Stubborn, insistent, and violent controversy is worse than a waste of time.
But principled, humble, and intelligent controversy is the only
way to solve virtually every problem we face today.

With too many screaming voices disregarding good arguments and denouncing hated enemies, the world needs more people who will take on the difficult questions, get them into focus, and offer well-informed and sensible responses. John Stackhouse has been asking big questions since his freshman university paper on Friedrich Nietzsche, and he relays what he has learned with clarity, common sense, and deft comedic timing. When needed, he skillfully confutes those who try to bully us with clever nonsense and intimidation, and always models how to commend one’s views with both civility and strength.


Professor Stackhouse has debated and discussed controversial issues in China, Korea, Israel, and Malaysia as well as at Bristol, Harvard, Queen’s, Stanford, and Yale universities. He has done so also on national radio broadcasts in Canada and in major American centres from Atlanta to Seattle. His books on these matters have been assigned by faculty members around the world, including at Oxford and London universities.

John Stackhouse is remarkably knowledgeable across a range of fields, including what you might call
general culture: music and the arts, for example. I greatly respect his forensic skill in argument,
his range of reference, and his forceful yet engaging modes of presentation.
David Martin, London School of Economics, Fellow of the British Academy

talks & seminars

Is There Method in the Madness? An Honest Look at the Problem of Evil

This lecture (also available as a seminar) looks at the single most vexing question in the whole matter of religion: Whether it makes sense to believe in an all-good, all-powerful deity in the face of the world’s terrifying suffering and violence. It draws on comparative religious study, philosophy, science, and theology to offer a carefully modulated response that people from a wide range of outlooks have found helpful as they deal with the absurdities and agonies of life as we know it. (It is based on Dr. Stackhouse’s book Can God Be Trusted? Faith and the Challenge of Evil [Oxford University Press].)

Buddha, Krishna, Muhammad, Jesus: What’s the Difference—and What Difference Does It Make?

This lecture (also available as a seminar) presents current data on the multitude of religions now present in North America and around the world, and offers clear counsel as to how we can best deal with this diversity. Are all religions basically the same? Why do some people think we should convert to their religion? And how can one choose for oneself among so many options? (This presentation is based on Dr. Stackhouse’s long experience in lecturing on religion in public university settings and in discussing religion with mainstream mass media.)

How to Pick a Religion—or None

Many people have achieved a degree of success in their profession, in their family life, and in their community. Now they want to consider issues that they didn’t take time to consider before, but increasingly realize are important: the measure of a life, the approach of death, the quality of their relationships, the problem of evil…. These are issues to which the great traditions have spoken over the centuries, and whose answers have informed and inspired millions. But how does one intelligently decide among the bewildering variety of religious options? How, in short, does one pick a religion with at least as much care as one picks a refrigerator or a realtor? This presentation will not tell you which religion to choose—if any—but instead will equip you with neutral, intelligent, and practical guidelines to make prudent choices about life’s great questions.

Other talks given on university campuses:

Does Christianity Hate Women?
It’s Offensive to Claim that Jesus Is the Only Way
Why Is Christianity against Sexual Freedom?
Evolution Explains Everything—So Who Needs God?
Does Christianity Cause War?
Are the New Atheists Right? Are Christians Dumb, Delusional, and Dangerous?