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Coffeehouse Questions

Science and the Mind of the Maker with Melissa Cain Travis

I know this is the week that you have all been waiting for. Part 2 of my interview with Melissa Cain Travis is finally up, and I had so much fun discussing her new book, Science and the Mind of the Maker: What the Conversation Between Faith and Science Reveals About God. I really hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed recording it. If you didn’t listen to last week, then you missed out. But don’t worry! You can go back and listen to it here. We had a great discussion relating to apologetics to children, women in apologetics, and issues about science and faith.

Melissa serves as Assistant Professor of Christian Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, where she has been on the faculty since 2013. She is a contributing writer for Christian Research Journal and has written for the CT Women column on the Christianity Today website. Melissa is pursuing a Ph.D. in humanities, focusing on the history and philosophy related to scientific and mathematical thought in the Western tradition and contemporary scholarship. She earned the Master of Arts in Science and Religion from Biola University.

Enjoy our discussion!

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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 contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

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Does it take more faith to be an atheist? Part 2

Back in July, I wrote a post by the same title. My goal in that post was to help you see that it takes more faith to be an atheist when the correct definition of faith is used. I wrote the original blog in response to an atheist podcast I was listening to where they said the very question of atheists having more faith makes no sense. You can read that initial blog here.

The purpose of part 2 is to respond to a question that I received on my first blog. A reader wrote in an offered the following comment.

As an atheist, I do have to say that I cringe when others try to insist that faith is defined as belief without evidence. That’s not how I understood faith when I was a Christian, and it’s not how the Christians with whom I converse understand faith. I define faith in pretty much the same way that you do: trust in a person or concept.

I really appreciate this first part. It is always nice when someone holding to a different worldview will allow me to define the terms for my own view. Just as I wouldn’t redefine a word and claim that an atheist must accept that definition, I wouldn’t want them to do it to me. The reader continued.

That said, I still don’t see how one could justify the claim that atheists have more faith than do theists. Presumably, both classes of people have faith in their families, friends, authority figures, and beliefs. However, theists also have faith in at least one further entity which atheists do not: God. That would seem to imply that theism necessarily requires more faith than atheism.

By what measure does atheism require more trust in persons or concepts than does theism?

We are not adding up faith

I agree both the Christian and the atheist have faith in their families, friends, and beliefs, but to trying to total the person’s faith would be utterly impossible. How would you even go about adding this up faith? What if as a Christian I only had faith in God and not my family and friend? Would an atheist then have more faith because they have faith in family and friends and I only have faith in God? They have more faith by a score of 2-1.

The other option would be to try to figure out how much faith you had in every single person around you and total that up. But as you can see, that would be completely impossible. Exactly how many friends do I have faith in?

I’m talking about faith in a person

Let’s say that we are in a courtroom and there is a man who is being charged with murder. The more evidence of the person’s guilt, the easier it is to trust that they committed the crime. If I have good reason to believe he is guilty then it is easy to trust the prosecutor. If the prosecutor cannot answer basic questions about the crime, then it takes a lot more trust to believe what the prosecutor is saying.

I think this is similar to the faith we have in Jesus. The Christian worldview answers the deep questions about life and provides evidence for the person of Jesus. The biggest piece of evidence is His life, death, and resurrection. The atheist worldview cannot answer big questions like: Why is there something rather than nothing? Where did first life come from? How did consciousness arise from unconscious matter? For this reason, it is easier to trust that Christianity is true and say that it takes more faith to be an atheist. Christianity provides better answers to life’s big questions.

Belief In vs Belief That

Finally, before any Christians get upset, there is a difference between the belief that a worldview is true and belief in Jesus. We do have a faith in Jesus that an atheist doesn’t have, and I am not saying that believing Christianity is true is enough for someone to be saved. I am responding to the idea of faith that a worldview, or belief, is true.

So, by what measure does atheism require more trust in persons or concepts than does theism? Atheism requires more trust in their worldview because the evidence is not on the side of atheism. The naturalistic or secular worldview cannot answer some of the most important questions which makes it take more faith to believe it is true. Believing that the Christian worldview is true takes less faith because Christianity best explains the world around us. Once you believe that Christianity is true, the final step is to believe in Jesus.

What do you think? Comment below!

How does science point to God? with Melissa Cain Travis

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Melissa Cain Travis joined me on the show this week for part 1 in discussing her new book, Science and the Mind of the Maker: What the Conversation Between Faith and Science Reveals About God. We ended up having a great discussion relating to apologetics to children, women in apologetics, and issues about science and faith.

