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Challenging the Verdict: A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ" Paperback – September 19, 2001
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From the Publisher
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
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.
Top Customer Reviews
Okay, much has been said about Doherty's style of using a courtroom setting. Yes, I understand it is a literary device. And yes, I know, he's poking some fun at Strobel's self-portrail of being a "tough, investigative reporter". Okay, I understand it, but I still don't care for it. But while I don't care for the style, what is more important, to me anyway, is the material. And the material is good.
Since I'm very poor at history, there is much here that I can't really honestly say whether Strobel's version or Doherty's is more accurate. I wish I could, but I can't. But when Doherty is able to demonstrate logic errors and circular reasoning in Strobel's work that I didn't catch myself when reading it, that to me lends credence to his work. One good example of this is where Doherty points out that Dr. Craig used the Gospel of Matthew's account of the guards at the tomb as an alternate-source verification of, well, Matthew's account of the guards at the tomb!
Another interesting point that Doherty makes is in the discussion of the medical evidence. In Strobel, Dr. Metherell portrays crucifixion being a form of torture to which even breathing is difficult due to the way the victim is hung. And yet the gospels portray Jesus as carrying on conversations, including with the bandits that were also being crucified. And Doherty also points out how the scene gets embellished from one gospel to the next.
There's a lot more than these couple of items I've pointed out. Get the book. If you read the other reviews of the book, you'll find that the negative reviews usually call Doherty "outlandish" or some such, but few seem to have any actual evidence to dispute him.Read more ›
Against the argument that 1st century critics would have criticized the gospels if they weren't true, Doherty says, "what we don't see is any comment on Christianity at all. If no one seems even aware of Jesus' existence during the first century, it is not surprising that we find no protest against the Gospel story." (Pg. 35) Against Jesus' existence, he states, "There are no Christian artifacts from the first century, no evidence of Jesus' presence anywhere on the landscape. There is not a trace of a mention of any relics associated with Jesus. What about his clothes, the things he used in his day-to-day life?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was having “The Case for Christ” crammed down my throat for approximately two years on a weekly basis. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Karenann
First off, let me say that I'm an atheist who is sympathetic to the idea that Jesus was a mythical character, even though I'm not fully convinced. Read morePublished on March 1, 2013 by Leon K. Mire
The simplest way to evaluate this book is to open it to any random page, and with a highlighter marker, mark every single time Doherty makes an unsupported assertion. Read morePublished on October 5, 2012 by Perry Marshall
After opening the front cover of CHALLENGING THE VERDICT, one finds an advanced review of the book written by Lee Salisbury, a former evangelical church pastor; now writer and... Read morePublished on November 1, 2011 by Olan Strickland
Doherty confronts and all but destroys Dr. Strobels' so-called experts by hanging them with their own rope. Read morePublished on January 29, 2011 by Speckinspace
Good Read, but equally as many holes as CFC. Its good to see the counter arguements for non-believers, but in the end, both have holes. Read morePublished on August 9, 2010 by Rudolph Cassol
For anyone who is truly open minded and would like to review the full range of arguments that are persuasive to skeptics (instead of indulging in endless bickering about the... Read morePublished on July 9, 2010 by Ellen Jackson
Ultimately, faith is a gift. No amount of reason, skeptical diatribe, skillful refutation, clever argument, or any other intellectual approach can replace the gift of faith. Read morePublished on December 28, 2009 by Amanuensis