Strobel’s A Case For Christ – religious propaganda
(from comment #96 on A Curious Christian with a Few Questions for de-converts)
It is my firm belief that any book which asks the reader in its preface to put away all subjectivity and view both sides of a debate topic equally will immediately plunge headlong into logical fallacies and spin-doctoring. Such is the case with Strobel’s ‘The Case for Christ’. Not that I mind Strobel presenting only one side of an argument – he is after all making a ‘case’. However, to pretend this has any objectivity at all makes Strobel’s intentions suspect from page 1.
Strobel, acting as a journalist, interviews a dozen or so leading Evangelical scholars for their evidences for their belief in Jesus Christ. The questions he asks are fine, but in general he never asks the follow-up questions that are just screaming to be asked. One assertion after another is left unchallenged. Bruce Metzger claims there are over 5000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, so the reader is left with the impression that each manuscript is evidence of the reliability of Scripture. But Strobel fails to asks how many of those 5000 are actually useful for determining the actual text. Strobel fails to ask how many centuries have passed between the time of Jesus and the time the vast majority of those manuscripts were written.
Donald Carson claims that Jesus fit the profile of God revealed in the Old Testament. Strobel should have asked Carson about Marcion, the early church heretic who found no similarity between YHVH and Jesus, and in fact claimed they were two entirely different deities.
Craig Blomberg claims that the the disciples of Jesus all died martyrs deaths (John excepted), thus giving their witness to the Resurrection of Jesus added weight. This assertion by Blomberg was left unchallenged by Strobel. Why didn’t Strobel ask how we know how any of the disciples died and evidences that we have for their deaths? The reason is that the accounts of their deaths are from legendary sources, some written centuries after the fact.
Strobel fails to counter any Evangelical claim. I am not asking for counter-arguments by skeptics. Again, I understand that Strobel is making a ‘case’ and I am fine with only one side presented. I am interested in his opinions. But if Christ has a case to be made, that case should stand up against the strongest argument Strobel can build. Yet Strobel is content with the weakest of arguments, leaving any obvious follow-up challenge unasked. And like any good objective book, the fact that it includes instructions on how to ‘receive Jesus into your heart’, as sort of an alter-call appendix, leaves Strobel hawking Christianity like a bad Amway product. He is desperate to have me buy his wares for any reason, no matter how flimsy.
I gave Rob VandeWeghe’s dreadful apologetic book ‘Prepared to Answer’ zero stars, but I am giving Strobel one star because the book was well written and extremely easy to read. Then again, that could also be its curse. This is dumbed down religious propaganda – the only question I now have is who the intended audience for such books is? Does Strobel really think he can win the unbeliever over with this spin like some Evangelical used car salesman? Or is he aiming this toward the Christian who took the religion on faith and wishes for some excuse, any excuse to ‘objectively’ believe? That is one question I wish I had the answer to.
Originally published on HeIsSailing’s Shelfari Page