Saturday, December 26, 2020

December 26 The Altogether Astonishing Religion of Jesus

Reason 26 The Altogether Reasonableness and Goodness of the Christian Faith

As seen in our “25 Undeniable Reasons to Believe” series, the Christian faith deserves the deep reverence and loyalty of all people everywhere. Unlike atheism and other world religions, the Christian faith alone adequately accounts for two monumental and air-tight realities: our finely-tuned universe which certainly could not have come into existence out of absolutely nothing (see articles #1, 2, 25); and the immediate and unparalleled historical commotion set off by the inexplicably empty grave of Jesus (see articles #3-6).

The Christian faith also stands alone in adequately accounting for the many credible and modern-day reports of miracles and answered prayers (see articles #22 and 24), and for the credible and modern-day accounts of demon possession (see article #13), and for the credible experiences of human “souls” that continue to exist beyond damaged human brains and beyond bodies in need of resuscitation (see articles #19-20).

Again, the Christian faith stands alone in possessing a sacred book which foretold with unearthly accuracy the career of its Messiah (see articles #14-15), and which has maintained remarkable freedom from corruption even after centuries of copying (see article #17), whose academic value has been confirmed by countless historical documents and archaeological discoveries (see articles #16-18), and whose solid psychological  principles have been proven effective and copy-catted by modern-day counselors for the good of people everywhere (see article #21).

And finally, the evangelical Christian faith, not atheism or other world religions, deserves to be deeply reverenced by people everywhere for being the true source and driver for our modern conceptions of fundamental human rights—the equality of peasants and royals and of both sexes, as well as the value of each and every human life—a value far above the life of animals (see article #12), and the importance of giving each and every person a say in government policies (see article #23). The evangelical faith also deserves to be deeply appreciated for being the source and driver for the abolition of slavery everywhere (see article #9), for turning shattered and dangerous individuals into emotionally well and gentle people and making church-goers the most statistically kind, gentle, and generous people in society (see articles #10-11), and for inspiring non-church-goers around the world to new levels of gentleness and integrity (see articles #7-8).

Because the observable facts speak for themselves in all these matters, the religion of Jesus surely deserves the deep reverence and loyalty of every thoughtful person in the world.

Friday, December 25, 2020

December 25 In the Beginning Was the Word: Our Amazing Information-Based Universe

Reason #25 The Scientific Evidence for an Information-Based (Not Matter-Based) Universe

Science and logic strongly indicate that the laws of nature operate on a foundation of information and mathematical precision, not randomness.

The atheist believes that any discussion about the beginning of the universe must begin with a discussion of matter and space-time, but the Christian believes that it must begin with a discussion of information. The idea of information is embedded in the earliest Christian creeds—“In the beginning was the Word” (the Word, not matter), and words express mind; words express information.

The debate between atheism and Christianity, therefore, is not a debate over science versus God, but over a random-based cosmos versus an information-based cosmos. The atheist is a person of faith (in a randomness that stands behind the story of the cosmos) just as much as the Christian is a person of faith (in an intelligence that stands behind the story of the cosmos).

This is why it is so striking to hear atheists admit to the appearance of design in the universe. Of course, this appearance of design is most naturally explained by the actuality of design. And if the scientific data available to us demonstrates a reliable sort of mathematical design and precision, then the idea of randomness certainly loses its intellectual appeal.

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Eugene Wigner spoke about “the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences.” Over and over again, the laws of physics are stated as mathematical formulas—E=mc(mass-energy equivalence),  {\displaystyle F=}F=​dpdt (Newton’s second law), etc. Galileo came to believe that “mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.” Indeed, math is often regarded as the primary “language” of science and the key to crafting tight chains of logic that make possible everything from rocketry and nuclear fission, to simple banking and telling time. Our daily routines, and the universe itself, rely on a foundation of brilliant information, not randomness.

This same brilliant information is seen in the field of DNA research.  The DNA of the human genome is frequently likened to an instruction book for life, or a codebook for life—a “book” with something like 3.2 billion “letters” (genetic base pairs) in it! In fact, it is almost impossible for scientists to refer to DNA without referring to “information.”

