From the Publisher
Challenging the Verdict is the first published book by Age of Reason Publications. It makes an ideal introduction to our stated purpose in introducing principles of rationality and scientific investigation to all aspects of societys laws, ethics and beliefs. We sincerely hope that books like this can provide a stimulus to the application of rational thought in our culture, something that has been absent in many critical areas for too long.
Does rationality matter? If people gain support and comfort through believing in a God and a supernatural dimension of angels, saints and a heavenly afterlife, ought those who have concluded that there is no rational basis for such beliefs seek to change their minds? In principle, it seems almost axiomatic that when a society formulates much of its views of the universe, its philosophy and ethics, its public policy and education, on things which have no basis in reality, such a course can hardly be advantageous to that societys health. Indeed, it may cause great harm. Our understanding of the world around us, our progress in finding ways to get the best out of this world, to live in harmony with it and with each other, to achieve the maximum in human happiness and the availability of human rights, cannot help but suffer.
Lee Strobel, in The Case for Christ, goes through the motions of a scientific reasoned approach to the Christian record, in an attempt to support the validity of the Gospel content and the truth of the resurrection. But the deficiencies and contradictions of that record will not bear the weight of such an enterprise, and the realities of the ancient world setting in which Christianity arose impose on us their own understanding of the Christian movement and how it began. Challenging the Verdict is the challenge of history, rationality and scientific research to the full body of Christian doctrine, in the hope that our 21st century will see the passing away of such irrationalities and the arrival of an Age of Reason.
From the Author
Challenging the Verdict is designed as a useful tool for promoting reason within the context of North Americas dominant faith in the reliability of the Gospel story and of Jesus bodily resurrection. It grew out of an intended book review for The Jesus Puzzle web site, one that was not originally envisioned to be longer than my other reviews. But the format I decided upon proved unexpectedly fruitful: a courtroom setting in which I adopt the role of cross-examining attorney, setting up a dialogue before judge and jury between myself and those scholars whom Lee Strobel interviews in his book, using quoted words spoken during those interviews. Not only was I able to address the claims and conclusions offered by Lee Strobels experts with an unexpected degree of realism, the vividness between opposing sets of views comes across to the reader in a highly lucid and compelling fashion. Those who have read the book have called it a real page-turner.
One cannot change the world overnight, or even within a lifetime, and there are many forms of irrationality in present-day society. It is not possible to address them all, and I have no delusions on that score. But I have attempted in my own limited way to make some contribution to the promotion of reason and science in the belief systems our society has adopted, and especially in the field of Christian origins, both in my two books and on my web site.