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163 of 176 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Case For Christ is Enlightening for Christians and Skeptics, September 30, 2005
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This review is from: The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (Pack of 6) (Mass Market Paperback)
Like many American Christians, I was brought to church most Sundays and endured countless sermons and lessons. Despite this seemingly rich education on Christian principles, I never was exposed to a lesson or class on the existence of God; God's existence was assumed as fact. As I matured into my twenties and went to college, the existance of God was no longer taken for granted. I encountered many agnostics and atheists among my many college professors. The net result of their influence was to question my faith in the existance of God. I never lost my faith, but I found it was a faith that could not withstand scrutiny.

Reading Lee Stobel's "The Case For Christ" began in me my search for the certainty of my faith. Strobel's book is an excellent place to start. He presents interviews with several Christian apologetics that involve issues related to the veracity of the Biblical account of Christ, the Son of God.

The issues are as follows:

The trustworthiness of the Gospel accounts.

Historical evidences for Christ outside of the Bible.

Archaeology and the Life of Christ

The "Jesus Seminar" account of the life of Christ.

Did Jesus claim to be equal with God?

Is Jesus the promised scripture's Messiah?

Did Jesus really die on the cross?

Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

Mr. Strobel investigates each issue thoroughly. He approaches the issues as a skeptic who wants to be convinced of the truth. Apparently, Strobel was once a skeptic himself and his investigative journalism convinced him of the truth of his childhod faith in Christ. The only weakness I could find in the book is the lack of rebuttal from those individuals who do not believe in the deity of Jesus. Strobel claims to be the main rebuttal witness, as he assumes the skeptical viewpoint, but he is writing from the position of a believer, and his rebuttals are perhaps not as forceful as a "true" unbeliever.

If you have questions like I did, (and as did Strobel), then this is a good starting point for your journey. There are other books that go into complete detail on all the issues raised here, and you may want to purchase these as well. But this is a very good starting point for answering those nagging doubts about your faith in Christianity and one's faith in the person of Jesus.

Most highly recommended.

Jim "Konedog" Koenig
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 22, 2012, 1:00:11 PM PDT
D. Shank says:
Congratulations on your search for meaning and truth in the face of the inevitable doubt and the real questions that any intelligent person would have after considering the case for christ as an adult. I read this book as well and was hoping I was going to read the book that was promised on the cover and the book that you seem to have read. But I could not find it. Instead, it became quite clear very early on that this was not a skeptic bringing the hard questions to learned experts in a sincere search for truth. This was an author who was the exact opposite - someone who was pretending to be an objective skeptic who is actually a committed firm believer who created this propaganda to fool gullible people into believing it is something it is not.

I just hate it that apologists have to be so dishonest. It seems downright anti-christian to approach this subject (escpecially this subject) with an intent to mislead and deceive......and primarily to take your money. Strobel has turned this initial deception into a giant money machine that fleeces believers seeking truth to line Lee Strobel's pockets.

Jesus is rolling in his grave no doubt.

Let me suggest you read the works of honest christian scholars who actually do what Strobel only pretends to do. Check out anything by Marcus Borg or John Domminic Crossan. You will not be disappointed.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2012, 5:06:36 PM PDT
kone says:
Dear Mr. Shank,

I thank you for your posting.

If you will reread my review, you will notice my own criticism of Mr. Strobel: "Strobel claims to be the main rebuttal witness, as he assumes the skeptical viewpoint, but he is writing from the position of a believer, and his rebuttals are perhaps not as forceful as a "true" unbeliever." I also said that his book was a place to start in the journey to discover faith.

Luke 9:20 records the narrative of Jesus asking his own disciples: "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?". This of course is the theme of Strobel's book. Who is Jesus? Is he a fictitious character as some claim, a great teacher/rabbi, as others claim, is he God in the flesh sent to redeem mankind, or is he a fraudulent deceiver, as the Pharisees claim? To me, this is the most important question a person answers in this life. Make no mistake, Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. The gospels and the letters of Paul are clear on this point. If true, then all Jesus said and did in the Gospel accounts is true as well. It follows that if a person rejects Jesus's Sonship, then he also rejects the salvation and eternal life that Jesus promised to those who believe in Him and make him Lord of their lives. Obviously, this is quite a serious matter. Thus, one must make as informed a decision as possible. By all means, I encourage the reading of a great many other books on this matter. But in the end, it still comes down to the gospel accounts of his life and whether one believes he rose from the dead.

I don't believe that Jesus is "rolling in his grave" as you wrote, as I do not believe he is in his grave. The tomb was empty Sunday morning. I serve a risen Savior, not a dead man.

Involving spiritual matters, there will always be doubt and no one person, and no one faith is the repository of all the answers. Even Thomas the disciple did not initially believe in the risen Jesus, and he had walked with Jesus for 3 years. He had to see him and feel him with his own hands in order to believe. The Lord chastised him for his unbelief, saying, "Blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe." I count myself in this group. After many years of study, I answered the question about Jesus, and I believe he is the Son of God. I believe he came to earth to make himself sin, die on a Roman cross, and through his death buy a pardon for mankind. He is my living Lord today. He purchased me at a great price, and so I live for Him to the best of my ability. It is the least I can do for all he has done for me.

