Discussion of the Best News in the World, the Gospel of Jesus, and related topics
Category Archives: Apologetics
04/21/2017Posted by on
I read The Case for Christ many years ago and other Strobel books. From the book you can see that Lee was searching and did exhaustive interviews all across the country(USA) and maybe some abroad. Bishop Barron has done the best summary of the book and the new movie out on Lee Strobel’s search and what he found. I’ve included the article from wordonfire.org below and hope you enjoy it.
The Case for Christ is a film adaptation of Lee Strobel’s best-selling book of the same name, one that has made an enormous splash in Evangelical circles and beyond. It is the story of a young, ambitious (and atheist) reporter for the Chicago Tribune, who fell into a psychological and spiritual crisis when his wife became a Christian. The scenes involving Lee and his spouse, which play out over many months of their married life, struck me as poignant and believable—and I say this with some authority, having worked with a number of couples in a similar situation. In some cases, a non-believing spouse might look upon his partner’s faith as a harmless diversion, a bit like a hobby, but in other cases, the non-believer sees the dawning of faith in his beloved as something akin to a betrayal. This latter situation strongly obtained in the Strobel’s marriage.
In order to resolve the tension, Lee used his considerable analytical and investigative skills to debunk the faith that was so beguiling his wife. The focus of his inquiry was, at the suggestion of a Christian colleague at the Tribune, the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus didn’t rise, his friend explained, Christianity crumbles like a house of cards. The narrative unfolds, then, as a kind of detective story, Strobel hunting down leads, interrogating experts, asking the hard questions.
I liked this for a couple of reasons. First, at its best, Christianity is not fideist, that is to say, reliant upon a pure and uncritical act of faith on the part of its adherents. Rather, it happily embraces reason and welcomes critical questions. Secondly, and relatedly, Christianity is a stubbornly historical religion. It is not a philosophy (though it can employ philosophical language), nor is it a spirituality (though a spirituality can be distilled from it); rather, it is a relationship to an historical figure about whom an extraordinary historical claim has been made, namely, that he rose bodily from the dead.
Now especially in recent years, many attempts have been made to mitigate the scandal of this assertion. Jesus was a great moral exemplar, a powerful teacher of spiritual truth, an inspiring man of God—and it doesn’t particularly matter whether the reports of resurrection are factually accurate. Indeed, it is probably best to read them as mythic or symbolic. To all of that, classical Christianity says no. It agrees with Lee Strobel’s colleague: if the resurrection didn’t happen, Christianity should be allowed to fall onto the ash heap of history. Therefore, watching our intrepid investigator go about his work is, for a true Christian, thrilling, precisely because the questions are legitimate and something is very really at stake.
So what were his inquiries? First, he wondered whether the resurrection stories were just fairy tales, pious inventions meant to take away our fear of death. But he learned that, in point of fact, many people claimed to have seen Jesus after his crucifixion, including five hundred at once. Moreover, most of the leaders of the early Church went to their deaths defending the legitimacy of what they taught. Would anyone do that for a myth or a legend of his own invention?
But another question came to his mind: might they all have been victims of a mass hallucination? A psychologist patiently explained that waking dreams are not shared by hundreds of people at different times and different places. “If hundreds of individuals had the same hallucination, that would be a greater miracle than the resurrection,” she informed him with a smile.
But what about the reliability of the Christian texts themselves? Weren’t they written long after the events described? A Catholic priest, who is also an archeologist and specialist in ancient manuscripts, told him that the number of early copies of the Christian Gospels far surpasses that of any other ancient text, including the Iliad of Homer and the Dialogues of Plato.
What about the “swoon theory,” according to which Jesus did not really die on the cross but only lost consciousness, only to be revived sometime later? A Los Angeles based physician detailed for him the brutal process of a Roman execution, which resulted in the victim slowly bleeding to death and asphyxiating. The swoon theory, the doctor concluded, “is rubbish.”
At each stage of the process, Strobel continued to wonder, question, balk, and argue, all the time maintaining the default position that Christianity is bunk. Nevertheless, it was becoming clear that the relentlessness of the counter-arguments and their stubborn congruence with one another was wearing him down. This made me think of John Henry Newman’s famous account of how we come to religious assent. It is very rarely by virtue of one clinching argument, Newman said, but rather through the slow, steady confluence of inference, hunch, intuition, experience, the witness of others, etc. This convergence of probabilities, under the aegis of what Newman called the “illative sense,” customarily leads the mind to assent.
