What can you say to the grieving parents of a child who was kidnapped and murdered? Or to the wife and children of the loving Dad who was killed by a drunk driver? And how do we account for natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that take thousands of lives?
These painful questions points us to the basic issue so often pondered by those wrestling with what they believe or disbelieve about God. Why does God, if He exists, allow evil to exist in this world He supposedly has created? Does he not care about all the pain and suffering seen throughout human history?
J. Warner Wallace of coldcasechristianity.org takes on these questions and notes among much else in a sensitive and thought-provoking analysis that there is no concept of evil without one of good, and both require the existence of a standard beyond the finite. Or, as Wallace puts it, “eternity changes everything:”
When Los Angeles Homicide and then-convinced atheist Detective J. Warner Wallace was nearing decision time in his investigation of Christianity following his wife’s conversion, he realized there were three key issues he needed to resolve.
First, were the Gospel accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ written during the lifetimes of eyewitnesses who saw and heard the Lord?
Second, were those eyewitnesses’ Gospel accounts corroborated in some way by independent sources, and, third, did their accounts change in the several centuries after they died?
Wallace, the cold-case expert featured on NBC’s “Dateline” and author of “Cold-Case Christianity” and “God’s Crime Scene,” discusses the evidence he considered and why he concluded the Bible is trustworthy in the following video:
Does it really matter whether God exists? There are so many things that demand immediate attention, like your job on the Hill, the next job you want on the Hill, your personal relationships, your present bank balance, your future credit rating, where you’re going Thursday night, why does he/she do that …
We all do that, put the things of daily life on top of our priorities list. The God question gets shuffled to the back of the mind, if even there. But what happens when trouble comes along? Why does it so often matter then, but not before?
J. Warner Wallace, the NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective and author of “God’s Crime Scene” and “Cold-Case Christianity,” offers a wholly unexpected explanation for why it matters a great deal all the time:
Put aside everything else you’ve ever heard or thought about Jesus Christ, then ask yourself what is one fact that, no matter what it is, would absolutely decide the question of whether or not He is God?
But remember this: For your thinking to be as clear and logical as possible, don’t allow yourself to start with an assumption about what cannot be true or false. You must have an open mind to all possibilities.
Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace — you may recall him as NBC Dateline’s “evidence whisperer” — deals with these two questions in the following video. He’s specifically addressing the issue of the divinity of Jesus, but his advice about how to think through things accurately and logically is applicable in all kinds of life situations:
To counter the otherwise overwhelmingly convincing evidence for Intelligent Design (ID) of our universe, critics often claim that there are actually millions of universes and it just happens that one of them has all of those characteristics cited by ID advocates as evidence for the guiding hand of a designer.
Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace tackles the multiverse theory in the following video produced as part of his lecture series based on his book, God’s Crime Scene.
The crime scene refers to Wallace’s prior career as a cold-case detective who was so good at unwinding decades old homicides that he made multiple appearances on NBC’s “Dateline” show.
Among the most powerful ways of demoralizing or belittling an opponent is to mock their position. It’s not one I recommend, but it is the source of a particular kind of argument one hears from time to time from atheists in discussion with Christians.
“Believing in God makes about as much logical sense as believing in the Flying Spaghetti Monster,” is one form of mockery that, as cold-casechristianity.com’s J. Warner Wallace points out, was first heard in 2005 during debates in Kansas over whether to include Intelligent Design evidence as an alternative to evolutionary theory in public schools.
The most unfortunate aspect of this retort is the fact that Christianity, unlike any other world religion, is based on a fact in history for which there is significant evidence that can be assessed, verified and then accepted or rejected. And that makes all the difference:
We get up everyday and all things seem to be just as they have always been, so where’s the evidence for God, some ask. If this god you keep talking about is so wonderful and all-powerful, why can’t we see Him?
Good question but, as Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace explains in the following video, the answer may well have more to do with you than with God:
Doesn’t matter what event or issue is involved, there are likely conspiracy theories galore about how those on top got there, why former leaders no longer are and a whole host of other things, including just about everything from who really shot JFK to COVID-19’s spread from Wuhan, China.
But how seriously should conspiracy theories be taken? People on the far Right believe Communists secretly took over the U.S. government and are controlling it today. People on the far Left contend a few rich capitalists control the levers of power.
