end of creation?

In order to answer this question, we must understand the context of Genesis 1 and 2. We understand this need for context in our lives every day. For example, “The lions destroyed the dolphins,” appears crazy on the surface. Why did the lions go into the ocean? Why didn’t the dolphins simply swim away? It then becomes very clear when you realize the person talking is on the sports channel and is covering a recent football game. The context in which the person is talking or writing makes all the difference.

So, we must look at the context and perspective of Genesis 2 in order to see if it contradicts the timeline in Genesis 1. With this understanding, we are able to see that there is a change of perspective. Dr. Hugh Ross, an astronomer and President of Reasons to Believe, explains the change in perspective from Genesis 1 and 2 in his book, Navigating Genesis. He writes,

“While Genesis 1 focuses almost entirely on the physical creation–what God made or made happen and in what order, Genesis 2 begins to elaborate on the why, or purpose, of creation. The Genesis 1 storyteller describes the unfolding scene of the six creation days from a vantage point somewhere just above Earth’s surface, but below the clouds, as God prepared a suitable habitat for humanity. Genesis 2 zooms in on a small portion of Earth’s surface (Eden) and what occurred from the vantage point of one human being (the first human) in that locale, walking and awakening to the sights and sounds all around” (p. 95).

Genesis 2 is no longer talking about the whole globe. Realizing the setting allows us to understand what is meant by the different descriptions. Just like the report about the lions and dolphins. Once you realize the context, we are no longer talking about the ocean but about football. Genesis 1 offers the big picture timeline and Genesis 2 focuses on what happened during the 6th day of creation in the garden. Dr. Ross continues,

“Genesis 1 presents the major physical creation events in a time-ordered sequence… In Genesis 2 God introduces the first humans to their setting, first to the misty land itself, then to the plants, then to the higher animals and, finally, to each other. That is, God sequentially lays out humanity’s authority over and responsibility to manage different components of His earthly creation but offers only a highly condensed, non-sequential summary of His physical creation activity. No contradiction can be inferred legitimately from differences between these two versions of the creation story” (p. 95-96).

Genesis 2 never says that man was created before plants or animals. The garden in Eden was planted after man was created, but this doesn’t mean that the whole globe was void of plants. We then see in Genesis 2:19 that “the Lord had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them.” The language here is that God “had formed” the animals and then brought them to the man. Again, this is consistent with what we see in Genesis 1.


Understanding the context and change of perspective allows us to read these two accounts in harmony. They are not both offering a big picture timeline of the creation event. Instead, they are each describing a different aspect of creation. This apparent contradiction becomes clear when understood in this new way, and Genesis 1 and 2 become complementary creation accounts.

What are other apparent contradictions that you have a difficult time with? Comment below!

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