If You’re A Christian Case Maker, Your Common Sense Is Sense Enough
by J Warner Wallace
I had the opportunity to speak to students on the campus of North Carolina State University on Monday night at the invitation of Ratio Christi directors Curtis Hrischuk and Greg Reeves. Following the presentation, I had a conversation with a student about the important role each of us plays in defending the Christian worldview. Like many Christians I talk to, this student doubted her own ability to accurately evaluate the historical, scientific or philosophical evidence related to Christianity and Theism. Is it possible to make an accurate or intelligent case for Christianity without a PhD in history, ancient languages, science or philosophy? Yes, it is: Jurors do it every day.
As I’ve written a number of times on this blog, most trials involve expert witnesses of one kind or another. I’ve used forensic experts, behavioral analysts, DNA experts, coroners and all kinds of
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intelligent specialists with PhD’s over the years. But none of these people were as important as my jurors. Think about that for a minute. The responsibility we give jurors is truly breathtaking: we ask regular citizens to evaluate the evidence provided by experts and make a critical decision. These jurors seldom have the expertise possessed by the expert witnesses. In fact, attorneys usually do their best to make sure there are no experts on the jury.
If I’ve got a case involving the expert testimony of a behavioral psychologist, I’ll be hesitant to include a behavior psychologist on my jury. Pride sometimes interferes with good decision making. I’ve had jurors who resisted the testimony of an expert simply because they thought they knew more based on their own education or level of expertise (even though they were only trained in a distantly related discipline). While I am happy to include the testimony of expert witnesses in my case, I want smart, interested laypeople on my jury. You don’t need to be an expert to evaluate a case; you simply need some good, old-fashioned common sense…