The Case For Christ
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14-05-2012, 08:36 AM
RE: The Case For Christ
(14-05-2012 06:15 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Mark and Bucky sitting in a tree... ahem. I vote for summary. Never read the book, but from listening to others talk about it, it is a bunch of apologetic claptrap.


Agree. But ... always I try to remember the guests....the majority of our readers. Many new "seekers" here all the time. For many, it will be the first time they've seen the debate.

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14-05-2012, 08:47 AM
RE: The Case For Christ
I actually read it, when I was hanging on to Christianity by my fingertips. I wanted a counterargument to explain to me why the whole construct worked. Lee Sobel was the final nail in my "conversion."

In terms of putting together a well thought out argument, supposedly influenced by his legal background and presentation of "facts," Sobel's argumentation was, putting it kindly, piss poor. I was actually angry when I got towards the end - angry that a publisher actually felt his drivel was worth sending to print...

Two of the better books on the New Testament, written from a factual theological perspective, include:

Burton Mack's
Who Wrote the New Testament?: The Making of the Christian Myth

and

John Dominic Crossan's
The Birth of Christianity : Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus

If anyone is really interested in exploring the historic origins of the gospels or Christianity in general, I highly recommend both. Crossan's can be a difficult read, but if you are into methodology, he spends the first 400 or so pages laying out his methodology model - which, unlike Sobel, actually doesn't require going on leaps of faith (i.e., the Bible tells us, therefore it must be true...)

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14-05-2012, 08:55 AM
RE: The Case For Christ
Thanks for the opinions Smile I think I'll find a summary or watch a few of the videos suggested. If I feel the need to read it then I'll buy it later on.

Although, I do wish some of these authors were more intellectually honest though. What's the point in just directing it towards people who already believe instead of those you're trying to convince.

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14-05-2012, 08:59 AM (This post was last modified: 14-05-2012 09:09 AM by Thomas.)
RE: The Case For Christ
(14-05-2012 08:25 AM)DeistPaladin Wrote:  Strobel remains true to form in this book. He has a distinctive style of apologetics, even though he recycles the same "evidence" and arguments you'll find elsewhere (McDowell, et al). Same substance, flashier packaging.

Base on other books of his I've read, such as the Case for Faith, his formula seems to be as follows:

Step 1. Set the stage for the "hard-nosed" investigator that Strobel likes to claim to be and draw some allusions to criminal investigations or judicial process. It's apparently important to him to create the ambiance of critical review and skeptical investigation to compensate for its complete absence in what is to follow.

Step 2. Hype up some sort of nerf-ball questions as "deeply troubling" to those of faith, as if these are the primary questions that skeptics ask. At times, these questions wouldn't be the least problematic for me to answer even as a non-believer. For example, I remember from one of his books (Case for Faith, I think) where he builds up the question of how a rational person could believe in a virgin birth. Seriously? We have the technology for artificial insemination today. If you've already presupposed the concept of a god that created all life, a virgin birth seems quite possible for such a being (in fact, the apologist interviewed later used that very response). See also "straw man" argument for a better understanding of this step.

Step 3. Interview some sort of apologist as an "expert" in some sort of field. Gloss over the agenda of the interviewee. Emphasize field of study over their career as an apologist. Hype up their knowledge and integrity in the introduction, as if to say "he would know and he wouldn't lie." No doubt that the "expert" was supplied the "troubling question" prior to the interview.

Step 4. The "expert" typically provides the same canned apologetic arguments or "evidence" you'll find from reading other apologist books. This field is so predictable and never seems to invent anything new.

Step 5. Do not interview any skeptics or anyone else who could easily mash the fallacious and spurious logic of the apologists into a fine paste.

Very good assessment, especially the referencing to exerts to make it seem as if beliefs are actually facts.
He also starts his story as him being a hard nosed skeptical atheist, so for him to believe it there must be something there.
The something there is book sales and speaking engagements.


