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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flimsy Case - For True Believers Only, March 9, 2007
This review is from: The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (Paperback)
This book presents itself as an unbiased seeking after the truth about the life of Jesus. The narrator, Mr. Strobel, claims to have great journalistic credentials. Unfortunately, the book presents a case for Jesus as God that only a true believer could swallow.

The book is intellectually dishonest. I was barely 25 pages into the book before I came across several gems such as this. Mr. Strobel claims corroborating "evidence" for the Gospels being fact, because they are, "Confirmed by a sort of 1st-century journalist," (p. 25) after citing Papias (p. 23) and Irenaeus (p. 24). Both Papias and Irenaeus were active in the 2nd-century -- making them out to be 1st-century makes them seem closer to the events in question, not four to seven generations later. Both were early Christian church leaders, nothing like a journalist:

Irenaeus, (c. 130-202) was bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is now Lyon, France. His writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology, and he is recognized as a saint by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church; both consider him a Father of the Church. He was a notable early Christian apologist.

Papias (2nd century) was one of the early leaders of the Christian church, canonized as a saint. Eusebius calls him "Bishop of Hierapolis"

This deceptive tactic is typical of the entire flimsy fabric of the case Strobel makes.

Also typical is Strobel's citing of "indirect eyewitness testimony." (p. 25) Strobel begins the book by describing some of the trial of Timothy McVeigh. He states that McVeigh was convicted by only circumstantial evidence, thereby implying that circumstantial evidence is reliable. In U.S. courts, there is a specific term for "indirect eyewitness testimony." It's called hearsay, and it's not allowed. ("No, really Your Honor, Bob told me that he saw Mr. Strobel rob that bank.")

Strobel notes that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke appear to have copied material from the Gospel of Mark. Mark is purported to be (scholars aren't sure of course) the companion of Peter. And Mark is purported to have, "handed down to us in writing the substance of Peter's preaching." (p. 24). So we have Matthew and Luke copying the work of Mark who is interpreting the preaching of Peter, who actually saw Jesus. This is Strobel's idea of evidence: "indirect eyewitness testimony." This is hearsay on top of hearsay on top of hearsay.

Strobel quotes Josephus, born in 37 AD (p. 77): after Jesus' death. He participated in the war with Rome (66 - 74 AD). Josephus writes how a High Priest Ananias convened the Sanhedrin to question James, brother of Jesus and others. Josephus writes that this Ananias declared that James and others had violated the law and should be stoned. James, "had apparently been converted by the appearance of the risen Christ ... compare John 7:5 and 1 Corinthians 15:7 -- and corroboration of the fact that some people considered Jesus to be the Christ." (quote: Edwin Yamauchi, p. 78) Let's see: Josephus writes about a high priest at least a generation older than himself (hearsay) and that high priest convicted James, Jesus' brother of a crime worthy of stoning ("[he] had transgressed the law" (p. 78)). From this we are to conclude that Jesus was god resurrected, and this matches the Bible verses, so it must be true. Right.

Also from Josephus, is the passage from Testimonium Flavium, "he [Jesus] was one who wrought surprising feats and a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. ... crucified ... appeared to them restored to life." (p. 79) Yamauchi admits the passage is controversial: "early Christian copyists inserted some phrases that a Jewish writer like Josephus would not have written." (p. 79) Insertions such as: "If one ought to call him a man," "He was the Christ," and "on the third day he he appeared to them restored to life." (all noted by the expert, Yamauchi, pp. 79-80) "The passage in Josephus probably was originally written about Jesus, although without those three points I mentioned." (Yamauchi, p. 80) And Strobel leaves it at that! All the supernatural godlike references (all hearsay anyway) were admittedly added by later Christian copyists (when? Yamauchi doesn't say.) Again, no one is disputing that a Jesus lived and taught in Palestine in the beginning of the first century, which is all the Josephus passages tell us. Pretty reliable that Josephus reported hearsay about a Jesus without supernatural aspects (p. 81). Amazing evidence!

Strobel and Yamauchi also quote Pliny the Younger (63-118 AD), born 30 years after Jesus' death. "I asked them if they were Christians ... they had met regularly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses ... in honor of Christ as if to a god." So, Pliny simply confirms that there were early followers of Christianity. No one disputes this. From this passage, Yamauchi concludes that it is "Very important. It was probably written about 111 AD [80 years, 4 generations, after Jesus' death] and it attests to the rapid spread of Christianity, both in the city and the rural areas, among every class of person." (p. 82) Pliny mentions nothing about rapid spread, numbers of Christians, their locations, or their class. This conclusion is typical of the logic and reasoning used throughout the book. It's pathetic.

