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The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity [Paperback]

by Lee Strobel
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (341 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Award-winning reporter and author Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ) once again uses his investigative skills to address the primary objections to Christianity. As a former atheist, Strobel understands the rational resistance to faith. He even names the eight most convincing arguments against Christian faith:
1) If there's a loving God, why does this pain-wracked world groan under so much suffering and evil?
2) If the miracles of God contradict science, then how can any rational person believe that they're true?
3) If God is morally pure, how can he sanction the slaughter of innocent children as the Old Testament says he did?
4) If God cares about the people he created, how could he consign so many of them to an eternity of torture in hell just because they didn't believe the right things about him?
5) If Jesus is the only way to heaven, then what about the millions of people who have never heard of him?
6) If God really created the universe, why does the evidence of science compel so many to conclude that the unguided process of evolution accounts for life?
7) If God is the ultimate overseer of the church, why has it been rife with hypocrisy and brutality throughout the ages?
8) If I'm still plagued by doubts, then is it still possible to be a Christian?
These are mighty tough questions, and Strobel fields them well. Rather than write a weighty dissertation about the merits of faith, he brings us along on his quest as we meet leaders in the Christian community, such as Peter Kreeft and William Lane Craig. We also encounter his everyday friends and acquaintances that serendipitously fill in the holes in each of the eight arguments against faith. The use of dialogue from personal interviews and a scene-by-scene active narrative makes this an easy and engaging read. However, easy does not mean breezy. This is a book of substance and merit, one that will help Christians defend their faith, especially during the hardest of times, when they have to defend their faith to themselves in moments of doubt. --Gail Hudson

From Booklist

Ex-newspaperman Strobel's Christian apologetics read like feature interviews in the religion pages rather than a theological treatise. To knock down what he calls "the Big Eight" roadblocks to faith, he questions experts about them rather than logically bulldozing his way to solutions. He grills Catholic lay philosopher Peter Kreeft about the problem of evil, Indian-born evangelist Ravi Zacharias about Christian exclusivism, historian John Woodbridge about oppression in the name of Christ, and other authorities about the truth of miracles, God's callousness in the Hebrew Bible, the justice of Hell, the challenge of evolution, and the struggle with persistent doubt. Each conversation is pointed and engaging, so much so that Strobel's occasional melodramatic note (did he really speak "in a voice laden with sarcasm" to any of these, his fellow believers?) seems ridiculous. Kreeft and Woodbridge are Strobel's least doctrinaire interlocutors. The others, staunch evangelicals all, may interest fewer readers, though Zacharias on the exclusivisms of the other major religions touches on matters Americans too rarely hear discussed. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Strobel's appraoch is hard-hitting, clear, and persuasive.' -- Christian Research Journal <br><br> (Christian Research Journal)

'Despite the rather heavy matters discussed, this book is easy to read. The analogies and anecdotes are very helpful in explaining a deep subject on an understandable level.' -- The Conservative Theological Journal <br><br> (The Conservative Theological Journal)

'...the book incorporates Strobel's journalistic skills to tackle several of the most persistent objections to belief in Christ....'The Case for Faith' is for readers who may be attracted to Jesus, but still have formidable intellectual barriers with emotional undertow inhibiting them from fully committing their lives to Christ....As one who was a spiritual skeptic for many years, Strobel relates well to those who object to the faith on emotional and intellectual grounds....' -- Christian Retailing <br><br> (Christian Retailing)

'When Strobel interviews his subjects, he approaches the questions just as a non-believer would, and he's not afraid to press until he gets a satisfactory answer....'The Case for Faith' will provide the tools you need to remove...obstacles from a non-believers path to faith in Christ.' -- Singing News <br><br> (Singing News)

'Lee Strobel takes a hard look at the toughest objections to Christianity....The result is an intellectual and captivating book that will change the way many think about God.' -- Christian Herald <br><br> (Christian Herald)

'[This] is for anyone who is looking for satisfying and life-changing answers.' -- Giftware News <br><br> (Giftware News)