Therefore, whether viewed through a telescope or a microscope, it is abundantly clear that the cosmos is operating on the basis of astonishing information, calculations, and codes, not the randomness that atheism requires. And anytime we require our hourly wages to be paid accurately, or our phone numbers to be dialed correctly, or our speedometer readings to keep us safe, we are admitting to our dependence on a cosmos that operates on the basis of information—the information that stands behind a mathematically reliable natural world.

Science and logic strongly indicate that the laws of nature operate on a foundation of information and mathematical precision, not randomness.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

December 24 The Awe-Inspiring Evidence for the Christian Faith from Modern-Day Miracles

Reason #24 The Evidence for the Christian Faith from Modern-Day Miracles

Credible reports of modern-day miracles strongly discredit the anti-supernatural worldviews of atheism.

Of course, by definition, miracles don’t happen “all the time.” If they did, they would no longer be miracles, they would be commonplace. But neither are miracles so rare as to be unheard of among honest and intelligent human beings.

Author Craig Keener has researched miracle reports from around the world and can address the medical documentation and Social Security disability reports behind Greg Spencer’s blindness from severe macular degeneration which was suddenly and completely healed at a Christian men’s retreat. Drs. Thomas Marshall and Harold Adolf can provide first hand documentation for Barbara Snyder’s sudden healing in 1981 from a 15-year battle with severe Multiple Scleroses (involving the Mayo clinic at one point) which had progressed to the point of causing her hands and extremities to curl in atrophy and requiring a tracheostomy and oxygen to help her breathe. Her doctors say there is no medical explanation for Barbara’s overnight healing. In fact, Dr. Keener’s book on miracles includes dozens of recent and credible miracle accounts from the U.S. and elsewhere.

The simple truth is that improbable happenings do indeed occur, and sometimes the improbabilities behind these happenings are so astronomically high, that naturalism and atheism are simply less intellectually satisfying than faith. It is possible to spend so much energy searching for escapes from the obvious—ways to explain away these phenomena—that we become more like zealots than scholars.  


What is the probability, for example, that Paul Rader’s experience should be fully accounted for by coincidence? He had a banker friend in the 1920s who always professed to be too busy for religion. Eventually, the banker came down with a health problem that required him to be admitted to a health resort for complete rest and recovery.  While he was there Rader was impressed by the thought that he should catch a train and pay a visit to his friend.


As soon as the banker saw him, he said, “Oh, Rader, I am so glad to see you.”


Rader greeted him humorously, “I received your telegram.”


The banker answered, “That’s impossible. I wrote a telegram begging you to come, but I tore it up. I didn’t send it.”


Of course, Paul had no idea that his friend had almost sent him a telegram, and then decided against it, but he again retorted in good humor, “That may be, but your message came by way of Heaven.”

By this time, Rader’s banker friend was very ready to accept Christ’s offer of rescue from sin, and he did indeed accept it with a prayer of gratitude. Talking a few minutes later, the banker asked Paul, “Rader, did you ever see the sky so blue or the grass so green?”

Paul replied, “Sometimes we sing a song that has these words: ‘Heaven above is softer blue, Earth around is sweeter green; Something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen.'"

Suddenly the banker leaned against Paul Rader, fell into his arms, and died, a brand new convert to the religion of Jesus, and just in time.

Again, what probabilities were standing against John G. Paton’s rescue from agitated and violent islanders in New Hebrides (now Vanatu) in the late 1800s? Two of their former missionary colleagues had already been attacked and killed, and now Paton and his wife were left in similar circumstances for an entire terror-filled night. When daylight finally came, the Patons were astonished that they had not only survived the night, but also that their attackers had simply gone away.

A year later, the chief of that tribe was converted to the Christian faith, and Paton, remembering what had happened on that dark night, asked him what had kept him and his men from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, "Who were all those men you had with you there?" The missionary answered, "There were no men there; just my wife and I."

The chief argued that they had seen many men standing guard—hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They circled the mission house, making the islanders afraid to carry out their attack.

Or what sort of improbabilities stand behind the reports of captured and astonished Nazi pilots who reported being engaged by “hundreds” of fighter aircraft during the Battle of Britain when only a very few airplanes were anywhere near them?

Or what sort of probabilities stand behind Charles Ryrie’s story of an exhausted friend who was obligated to drive all through the night on one occasion, and who prayed for someone who might ride with him to help him stay awake, preferably a Christian?