[Amazon doesn't allow me enough space to properly expose even a representative sample of the falsehoods of this book. But, you get the picture. Edited 19APR07 to meet wordcount.]

We are left with copies of copies of copies (errors in transcription acknowledged) of hearsay upon hearsay. This is presented as strong evidence. Only to a true believer. The book is superficial and too glib by half. It might be entertaining if presented as a novel; but it's got nothing on the DaVinci Code there (not that I believe anything in that book either!)
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 11, 2007 1:36:12 PM PDT
J. Blilie says:
This book presents itself as an unbiased seeking after the truth about the life of Jesus. The narrator, Mr. Strobel, claims to have great journalistic credentials. ("A Seasoned Journalist Chases Down the Biggest Story in History," from the back cover.) Unfortunately, the book presents a case for Jesus as God that only a true believer could swallow.

The book is written as a narrative "search for truth." Most of it is a series of interviews with experts: theologians and Christian apologists (I looked them up: not exactly unbiased sources.*) His main rhetorical device is to ask one of these experts, with false sincerity, about one of the many highly doubtful aspects of the Christian presentation of Jesus, and then proceeds to swallow whole whatever this authority says. The book is laced with phrases such as, "that makes sense, doesn't it?" "that seems likely" "that sounded logical," "as you can imagine," "I wanted to push him further on this," "exactly, he said crisply." (If that authority was "crisp" on it, it must be true!)

(* Craig Blomberg, Bruce M. Metzger, Edwin Yamauchi, John McRay, Gregory Boyd, Ben Witherington III, Gary Collins, D. A Carson, Alexander Metherell, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, J.P. Moreland. Every one a devoted Christian, almost every one a theologian and/or Christian apologist.)

The book is intellectually dishonest. I was barely 25 pages into the book before I came across several gems such as this. Mr. Strobel claims corroborating "evidence" for the Gospels being fact, because they are, "Confirmed by a sort of 1st-century journalist," (p. 25) after citing Papias (p. 23) and Irenaeus (p. 24). Both Papias and Irenaeus were active in the 2nd-century -- making them out to be 1st-century makes them seem closer to the events in question, not four to seven generations later. Both were early Christian church leaders, nothing like a journalist:

>>>Irenaeus, (c. 130-202) was bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is now Lyon, France. His writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology, and he is recognized as a saint by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church; both consider him a Father of the Church. He was a notable early Christian apologist.<<<

>>> Papias (working in the 1st half of the 2nd century) was one of the early leaders of the Christian church, canonized as a saint. Eusebius calls him "Bishop of Hierapolis"<<<

This is typical of the entire flimsy fabric of the case Strobel makes.

Also typical is Strobel's citing of "indirect eyewitness testimony." (p. 25) Strobel begins the book by describing some of the trial of Timothy McVeigh. He states that McVeigh was convicted by only circumstantial evidence, thereby implying that circumstantial evidence is reliable. In U.S. courts, there is a specific term for "indirect eyewitness testimony." It's called hearsay, and it's not allowed. ("No, really Your Honor, Bob told me that he saw Mr. Strobel rob that bank.")

Strobel notes that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke appear to have copied material from the Gospel of Mark. Mark is purported to be (scholars aren't sure of course) the companion of Peter. And Mark is purported to have, "handed down to us in writing the substance of Peter's preaching." (p. 24). So we have Matthew and Luke copying the work of Mark who is interpreting the preaching of Peter, who actually saw Jesus. This is Strobel's idea of evidence: "indirect eyewitness testimony." This is hearsay on top of hearsay on top of hearsay.

Also typical are his ways of dealing with the errors in transcription of the New Testament and the apocryphal gospels. The apocryphal gospels are swept from the table with a single statement from one of his theologian authorities, Craig Blomberg, "I knew Blomberg was smart; in fact his appearance fit the stereotype. Tall (six feet two) and lanky, with short, wavy brown hair ... glasses, he looked like the type who would have been a valedictorian (he was), National Merit Scholar (he was), and a magna cum laude graduate from a prestigious seminary ... But I wanted someone who was more than just intelligent and educated. ... an expert who wouldn't ... blithely dismiss challenges to the records of Christianity." (p. 21) This expert then proceeds to say, "Contrast this with what happened when the fanciful apocryphal gospels written much later. People chose the names of well-known and exemplary figures to be their fictitious authors -- Philip, Peter, Mary, James. Those names carried a lot more weight ..." (p. 23) That is the entire discussion of the other gospels that were excluded by the early church. Not a blithe dismissal?

