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.”
Is it really possible to explain the origin of life from non-life without God? Lord knows, smart people like Stephen Hawking and legions of others who deny or ignore the possibility of God as creator have been trying for centuries.
There is a magnetic thingie on our refrigerator that says “Lord, help me today to be the person my dog thinks I am.” I swear that, once as I gazed at those words, Twister, our black Lab, gave a dog chuckle, the muttered “Fat chance.” I know that’s what he said because we “get” each other.
There is a serious question to be considered here, though, and that is this: Are we humans “special” in any sense that sets us apart from dogs, cats, buffalo, ants or any of the other of the billions of animals on Earth?
J. Warner Wallace, author of “Cold-Case Christianity” and NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective, addresses this question in response to a student’s recent question.
I will tell you now that Wallace gets it completely wrong on the issue of how smart are Labs, but the rest of his analysis ought to make you think seriously about your place in the world.