I don't know where you are personally in your search for truth, but I sincerely hope that you find it.

kone

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2012, 11:58:07 PM PDT
D. Shank says:
You are correct - your review did say the things you say it said. I think what set me off about your review is that after correctly pointing out that the author has not written the skeptical critical analysis he promises - you go on to say that for a christian who has real questions that "this is a good starting point for your journey." To that I could not disagree more. I think this kind of apologetics for apologists is exactly the wrong place to start as Strobel commits the same errors he claims to be trying to root out. He is patently dishonest in his approach and thus is patently un-christian. I think it is disgusting - and I choose that word carefully.

I will take you at your word that you have engaged in many years of study and will not question your belief or the sincerity with which you hold it. I too committed my life to Christ as a young man and have spent the last 35 years studying the bible and commentaries on the bible as well as the state of the art in christian scholarship. I have also studied psychology and neuroscience and evolution and cosmology and the history of how the books in the bible got into the bible in the first place. And the result of all that study? I no longer believe at all. But I do believe I understand why we humans have such a deep and profound need to believe.

I of course know nothing of the details of your quest - but wonder if you encountered the same challenges I did. As a child I was schooled in the bible stories and steeped in christian doctrine. And I was not about to second guess what appeared to me to be the majority of the adult population who clearly believed that doctrine.....and I assumed believed the bible.

I was, of course, stunned to discover that christians know very little about the bible or the history of how it came to be. I had always assumed that the bible stories were recorded by Jesus contemporaries and was stunned to learn that his contemporaries - his disciples were illiterate and recorded/wrote nothing. That the gospels were written by people who did not know Jesus and were written decades after Jesus died. I was more stunned to discover that what I thought was the "word of god" appeared in different gospels telling similar stories in completely different ways or with completely different facts. I was blown away to discover that the strongest voice in support of Jesus was a man (Saul of Tarsus) who spent his time persecuting christians until he had his own encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. That this Saul (later Paul) taught a christianity that was substantially different from what the disciples were teaching in Jerusalem. That this Paul did not seem to know anything about a virgin birth, miracles, ethical teachings etc. and instead cared only about Jesus death and resurrection. I was astounded to learn that most christian scholars do not believe that Jesus was born of a virgin - and further that the first gospel written (Mark) does not even mention such a miraculous event and the two gospels that do describe it - describe completely different and inconsistent versions and present two completely different and inconsistent genealogies.

If you read the gospels in the order in which they were actually written you can actually see Jesus the man transformed into Jesus the god - by the time you get to John.

In addition, I learned it is essential to understand that Jesus and Paul were not christians - not even close. They were Jews through and through and learned that it is impossible to understand that Jewish perspective without understanding the Jewish story and heritage and the Old Testament. And I challenge any decent person to read the first 200 pages of the Old Testament and not be totally offended at the sexual deviancy, the violence, abuse of women and slaves and children, the sheer horror and offensiveness of that material would justify banning the bible if fundamentalist standards for banning books were applied to the bible.

Well, I could go on and on and on. So as a young christian with a few questions I embarked on a 35 year journey in search of answers and I found those answers, and in the process lost my faith and my belief. I am completely OK with that by the way.

Finally, I learned how we come to our religious beliefs. That we believe what we learn as children and so had I been born into a different culture I would have a different belief system. I learned that our beliefs are arrived at not via reason and facts - but by almost a gut instinct followed by an ongoing search for justifications for that belief we arrived at initially. In other words, most christians on the journey you describe are not really looking for the truth - they are looking for reasons to support or justify what they really, really, really want to believe. And I am Ok with that - it is what it is.

In any event - if you are still reading I appreciate your patience.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012, 3:15:35 PM PDT
kone says:
We obviously arrived at different conclusions in our faith journey. I rarely choose to deviate in these comments from discussing the book, but am interested in what you do believe in now. You "debunked Christianity" in your 35 years of study, so where do your beliefs rest now? Are you an agnostic or atheist?

Posted on Jan 19, 2013, 5:33:52 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Jan 20, 2013, 11:37:40 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2015, 6:36:24 PM PST
William Day says:
The fact that you can make a statement that "Jesus is rolling in his grave no doubt" says all the we need to know about you and your belief in your own self importance. You don't see very many reviewers that believe they can channel what Jesus is thinking and then state it. You clearly believe your own assertions to be factual and not the author is based on what? Your recommendations are worth about as much as your commentary that laughably includes a reference to honesty. I would suggest others don't waste their time.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2017, 8:51:54 PM PDT
Victor T. says:
I speak God’s favor and blessings to you, Mr. Shank.
I have read some of your insights and they are very interesting to take note of.
The bible says to seek the will of God. The bible says God is love and I believe you and I will experience greater peace and abundance when we practice displaying love from inside out. In Corinthians 13:4 Love endures patience and serenity, Love is kind and thoughtful, Love is not jealous or envious. Love does not brag and Love is not proud or arrogant.
Finally, Jesus mentioned that the greatest commandant is to Love God with all your heart and soul. The second commandment is to Love your neighbor as yourself. If you and I can begin to practice and perfect the message of Corinthians 13:4, you and I and everyone will experience the greater happiness that we would not spend much time to debate whether Jesus is real or whether the writers did not know anything about Jesus. Let us attempt to do what the bible told us to do so that we can experience greater peace.
It appears that you have learned a lot and test theories etc. May I challenge you to do recite the salvation prayer…you have nothing to lose. Just try and say it like you mean it and share your experience after the prayer.
“Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I repent of my sins. I believe you died for my sins and was raised to Life. I now make you my Lord and savior and I declare that Jesus Is Lord.”
I Praise God for your Life.

Victor T.
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