The hitchhiker he picked up turned out to be a delightful person, one who actually knew some of the driver’s friends. Early in the morning, the hitchhiker asked to be dropped off at a roadside coffee shop where the two men chatted a few more minutes over a cup of coffee before parting.

A few minutes down the road, the driver regretted that he didn’t get his new friend’s full name and contact information, so he did a quick U-turn hoping to catch the hitchhiker before he got away. Back in the cafĂ©, he asked the cook if he had seen which direction the man who was with him had gone. The cook replied, “What other man? I thought it was unusual that you would order two cups of coffee. As a matter of fact, the other cup is still sitting there on the table, hasn’t been touched. I thought you were maybe just sort of talking to yourself there.”

It is a fact that credible reports of hopelessly improbable occurrences do exist—many, many credible reports from honest and intelligent individuals. And if even one of these supernatural accounts is true, then the worldviews of naturalism and atheism are deficient and false. Zealots may be motivated to avoid miracle stories in general, and to appeal to loopholes they claim to find in each miracle story they  ever encounter, but in doing so, they will be required to exercise greater faith in their naturalism, and less sheer reason, than devout Christians exercise when they believe in miracles. 

Credible reports of modern-day miracles strongly discredit the anti-supernatural worldviews of atheism.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

December 23 The Astonishing Depths of the New Testament Roots of Democracy

Reason #23 The New Testament Roots of Democracy

The facts of history strongly indicate that the Christian faith deserves credit for being the true impetus behind our current conceptions of democracy.

Most people today appreciate the utter importance of democracy—allowing every person to have an equal say in the way society functions.  The premise of democracy just seems obvious to us in modern times. Giving potential victims and their oppressors an equal vote in matters that affect the pursuit of happiness will keep the would-be victims from having their human rights violated and the would-be oppressors from executing their self-serving schemes. When seen against the entire backdrop of human history, however, this principle of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” is actually both rare and new.

Chiefdom, monarchy, and tyranny seem to be the default settings of human government, and virtually all the governance we see in historical times was enjoyed by warrior chiefs and kings who helped themselves to the best spoils of what their societies could offer. And although we admire the early democratic policies of Athens and Rome, these democracies actually excluded huge portions of their populations who were slaves and non-citizen residents. Additionally, because they had no Constitutions to set boundaries on their liberties, the self-interested majorities in Athens and Rome were free to trample the human rights of minorities (and they routinely did).

All true human rights-based democracies owe their existence, not to Athens or Rome, but to the New Testament. This is because Jesus taught His followers that an entire congregation should be called upon to settle disputed matters—to make decisions collectively, as a group, and not to rely on leaders alone for direction (Matthew 18:17-18).1 And this explains why the first Christians chose their first ministers by consensus, a policy they learned from Jesus and which served them very well (Acts 6:3-5).2 But this was not the way the chiefs and kings around them did things.

Even in Britain, before the 1500s, popular elections were unheard of. After all, Britain was still a firmly entrenched monarchy, and the law-making role of parliament was quite limited and unclear. But during the back-to-the-New-Testament fervor of the Puritan Reformation, Christians began to choose their pastors by vote. This was considered a radical idea by most of their Church of England brethren who opposed it. We have the account from as early as 1634, for example, of a Puritan congregation in the Netherlands that met to vote on a new minister. The emcee of the meeting noted the vote:  “'I see the men choose him, but what do the women do?' Hereupon the women lift up their hands too."

It was in the U.S. that true democracy first spread beyond the church. In 1620, the Puritan pilgrims aboard the Mayflower created and signed, with no monarch’s input or consent, a pledge of self-governance and cooperation, the Mayflower Compact. They also elected John Carver to be their governor, choosing him just as they had chosen their pastors back home, by the voice of the congregation. One historian referred to this as “the first experiment in consensual government in Western history between individuals with one another, and not with a monarch.”

By 1632 when Puritan investors rose to leadership in the Massachusetts Bay Company (forerunner to the city of Boston), the governor, the deputy, and the assistants were all chosen by election.

Even as late as the 1780s, only 20 percent of the adult males in Britain were permitted to vote, while 55 percent were voting in the newly formed United States. In fact, as late as the 1790s, the highly respected parliamentarian Edmund Burke was acting as the spokesperson for a substantial number of British politicians and thinkers who opposed democracy as a dangerous and oppressive form of government.

