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.
If the physical universe that we see, smell, hear, feel and taste is all that exists, how can we account for the fact we all have thoughts and emotions that are just as “real” to us as any of our senses?
This might initially seem like an odd question, but in fact it “points” to one of the most important questions any human being can ever ponder: If the non-material (i.e. thinking, consciousness) is as real as our five material senses (which can be explained merely by physical factors), how do we explain the origin and ultimate significance of the non-material?
J. Warner Wallace, NBC “Dateline’s” cold-case detective, addresses this issue in chapter five of his superb book “God’s Crime Scene.” There he observes this:
If the material universe is all there is, where do our non-material minds come from?
“If I asked you to close your eyes and think of an imaginary car and encouraged you to envision anything you could imagine related to that car, the resulting vehicle would exist solely in your mind.
“If you are sufficiently creative, your imaginary vehicle would be like no other car on the planet, and only you would know precisely how it looks. Without referencing a physical car external to your body, you imagined the shape, color and textures of the vehicle; it exists only in your conscious thoughts.
“This particular car is not the result of optical input from your eyes. Your brain isn’t referencing optical data from an object in the room. Neurophysiologists cannot open your physical brain and locate the car, its shape or its properties.
“These characteristics cannot be accessed by surgeons sifting through the gray matter of your brain, and even though neurologists may be able to pinpoint a location within the brain where neurological activity correlates with a thought or sensation, this only confirms a casual relationship between two separate things and fails to identify one as the other.
“While physical states can be publicly known, mental states are only privately known. This characteristic of the mind is not shared with the brain; the properties of the brain and the mind are not identical.”
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If you’ve been alive and breathing in recent decades, odds are good that you’ve at least heard about the miracle of Jesus in feeding 5,000 people in the wilderness near Bethsaida.
Jesus had been speaking to the crowd for a good part of the day and when evening began to approach, he asked Phillip and other disciples how they could feed the large assembly. The disciples wanted to disperse the crowd to head into town, but Jesus took some fish and bread and multiplied it sufficiently to feed everybody on the spot and still have 12 baskets full of uneaten food for leftovers.
Professor Sean McDowell of Biola University takes on the radical historians who claim Christianity’s sole legacy is intolerance, the slaughter of the Crusades and moral hypocrisy. Thursday, August 1, 2019.
NBC “Dateline” Cold-Case Expert J. Warner Wallace explains why those apparent variations in how each of the Gospels reported the Resurrection are evidence of their strengths as eyewitnesses. Monday, July 29, 2019.
You might even want to know “What Time Is Purple” and how to get a free copy of a remarkable little book. Or a free copy of “More Than A Carpenter,” the classic description of evidence for the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christianity is either established or destroyed by whether or not a single historical event actually happened, as claimed in the four Gospels concerning the resurrection of Jesus.
If Jesus was indeed resurrected three days after being crucified dead and buried, then was seen and heard by a multitude of witnesses in the 40 days thereafter, as claimed by the Gospel authors, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, then every human being who ever has or ever will live must decide whether to accept or reject His claim to be God Incarnate and the only way to Heaven.
If Jesus was not physically resurrected as claimed by the Gospels, then, as Paul writes in I Corinthians 15:17-19, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile … and we are of all people most to be pitied.”
Christian apologists like J. Warner Wallace, the famous NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective, speak to lots of college and high school groups and they often get the most penetrating questions from the students.
Such was the case at the recent Grounded Youth Apologetics Conference hosted by the Donelson Fellowship in Nashville. A student noted that Wallace had spoken of how he believes Christianity “fits” science better than religions like Islam and Hindu and asked him why the others don’t.