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Showing 1-10 of 26 reviews(2 star). See all 350 reviews
on October 11, 2013
I'm afraid what might have been useful information is often overshadowed by its somewhat goofy narrative style. This might have been more interesting were it couched in an informative, academic tone of voice, instead of this almost condescending, conversational approach. It just gets rather tiresome after a few chapters.
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on May 5, 2003
Strobel's "A Case For Christ" might be a nice affirmation of faith for Christians, but I highly doubt it's going to convince any skeptics. Honestly, I'm rather surprised its so popular among Christians.
My biggest complaint is that Strobel's reporting is one-sided in several aspects. For one, all the scholars he interviews are all conservative, evangelical Chrisitans. Not once did he interview a person of who might have been more liberal... much less interview a non-Christian scholar on Christian or Biblical studies (and there are many).
Furthermore, never *once* did Strobel look to find rebuttals or other perspectives on the statements and evidence that these scholars gave him. Many of the information he received was controversial or from a very narrow viewpoint. This supposedly "excellent researcher" made no effortto seek a response to this evidence (even if he ultimately sought a rebuttal to said response).
No liberal Christians, no Jews, no Muslims, no secular scholars were ever consulted either for opinion, viewpoint or rebuttal. Very shallow "reporting and research."
Lastly, I was suprised how easier Strobel was convinced (makes you doubt how much of a skeptic he really was). Much of the evidence presented by the scholars is subjective or circumstantial, yet Strobel takes it as gospel (excuse the pun). It makes me wonder that if he'd investigated any other religion he might have turned up as a die-hard Hindu.
Strobel is a good writer, and he addresses issues that are important to Christians, but this book in no way deserves the publicity or five-star reviews it has received.
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on September 18, 2003
I bought this book to see if the author had put together a credible impartial case for God/Jesus/Christianity, but as usual I was disappointed by the lack of real evidence. It is obvious that the author's training is in journalism because the book is written using a conversational style that is appropriate for those with a six grade education. Anyone who made it to seventh grade and learned critical thinking will see through the weak aguments the book presents.
I have never seen a "case" with so many holes. The author claims at the outset to present a fair impartial case in this book; however, he only uses witnesses (interviewees) that make positive claims that support his case. This is not responsible writing.
If this is the best that Christian apologetics has to offer (and it seems to be based on the popularity of this book) I am even more confirmed in my ExChristian status.
Recommend instead: Challenging the Verdict
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on January 11, 2004
Lee Strobel's book, The Case for Christ, is proclaimed as a journalistic investigation into the truth about Christ. While Mr. Stobel does attempt to follow journalistic practice, it's in the vein of hard-hitting journalist like Barbara Walters. When he feels an expert hasn't fully answered a question he leaves off saying he didn't want to play "stump the scholar." While he often alludes to works by skeptics, he never interviewed any in his book. All the experts he interviewed have degrees in divinity or are professed evangelical Christians. In addition, while he mentions areas in Jewish or Islamic doctrine that refute the Christ claim, no experts from theses faiths are asked why their faith traditions refute the Christian claim.
Over all The Case for Christ provides some interesting insights, but the book is definitely written by a devote believer that set out to prove his beliefs. It is very much like a panel of beef ranchers explaining that there is no harm eating beef with every meal.
If you are looking for a novel that bolsters the Christ claim look no further. On the other hand if you are looking for a balanced examination you need to look elsewhere.
One person found this helpful
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on September 2, 2003
When my wife asked me to read this book I was at first excited to see a book that looks at the evidence for the Bible and Christianity with a skeptical eye and asks the hard questions. Unfortunately this book turned out not to be what it sells itself as.
The book focuses mainly on a heavy handed appeal to authority. Each chapter begins with lengthy descriptions of the totally awsome person Strobel is about to interview. These descriptions focus on what a swell person the interviewee is and how smart, respected, and fair he is. Why spend all this time on the person and take it away from the arguments? I think it is because Strobel realizes that most people are too lazy to think for themselves and are really only looking for some authority that agrees with them. In short Lee Strobel is in the business of providing the illusion of rationality to millions of Christians.
His claims to being a skeptic are blown away by the obvious hard questions that he fails to ask, the fact that he does not interview a single skeptic, the lame arguments that he lets his interviewees get away with, and the sophistry that he indulges in.