I really wanted to her Melissa’s thoughts on apologetics to children because she is the author of a Young Defenders apologetics storybook series. The books in this series include: How Do We Know God is Really There?, How Do We Know God Created Life?, How Do We Know Jesus is Alive?, and How Do We Know Right from Wrong?.

Melissa serves as Assistant Professor of Christian Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, where she has been on the faculty since 2013. She is a contributing writer for Christian Research Journal and has written for the CT Women column on the Christianity Today website. Melissa is pursuing a Ph.D. in humanities, focusing on the history and philosophy related to scientific and mathematical thought in the Western tradition and contemporary scholarship. She earned the Master of Arts in Science and Religion from Biola University.

I hope you enjoy our conversation! Don’t miss part 2 next week.

Do you have any other questions on the topic? 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 contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

How to Have a Fruitful Dialogue with Mormons

On August 4th, I got back from leading my first MAVEN Immersive Experience. I had an absolute blast spending 6 days in the Salt Lake area learning from experts and sharing the Gospel with Mormons. We had some great conversations and I want to share those with you in a hope that my experience will help you have fruitful dialogues with Mormons.

Check out MAVEN if a trip like this sounds interesting to you. I also want to encourage you to look at the resources and great ministries that we were able to work with while in Utah. They include:

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 contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Resurrection: Real? Or Real Dumb?

What is more important in Christianity than the resurrection?

Pretty much nothing!

Paul is pretty clear in 1 Corinthians 15. If Jesus did not rise from the dead then our preaching is in vain, our faith is in vain, we are misrepresenting God, our faith is futile, we are still in our sins, and we are the most to be pitied. Verse 32 even says, “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'” Those are some very strong words!

However, if Jesus did rise from the dead, then it changes everything. That is why answering the question as to the truth of the resurrection is probably the most important thing we can do aside from putting our trust in Jesus.

“Resurrection: Real? Or Real Dumb?” is designed to help people see that the resurrection is real and that we should put our trust in Jesus. It really does make the most sense when looking at all of the possible explanations compared to the evidence as you see here.

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So, I encourage you to watch the talk and decide for yourself which explanation makes the most sense.

If you are looking for more resources, evidence, or objections to what was mentioned here, check out my Easter Resource.

If you are interested in having me speak at your church, camp, or youth group, click on the Endorsements & Speaking page to see my list of topics and contact me at Speaking Requests and email me at contact@coffeehousequestions.com. 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’s the worldview behind the question?

The way you see the world is going to shape how you view information. For this reason, it is critical to understand the worldview behind the question when you are engaged in a discussion. Listen this week to see how to understand this idea and apply it to conversations.

Resources mentioned in the show

Do you still have questions? 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 contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Listener Questions and the Question Behind Marriage

I decided to do things a bit different this week and get my topics from Instagram. I posted on my story for people to send in any question that they would like to have answered on the show, and four questions quickly came in. They were:

  1. How was Satan able to be in God’s presence in the book of Job?
  2. Who’s the cute girl in the pic??
  3. What has God taught you this past week?
  4. Would you live internationally again given the chance?

I then finished up the episode talking about the main question behind abortion and marriage. Check it out!

Do you still have questions? 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 contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Was there Death Before the Fall? Interview with Krista Bontrager

When teaching on the age of the universe, I usually take a neutral approach. In my opinion, the profound reality that God created the universe is more important than when God created it. And when I start presenting evidence for an ancient universe, I almost always receive the exact same questions.

If the earth is old, then wouldn’t that mean there was death before the fall? How does this idea reconcile with Genesis 1:31 which says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” How can millions of years of animal death be called very good? It also seems to contradict with Romans 8:12 where Paul writes, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”

These are great questions that warrant a response from anyone holding to an old earth. Helping us to think about the topic this week is Krista Bontrager. This is her second week on the show. Last week, she discussed whether the biblical flood was local or global. Krista is a theologian, the Director of the Scholar Community at Reasons to Believe, and an instructor at the Reasons Institute. Krista is also the author of the small-group study The Bigger Picture on Creation and coauthor of the booklet Psalm 104: In Wisdom You Made Them All.

Do you still have questions? 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 contact@coffeehousequestions.com, FacebookTwitterInstagram, or by text at (714) 989-6927 (Google Voice number for texts only).

Does it take more faith to be an atheist?

This blog first appeared at SeanMcDowell.org.

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.

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