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They often challenge me to read some apologetic literature and then decide for myself. I've always challenged them in response, telling them to send me some, saying that I would read it.
The apologists almost never respond to that offer. So I was surprised, one day, when a Christian actually did just that - he sent me a copy of the book he was recommending.
Well, I'm a man of my word, so I read it.
In the process, I decided to write this essay from my notes. This book consists largely of "interviews" of prominent Christian apologists - no secular scholars of any note, just apologists.
Written in a narrative style, designed for easy, laid-back reading that is familiar to readers of apologetic literature, it is intended to build a case that the historical record of the New Testament is accurate and believable.
Its Find thesis bristol is most powerfully made to those who already accept unquestioningly the authority of the gospels. In this sense, it is really preaching to the choir. For the rest of us, the author tries to get us hooked by demonstrating that authority early on - Find thesis bristol in the first part of the book, in fact.
The book is very cleverly crafted. It is often claimed by the proponents of this book that the author wrote it when he was an atheist, and was undergoing the conversion process. This is not true. From a careful reading see the last two paragraphs at the bottom of page 14he makes it quite clear that he wrote it as a fully committed Christian, "retracing" his spiritual path an indeterminate period of time after the fact.
As such, it is yet another ordinary piece of apologetic axe-grinding. It has a logical sequence of interviews, ostensibly by a skeptical journalist, yet never once does he interview even a single skeptic, either first-line such as Michael Shermer or Steven Jay Gould, or any of the many more obscure, such as Thomas Mack, Earl Doherty or Dan Barker, any of who could have easily and quickly demolished the points raised by the apologists he so eagerly interviewed.
This is not the product I would expect from someone trying to faithfully recount the details of his conversion, having gone through more than one conversion process myself.
Rather, this is precisely the structure that I would expect to see from a "market" book, one written for a specific market by or with a skilled propaganda ghost writer. For example, each part is prefaced with a captivating story, ostensibly drawn from the journalist-author's "experience," that is designed to underscore the methods the subsequent chapter uses as being valid.
It then proceeds to the interview, bringing up each point to reinforce that "experience. Ironically enough, it was also a religious book - cleverly designed to sell Mormonism by selling its doctrine in the guise of "personal experience. The market Strobel's book was written for, is clear: It is really preaching to the choir; it is so blatantly one-sided that I can't imagine any thinking skeptic being taken in by it, and I'm sure that Strobel realized that.
But he's not selling the book to skeptics. He's selling it to Christians who either want to reinforce their faith, or think they're going to convince their skeptic friends with it. The book begins by first seeking to establish the reliability of New Testament documents, then trying to show that they were accurately transmitted down to us.
It then tries to show that they are corroborated first by historical evidence and then by recent archaeological evidence.
Finally, it ends in trying to make the case that Jesus was is who Strobel claims him to be and the doctrines surrounding Jesus are reliably justified by scripture. The manner in which the book is constructed is clearly intended to first convince, then reinforce that conviction and finally by taking on the more popular objections, squelch any doubt.
If this process sounds familiar, it may be because you have read of this before in my essay on Christianity as a meme complex. This persuasion method is typical, not just of propagandistic literature, but also of religious meme complexes in general and Christianity in particular.
The essay you are reading has been widely discussed in Christian apologetic circles. There are several responses to it posted on the web.
I'm reasonably certain that Strobel has become aware of it, but I have never had a response from him with regards to the assertions I have made above. Most of the responses from various Christians have been along the lines of, "What's the matter with Bidstrup?
Doesn't he realise that Strobel was an atheist when he wrote it? Doesn't he understand that? Rather, it has the structure of a book written after the fact, to color the events in a way specifically intended. Not surprising, given that he makes this is clear from what he says on page If you are a Christian and happen to have a copy of The Case For Christ, I would suggest you get it out and follow along.
You'll find that the book is very interesting for what it does not say. If you are not a Christian, or don't happen to have a copy of The Case for Christ, I would suggest that you read two of my other essays first, the essay on the origins of the Bible and Christianityand the essay on what the errors and inconsistencies in the Bible.
It would also be helpful to read my essay on Christianity as a meme complex.To find a University of Bristol thesis: Use Library Search as if you were trying to find a book, using either the author's. Thesis · Degree · Dept/Program.
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[This post was co-written by Chris Bertram, Corey Robin and Alex Gourevitch] “In the general course of human nature, a power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will.” —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 79 Libertarianism is a philosophy of individual freedom.