On Thursday, former homicide detective James Warner Wallace was invited to campus by Ratio Christi—Latin for Reasons for Christ—to present “The Moral Evidence for God,” in the Ohio Union.
Twenty-two years ago, Wallace began investigating the Bible using his training in forensic statement analysis. A former atheist, he expected to disprove the Christian faith, but he couldn’t.
Wallace has been featured on television numerous times for his previous cases, Including appearances on NBC’s “Dateline” — more than any other detective in the show’s history — and “20/20.”
Wallace, who is now retired, translated his expertise in the field of forensics into apologetics—the study of justifying beliefs—after studying the Bible and attending seminary school.
Wallace began with an illustration of a fictional homicide crime scene, using a visual presentation. and walked through how to solve the case.
He said similar to looking beyond the crime scene to find the murderer, to find the source of the universe, one has to look beyond the universe.
“We are looking for the cause of all space, time and matter,” Wallace said. “It has to be something that’s not made of space, time or matter because that wasn’t available until the universe came into existence.”
Wallace argued that morality is objective, not based on individual opinion, and we all have moral obligation to people.
“Who is the transcend moral person to whom we are feeling obligated? If it’s just physics, then why do we have moral obligation? We might have moral truths, but obligations require persons.”
Wallace followed different lines of arguments on existential questions of the reality of agency, eternity and evil. He presented his rationale behind why it is important to ask if God exists and why he believes God does exist.
“I’ve got a conclusion that I’ve drawn from the facts, and I’m willing to share that. But at the same time, I did not believe that any of what I’m talking about tonight, I didn’t believe that God existed at all at 35,” Wallace said.. “So I try to remember that when I’m talking to this group.”
Although a Christian, Wallace did not focus the presentation on defending the Bible. He said he wanted to remain neutral and allow people to make their own conclusions.
The presentation ended in a Q&A and Wallace answered several questions from both skeptics and believers of his philosophy.
Wallace, an in-demand speaker, said he enjoys speaking to college students because of their diversity in thought and their willingness to explore.
Mitchell Walker, a third-year in physics and president of Ratio Christi, said he hopes Wallace’s lecture will help spark discussions around campus.
“I’m hoping that people have the opportunity to accept [the moral argument] or reject it,” Walker said. “I hope that this starts conversations about it on campus.”