'It will help you understand how God can meet our needs even in the midst of great suffering.' -- Home Times <br><br> (Home Times)

'Strobel...confronts in head-on fashion some of the thorniest issues that prove a hinderance to people coming to faith in this thought-provoking volume.' -- Capital Journal <br><br> (Capital Journal)

From the Author

Lee Strobel, with a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale, was an award-winning journalist for 13 years at the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers. He was a spiritual skeptic until 1981. Today he serves as teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago. He is the best-selling author of Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary, What Jesus Would Say, and The Case for Christ

From the Back Cover

Was God telling the truth when he said, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart"?

In his #1 bestseller The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel examined the claims of Christ, reaching the hard-won verdict that Jesus is God’s unique son. In The Case for Faith, Strobel turns his skills to the most persistent emotional objections to belief—the eight "heart barriers" to faith. This Gold Medallion-winning book is for those who may be feeling attracted to Jesus but who are faced with difficult questions standing squarely in their path. For Christians, it will deepen their convictions and give them fresh confidence in discussing Christianity with even their most skeptical friends.

"Everyone—seekers, doubters, fervent believers—benefits when Lee Strobel hits the road in search of answers, as he does again in The Case for Faith. In the course of his probing interviews, some of the toughest intellectual obstacles to faith fall away." —Luis Palau

"Lee Strobel has given believers and skeptics alike a gift in this book. He does not avoid seeking the most difficult questions imaginable, and refuses to provide simplistic answers that do more harm than good." —Jerry Sittser, professor of religion, Whitworth College, and author of A Grace Disguised and The Will of God as a Way of Life

About the Author

Lee Strobel was the award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and is the best-selling author of The Case for Faith, The Case for Christ, and The Case for a Creator, all of which have been made into documentaries by Lionsgate. With a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale, Lee wrote 3 Gold Medallion winners and the 2005 Book of the Year with Gary Poole. He and his wife live in Colorado. Visit Lee's website at: www.leestrobel.com. SPANISH BIO: Lee Strobel tiene una licenciatura en periodismo de la Universidad de Missouri y una maestria en estudio de leyes de la Universidad Yale. Fue el galardonado editor legal del periodico Chicago Tribune y esceptico espiritual hasta el ano 1981. Es autor de exitos de ventas del New York Times de casi veinte libros y ha sido entrevistado por numerosos programas nacionales de television, incluyendo 20/20 de la cadena ABC, Fox News y CNN. Cuatro de sus libros han ganado el premio Medalla de oro y uno de ellos fue el ganador del premio Libro cristiano del ano 2005 (el cual escribio junto a Garry Poole). Lee sirvio como pastor de ensenanza en las Iglesias Willow Creek y Saddleback. Ademas, contribuye como editor y columnista de la revista 'Outreach'. el y su esposa, Leslie, residen en Colorado. Para mas informacion, visite: www.leestrobel.com

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Objection #1: Since Evil and Suffering Exist, a Loving God Cannot Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to; or he cannot and does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, and does not want to, he is wicked. But, if God both can and wants to abolish evil, then how comes evil in the world? Epicurus, philosopher

The fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith, and has been in every generation. Its distribution and degree appear to be entirely random and therefore unfair. Sensitive spirits ask if it can possibly be reconciled with God’s justice and love. John Stott, theologian

