Is there credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God? Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates from schools like Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandies who are recognized authorities in their fields. Strobel challenges them with questions like How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence exist for Jesus outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event? Strobel's tough, point-blank questions make this remarkable book read like a captivating, fast-paced novel. But it's not fiction. It's a riveting quest for the truth about history's most compelling figure. What will your verdict be in The Case for Christ?
It is obvious to any skeptic reading this book, that for all of Strobel's insistence that he was a hardcore atheist and bristling skeptic he has absolutely no idea what sort of questions and answers matter to skeptics. Nor does his interaction with his all Christian interviewees suggest anything but compliant and soft handling. He appears to be wearing two or three pairs of kid gloves. He'll say that he can't let them off the hook and that he's going to give them a tough question and then lob some sort of crackpot theory no self respecting skeptic would ever take seriously.
The formula it this.
1. Start chapter with an exciting, but irrelevant anecdote about criminal investigation. It's a terrible and transparent gimmick aimed it showing that investigating the Bible is the same as investigating contemporary crime, even though there aren't any witnesses, material evidence, forensics or really any means at all to demonstrate anything concrete whatsoever.
2. Talk about the dude you're going to interview. Spend a page talking about his credentials, but then tell us not to worry about him bein' some unrelatable academic snot. He likes hockey! And has pictures his kids drew! And and he looks like a nice guy! Frankly I'm surprised he never got around to comparing them to lovable pop culture icons.
Reading this ridiculous dribble about why I should like this academic every-man I couldn't help wondering what he would have said about skeptical academics had he actually interviewed any. I doubt that he would talk about them in such sappy heartwarming language. Would he simply omit the gratuitous page of leg-humping (which really didn't need to be there at all) or would he mention the "cold uncomfortable feeling he felt in their presence" and describe the "lack of human touches in their office"? I don't know. It's one more reason I wish he had included interviews from people that weren't all presenting the argument he was selling.
3. Next you dive into the interview. This involves Strobel asking a question involving the theme of the of the chapter and immediately accepting whatever answer is given. Sometime he admits that that was enough to convince him, but asks a few more softball questions anyway to demonstrate his commitment to academic pursuit. Almost all examples of scholarly opinion and evidence is only vaguely referred to and lacking reference. They say things like "every one agrees that..." but fail to say who everyone is, or more importantly why they agree. It is assumed that hearing that some unknown theoretical scholars think it is as good as actual evidence and evaluation. It's not uncommon for them to insist that agreement is unanimous in the academic community regarding an issue when a simple google search shows it isn't. I shouldn't need to point out that conducting a criminal investigation or trial in this manner would be a joke.
4. Having declared the previous claim fact without actually applying any sort of rigorous evaluation or providing any evidence Strobel then uses it to prove more claims. This is basically all the book is. Making a claim, not really investigating it, declaring it inequivocally proven and then using it to prove other claims.
5. Throw in some strawman versions of skeptic arguments and you're good to go.
In a nut shell, this book argues that what the Bible says must be true because the Bible says it. It never addresses any real arguments against religion in general or Christianity in particular and on the occasion Strobel accidentally raises a legitimate objection his subject wasn't prepared for it is dismissed with a wave of the hand rather than actual logic or evidence. Unless you already accept the Bible as fact this is just going to be a lot of self appreciative nonsense and a giant waste of time.
Some of you may be wondering why someone like myself that so clearly didn't like the book felt the need to read it and review it. It was given me by my mother. She was completely convinced it would show me the light and save me from my atheist ways. This is the third book I have read that was given to me to these ends, and while none of them has come even remotely close to addressing the sort of the things that me make an atheist rather than a Christian, this book was by far the worst of the bunch. I don't recommend giving your atheist or agnostic friends religious books or attempting to convert them, it is more likely to strain the relationship than make good Christians of them.
What kind of journalist writes a piece on a controversial subject without finding sources on all sides of the given issue?
The title should have been "The Case for Christ: A shoddy journalist's personal quest to find people who agree with me."
There were minor parts in which I disagreed with what was said, but those mainly pertained to certain interpretations or positions of doctrine that either Strobel or an interviewee and made, not necessarily to the topic of the reliability of the Bible or to the Messiah. Over all, a very good book and worth the read.
There have been those who complain that Strobel doesn’t interview those who “have a case against Christ”. This is true, but to be fair to the author, he never intended to do this and doesn’t purport to. He is simply putting out the case for Christ, not against. Besides, what other books out there, by atheist or otherwise, write both pro and con arguments? Not many at all. You’re more likely to find those in academia any way.
I would recommend this to anyone who really wants to know if the claims of the Bible are true. I'm sure those who are determined to not believe will find a reason to, but those with more open minds will at very least find the claims of Christianity are a little more credible than they may have first thought.
Can the biographies of Jesus be trusted?
Were they reliably preserved?
Does archaeology confirm or contradict the gospels?
Was Jesus crazy when He claimed to be the son of God?
Was Jesus seen alive after His death on the cross?
What does the evidence establish?
I liked Strobel's writing style. He includes a nice description of his conversations without just listing a bunch of dry academic facts. The facts themselves are quite interesting. I thought his "case" was well presented, but I am of course already biased to believe it. So, would it change my mind if I were atheist or agnostic? I don't know. He does bring up common arguments and refutes them, which I found compelling.
Speaking as a Christian, I believe this book provides an interesting read in apologetics. I enjoyed it, and thought it had some solid points to support the validity of the Bible. Of course, in the end, it's written by a man. Ultimately, my faith comes from what I read in the Bible, not what a man or Bible scholar writes. I believe anything aside from the inspired word of God can have fallacies - intended or not. But I would recommend this read to others, and I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
He asked the logic questions that most people have, and the answers he found are very convicting. I have a new found love for Luke as a historian, and the preface to his gospel makes me smile.
I also like how he breaks up his research into different parts, and the part I most appreciated was the information on Resurrection of Christ.
I'm proud that a professor from my Alma Mater, Liberty University, was referenced!
In this book there was a lot of information and was well written and interesting. The author interviewed 13 Christian experts including such people as Craig Blomberg, Bruze Metzger, Edwin Yamauchi, Ben Witherington III, and William Lane Craig. This book was a book about Strobel’s reasons for his belief in Jesus but not a well-balanced pro and con view of both sides. If you are looking for that, this is not the book.
His book also had others like one of my favorites, Ravi Zacharias, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries; Phillip Johnson, Law Professor, University of California at Berkeley; D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries; J.P. Moreland, Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University; and Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy, Boston College. It would take too long to get into each subpart of the three main parts to flesh out all the details here but I’d be happy to talk to anyone a little more in-depth about this book in this thread. This book has a lot of one sided "evidence" but many are begging the question issues in my mind but overall I thought he did a good job with this book. I'd give this 4 stars out of 5.