In our current age of anti-Christian sentiment, critics may be reluctant to admit that, actually, it was not Athens, or Rome, or even Britain, that brought the world democracy as we know and revere it today—democracy under a Constitution of human rights. It was in fact the founder of the Christian faith and the people who followed His instructions who handed us this remarkable gift, and we are all deeply indebted to them for it.

The facts of history strongly indicate that the Christian faith deserves credit for being the true impetus behind our current conceptions of democracy.


1 Matthew 18:17 Tell it to the congregation: but if he refuses to hear the congregation, let him be to you as a Gentile…1Whatever you judge on earth shall be confirmed in heaven.

2 Acts 6:3 Brothers, pick out from among you seven men…whom we may appoint over this business.... And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose...

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

December 22 The Amazing Evidence for the Christian Faith from Answered Prayers

Reason #22 The Evidence for the Christian Faith from Answered Prayers

The sheer abundance of credible reports of answers to prayer strongly discredits the anti-supernatural worldviews of atheism.

"All I know is that when I pray, coincidences happen.” For 2000 years now, Christians have been praying to God for their “daily bread” and other needs, and “coincidences” keep happening as they do. At some point, these phenomena become so numerous and striking that explanations along the lines of randomness and coincidence are no longer intellectually satisfying. The sheer preponderance of evidence is enough to overwhelm our natural reluctance to believe.

Believers love to recall the day when George Muller’s orphanage in Britain had so completely exhausted its food supply and financial reserves that there was no food left for the orphans’ breakfast and no funds left for buying groceries. They sat at the table anyway and were praying for daily bread when a knock at their door brought the baker—who spent a sleepless night worried about the orphans—carrying with him a generous supply of bread. And a second knock on the door immediately afterwards brought the milkman whose delivery wagon had broken down in front of the orphanage, making it convenient for the milk to be “disposed of” by the orphans for free.

Similarly, when George and Sarah Clarke’s Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago was in danger of being shuttered for their inability to pay the rent, they appealed to God for help. On the day when their rent was due, the Clarkes were astonished to wake up to a yard filled with the kind of gourmet mushrooms coveted by Chicago restaurant owners and chefs. The sale of the mushrooms was adequate to meet the Clarkes’ rent obligations, and more curiously still, no similar mushroom crop had ever been seen on that property before that day or since.

In the 1950s, Dr. Helen Roseveare’s work took her to Nebobongo, in Congo, Africa, to establish a mission hospital. The routine medical needs at that time were unending, but Helen also soon became distressed over the plight of the victims of leprosy in her area. She was eager to help these destitute people, but the financial needs of her clinic were already taxed to the breaking point, and there seemed to be no way to fund a separate endeavor for providing the long-term care leprosy patients would require. Finally, when she could bear it no more, she ordered her first leprosy medical supplies, praying that charitable donations might arrive from her supporters in time to pay the bill at the end of the month. Sure enough, just before the bill came due, a donation arrived from the U.S. marked as a contribution “for the leprosy ministry.” The most uncanny detail associated with this event is that it took five months for that mail to be delivered from the U.S. to Roseveare’s clinic in Congo, and when that donation was first sent, there was no leprosy ministry in Nebobongo, and no real reason to suppose there ever would be.

Henry W. Adams relays the account of a pastor in the mountains of California, during the early 1900s, who ran completely out of food and money one afternoon and began praying for God to send some help for his family of seven. When it was almost time for dinner, a Christian woman they had never seen before came to their door offering them a large sack of flour with a most unusual explanation for her visit.

The nice woman once lived in the pastor’s area, and she still owned a house in that area, but now lived in San Diego. She was back in the area to visit her brother and, on an impulse, decided to look in on her old house which had been sitting vacant for some time. There she found the bag of flour, still perfectly good, and decided it would be a shame to let it go to waste. Back in her buggy, she just felt inclined to give the flour away, and she prayed for God to help her find a person in need of it. When her horse turned off the main road without being directed to do so, and then came to a stop in front of a particular house, she wondered if this was a home that might need a sack of flour.