On the transcription errors, he uses his expert Bruce M. Metzger. Strobel writes, "... the high number of 'variants,' or differences among manuscripts, was troubling. ... estimates as high as 200,000. However, Metzger downplayed the significance of that figure. ... He explained that if a single word is misspelled in two thousand manuscripts, that's counted as 2000 variants." (p. 64) [Note that neither actually tells you about those 200,000 errors: they just give one hypothetical example that sounds good for their position and leave it at that.] And then he proceeds to show that the errors don't matter because they don't put any church doctrine into "jeopardy." (p. 65) Well, of course not, if you dismiss them out of hand. Metzger then acknowledges that some of the current versions of the Bible don't match the old manuscripts. This is dismissed by Metzger: "that does not dislodge the firmly witnessed testimony of the Bible to the doctrine of the Trinity." (p. 65) He's using the Bible as evidence for the Bible. (Hank's always right.)

Some apologists cite ancient Roman (or other) authors as corroboration. Strobel does this (yes, the Romans knew there was a man in Palestine named Jesus, executed for sedition under Procurator Pilate, p. 82) but his main use of ancient secular authors is to cite how few of their manuscripts are extant and contrast this number to the number of extant manuscripts of the New Testament, and then claims that this makes the New Testament more likely to be true(!). (He titles one section, "A Wealth of Evidence," (p. 62) and another as "A Mountain of Manuscripts," (p. 60) as if counting up copies means something. If it's said a few thousand times, that makes it true?) Nevermind that no original manuscripts exist. He's always noting how these great authorities -- Bible scholars -- are going back to the original meanings to show what the Bible REALLY means. There aren't any originals, of course.

Which brings us to the famous Josephus, born in 37 AD (p. 77): after Jesus' death. He participated in the war with Rome (66 - 74 AD). Josephus writes how a High Priest Ananias convened the Sanhedrin to question James, brother of Jesus and others. Josephus writes that this Ananias declared that James and others had violated the law and should be stoned. James, "had apparently been converted by the appearance of the risen Christ ... compare John 7:5 and 1 Corinthians 15:7 -- and corroboration of the fact that some people considered Jesus to be the Christ." (quote: Edwin Yamauchi, p. 78) Let's see: Josephus writes about a high priest at least a generation older than himself (hearsay) and that high priest convicted James, Jesus' brother of a crime worthy of stoning (even Strobel and Yamauchi don't know what that crime was "[he] had transgressed the law" (p. 78)) From this we are to conclude that Jesus was god resurrected, and this matches the Bible verses, so it must be true. Right.

Also from Josephus, is the passage from Testimonium Flavium, "he [Jesus] was one who wrought surprising feats and a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. ... crucified ... appeared to them restored to life." (p. 79) Yamauchi admits the passage is controversial: "early Christian copyists inserted some phrases that a Jewish writer like Josephus would not have written." (p. 79) Insertions such as: "If one ought to call him a man," "He was the Christ," and "on the third day he he appeared to them restored to life." (all noted by the expert, Yamauchi, pp. 79-80) "The passage in Josephus probably was originally written about Jesus, although without those three points I mentioned." (Yamauchi, p. 80) And Strobel leaves it at that! All the supernatural godlike references (all hearsay anyway) were admittedly added by later Christian copyists (when? Yamauchi doesn't say.) Again, no one is disputing that a Jesus lived and taught in Palestine in the beginning of the first century, which is all the Josephus passages tell us.

After all is said about Josephus, Yamauchi has the temerity to state that the two passages are, "Highly significant, especially since the accounts of the Jewish war have proved very accurate ... he's considered to be a pretty reliable historian and his mentioning Jesus [but not any supernatural aspects, and in the first only his brother] is considered [by whom?] extremely important." (p. 81) Pretty reliable that he reported hearsay about a Jesus without supernatural aspects. Wow, amazing evidence.

Strobel and Yamauchi also quote Pliny the Younger (63-118 AD), born 30 years after Jesus' death. "I asked them if they were Christians ... they had met regularly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses ... in honor of Christ as if to a god." So, Pliny simply confirms that there were early followers of Christianity. No one disputes this. From this passage, Yamauchi concludes that it is "Very important. It was probably written about 111 AD [80 years, 4 generations, after Jesus' death] and it attests to the rapid spread of Christianity, both in the city and the rural areas, among every class of person." (p. 82) Pliny mentions nothing about rapid spread, numbers of Christians, their locations, or their class. This conclusion is typical of the logic and reasoning used throughout the book. It's pathetic.

