The Case for the Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (2007)

Jesus on the wall of the senior Home

Image by freestone via Flickr

I read this book 8 or 9 years ago, and highly recommend it.  Just found this video today.

Based upon the Gold Medallion award-winning best-seller, The Case for Christ documents Lee Strobel’s journey from atheism to faith through his two-year investigation of the Bible and the life of Jesus Christ. Strobel, the former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, draws upon his investigative skills to examine the historical accuracy of the Gospels, the personal claims of Jesus and His resurrection from the dead. Is there evidence to confirm that Jesus of Nazareth was, indeed, the son of God and the savior of the world? This remarkable film features interviews with 10 leading Biblical scholars from North America and England, cutting-edge apologetics, and a compelling original music score.

from the archives:

The Case For The Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God (2006)

11th September – Hope or Hate? by Felicity Arbuthnot (comment section)

Isaiah 53: Who is Isaiah speaking of in this chapter? by Lo + Aviad Cohen: Hooked On The Truth

Jesus: Man, Messiah, or More?

And They Crucified Him by Art Katz

Israel: The Politics of Faith and a Land of Conflict

Dr. Michael Rydelnik: My Search for Messiah

Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

29 thoughts on “The Case for the Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (2007)

  1. Pingback: Christopher Hitchens and David Berlinski Debate on Atheism, God and Religion (2010) « Dandelion Salad

  2. Just war is a fraud . but that does make Augustine anything less than genuis . for something to be a just war in his definiton it really has to be drastic. but alak and alas ..i think he missed it there. but by and large , the City of God is still a masterpeice , and bertrand russel was correct when he said that Augustine is the greatest philospoher of the ancient world .

  3. Natureboy, you bring up a very good point in relationship to why such scant evidence concerning the savior of the world. The first thing I thought of after my conversion was why didn’t God come into the world and do what he did in the 20th Century instead of the 1st Century. After all wouldn’t the world believe after they saw it? Christ’s resurrection on television, imagine that? The fact of the matter is that people still would not believe. Why? Because belief is an attitude of the heart not a matter of physical evidence.

    As the poet says, “No flags were unfurled when God crept into the world into the arms of a little girl named Miriam.”

    The Gospel is cryptic on purpose so that the Holy Spirit would reveal Jesus to each individual. And that revelation is not one of divine cruelty but that of divine passionate love. This is the Good News. The cruelty lies in those who reject willfully and break God’s heart.

    • Holy:
      The Scottish ‘hale’ (health, happiness and wholeness.) is the most complete modern form of this Old English root. The modern word ‘health’ is also derived from the Old English hal. As “wholeness”, holiness may be taken to indicate a state of religious completeness or perfection.”

      A god who would subject his creations, full of fallibility as they were apparently designed, to something so sick and un-holy/healthy as damnation could never be a god of “divine passionate love”.

      This is NOT the “Good News”. This is an attempt to coerce through terror, i.e. TERRORISM!

      No religious leader for peace & Justice ever needed to rely on terrifying imagery to do Good Works, Not MLK, Not Mother Theresa, Not Mohandas Gandhi.

      –“The cruelty lies in those who reject willfully and break God’s heart”:

      This is called a GUILT TRIP!

      No intelligence, least of a divine one, would resort to GUILT to coerce compliance.

      An all-powerful singular deity as your faith requires, could never be heartbroken over something so silly as disbelief in something so absurd.

      It would just as likely be the inverse: Perhaps the whole myth of Hell, if indeed proffered by god for consideration by his people/pets in his divine genetic terrestrial laboratory, is not a test of our faith, rather god is testing us to see if we are really so stupid as to believe something so destructive and absurd!

      Since one cannot possibly doubt that great liberties have been taken by scribes & apostles in the transliteration of what Jesus supposedly said, I propose an alternate interpretation:

      I propose that God would be far more insulted if people actually believed that a Creator could possible be so cruel as to put all his children through Judgment & the specter of eternal damnation.

      Such Judgment could only possibly be reserved for the truly evil among us, but that destiny is not convincingly authenticated.

      What is defined without debate is that the retribution for evil is not damnation after death but Justice in life.

      God seems to have equipped us with the capacity to design laws in order to compel evil to cooperate.

      The test is not whether we poor huddled masses pass muster with our faith in manufactured myths in preparation for some dubious fear tactic about final judgement in the eternal hearafter.

      The true test of our god-given Good News built into our Brains & our Hearts, is whether we use the intelligence and conscientiousness God gave us to properly bring evil to justice ourselves.

      This is more likely what he’s waiting for, and which has yet to be seen.

      The fact that war-criminals, the very forces of evil that Massacre the Innocents, escape the ‘god-given’ (as you’d presume) intelligent gift of Justice & Judgment we divinely & uniquely possess, this abdication of responsibility would be far more likely to cause a horrible heartbreak for our creator than whether we follow manufactured scriptures or buy into absurdities like Heaven & Hell.

      Certainly hoping for some dubious idea that even true evil would be judged & punished in the afterlife is not helping eradicate evil on earth where evil is done.

      Vainly hoping, or ‘believing’ that God will ‘sort ‘em out’ is an attempt to shirk our earthly responsibility and true capacity for judgment built into our earthly existence.

      Certainly this is not why god gave us a brain, a conscience and the capacity to develop laws and cooperative concepts to better our society and to stop sinners against all creation in the act, in their tracks, here on earth.

      Holiness/Healthiness is our responsibility, not Gods.

      (Can I get a AMEN!)


        • You know I did, sweetie.

          If I am to be banished from the garden for heresy, at least let that small truth be known.

          Ah, Galileo.

        • Thanks for watching it, Natureboy. I read the book a long time ago and enjoyed it. If you didn’t like this film, there are other posts on this topic listed below the video.

          You are not banished from the garden or salad. You do need to rewrite one of your long comments from earlier this morning because you went too far. Take out the condescending remarks towards me and other believers and resend, please.

          Once you have a blog, you can post whatever you like on it. My readers are smart enough to do a search on the debunking of this book/film, I know I found the same article you did when I did a search for it.

          I still stand on what the word “Atonement” means to a Jew. It’s rather specific. Notice how the person who brought up this word is no where to be seen since. She drops her comments and leaves the discussion.

          I believe everyone has the right to believe in whatever they want to believe in or not believe in, however, this is my blog so I am going to present my belief. You don’t have to read or view these posts and spend so much time trying to convince me out of my belief. I don’t feel I HAVE to present opposing beliefs/opinions on this issue, the same with man-made global warming. There are plenty of sites that have discussions on either of these topics for readers to read more.

          I do try to post items that are not covered well in corporate-run mainstream media, but I am only one person and there are only 24 hours in a day and I do need to sleep occasionally and maybe even tend to my garden (so I can eat). Should I also post pro-capitalism, pro-globalization, pro-torture, pro-war, etc posts to “balance” my other posts? I don’t feel that I should present opposing viewpoints on those issues, the MSM does a wonderful job on that already. Why would this issue be any different?

          Bottom line: there are believers in Jesus who are not pro-capitalists, who are not pro-war, who are intelligent, who do believe in Science and Evolution. They need to be heard as well.

        • All of my inept rantings about my frustrations with fundamentalist Christian interpretations of biblical literalism were addressed in VASTLY more intelligent fashion by the preeminent Christian all progressive Christians point to as the great example of evolved Christianity.

          I’d like to hear your & Rocket’s review of the following article in Tikkun which details Rev. Martin Luther Kings essays on the topic:

          He resolves all of the Christian interpretations of atonement.

          Additional information about the other stalwart, Dorothy Day is harder to come by in such synopsized form, indeed her Catholic perspective seems much more fundamentalist, literal interpretations of the peaceful biblical Christ:

          For me, once again, Dr. King deals with it all brilliantly.
          Much of what is plaguing christianity and its more insidious influence, was totally resolved by King.

          I wish his reformation was adopted by observant christians, it worked, he was correct, modern, intelligent, not trying to prove or disprove scriptures at all!

          He rendered Strobel utterly irrelevant and primitive.

          Are you and Rocket slandered by his views? Do you think his refutations of Hell, etc. mean that he was condemned upon death/judgment?

        • Augustine was already reforming antiquated scriptural literalism in the 1st C, such as Genesis.

          His Just War doctrine was apparently to be only defensive, never preemptive. How the born-again Botch could have botched that one and gotten believers to believe is baffling.

          Theology is interesting only insofar as it’s divorced from policy, and then only paramount to believers.

          Progressive secularism is the way to a rational society, but as you see, fundamentalist scriptural theology is the eternal enemy of progressivism.

          The theological fundamentalists inevitably try to proselytize the notion that the only path to a proper existence and deliverance is through an antiquated literalistic interpretation of scripture.

          They push quasi-convincing theorems which inevitably try to undermine secular, progressive humanism as idolatry.

          I don’t think it belittles Christ nor negates the followers of Jesus to observe that this cultist simplistic view of fundamentalist Christianity is the mortal enemy of social progress, a fact which King is entirely clear on.

          Nor is it offensive to observe that the evidence cited by Strobel is extraordinarily weak. One simply chooses to believe it or not, the evidence simply isn’t there.

          The dispensationalist theocrats in Hagee’s Darbyite end-times cult of armorgeddon would also be insulted by any effort at progressive reformation of scriptural interpretation as would radical Islamic Jihad.

          That should be enough to scare any scriptural fundamentalist of any abrahamic faith.

  4. Pingback: The Case For The Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God (2006) « Dandelion Salad

  5. Odd that you would promote this. There are two reasons I say this — either you have not done your own research, and that you do not realize how easily manipulated Christianity has always been.

    I took twenty years to investigate this topic, because I truly wanted to know the truth. I read everything I could get my hands on. I made my determination from those records, reports, books, investigations and research papers.

    In the end, what I now believe, or what an author believes, or what you believe will not change anything. The reason is actually pretty simple and does not take 20 years to figure out — no “proof” will suffice to something that only requires belief.

    This is the beauty of religion — no evidence or proof is required and the primary reason anything at all can be fabricated and entrench itself into the public mind.

    Knocking on this door won’t unveil anything. Each person must make their own determination upon the evidence — and whether or not they even accept the evidence or just go with belief.

  6. Hi DS. I received this book as a Christmas present about eight years ago as well and threw it in a box and forgot about it.

    Just went through that box in July and found it and now it’s on my reading list.

  7. It could just as well have been a hoax.
    Afterall, isn’t it convenient that Jesus was born on the Winter solstice, a PAGAN holiday? Christmas is a myth created purely to twist pagans to the control of christians! Easter another.

    Like there are christmas trees in jerusalem…
    If they pulled your leg about the most important traditions in the new testament, followers would be foolish to blindly believe the rest:


    • You are hostile to Jesus/God.

      The book you recommended has been thoroughly debunked. I even posted a few videos on the debunking here on DS.

      You haven’t watched this video before commenting. Watch first, then comment, please.

      What does when Christmas is celebrated have to do with Jesus and His teaching? Nothing.

      A hoax? What is a hoax? Historians have written about the fact that Jesus did live. That is not in dispute.

      • There is only one historian who mentions Jesus and he is Josephus, a Roman, Jewish Historian. There are two major problems with the paragraph which is attributed to him. 1) He was not contemporaneous to the supposed Jesus and whatever comment he may have made is mere hearsay, probably from christian reports. 2) It is widely accepted by both christian and non-christian scholars that the paragraph attributed to Josephus was repeatedly edited by christian scribes.

        I listened to video and can only comment that what is being called “historical” is partisan.

        • My friend, Rocket suggested this quote from Tacitus:

          “But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.” [my emphasis]

          He also mentioned that there were other historians other than Josephus.

          The “Historical Jesus” wasn’t even debated until the 18th Century.

        • the contempt that the most accurate historian of the post christian era in Roman history has for the christians is amazing . why does he bring up the fact that christ was crucified by the empire ? becuase that was the proof to the reader that this man was a criminal and to stay away from this perniciuos superstious movment that hates all mankind .
          this was used as both a literay device and also as a statment of historical record to warn good roman citizens not to be corrupted by this movement .

        • “upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted”

          Is he saying that the disciples, the early christians, lionized for their martyrdom and devotion which is here offered as the main substantiation of the resurrection, betrayed their colleagues?

        • david , there is no doubt about the interpolation in Josephus on christ ,i agree with you , but there is no interpolation in the Tacitus , Pliny , and Suetonus .

          where Josephus is significant in regards to the christ story is his writings on john the baptist.

          when Lessing began the first quest for the historical Jesus in the 18th century in germany , 3 non believers –the top 3 historians of that century –Gibbon , Hume , Voltaire disagreed with him . Gibbon’s 7 volume set ”’Decline and fall of the roman empire ” still stands as the definitive .

          the second quest of the historical Jesus with Wrede and Swietzer prepped the way for the conclusion of the 3rd questers who are alive today culminating in J.D. Crossan’s tome on the subject and also Hengel’s work that both squeeze out every extant source of the time , showing that it is very unlikely that Christ did not exist , and also very unlikely that he was a composite character.

          I myslef am not big on christian apologetics. ..personally . i tend toward the Tertullian –Keirkegaard camp of ”by virtue of the absurd ”, or ”credo qua absurdum ” .

        • A progenitor of such a demanding, unyielding, terrifyingly vindictive faith would have left a more convincing legacy than:

          it’s unlikely that Christ did not exist‘.

          Such a sage would have detailed for the devoted a better scripture, with credible requirements lest confusion abound, such as the many branches of the Gospel with which followers are thus beset.

          There is no question what Con Fu Tzu or Lau Tzu said, yet they predated Jesus by centuries. We know what Plato, Homer, Sophocles, Aristotle said. Why so little of Jesus?

          The devout should not have to hunt down fragments of contradictory redundancies transcribed from witnesses in ensuing centuries, if indeed the consequences of sin are as extreme as eternal damnation in an underground vat of molten iron…

          Such a sketchy, sordid system as Christianity could only have been invented by man, in his typical effort to control, intimidate, dominate and destroy, and to keep the subjects desperately dodging disaster.

          Certainly Jesus existed, but it would appear that his Word was manipulated for earthly aims.

          No deity could be so devilish. No father could wield such oppressive threats to his children as Christians would have us believe Jesus proclaimed. No contemporary would find great love in a system so sadistic. Jesus would have walked alone.

          “The Christian God is a being of terrific character – cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust”

          – Thomas Jefferson (Third President of the United States, 1801-1809)

        • Not that it matters, but:

          There is no evidence for the existence of Jesus that comes from the time of Jesus—no writings or artifacts of his, no accounts of him written in his lifetime—little can be said about a historical Jesus with confidence‘ (Wikipedia).

          Flavius Josephus (c. 37–c. 100)
          Pliny the Younger (c. 61 – c. 112)
          Tacitus (c. 56–c. 117)
          Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (c. 69–140)

          All of these men you cite were born after Jesus died:

          Jesus of Nazareth (c. 5 BC/BCE – c. 30 AD/CE)

          There are reasons, it seems, for the ultimate adoption of Christianity by Rome, the lineage of the faith from the Cult of Isis and other prior influences, its appeal across classes of society, conflation with other religions absorbed by Rome’s expansion, etc.

          But the exact Historicity of Jesus is not certain enough to possibly build a literal ideology around the crucifixion, Heaven, Hell, Gospels, etc.

          You people have terrified countless generations with this specter of blood, ghosts, Hell, retribution, punishment, guilt, Resurrection, Cannibalism, and sundry other gruesome imagery all based on ideas which certainly came after Jesus.

          Likely NONE of this had ANYTHING to do with the Compassion, Peace, Brotherhood, Forgiveness, Spiritual enrichment of all people regardless of Class or Status, etc. that would have provided a far more compelling picture of the appeal of Jesus the Man.

          Either find proper documentation or you simply cannot in good conscience continue to try to terrify people with this myth of Judgment & Salvation/Damnation.

          It’s absurd!

          (And likely a complete crock invented by others, certainly no man of god, no leader of the people, no advocate for the downtrodden could ever in good conscience foist such a destructive mythological insult to their injury, and ever expect to inspire.

          People would have run from Jesus and his bad news if this was indeed what he had to say).

        • just for the record natureboy –Roman histoirans dont follow rumours. Ovid was a poet. Tacitus was a historian of the first order . look at the body of his work on every subject and it stands up till this day .

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