As impossible as it sounds, this is the true account of how an ordinary horse was used to motivate a perfect stranger, in possession of a large sack of flour, to knock on the door of a praying pastor’s needy family.

These kinds of answers to prayer don’t happen to believers every day, but they have been happening from time to time in the Christian family for 2000 years. It may be convenient to regard an isolated instance of answered prayer as a mere coincidence, but tens of thousands of such instances? Not so.

The sheer abundance of credible reports of answers to prayer strongly discredits the anti-supernatural worldviews of atheism.

Monday, December 21, 2020

December 21 The New Testament’s Uncanny Pioneering of Our Most Effective Psychological Therapy

Reason #21 The New Testament Roots of Our Most Effective Psychological Method (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

The Christian faith deserves to be revered for anticipating and pioneering the most effective psychological treatment method of modern times.

Even though psychology is considered a “soft science,” it is still significant to realize that what is arguably the most effective therapy technique in that field today is actually a therapy with New Testament Christian roots.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been described as the “gold standard of psychotherapy” (Frontiers in Psychiatry) a therapy that “works as well or better than medication to treat depression. […] The best-proven form of psychotherapy” (WebMD); “as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications” (American Psychological Association); “recommended as the first line of treatment for the majority of psychological disorders in children and adolescents,” (Wikipedia); “well-established, highly effective, and lasting,” (Anxiety and Depression Association of America); having a “considerable amount of scientific data supporting its use,” (National Alliance on Mental Illness); a therapy that “works about as well as Prozac and similar drugs for relieving the symptoms of anxiety disorders and mild to moderate depression, and it does so with longer-lasting benefits and without negative side-effects […] The therapy with the strongest evidence that it is both safe and effective,” (Coddling of the American Mind, by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt).

CBT is based on the idea that since one’s feelings seem to be deeply influenced by one’s thoughts and behaviors, a person may overcome his feelings of anxiety and depression by changing his thoughts and behaviors. It is common, for example, for depressed or anxious individuals to unintentionally habituate a focus on unpleasant prospects (e.g. “I’ll probably flunk out of college”) while overlooking the more pleasant realities of their situations (e.g. “I can pass this course,” or “Pleasant jobs don’t always require college,” etc.). CBT therapy coaches people with negative patterns of thought to recognize their unhelpful thought-patterns, and then intentionally turn their focus towards more realistic and pleasant possibilities. This also usually involves encouraging the depressed or anxious person to do what emotionally healthy people do in order to experience for themselves the pleasant outcomes these activities tend to produce (e.g. perhaps going ahead and signing up for a college course, getting a little private tutoring along the way, and seeing how it goes).

But all of this is very familiar territory for anyone acquainted with the New Testament. The followers of Jesus are actually commanded to practice this kind of self-therapy at all times in their Christian journey. Perhaps the most striking example of what we now call CBT is found in Paul’s instructions to Christians: “Whatever things are true….and lovely…think always on these things,” and “those things which you have learned…now do, and the God of peace shall be with you.” 1 This much-loved passage of scripture succinctly addresses both the cognitive aspects of CBT (redirecting your focus to thoughts that are true/realistic and lovely/positive) as well as the behavioral aspects of it (doing wise things in order to experience peace).

Besides being implied in Scripture too many times to count, these CBT concepts are explicitly stated on a number of occasions. Jesus commanded his followers, for example, to “take no thought” about tomorrow’s troubles2, and other passages appeal to believers to find “peace” through thoughts of gratitude3, to direct their thoughts to joyful things “always” 4, even in times of great hardship 5, to redirect the focus of their thoughts (“meditate”) on the things that are true and good “day and night”6, and even to directly confront and change their destructive thought patterns as a way of life (the word “repent” actually means to change one’s mind about a matter). 

Readers of the Psalms are also familiar with the positive self-talk, as we now term it, which dominates the cherished 103rd Psalm, for example, in which the author tells his own “soul” to “bless the Lord” and to “remember all his benefits.” This same kind of positive self-talk is actually found many times in the Psalms7, and throughout the Christian scriptures.

In spite of the strong anti-Christian sentiment in our culture today, the “soft sciences” strongly indicate that devoted Christians are indeed more emotionally well than other people. They are more kind and generous than others (see Reasons #7-10, 12, and 24), they are better at family relationships than others (see Reason #11), and they have fewer symptoms of psychological disorders than their neighbors (suicides, addictions, criminal activities, domestic violence, broken families, etc.). The Christian faith deserves credit for bringing about all these realities.