If Strobel was a skeptic he was a very, very bad one. He totally ignores the fact that some gospels say Jesus met the disciples in Galilee first and other say Jerusalem. There are 50 miles between the two and Strobel accepts the idea that the gospels only show minor differences. The evidence that he accepts that there was 3 hours of darkness the day that Jesus was crucified is laughable but Stroble doesn't bat an eye. He even blithly sits by while one expert explains how slavery wasn't such a bad thing back in Bible days!
If you know what you believe and you want a few lame arguments to back it up when talking to half-assed skeptics then this book is for you. If you are truly open minded and interested in the truth about the Bible and Christianity pick up a copy of The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (Yes, THE Thomas Paine). At least Thomas Paine has the guts to call it as he sees it.
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on February 24, 2003
The questions surrounding who Jesus was are ones that hold a great deal of interest for me. They are more interesting still in light of the fact that the Christian faith is beginning to lose steam, at least in a conservative and traditional sense. I came to this book wanting to hear that someone could make a good apology for an interpretation of the literal Jesus. However, as I say in the title, I did not agree with that when I started the book, thus I don't believe it. If you have done little research in the field, or are already a Christian this book will probably help you feel comfortable in your beliefs, if you are not, it will not change your mind. It suffers from one major flaw, and really only has one serious argument. The major flaw is that Lee Strobel attempts to establish the evidence for Jesus as though he were in a court room trying to prove his case-hence the title. While laudable in his goals, he has the serious shortcoming of arguing against nobody. He interviews many different 'witnesses' and has them explain why they believe in the Bible, but the skeptical questions he puts forth are of his own devising, even though he is a Christian, this seems a little biased. A truly balanced case would have interviewed 'expert witnesses' on both sides of the debate. Without doing that it is very easy to appear as though you've won the case. I suppose that Mr. Strobel assumes you'll go on to do your own research, but overall he sets up arguments that are easily defeated when you talk to a well informed critic on the other side of the spectrum. If he wanted to 'win' his case it would have been far more powerful to show that it held water even against the most skeptical claims, which he isn't in a position to give. Beyond that he really only has one argument and that is that the Gospels were written down accurately and they mean literally exactly what they say, if he convinces you of this, you can believe all the other claims, but if that one falls, he doesn't have anything. Ultimately, I don't really think he has anything, but some may find it interesting.
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on October 3, 2001
First, I'll get it out in the open that I am a Christian, so please don't take my negative review as some sort of anti-Christian diatribe. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a former atheist myself, I consider apologetics something of a hobby. It reaffirms my faith, and also prepares me to witness effectively. So I *wanted* to like Mr. Strobel's book, but couldn't.
There were other reviews that mentioned Mr. Strobel's poor journalism, insofar as he presents a one-sided view of Christianity and never interviews members of the Jesus Seminar (or any other skeptics, save the firmly converted Louis Lapides), which is a true observation. In defense of Strobel, his book is written from the perspective of an atheist (albeit a converted one), so his questions come from within. He is recounting his own journey to Christianity, answering his own doubts, so his chosen path here is decidedly personal, and therefore not subject to formulaic rules of "good" journalism. Perhaps Strobel's mistake was his repeated and overt brandishing of his journalistic experience, which leads the reader to believe that this book will be an example of unbiased reporting (when have you ever known *any* journalist to be unbiased?), which it clearly is not.
Strobel has certainly done his homework in his investigation, having crisscrossed the nation in an effort to prove his point. I cannot find fault in his effort and applaud his work. He presents his points in an ordered fashion, not unlike a prosecutor building a case, which was obviously his intention. He succeeds admirably here.
But this book chokes on Strobel's amateurish prose. A skilled editor could have done wonders for this book, which has so much extraneous illustration that it gives the reader a headache. Here is but one arbitrarily chosen example: "Words gush from him like water from a ruptured water pipe." p112.
Strobel also tries to paint his interviews like a screenplay: ""Really?" I said, shifting in my chair, which was perpendicular to his, in order to face him more directly." p157. It's incredibly obnoxious reading. One cannot help but wonder how his handwritten notes or tape recordings of the interviews were so detailed as to include the subject's position in his chair. And even if they were this detailed, who honestly cares?
