I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist
In 2015, Ryan completed the CrossExamined Instructor Academy with Dr. Frank Turek. This four-part seminar includes:
- Does truth exist?
- Does God exist?
- Are miracles possible?
- Is the New Testament reliable?
By answering “Yes” to each of these questions, a positive case can be made for the truth of Christianity. This can be done in a multi-session seminar or select questions can be presented in individual talks.
One of Ryan’s favorite things to do is to sit down with students and answer any questions they have about culture, ethics, Christianity, and world religions. Ryan firmly believes that we should allow students to ask their questions because Christianity provides good answers. Check out his youtube channel to see short Q&A videos. You can also click here to see the full version done at a church.
All of Christianity rests on the resurrection of Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says that if Jesus did not rise from the dead then our faith is in vain. So, did Jesus really rise from the dead? Is it possible that the disciples experienced hallucinations of the risen Jesus or that the disciples stole the body? This talk examines the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus and shows how the naturalistic theories don’t hold up.
Our culture has gone through a major shift that is influencing and impacting our students. We may think that our students are protected from the culture inside their churches, families, and schools. However, recent studies show that the relativistic ideas in our culture are undermining the faith of students. How can Jesus be the Truth if there is no truth? Ryan explains how relativism is undermining your student’s faith in Christ and gives practical ways in which we can respond. This is a great talk for leaders and parents.
Why does a good God let bad things happen to good people? Why doesn’t God stop all pain and suffering? These are good questions that are frequently asked, but the problem is that they are very difficult to answer. In this video, Ryan walks through several explanations to help you see that not only can evil and God coexist, but that evil is actually evidence for God.
In our culture of relativism, it is popular to say that all religions or beliefs lead to God. Some say that we only need to be good to get to heaven, but Christianity paints a very different picture. The fact is that all belief systems cannot be true because they each paint a very different picture of reality. In this talk, Ryan explains how we can know that Jesus is the only way to God by looking at the major competing worldviews.
Is the New Testament full of contradictions? Was it written late? Did the disciples lie? Is there any evidence that supports the truth of the New Testament? The New Testament was written very early and has incredible evidence to support its claims. In this talk, Ryan gives a brief survey of the evidence so that we can know that the New Testament is reliable. Ryan then finishes by giving students ways to respond when discussing the truth of the New Testament with their friends.
Navigating Gender Identity
Students are often confused by the topic of gender because of so many ideas floating around culture. It is important for them to critically examine each of these ideas in order to see which one is true and good. This talk will cover 1) the causes of gender dysphoria so that students will know why this is such an important issue. 2) We will consider the consequences of the secular solution. 3) We look at a biblical response and how it responds to what people experience. The goal is for students to not only understand this complex issue but to be able to explain to their friends why the biblical response really is the best and most loving.
You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman explains that the apparent conflict between science and faith is one reason why students are leaving the church. That is why Ryan created this talk. He wants students to understand that science and faith are compatible. Christians can respond to difficult scientific questions without giving up their faith. Many do not realize that this apparent conflict comes from different worldviews. When understood correctly, there is no contradiction at all. In fact, faith should be based on scientific evidence. Watch here and see for yourself.
What is intelligent design? What can we learn from science about the uniqueness of our universe and ourselves? The best explanation, based on what we know, is that we are the product of an intelligent designer. Ryan gives students six different questions, based on different aspects of creation, that they should ask their science teacher about design.
The Case Against Relativism
Many students today are not convinced of objective morality. We live in a relativistic culture where truth becomes relative to our own personal desires and opinions. This talk will argue against both relative truth and moral relativism, and it will show how relativism is self-defeating. Objective truth does exist and this is best explained by an objective standard; God.
Darwinian Evolution is the view taught in most high schools and universities. Are our students able to defend the Christian view of creation when presented with conflicting evidence? This presentation will look at a few of the major pieces of evidence used to prove Darwinian Evolution as a fact, and then gives you tactical ways to respond and defend Creation using science and logic.
We live in a culture that wants to hold to religious pluralism. This is the belief that all religions have an equal truth value. Something may be true for me but it isn’t true for someone else. However, can this be true? What we actually see is that religions disagree at a fundamental level and not all religions are the same. In this talk, Ryan will give three simple ways to distinguish between religions and see that they are not all true. You can watch this talk here.
Have you ever been in a conversation with an atheist? How well do you think you could defend the Christian faith against a different viewpoint? Do you have more to respond with besides “the Bible says so” or “this is what my parents taught me?” In this session, Ryan will role-play an atheist and raise difficult challenges against Christianity to see how well you can respond. Then Ryan will step out of character to evaluate the experience and help students learn how to better respond. This session will motivate students to dig deeper into the reasons why they believe in Christianity.
Ryan talks to many students who simply seem bored with Christianity. They have grown up in a Christian home, attended Christian schools, and have gone to church every week. They are tired of the same stories being repeated over and over again. Their knowledge of God is limited to: God loves me, he has a plan for me, and Jesus died for me… that’s all. No wonder they’re bored! Other students keep hearing about God but become bitter because they keep asking “Where is he? Does he even exist?”, only to never get their questions answered. That is why Ryan created this talk. He thinks that when we understand how relationships are formed, then our students will grow into a deep, loving, committed relationship with God. Read the story behind this talk here and listen here as Ryan discusses the idea behind this talk. A short version was done at a church that can be seen here.
Do aliens exist?
Are we alone in the world? This is a frequently asked question by students as they often can’t imagine being alone with such a large universe. Ryan discusses this issue by looking at the reasons why many think aliens exist and then looking at what explanations best fits that evidence.
Redeeming Entertainment Culture
No one would eat unknown food from a complete stranger. We understand the importance of being careful about the things we put into our bodies. However, we don’t have that same concern when it comes to the information that we are absorbing from culture. In this talk, Ryan looks at the four main ways that amusement culture is hurting us and then focuses on how we can redeem entertainment.
Homosexuality: Truth and Compassion
One of the most difficult issues and most controversial is the topic of homosexuality. How should Christians view and interact with the LGBTQ community? First, it starts with knowing the truth. Second, we have to share that truth in a loving, compassionate, and gracious way. The goal of this talk is to educate students to lovingly stand up for truth in our culture.
What would you hope your youth group students, church members, or children look like in their walk with Christ? What if they had knowledge of Christianity and the culture, wisdom in how to maneuver in conversations and evangelism, and lived in an attractive manner with a strong character? Would that be a success? I absolutely think so. We spend a lot of time working on the character of our students and giving them knowledge, but what is often lacking is wisdom. Students need to know how to respond to the challenges and questions of our culture and stand strong in their Christian convictions. This talk is based on Greg Koukl‘s book, Tactics, and focuses on training individuals to discuss their beliefs with confidence.
What’s your bias?
Are you biased? Does that mean your position is false? No, everyone has a bias. A bias is simply to be in favor of or against one thing. The better question is, do you have a good or bad bias? This talk will help students think through this objection and see that having a bias toward Christianity is a good bias.
Spotting Bad Arguments
It is easy to be caught off guard by many different explanations and arguments offered against Christianity. However, does each alternative explanation hold the same weight? Is it possible that the other person is using bad arguments? In this talk, Ryan teaches three important tools to help you spot bad arguments. Instead of being caught off guard or thinking the other person has a strong point, use these tools and evaluate the argument to first determine if it can even stand on its own.
Zombies and the Soul
The soul is essential to Christianity, but many students couldn’t tell you what it is or why it is important. In this session Ryan uses zombies, something students are very familiar with, to help them understand what the soul is and why it is important.