The Christian faith deserves to be revered for anticipating and pioneering the most effective psychological treatment method of modern times.


1 Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true…honest…just… pure…lovely…of good news, if anything is a virtue, if anything is a praise, think on these things.  9 Those things which you have learned…do. And the God of peace shall be with you.

2Matthew 6:34 Therefore, take no thought for tomorrow: for tomorrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil of it.

3Philippians 4:6 Be worried for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

4Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always.

5James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various temptations.

6Joshua 1:8 This book of the law…you shall meditate in day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and…have good success. 1 Timothy 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give yourself entirely to them.

7 Psalm 42: 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted in me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance….11 Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. 43: 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 103: 1 Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:3 Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your  youth is renewed like the eagle's. 6 The Lord executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.  8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 10 He has not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear him. 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. 22 Bless the Lord…bless the Lord, O my soul. Psalm 104:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with honor and majesty….33 I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord. 35…Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord. Psalm 116:7 Return unto your rest, O my soul; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. Psalm 146:1 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

December 20 The Awe-Inspiring Evidence from Near Death Experiences for a Soul-Mind Beyond the Body

Reason #20 The Evidence from Near Death Experiences for a Soul-Mind Beyond the Body

The existence of a soul that continues to function even after death is indicated by credible reports of Near Death Experiences

Recent medical science has made resuscitation from cardiac death quite common, and there are even a number of well documented cases on record for full or partial recoveries from brain death. These advances in medicine have resulted in a growing body of reports from people who have “experienced death” and are alive today to tell about it. A number of these reports involve patients who claim to feel somehow removed from their bodies—having out of the body experiences—sometimes even looking down at their own bodies from another nearby location. This naturally suggests the idea of a soul—the “real person” of a human being—which is somehow distinct from the human body and brain. Of course, we would expect a medicated and oxygen deprived brain to be subject to hallucination and confusion, but these expectations do not seem to fully account for the evidence now at our disposal.

One well-known case, for example, involves a seven-year-old girl who was found face down in a YMCA pool. Young Katie had no pulse for 19 minutes, and was profoundly comatose for three days.  When she awakened from her coma, she addressed the doctor standing next to her bed: “You’re the guy that saved me. Thank you. Where is the other doctor, the tall doctor without the beard?”

In utter surprise, the presiding doctor answered, “I’ll go get him for you.” In her unconscious state, with no apparent upper brain activity, Katie should not have been able to describe the appearance of her doctors.

Katie also reported that an angel allowed her to view her family while she was in her coma, and she correctly reported what her mother was cooking for dinner on that occasion (roast chicken and rice), where her dad, sister, and brother were sitting in the house, the toys her brother was playing with, and the song her sister was listening to at the time.

Hypoxia and medication cannot easily account for Katie’s knowledge of these details, and her experience is not an isolated case.

Another near death case involves a young man who was diagnosed as clinically dead from anaphylactic shock. After Dan’s heartbeat ceased, he was resuscitated and reported that he saw himself lying on the floor while the doctors and nurses were resuscitating him. He also reported that he saw Jesus, and heard a voice say, “You have not lived as I intended. Go back and glorify me.” Dr. Bernard J. Klamecki followed up on Dan’s experience and found that Dan was so impacted by his Near Death Experience that he left his homosexual lifestyle and became devoted to a Christian lifestyle.

Gary Habermas recalls the Near Death Experience of a woman who viewed herself from a vantage point above the scene of her emergency. She reported that she saw herself being carried to the ambulance on a stretcher, and she noticed (correctly) the ambulance number that was printed on the rooftop of the vehicle.

We might all wish for more conclusive evidence that would either substantiate or refute reports such as these, but until that kind of evidence is available, the evidence we do possess favors the existence of the human soul beyond the mortal body and brain.

The existence of a soul that continues to function even after death is indicated by credible reports of Near Death Experiences.

December 26 The Altogether Astonishing Religion of Jesus

Reason 26 The Altogether Reasonableness and Goodness of the Christian Faith As seen in our “25 Undeniable Reasons to Believe” series, the ...