As an idealistic young reporter fresh out of journalism school, one of my first assignments at the Chicago Tribune was to write a thirty-part series in which I would profile destitute families living in the city. Having been raised in the homogenized suburbs, where being "needy" meant having only one Cadillac, I quickly found myself immersed in Chicago’s underbelly of deprivation and desperation. In a way, my experience was akin to Charles Templeton’s reaction to the photo of the African woman with her deceased baby. Just a short drive from Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, where stately Tribune Tower rubs shoulders with elegant fashion boutiques and luxury hotels, I walked into the tiny, dim, and barren hovel being shared by sixty-year-old Perfecta de Jesus and her two granddaughters. They had lived there about a month, ever since their previous cockroach-infested tenement erupted in flames. Perfecta, frail and sickly, had run out of money weeks earlier and had received a small amount of emergency food stamps. She stretched the food by serving only rice and beans with bits of meat for meal after meal. The meat ran out quickly. Then the beans. Now all that was left was a handful of rice. When the overdue public-aid check would finally come, it would be quickly consumed by the rent and utility bills, and the family would be right back where it started. The apartment was almost completely empty, without furniture, appliances, or carpets. Words echoed off the bare walls and cold wooden floor. When her eleven-year-old granddaughter, Lydia, would set off for her half-mile walk to school on the biting cold winter mornings, she would wear only a thin gray sweater over her short-sleeved, print dress. Halfway to school, she would give the sweater to her shivering thirteen-year-old sister, Jenny, clad in just a sleeveless dress, who would wrap the sweater around herself for the rest of the way. Those were the only clothes they owned. "I try to take care of the girls as best I can," Perfecta explained to me in Spanish. "They are good. They don’t complain." Hours later, safely back in my plush lakefront high-rise with an inspiring view of Chicago’s wealthiest neighborhoods, I felt staggered by the contrast. If there is a God, why would kind and decent people like Perfecta and her grandchildren be cold and hungry in the midst of one of the greatest cities in the world? Day after day as I conducted research for my series, I encountered people in circumstances that were similar or even worse. My response was to settle deeper into my atheism. Hardships, suffering, heartbreak, man’s inhumanity to man—those were my daily diet as a journalist. This wasn’t looking at magazine photos from faraway places; this was the grit and pain of life, up close and personal. I’ve looked into the eyes of a young mother who had just been told that her only daughter had been molested, mutilated, and murdered. I’ve listened to courtroom testimony describing gruesome horrors that had been perpetrated against innocent victims. I’ve visited noisy and chaotic prisons, the trash heaps of society; low-budget nursing homes where the elderly languish after being abandoned by their loved ones; pediatric hospital wards where emaciated children fight vainly against the inexorable advance of cancer; and crime-addled inner cities where drug trafficking and drive-by shootings are all too common. But nothing shocked me as much as my visit to the slums of Bombay, India. Lining both sides of the noisy, filthy, congested streets, as far as the eye could see, were small cardboard and burlap shanties, situated right next to the road where buses and cars would spew their exhaust and soot. Naked children played in the open sewage ditches that coursed through the area. People with missing limbs or bodies contorted by deformities sat passively in the dirt. Insects buzzed everywhere. It was a horrific scene, a place where, one taxi driver told me, people are born on the sidewalk, live their entire lives on the sidewalk, and die a premature death on the sidewalk. Then I came face-to-face with a ten-year-old boy, about the same age as my son Kyle at the time. The Indian child was scrawny and malnourished, his hair filthy and matted. One eye was diseased and half closed; the other stared vacantly. Blood oozed from scabs on his face. He extended his hand and mumbled something in Hindi, apparently begging for coins. But his voice was a dull, lifeless monotone, as if he didn’t expect any response. As if he had been drained of all hope. Where was God in that festering hellhole? If he had the power to instantly heal that youngster, why did he turn his back? If he loved these people, why didn’t he show it by rescuing them? Is this, I wondered, the real reason: because the very presence of such awful, heart-wrenching suffering actually disproves the existence of a good and loving Father?