This book could have been a real winner, but the writing itself provides the main obstacle to its success.
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on March 24, 2001
It is very clear that Lee Strobel is a jounalist and lawyer and also a very good writer. At first consideration one might think that these qualifications would make him a credible researcher. However, when one considers more closely - they realize that journalists write not only to inform but also to titillate - they also are not required to be objective, often offer editorial opinion, and are not required to be accurate - but only that they have sources for what they write. After all they are commonly called "reporters" by most people. Likewise, when considering the emphasis of a lawyers training - they are trained to be great analysts and debaters - but their training is almost always applied to a position or predetermined conviction. They gather and analyze their evidence not to find the "truth" but to argue and convince one of their predecided position on a particular issue. Lee Strobel has done a great job of gathering and analyzing his case for Christ. He has lined up some world renown expert witnesses that definitely support his (predecided) position that Jesus Christ is divine. However, his feable half-hearted attempt at representing the other side of the argument are almost shameful. As a lay person interested in early church history - with very little time to research - I myself could line up an equal number of expert witnesses from world renowned biblical scholars - that could refute all the points he made with his expert witnesses. Basically, this book is a great work of Christian apologetics that will make Christians feel good about their own beliefs and decision for follow Christ - but provides very little objective evidence for a non-beleiver - and at worst case misinforms the novice about early Christian history.
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on June 28, 2003
In his effort to shore up the crumbling Christian edifice, Strobel pulls out the same old tired "references" to Jesus from ancient times, i.e., Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny, which have all been either debunked as forgeries or shown to have no value at all in establishing a "historical" Jesus. Josephus is clearly a forgery, as has been shown by numerous authorities over the centuries.
Strobel then brings out modern authorities, who merely wave their hands and state definitely, "Jesus existed and was God." Now, if the existence of Jesus was not disputed, Strobel would not need to write such a book. Fortunately, Earl Doherty has taken it upon himself to refute Strobel's book. Doherty's other book, "Jesus Puzzle," shows that Jesus is a fictional character created from older concepts. The same is established quite thoroughly in "The Christ Conspiracy." Also included in this group of truth-telling books is "Jesus Mysteries." All of these books are highly recommended. It's high time for the world to wake up to the reality that Jesus Christ is a mythical character, little different from Zeus, Ganesha, Thor and all the other gods in mythology. In fact, it is evident that Jesus IS all the other gods in authority, rolled into one.
If you want to face reality, harsh though it may be, or refreshing as it was for me, forget these "historical" Jesus books, which have failed after almost 2,000 years to prove anything. Read the books above that demonstrate Jesus Christ to be a myth instead. The world will be a lot better off when everyone realizes it. What a beautiful world it could be.
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on October 9, 2001
Since Strobel claims to be writing from a balanced, journalistic perspective, I was surprised and very disappointed that he interviews only Christian apologists and conservative Biblical scholars -- and not a *single* scholar with conclusions that vary from those of Evangelical Christians (he is now a pastor at an Evangelical mega-church). For example, he interviews an avowed enemy of the Jesus Seminar, Greg Boyd, without interviewing a single member of the Seminar. He presents the Seminar's position and findings only through someone who presupposes their innacuracy. How balanced is that?
He also spends some time rebutting arguments that skeptics or "liberal" Bible scholars don't even try to make -- such as, Jesus was clinically crazy. He interviews a psychiatrist in order to prove that Jesus was not mentally disturbed. Now tell me, how could a man from the 20th century, based on copies of documents 2,000 years old written by men who had no training in psychiatry and only limited (or no) direct experience with the events of which they are writing, diagnose the mental status of one first-century Jew? This is just silly.
Presenting one side of the issue is not balanced journalistic reporting. This book is a thorough presentation of contemporary conservative Christian scholarship and apologetics, and I do give him credit for his extensive research in this area -- thus the two stars. But his "evidence" and arguments are totally one-sided. Obviously, the book is aimed at Christians with little knowledge of other scholarship who already believe in what Strobel is arguing and aren't going to be too critical (or even notice) the fallacies contained within. If you're looking for balanced journalistic reporting on the subject, move on.
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