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:
Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallaces Responds to a great question during a recent conversation on the campus of Ohio State University
That question posed in the headline above is a commonplace criticism one often hears in the media, on campus, and in a wide range of public forums in America.
You saw a typical example of this sort of ad hominem on Sunday if you happen to have watched “Meet The Press” when NBC’s Chuck Todd read a letter-to-the-editor of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald claiming people who believe Noah’s Ark actually existed are typically Trump supporters.
But this isn’t a new argument, as J. Warner Wallace explains during a recent presentation at Ohio State University. In the process, he addresses these key questions: “Why do Christian believe in – and expect – an afterlife? Is our belief in Heaven and Hell based purely on the teaching of the Bible? Is there any other good reason to expect a life beyond the grave?”
There are times when, no matter what the evidence shows, the conclusion to which it points is, for whatever reason, so difficult to wrap our minds around, or so contrary to what we have long believed, that we simply refuse to accept it.
That description undoubtedly fits a lot of folks working on Capitol Hill when the issue at hand is whether or not God exists. Probably no other issue in life is more subject to rationalization, avoidance and intellectual blinders.
When there are multiple factors pointing to a common causal conclusion, that’s significant but not necessarily decisive. When there are multiple factors from multiple categories of evidence that point to a common causal conclusion, that’s decisive.
J. Warner Wallace, NBC “Dateline” Cold-Case Detective, explains why in this video with “One-Minute Apologist Bobby Conway:
Among the attributes that most distinguish humans from all other creatures is our ability to perceive alternative courses of action and to make choices among those alternatives. That’s called “free will.” Our laws and system of justice assume we all have this unique ability.
But if we live in a material universe that is a product of and is governed only by the action/reaction processes of atoms and forces in motion, then there can be no such thing as free will. Our decisions to act in a certain way are nothing more than the consequences of those atoms reacting according to the sequence of causes and effects.
“No set of dominoes is held accountable for how they fall,” contends NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace in the following brief video. “Dominoes have no choice in the matter because they fall in a certain way based on prior physical causes.” Think about it, are you just another domino?
Ever Wonder ‘Who Made God?’
That’s a question often posed by those who deny God’s existence, but, as Tom Hammond explains in “What Time Is Purple,” wondering who made God makes about as much sense as pondering where on the clock does the royal color appear.
“What Time Is Purple” is a mere 45 pages, but it’s full of clarity, logic and common sense about the most important questions we all think about it at one time or another. Be careful, though, as it may cause you to revise how you answer those questions.
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Two aliens from a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, Earth’s nearest star beyond our Sun, walk into a bar in Amsterdam arguing about Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch,” which they just saw at the Rijks Museum.
After a few minutes of intense debate, one alien looks at the other and announces “say what you will, but I’m telling you this amazing art could only have been created by a great designer. I want to meet this Rembrandt human.”
At that, the other alien stares in amazement at his interstellar colleague, motions to the bartender to bring the two another round, and replies “nah, no way. This thing looks designed but it’s actually nothing more than the result of a chance encounter of materials.”