(14-05-2012 08:55 AM)ALovelyChickenMan Wrote:  What's the point in just directing it towards people who already believe instead of those you're trying to convince.
The point is that Rick Warren has sold over 30 million copies of his book, "The Purpose Drivin Life", to those that already believe,
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$​



(14-05-2012 08:47 AM)Seasbury Wrote:  In terms of putting together a well thought out argument, supposedly influenced by his legal background and presentation of "facts," Sobel's argumentation was, putting it kindly, piss poor. I was actually angry when I got towards the end - angry that a publisher actually felt his drivel was worth sending to print...
I was likewise irritated when I heard Strobel speak. It was an insulting argument and watching the Kool-Aide drinkers lapping it up was sickening (It was at a Christian conference)

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14-05-2012, 09:20 AM
RE: The Case For Christ
(14-05-2012 08:59 AM)Thomas Wrote:  Very good assessment, especially the referencing to exerts to make it seem as if beliefs are actually facts.
He also starts his story as him being a hard nosed skeptical atheist, so for him to believe it there must be something there.
The something there is book sales and speaking engagements.
Thank you. I'd forgotten to mention that part of the introductory build up of himself as the hard nosed investigative reporter. This is partly because claiming to be an ex-atheist is so standard operating procedure for apologists these days that it almost is an assumed characteristic. I can't think of any modern apologists who don't make that claim.

Of course, it's hard to know what goes on in the mind of another person but it's still hard for me to believe their claim. They make claims about being an atheist, usually fitting the cliches of being angry with God or too proud to serve the God they know really exists, that suggest to me that they're either lying about ever having been one or about what they once thought.

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14-05-2012, 09:53 AM
RE: The Case For Christ
(14-05-2012 09:20 AM)DeistPaladin Wrote:  
(14-05-2012 08:59 AM)Thomas Wrote:  Very good assessment, especially the referencing to exerts to make it seem as if beliefs are actually facts.
He also starts his story as him being a hard nosed skeptical atheist, so for him to believe it there must be something there.
The something there is book sales and speaking engagements.
Thank you. I'd forgotten to mention that part of the introductory build up of himself as the hard nosed investigative reporter. This is partly because claiming to be an ex-atheist is so standard operating procedure for apologists these days that it almost is an assumed characteristic. I can't think of any modern apologists who don't make that claim.

Of course, it's hard to know what goes on in the mind of another person but it's still hard for me to believe their claim. They make claims about being an atheist, usually fitting the cliches of being angry with God or too proud to serve the God they know really exists, that suggest to me that they're either lying about ever having been one or about what they once thought.

I've tried to make the argument before in this forum about the position of atheism. Maybe I've different, but I can't imagine going from atheist to theist. I argue that once a true atheist never a theist again. Some disagree with me.

The angry at god theist was never an atheist.
The doubtful of god theist was never an atheist.
The never went to church when young theist was never an atheist.

My argument, and I'll stand on it, is that atheism is a profound position where one has measured reality and has admitted to oneself that there is not god that will save them from death, or cure their child of cancer, or have any chance to ever see friends again who have passed away, or give them moral guidance. Accepting finitude is not a place where you just do a 180 and return to a position of belief in an eternal soul.

Atheism is simply not a matter of taste.

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14-05-2012, 10:12 AM
RE: The Case For Christ
(14-05-2012 09:53 AM)Thomas Wrote:  My argument, and I'll stand on it, is that atheism is a profound position where one has measured reality and has admitted to oneself that there is not god that will save them from death, or cure their child of cancer, or have any chance to ever see friends again who have passed away, or give them moral guidance. Accepting finitude is not a place where you just do a 180 and return to a position of belief in an eternal soul.
At the risk of topic drift, I'd say you're conflating two separate issues: afterlife and a god. There is often an overlap in beliefs there but not always.
  • There are religions that believe in reincarnation or an afterlife but no God. Buddhists, I think, fall into this category.
  • The ancient Hebrews believed in God but not an afterlife. There are also deists who believe in God but no afterlife.
So we can see how these two things are separate both in theory and in practice.
  • Just because there is a god, doesn't mean that god gives a crap about you or wants to preserve your consciousness for all eternity.
  • Just because there is no god doesn't mean there isn't some sort of natural process yet to be discovered that explains our sentience which survives the process of the death of the brain.
"Atheism" is only a lack of a belief in a god or gods. It does not necessarily preclude other beliefs.



Sorry to nit pick a bit there. That's part of my over-analysis compulsion, I guess.

