Video of “Does Religion Poison Everything?” with Dr. Andy Bannister: Relevant Series at the University of Toronto

It was a great honour and joy to again co-lead the University of Toronto mission week, this time with my friend Logan Gates of RZIM. Last semester during the Relevant Series week, 1500 students attended 17 talks. Here is a video of one of them.


Richard Dawkins said: “Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where’s the harm? September 11th changed all that.”

From war, to child abuse, to slavery, to racism, to its treatment of women, to academic progress, doesn’t everything religion touches fall apart? Isn’t religion the great virus that our society needs a cure from?

What if the problem is not religion, but human beings themselves? What are some of the great things that religion has inspired from music, to social justice, to health care, to science, to scholarship, to literature, to education, to human rights, to economic reform? Why is religion on the one hand such a force for good in the world and on the other hand often such a force for evil? Listen to this fascinating talk with Q&A.


DR. ANDY BANNISTER, a Christian, is a popular author, speaker and broadcaster. He speaks and teaches regularly throughout Canada, the USA, Europe, and the wider world, addressing audiences of all faiths and none on issues of philosophy, belief, and scepticism. Andy holds a doctorate in Islamic studies from Brunel University, London, is a guest lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford, is the Director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, and Adjunct Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at Melbourne School of Theology.

Recently, Dr. Andy Bannister released the book: “The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist: Or the Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments” (Oxford: Lion). In this book he looks at common atheist soundbites that at first glance sound like quite powerful, but upon deeper examination begin to unravel. He uses humour, wit, good illustrations, logic, and reason to get to the bottom of things.

Andy is the author of “An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur’an” (a groundbreaking and innovative study that reveals many of the ways the Qur’an was first composed). He also co-wrote and presented the TV documentary, “Burning Questions.”

He enjoys mountaineering, juggling, and cats (although not simultaneously). He is married to Astrid and they have two children, Caitriona and Christopher. He tweets frequently at @andygbannister.


MICHELLE TEPPER is an itinerant speaker with RZIM in the US, teaching worldwide on a number of subjects, including the problem of pain, God’s character, sex, relationships, and love.

Before moving back to home to the United States, Michelle was based in Oxford. She studied theology at the University of Oxford, was a guest lecturer at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, and spoke overseas as a part of the RZIM European team Prior to joining the RZIM staff, Michelle worked for six years as the University Chaplain for St. Aldate’s—a thriving, historic, student friendly church located in the heart of Oxford. While at Oxford, Michelle met and married her husband there. Michelle and her husband, Peter, live in Florida with their daughter, Sophia.

NICK HILL has been a campus staff member with Power to Change at the University of Toronto for the last seven years and more recently was appointed to co-lead the Power to Change Canadian Apologetics Team. He loves to spend time with students of different worldviews to learn, to discuss, and to talk about the big questions of life. Nick organizes many large and small events at U of T for the purpose of clearing away misunderstandings and roadblocks that keep students and professors from engaging with Jesus Christ. Some of these events have included: “Is it True? Getting to the Heart of the World’s Religions”, “Why? Exploring Life’s Key Questions?”, “Bad Arguments Against True Religion,” “Has Science Made God Irrelevant?” and the “Relevant Series.”

Nick received a BA in Christianity and Culture from Trinity Western University. He has done graduate work in theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and summer studies at Yale Divinity School.

When not engaged in dialoguing with others about ideas that matter, Nick enjoys rock climbing both at his local gym and outdoors. He lives in Toronto, is married to Jen, and they have four wonderful children: Grace, Iain, Jacob, and Kate.


The Relevant Series ( is sponsored by the following campus groups: Wycliffe College, Power to Change, Chinese Christian Fellowship, Agape Impact, Network of Christian Scholars, Inter-Varsity, Everynation Campus, and Athletes in Action.

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