In the course of their conversation, Strobel’s priest-archeologist interlocutor showed the skeptical journalist a reproduction of the Shroud of Turin, purported to be the burial cloth of Jesus. Gazing into the eyes of the image, Strobel asked, “What would have made him go through all of this?” The priest responded, “That’s easy: love.” As the arguments were jostling in his head, Strobel remembered that image and that explanation—and the filmmakers insinuate that this is what finally pushed him over into belief.
The Case for Christ is interesting for any number of reasons, but I think it is particularly compelling for its subtle portrayal of the psychological, spiritual, and intellectual dynamics of evangelization.
04/16/2017Posted by on
We celebrate Jesus! We celebrate His dying and why He died! We celebrate His resurrection from the tomb. We do this just like the earliest of Jesus followers. The following explains what they believed and celebrated almost from their very mouths.
A creed was developed by the early Christians and the Apostle Paul received it from other Apostles, Peter and James. Critics believe he received it when he first went up to Jerusalem, see Gal 1:18-19.
So what is this creed and how do we know it was a creed?
How do we know? Form criticism experts have done the research to determine that within these verses is the creed delivered to Paul.
What is the creed? I Corinthians 15: 3b-6a, and verse 7
…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…
…and that he was buried…
…and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
…and that he was seen by Cephas, then by the Twelve…
…then he was seen by over five hundred brethren at once…
…then he was seen by James, then by all the apostles…
So, there it is. A statement of faith by the earliest Christians going back to just after Jesus rose from the dead.
What is a creed? It is generally a summary statement about an event or set of beliefs. In this case it is both, because events were involved and these events established facts related to beliefs.
Could this be legend? I think not. This is a news flash of what happened right after it happened. It was coded and stated by Christians to one another and to others around them.
Do you believe these statements about Jesus? Do you want to investigate the earliest writings about him? Here it is. Read 1 Corinthians 15 and then move to the next documentation: the Gospel of Mark or any of the other gospels.
04/14/2017Posted by on
Listen to Joseph Prince lead you through what Jesus did for you
04/13/2017Posted by on
Jesus’s resurrection is at the very heart of historic Christianity. In fact, the
bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is both a central doctrinal belief of the faith and the primary evidence for the truth of the religion itself. Given the importance of Easter for Christians, it is appropriate for us to consider 12 evidences for the resurrection of Jesus. For greater depth on these points, see the recommended resources at the end of the article. Read more of this post
03/10/2017Posted by on
It is not just Jesus followers who are conflicted over baking for homosexual wedding.
03/08/2017Posted by on
We are to the point in America where can’t discuss differing points of view. Social media has gone psycho with mostly shouting matches and no progress. Going further apart. Distancing ourselves seems to be an agenda item.
Larry does it right here, I believe. What do you think? I haven’t vetted all his points but he has right demeanor and perspective. I appreciate some levelheadedness!
12/20/2016Posted by on
I’ve developed a new interest in apologetics since joining Reasons to Believe. Dr. Ross and his associates on the site keep updating the papers then review making some facinating points about life on earth, the uniqueness of earth to support advanced life forms and the beautiful origins of the universe.
Here is just one quote from an article on natural selection and evidence for it or stasis.
An obvious lesson is that it is a mistake to build a model for the history of life on Earth based only on short-term field studies. Rather than the transmutation of species through natural selection that Darwin deduced from his few months on the Galápagos Islands, the long-term field studies suggest that natural selection maintains stasis, the stabilizing of a species’ morphological traits over time.
07/18/2016Posted by on
07/16/2016Posted by on
I don’t know when I first became a skeptic. It must have been around age 4, when my mother found me arguing with another child at a birthday party: “But how do you know what the Bible says is true?” By age 11, my atheism was so widely known in my middle school that a Christian boy threatened to come to my house and “shoot all the atheists.” My Christian friends in high school avoided talking to me about religion because they anticipated that I would tear down their poorly constructed arguments. And I did.
As I set off in 2008 to begin my freshman year studying government at Harvard (whose motto is Veritas, “Truth”), I could never have expected the change that awaited me.