Dr. Frank Turek of cross-examined.org asks in this interview of cold-case christianity’s J. Warner Wallace about conspiracy theories and Wallace explains that there are three motives invariably found behind crimes and conspiracies, sexual lust, greediness for money and the desire for power. And that’s just for starters!
If a friend tells you they really do love you and, to prove it, they tell you they deposited $1 million in your bank account, how would you know if you should believe them? You check your bank balance, of course!
If the million bucks aren’t there, you know your “friend” is not to be believed. If you verify that you are now a millionaire, however, well then, you probably should accept that person as a genuine friend.
There is one essential claim upon which all of Christianity stands or falls. Paul the Apostle even says if this claim is false, then he and every other disciple of Jesus is a liar. One way to verify the claim is understanding the credibility of the four Gospels. NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace explains in this video:
Go to an art museum and you will see dozens of illustrations of the common sense truth that design requires a designer. Regardless if you see a classic Rembrandt or some weird post-modern existential scream, there was an artist behind it (i.e. a designer).
It’s the same in nature generally and specifically in that part of nature studied as the field of biology. In the following video, Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace, the NBC “Dateline” detective extraordinaire, walks us through eight signs he sees in biology of design.
So, you’re jawing with a friend on the cell and happen to mention that you had a really odd dream the other night during which you were driving a sporty Tesla Model S through Hollywood.
Then your friend says, “right, it was a red convertible and we had the top down.” Would that freak you out? What if the next thing he said was “the blonde was in the back seat with me and the redhead was up there with you” and he was right!?!? (Yes, I know Tesla doesn’t make a convertible Model S, but work with me here, ok?)
Now you’re really freaked out because two people just don’t independently have the same dream like that. But, as Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace (the Tesla illustration was actually his, not mine) explains in this video, something like it did happen after Jesus was resurrected. And that makes all the difference in the world for all of us:
That question in the headline above might well seem like an odd one to ask in a world in which the Bible is by far the most-read, best-selling book of all human history. Imagining our world without it is like imagining it without the Sun.
But it being Easter and all, what if we didn’t have the Bible to tell us what the events of this most significant of all weeks mean to each of us as individuals and to all humanity?
That’s a question former NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace addresses in the following video. It’s all about inferences and evidence. He’s writing a book about the resurrection of Christ based on this question and preparing to teach a course on it, so his thoughts here are not mere off-the-cuffisms:
Among the most common objections to Christianity is the rejection of the disciples’ claim that they saw and talked to the resurrected Jesus three days after his crucifixion on the cross and burial in a grave carved out of stone. He didn’t actually die on the cross, the critics claim.
This objection is one of the several ways, for example, that Islam rejects the resurrected Jesus Christ as proof of His claim to be both God and man. Similarly, atheists came up with the claim that Jesus could not have been resurrected from the dead because He didn’t die on the cross. He was buried, then revived in the cool grave, escaped and walked all the way to India or maybe Japan where he married, had kids, and died. (No, I’m not making this up, you can Google it!)
Palm Sunday is right around the corner, so odds are good this objection will be heard in coming days in the mainstream media, in online college classes and in the popular culture. But NBC “Dateline” Cold-Case Detective J. Warner Wallace explains in the following video why people who claim Jesus didn’t die on the cross have no idea what they are talking about:
If Joe tells you that two plus two equals four, he’s told you a fact. But if he then tells that you two is the square root of four and you conclude Joe has something more than basic math skills, you’re making an inference. But how do you know if your inference is accurate?
Are facts and inferences really so different? That’s an important question if you work on Capitol Hill. Consider these two claims: The federal budget has a huge deficit this year and it’s all X’s fault. You know which of those two claims is a fact but how do you determine if the inference is true or false.
J. Warner Wallace, NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective and founder of coldcasechristianity.org, spent years cracking old unsolved murders, so he knows a few things about the difference between facts and inferences, plus knowing how to judge the accuracy of an inference:
It is not uncommon to hear the claim that human thoughts and choices are actually nothing more than the product of material processes of neurons acting and reacting within our physical brains.
Put another way, our minds are illusions. We only think we think of our own free will. As Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist and atheist advocate, put it in a 2011 interview with Britain’s The Guardian: