kay, so here’s the thing. Faith is faith. If you believe in some version of the Christian Christ, in Allah, or even a blue elephant-headed god, that’s yours. Nobody tells you to do it and your personal conviction will determine the strength of your faith. You can’t will it to be. You can convince yourself to make it stronger. It just is.
So the “story” behind this novel is that real world Lee Strobel is having a stirring of faith. When his wife announces that she’s turning to Christ, this supposed neutral author gains a new hobby, that being traveling around making a case (purportedly) for or against Christ. Yeah, he needed something to do over the next 21 months of casual curiosity.
And, yes, if I sound a bit caustic, I don’t like being fed a line of bullshit.
Draping a story about a “neutral” investigator with softball questions against comforting theologians isn’t simple investigation, it’s literally picking a side and selling it. Even the words piss me off – as a writer, I can certainly tell when someone is shading a scene, when his interviewees are comfortable and inviting and sympathetic and warm and gracious. Nobody glanced at a watch and said, “Look, my time is short” or “get off my lawn” or anything like that. It was ham-handed and artificial; any consideration I could have given it was lost in the fact that I was pissed at being so manipulated.
If you really have a problem with what some “liberal atheist” scholar says, go and interview him. Don’t just badmouth his ideas with some sympathetic Liberty University professors, exchanging eye-rolls with each other at such silly counterpoints. Go and interview them. Show both sides.
I actually couldn’t get the final chapter down. I just decided, “enough”. He’d made his point.
I will admit that Strobel does make good points. While I don’t agree with everything, there are interesting points about the primary “eye witnesses”, about the events of the crucifixion and the later resurrection. If you are curious about the Christian faith (as I have admittedly been over the last year or so) then, sure, read it. He makes interesting statements that will bring a firmer understanding of your bible studies, to help you organize and appreciate the sacrifice Jesus made for us, what it means, and how you can take it into your heart.
Just don’t pitch it as an investigation without a hammer-blunt forgone conclusion. Really.