And further: Yamauchi, "How can you explain the spread of a religion based on the worship of a man who had suffered the most ignominious death possible? Of course, the Christian answer is that he was resurrected." That is posed as evidence for his resurrection: the argument from ignorance. There were credulous people in the 1st and 2nd centuries [no kidding?] therefore we must be credulous as well. When some one begins their conclusion with, "I can't think of any other ..." beware! Plenty of wide-spread religions believe some incredible things [and I mean that literally.] For instance, the Mormons, one of the fastest-growing religions. [It's spreading fast, so it must be true, eh Mr. Yamauchi?]

Regarding Jesus' resurrection, Strobel also cites a creed of the early Christians, again using his expert Craig Blomberg, "This creed is incredibly early and therefore trustworthy material." (p. 209). A formula creed (dogma) used by the proponents of the doctrine as a form of worship or oath is evidence for the truth of the doctrine?

Strobel sums up with: "I admit it: I was ambushed by the amount and quality of the evidence that Jesus is the unique Son of God." (p. 264)

So, we are left with copies of copies of copies (errors in transcription acknowledged) of hearsay upon hearsay. This is presented as strong evidence. Only to a true believer. The book is superficial and too glib by half. It might be entertaining if presented as a novel; but it's got nothing on the DaVinci Code there (not that I believe anything in that book either!)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2007 12:10:47 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 10, 2008 8:21:40 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2007 12:11:00 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 10, 2008 8:21:26 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2007 12:11:09 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 10, 2008 8:21:33 AM PDT]

Posted on Jun 18, 2007 7:06:05 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 18, 2007 7:08:19 AM PDT
J. Blilie says:
Mr. Fenasci:

[I'm not sure why you felt the need to post three identical comments. Repetition is one fo the classic methods for meme reproduction; but not really appropriate here.]

"Your post is replete with errors which include, but are not limited to, the facts that (1) Contrary to your contention, the Gospels are not based simply on hearsay. Rather, the majority view is that the Gospel of Matthew was written by the disciple Matthew, and the Gospel of John written by the disciple John, both eyewitnesses to Jesus's life and resurrection"

Funny that Strobel doesn't mention that [perhaps because no one of his "experts" believes it?] I would certainly expect one of his experts to have presented that and they did not.

No one I've read says Matthew wasn't copied from Mark. Please provide citations. The hermeneutics show that what Strobel states is the best case that can be made. Again, citations please.

"(2) The New Testament contains writings by eyewitnesses other than the Gospels, including the letters of Peter;"

>>>Most critical scholars are skeptical that the apostle Simon Peter [Peter the actual disciple of Jesus], the fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, actually wrote the epistle, because of the urbane cultured style of the Greek and the lack of any personal detail suggesting contact with the historical Jesus of Nazareth. The letter contains about thirty-five references to the Hebrew Bible, all of which, however, come from the Septuagint translation, an unlikely source for historical Peter the apostle (albeit appropriate for an international audience). The Septuagint was a Greek translation created at Alexandria for the use of those Jews who could not easily read the Hebrew and Aramaic of the Tanakh. A historical Jew in Galilee would not have heard Scripture in this form. If the epistle is taken to be pseudepigraphal, the date is usually cited as between 70-90 by scholars like Raymond E. Brown and Bart D. Ehrman, while a small number of scholars argue for an even later date. <<<

Similar controversy surrounds 2 Peter.

Really strong evidence! Right!

"and (3) Your contention that circumstantial evidence is unreliable in a courtroom is incorrect."

Rubbish. Even eyewitness testimony is notoriously innaccurate. Hearsay is a VERBAL copy of said witness. If this qualifies as reliable for you, then you are welcome to it. [Would you accept it as accurate if it were presented as evidence against you in court? You are the first person I've seen try to present hearsay as a reliable source of data (explicitly.)] If this qualifies as reliable for you, then it also explains your acceptance of the Bible as evidence. You are certainly entitled to your own opinion on the reliability of hearsay. My implication that it is too unreliable to be entered as evidence is true. Many witnessed are deposed and not cross-examined.

"many types of circumstantial evidence are admissible in a court room"

Correct, but not hearsay. And the circumstantial evidence has to have proper provenance shown in court. In other words, it has to be shown to be what it is supposed to be.

