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Excellent Defense of Christianity
on December 27, 2008
This book does an excellent job of building up a case for Christ and Christianity. The book is divided into three parts: an examination of the Bible's accuracy, an analysis of the character of Jesus, and an analysis of the resurrection. Each part is divided into several chapters and for each chapter, Strobel interviews a different biblical scholar in the given subject. So, basically this book is a collection of some of the best ideas from the best defenders of the Christian faith.
The first part shows some amazing evidence regarding the authenticity of the Bible. This section clearly shows that the Bible is the most authentic piece of ancient literature ever (which many atheistic scholars agree on). For example, Homer's Illiad (which is usually considered to be the second most reliable ancient document, next to the Bible) was written in 800BC and its oldest surviving manuscripts are from the 2nd and 3rd centuries. On the other hand, the New Testament was written in the first century and the oldest surviving manuscripts are from the 2nd century. So, 1,000 year gap for the Illiad, and 200 year gap for the New Testament. Also, the Illiad has 650 surviving manuscripts, whereas the Bible has over 24,000. Lots of other types of evidence are presented in this section, such the Bible's style of writing, sources from outside the Bible, and archeology.
The second part examines Jesus character and answers questions like: Did Jesus actually consider himself to be the messiah?, Was Jesus insane when he claimed to be the messiah?, Does he fit the Old Testament's description of the messiah, and Did he fulfill the Old Testament prophecies? Once again, Strobel and his interviewees present some amazing evidence here.
The third section goes into the details of Jesus' resurrection. Questions that are posed here are: Was Jesus' resurrection a hoax?, Was Jesus' tomb actually empty?, Did Jesus appear to people after his crucifixion?, and What is the circumstantial evidence for the resurrection?
Overall I found the evidence in this book to be very convincing. I admit that I was already Catholic before reading the book, but when reading books regarding religion, politics, or controversial issues I make sure that I keep an objective and open mind.
Of course, there are many negative reviews about this book on Amazon, but I'm not too surprised because this book has a very wide audience: Christians, other religions, agnostics, atheists, pretty much anyone. This is because many people recommend this book to non-Christians, which is because it covers pretty much all the basic points in Christianity. So, with many atheists reading the book it's natural to have many negative reviews. Also, this book only covers the basics; it doesn't give long answers to all the questions (like some other, larger apologetics books do), so many people will come up counter-arguments. And, the book is in an interview format, so the interviewees might have forgotten a few arguments when being interviewed.
But, the point of this book is not to cover every possible counter-argument to Christianity. It covers many, but not all. If you want more evidence for Christianity then Strobel has many other amazing books, and at the end of each chapter in this book he gives lots of references.
And of course, the main thing to do when reading a book about religion (or any other controversial topic) is to not be biased! If you're biased or have a preconceived position on the topic then no matter how much evidence you are given, chances are that you will not be swayed. It's really too bad how much our emotions or bias get in the way of important issues like religion.