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Objection #1: Since Evil and Suffering Exist, a Loving God Cannot Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to; or he cannot and does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, and does not want to, he is wicked. But, if God both can and wants to abolish evil, then how comes evil in the world? Epicurus, philosopher The fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith, and has been in every generation. Its distribution and degree appear to be entirely random and therefore unfair. Sensitive spirits ask if it can possibly be reconciled with God's justice and love. John Stott, theologian As an idealistic young reporter fresh out of journalism school, one of my first assignments at the Chicago Tribune was to write a thirty-part series in which I would profile destitute families living in the city. Having been raised in the homogenized suburbs, where being 'needy' meant having only one Cadillac, I quickly found myself immersed in Chicago's underbelly of deprivation and desperation. In a way, my experience was akin to Charles Templeton's reaction to the photo of the African woman with her deceased baby. Just a short drive from Chicago's Magnificent Mile, where stately Tribune Tower rubs shoulders with elegant fashion boutiques and luxury hotels, I walked into the tiny, dim, and barren hovel being shared by sixty-year-old Perfecta de Jesus and her two granddaughters. They had lived there about a month, ever since their previous cockroach-infested tenement erupted in flames. Perfecta, frail and sickly, had run out of money weeks earlier and had received a small amount of emergency food stamps. She stretched the food by serving only rice and beans with bits of meat for meal after meal. The meat ran out quickly. Then the beans. Now all that was left was a handful of rice. When the overdue public-aid check would finally come, it would be quickly consumed by the rent and utility bills, and the family would be right back where it started. The apartment was almost completely empty, without furniture, appliances, or carpets. Words echoed off the bare walls and cold wooden floor. When her eleven-year-old granddaughter, Lydia, would set off for her half-mile walk to school on the biting cold winter mornings, she would wear only a thin gray sweater over her short-sleeved, print dress. Halfway to school, she would give the sweater to her shivering thirteen-year-old sister, Jenny, clad in just a sleeveless dress, who would wrap the sweater around herself for the rest of the way. Those were the only clothes they owned. 'I try to take care of the girls as best I can,' Perfecta explained to me in Spanish. 'They are good. They don't complain.' Hours later, safely back in my plush lakefront high-rise with an inspiring view of Chicago's wealthiest neighborhoods, I felt staggered by the contrast. If there is a God, why would kind and decent people like Perfecta and her grandchildren be cold and hungry in the midst of one of the greatest cities in the world? Day after day as I conducted research for my series, I encountered people in circumstances that were similar or even worse. My response was to settle deeper into my atheism. Hardships, suffering, heartbreak, man's inhumanity to man---those were my daily diet as a journalist. This wasn't looking at magazine photos from faraway places; this was the grit and pain of life, up close and personal. I've looked into the eyes of a young mother who had just been told that her only daughter had been molested, mutilated, and murdered. I've listened to courtroom testimony describing gruesome horrors that had been perpetrated against innocent victims. I've visited noisy and chaotic prisons, the trash heaps of society; low-budget nursing homes where the elderly languish after being abandoned by their loved ones; pediatric hospital wards where emaciated children fight vainly against the inexorable advance of cancer; and crime-addled inner cities where drug trafficking and drive-by shootings are all too common. But nothing shocked me as much as my visit to the slums of Bombay, India. Lining both sides of the noisy, filthy, congested streets, as far as the eye could see, were small cardboard and burlap shanties, situated right next to the road where buses and cars would spew their exhaust and soot. Naked children played in the open sewage ditches that coursed through the area. People with missing limbs or bodies contorted by deformities sat passively in the dirt. Insects buzzed everywhere. It was a horrific scene, a place where, one taxi driver told me, people are born on the sidewalk, live their entire lives on the sidewalk, and die a premature death on the sidewalk. Then I came face-to-face with a ten-year-old boy, about the same age as my son Kyle at the time. The Indian child was scrawny and malnourished, his hair filthy and matted. One eye was diseased and half closed; the other stared vacantly. Blood oozed from scabs on his face. He extended his hand and mumbled something in Hindi, apparently begging for coins. But his voice was a dull, lifeless monotone, as if he didn't expect any response. As if he had been drained of all hope. Where was God in that festering hellhole? If he had the power to instantly heal that youngster, why did he turn his back? If he loved these people, why didn't he show it by rescuing them? Is this, I wondered, the real reason: because the very presence of such awful, heart-wrenching suffering actually disproves the existence of a good and loving Father?
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