"even hearsay often is, objectively speaking, accurate and true"

Again, see my discussion above. I'm not saying it can't be true. I'm saying you have no reason to accept any hearsay as true and you can't prove that it is true.

"hearsay (literally, out-of-court declarations introduced in order to prove the truth of the matter asserted) are inadmissible under most circumstances because the speaker is not available for cross-examination"

It's not only inadmissible because of lack of cross examination. It's also inadmissible because it's second-hand and therefore unreliable and not susceptible to fact-checking (just like the Bible.)

According to Federal Rules of Evidence, "[a] statement [is] hearsay if the statement meets two requirements: (1) the statement must be extra-judicial (i.e. not made by this witness in this proceeding). (2) The statement must be offered to prove the truth of what the statement asserts if anything."

This is exactly how Strobel is using the hearsay.

"Your post is replete with errors"

Interesting that the only one of my points you have anything to say about is my discussion of hearsay. Like Strobel, you aren't making much of a case.

Posted on Nov 9, 2007 12:51:51 PM PST
Armando says:
There is an error in regards to the second paragraph of your review. Strobel does not make Papias or Irenaeus out to be first-century journalists. Strobel quotes Blomberg as dating Papias to A.D. 125 and Irenaeus to A.D. 180. Obviously, both dates occur in the second-century.

It seems you misunderstood and misquoted what Strobel was writing when you claim he calls Papias and Irenaeus journalists. In the quote you erroneously included the word "confirmed." That word never appears in the quote. Also, and more importantly, he is referring to Luke as a journalist, not Papias or Irenaeus. Let me write down the quote verbatim: "If we can have confidence that the gospels were written by the disciples Matthew and John, by Mark, the companion of the disciple Peter, and by Luke, the historian, companion of Paul, and sort of a first-century journalist, we can be assured that the events they record are based on either direct or indirect eyewitness testimony." Obviously, a proper understanding of the quote confirms my point.

My last point is merely a comment. It is possible that there may be errors in this book. I have yet to finish it, but have yet to find any. However, if errors are found, it is a stretch to say it is "intellectually dishonest." I have found significant errors in Richard Dawkins' current book, The God Delusion. However, I would not question his integrity. I might say he is mistaken and committed an error. This is a far cry from calling him intellectually dishonest. Yes, it is possible he is being intellectually dishonest, but how could I get into the head of Dawkins and commit such a judgment? Instead, I must call it as I see it: simply an error. He is Homo sapiens sapiens after all. One could not expect him to be as perfect as our ever-loving Father, the Almighty God.

God Bless

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2007 5:32:02 AM PST
J. Blilie says:
Mr. Hernandez:

I will borrow the book from the library again and check my quotation. I did read it several times; but it's possible I erred in this quotation. Although you didn't include a page number, which makes me wonder a bit.

Regarding intellectual honesty, please refer to my other points, such as:

"Strobel and Yamauchi also quote Pliny the Younger (63-118 AD), born 30 years after Jesus' death. "I asked them if they were Christians ... they had met regularly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses ... in honor of Christ as if to a god." So, Pliny simply confirms that there were early followers of Christianity. No one disputes this. From this passage, Yamauchi concludes that it is "Very important. It was probably written about 111 AD [80 years, 4 generations, after Jesus' death] and it attests to the rapid spread of Christianity, both in the city and the rural areas, among every class of person." (p. 82) Pliny mentions nothing about rapid spread, numbers of Christians, their locations, or their class. This conclusion is typical of the logic and reasoning used throughout the book. It's pathetic."

This kind of thing is par for the course. The book claims to be an honest discussion of evidence and it's nothing of the sort. It's sophistry and apologetics from start to finish.

And, all the best, JB

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2007 9:31:30 PM PST
Armando says:
Mr. Blilie:

I apologize for not including the page number. You had previously listed the page number in your initial review so it seemed redundant to include it again. Having said that, the page number is 25.

Refering to the quote you write from Yamauchi, I believe Strobel here is addressing critics who question Jesus' divinity. I'm sure you've heard the claim that stories of Jesus' divinity were created much later in Christian history during the time of Constantine. Strobel is alluding that this is not true since we have historical documents from persecuters of Christians who acknowledge the worship of Jesus as a god.

