This entry is my review of Lee Strobel’s book, The Case For Christ. Strobel was a self-proclaimed atheist who used his journalism background to discover Jesus. He is now a Christian and a fervent believer.
The book starts with a compelling story which immediately gains the sympathy of the reader. The tale is of a man who was convicted for a murder because the evidence pointed to his guilt. Strobel worked for a newspaper in Chicago and he discovered new evidence which helped to prove the man’s innocence. The point of the story is to show that Strobel originally believed the evidence proved “god” didn’t exist because he only skimmed the information, but in the end, he discovered a new truth; Strobel now believes in Jesus.
I had one major problem with Strobel’s book; he wanted to approach the question as if it were an actual case. His plan was to interview various experts in order to seek out the truth. That is a huge mistake because bringing the question of the existence of “god” into a courtroom removes the believer’s major defense; faith. Faith will never hold up in a court of law.
The first “expert’s” argument is weak. He was asked to prove that the apostles wrote the gospels. His argument is, the eyewitness is John Doe and he believes that what John Doe said about Jesus is true. Concerning the gospel of John, he actually says, “The name of the author isn’t in doubt—it’s certainly John…the question is whether it was John the apostle or a different John.” (Well, if I wasn’t convinced before, how could I argue with that statement?) I believe this evidence has a name; it is called hearsay. We all know that hearsay would not hold up in a court of law.
The overall premise of the book is to prove that Jesus existed and that the gospels, which “were written by his apostles,” are real. This would mean that the reader must agree, and I do not agree with the statement. The bible is not real; I think it is a book of myths and fairytales. There are many failed attempts to prove the existence of Jesus, but I think it would be pointless to go through each one. At the end of the day, a true atheist will not be swayed by these “facts,” and a believer would support each one as they support the ridiculous bible claims.
That being said, I enjoyed reading the stories and listening to the discussions, but for me this was for entertainment purposes only. Reading the “evidence” was like listening to my nephew and one of his cousins attempting to figure out how I was able to make his card reappear inside the freezer, in a sealed bag of frozen lima beans. They may believe it was magic, but I know the truth.
There is no way of proving Jesus existed, and no way of proving the existing of “god;” religion is based on faith and faith alone. Using the words in the bible to prove the myths are actually real is unbelievably asinine. Three thousand years from now, one could honestly take my series with Joan and use Strobel’s methods to prove that she actually appeared in my room, and that I was in fact, the next in a line of messiahs. (Please leave the scientific methods to the people who don’t believe in magic!)
I honestly don’t think there was such a person named Jesus Christ, but even if he indeed existed, he was not the man depicted in the bible. If we find a myth about an Olympian god who destroyed the city of Pompeii, historians can find proof that the city was destroyed, but it doesn’t prove that the myth is actually true. Jerusalem exists and I’m sure all of the fictitious bible stories are based on actual places, but the tales are not real.
I recommend the book to all people, regardless of anyone’s beliefs. The interviews are wonderful and filled with great information. For non-Christians, the book will serve as a view into how the followers of Christ think, and for Christians, the book will help to reaffirm your faith.
Strobel attempted to do the impossible and he failed; you can’t prove the existence of an entity which does not exist. I honestly hoped to find a challenging manuscript, but this was not it, although entertaining, the arguments fell short. I am still an atheist.
I look forward to reading the other suggested texts!