"An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral and the advance of (humanity's) knowledge over time is a greater miracle than all the sticks turning to snakes and the parting of the waters."
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14-05-2012, 10:25 AM
RE: The Case For Christ
(14-05-2012 10:12 AM)DeistPaladin Wrote:  
(14-05-2012 09:53 AM)Thomas Wrote:  My argument, and I'll stand on it, is that atheism is a profound position where one has measured reality and has admitted to oneself that there is not god that will save them from death, or cure their child of cancer, or have any chance to ever see friends again who have passed away, or give them moral guidance. Accepting finitude is not a place where you just do a 180 and return to a position of belief in an eternal soul.
At the risk of topic drift, I'd say you're conflating two separate issues: afterlife and a god. There is often an overlap in beliefs there but not always.
  • There are religions that believe in reincarnation or an afterlife but no God. Buddhists, I think, fall into this category.
  • The ancient Hebrews believed in God but not an afterlife. There are also deists who believe in God but no afterlife.
So we can see how these two things are separate both in theory and in practice.
  • Just because there is a god, doesn't mean that god gives a crap about you or wants to preserve your consciousness for all eternity.
  • Just because there is no god doesn't mean there isn't some sort of natural process yet to be discovered that explains our sentience which survives the process of the death of the brain.
"Atheism" is only a lack of a belief in a god or gods. It does not necessarily preclude other beliefs.

Sorry to nit pick a bit there. That's part of my over-analysis compulsion, I guess.
I believe the commonality in religions is the eternal soul versus finitude in Atheism.
Regardless of how they get there the belief in spiritual existence is key to selling the belief.
What feeds the human ego is the belief that we are special as we have this soul/spirit that animals do not. So we are not really animals, we are divine creations of god.
In the end it's about finitude of existence. Atheist accept it, theist do not. Once finitude is accepted you can't come back to eternal soul. I don't think this is a two way switch, but I could be wrong.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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14-05-2012, 10:28 AM
RE: The Case For Christ
(14-05-2012 05:07 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Ex 4. Matthew spends all of Chapter 1 establishing the Davidic connection through Joseph, then has the Maurey moment, ("Joseph was NOT the father").
I can honestly say that I had never thought of that nor had anyone every pointed it out to me.

That's hilarious! Someone should make a YouTube parody of it. Classic biblical facepalm moment.

Really enjoying reading through this thread guys. Wouldn't read or buy into these apologist books for a moment, but it's fun to read through your takes on the subject.

And yes, just because someone asserts that they were an atheist/skeptic before being converted to religion doesn't mean that they actually were.

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14-05-2012, 11:19 AM
RE: The Case For Christ
(14-05-2012 01:27 AM)Erdrickgr Wrote:  I read the book, but it was when it first came out years ago, and unfortunately I don't remember a lot about it. What I do remember is that I didn't really care for it any more than the Josh McDowell stuff, and that was even when I was very religious. More recently I read the refutation of the Strobel book by Robert Price, The Case Against the Case for Christ, which I liked parts of, but Price makes some fairly fringe theories/claims himself. But looking at amazon.com now, you can buy the Strobel book for $4 (used), so if you're interested then why not give it a shot?
I'm reading Price's book right now. I like it a lot as it is very methodological in refuting Strobel's one-sided, evangelical look at the Bible. I wouldn't discount Price as being fringe, as his scholarship seems well grounded, with one exception that I've found. He really tries hard to date the gospels as late as possible, suggesting they very well could have been written in the 2nd Century. Most scholars, even of the liberal ilk, disagree with his dating. Among other factors to be considered, the most glaring is that Mark probably was written before 70 AD, as evidenced by the way the author makes no reference to the razing of the Jerusalem Temple. This crucial event is given mention by the other Gospel writers, showing they were written after 70 AD, as they mention the Temple having been destroyed and the Jewish people running from Jerusalem under the Roman onslaught. The other evidence is the way the Early Church Fathers are already referencing the Gospels in the early 2nd Century as if they've already been in circulation for a number of years. Other than his possible issues with dating, I think he is pretty spot on in his case against Strobel and I highly recommend checking out A Case Against A Case for Christ.

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