It's also important to include Yamauchi's conclusion to his point: "...it attests to the rapid spread of Christianity , both in the city and in the rural area, among every class of persons, slave women as well as Roman citizens, since he also says that he sends Christians who are Roman citizens to Rome for trial. And it talks about the worship of Jesus as God, that Christians maintained high ethical standards, and that they were not easily swayed from their beliefs." This quote is from page 84.

It is true that in the quote from Book 10 that Yamauchi provides there is no mention of the rapid spread of Christianity, numbers of Christians, their locations, or their class. Strobel leaves it to the reader to research Book 10 and Pliny the Younger's mentioning of Roman citizens as Christians (I will agree that this is rather frustrating, although doing a little research never hurt anyone.) Remember that Roman citizens were considered a much higher class than slaves, so Pliny the Younger does allude to Christianity's spread to numerous classes.

Readers also have to consider other facts that Strobel does present to make a rational argument. One is that since Pliny the Younger was governor in northwestern Turkey, and since the type of media at the time was severley limited, then one could make a rational argument that the spread of Christianity to the area by 111 AD (also remember Book 10 was written in 111 AD; if Christians were a burden to Pliny the Younger and being executed at that time, then it's logical to conclude the spread of Christianity to the area occurred earlier than 111 AD) was indeed rapid and significant.

Second, if Christians were a burden to Pliny the Younger and also used by Nero as a scapegoat, then one could rationalize that their (Christians) numbers were significant and locations widespread. If Christians were small in number or confined to a small area then they would hardly be considered a threat or burden.

Again, I have to ask how this is an example of intellectual dishonesty. To consider it as such, one would have to conclude that Strobel himself does not believe it, or is purposely presenting false evidence. I don't see how either can be true based off any argument or evidence I've read in the book so far. Also, Strobel never claims to present proof, but rather an investigation of evidence. He doesn't show proof of Jesus as Lord and Savior, rather he investigates evidence to show it is rational to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

I will agree somewhat with the subject line to your review: "For True Believers Only." I say somewhat because I don't believe this book is for true believers in Christ only, rather for people who have come to the conclusion through pure faith or scientific evidence that a god or something supernatural must be present for this universe, and therefore for us to be in existence. If someone has concluded the opposite, then reading this book is like still going through with the punishment phase of a trial even though the defendant has been acquitted. That's not to say that non-believers should not read this book. Respectful exposure to Christianity to open one's mind to other possibilities or to combat ethnocentrism is not a bad thing in my opinion.

I wish you all the best as well, AH

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2007 1:13:53 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 16, 2007 1:20:12 PM PST
J. Blilie says:
Mr. Hernandez,

I recommend this essay to you on the reliability of the "evidence" for Christianity:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/whynotchristian.html

I'd copy over my favorite bits of it; but Mr. Carrier has a copyright on it. If you can come up with a substantive argument against his points, I'll be impressed. Especially note the "Hero Savior of Vietnam" section.

The "evidence" for the Christian story of Jesus doesn't meet the most basic standards for evidence that we would use anywhere else in life or law. And the supposed stakes are much higher than -- well anything you could think of.

The subtitle of the book is, "A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus." Well, OK, he does give some evidence that a Jew named Jesus lived in Palestine around CE 0-30 and one was executed under Procurator Pilate. But he shows no evidence for the extraordinary claims of Christianity and then concludes "I was ambushed by the amount and quality of the evidence that Jesus is the unique Son of God" (p. 264). This conclusion demonstrates either deceit or incompetence, because it doesn't follow logically from his "evidence."

All the best, JB

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2007 8:39:11 PM PST
Armando says:
Mr. Blilie,

I will read the essay you recommended. I will also post a detailed response to it. The essay you recommend is quite long so it will likely take me a week to complete.

I have to disagree with your critique of evidence as truly being evidence. I'm inclined to believe this is because you are mistaking evidence for proof. Strobel does not present his evidence as proof. It would be incorrect to call the Gospels hearsay (hence not true evidence) because the Apostles were not witnesses, but were instead participants. Would you call a biography written on a prominent figure hearsay if it was written by interviewing the prominent figure's closest friends and family? This type of evidence is used all the time, including in the judicial system. Having said that, I have to disagree with your last sentence.

If you apply your logic to atheism, then you would have to admit that there is no evidence that there is no god. In fact, there is no evidence that there is no god. There is only evidence that our origins (the universe) came from outside the natural laws of physics. This is not proof that there is a god, it is simply evidence that would incline someone to believe there is a god. I'll expand more on this in my response to the essay and expand on my comments in this response.

All the best, AH
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J. Blilie
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