Religion in Society

A Case for "The Case Against The Case For Christ"

| by John W Loftus
Bob Price's new book The Case Against The Case For Christ: A New Testament Scholar Refutes the Reverend Lee Strobel, incinerates Lee Strobel's book The Case for Christ, along with the evangelical apologists he interviews, including Craig L. Blomberg, Gregory Boyd, Ben Witherington III, D.A. Carson, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, J.P. Moreland, and others. However, I doubt many of the people who read Strobel's book will read Price's book, not the least of which because understanding Price might demand a better understanding of the issues than the cream puff book Strobel wrote for the average peons in the pew, but also because Price seems so disgusted with evangelical apologists at this point in his career he can't hide it.

But that doesn't bother Bob, since by now he knows they aren't listening anyway, like the proverbial Three Wise Monkeys, except that only the middle monkey is left who "hears no evil," which is the so-called "evil" coming from skeptics like him. It seems to me he's given up trying to reach across the divide, at least in this book anyway. He's made all of these arguments before ad nauseam and yet these apologists keep on down the road just like the Emperor who had no clothes on, willingly ignorant that they are naked. So why bother trying again? They haven't listened, really listened, to what he's repeatedly said before anyway.

Bob is preaching to the choir for the most part, or at least people willing to learn, but what a wonderful sermon it is! It'll make you laugh as well as think, which is what a good sermon ought to do. Too bad these apologists can only make us laugh--at themselves. Price makes the case against Strobel's case in such a convincing manner that these apologists must be willfully ignorant. Bob repeatedly makes the distinction between historians and apologists. A historian wants to know what happened. The apologist doesn't care what happened. He only wants to defend the Holy Book at all costs, even if it means he must sacrifice his intellect to do so.

That's exactly what readers of Strobel's book must do to accept it for while Strobel acts like he's setting out to test the "claims of Christ," he does no such thing. Strobel is being disingenuous, Price tells us, because "his true intention becomes clear by the choice of people he interviewed: every one of them a conservative apologist!" So Strobel is not uncovering facts as a reporter would do. No, he's "soliciting opinions he already wants to promote. The irony is that, if anyone in Jesus' day had actually done what Strobel claims to be doing, seeking out informed authorities to interview, there would be no need for such exercises in apologetical futility." (p. 12)

While Bob devastates their arguments one by one, the humorous way he does so became of great interest to me as I read more and more of his book. Someone ought to come up a collection of his wise and witty sayings. I highly recommend this book for people on both sides who are interested in learning the truth. It's not for those who can only proof-text from the Bible as paid apologists for Campus Crusade for Christ. You cannot force a horse to drink even if you drag him to the water, so why bother dragging him there?

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Just listen to these gems from Bob:

D.A. Carson attempted to exonerate Jesus for not speaking against slavery since he came instead to free people from sin, which would eventually overturn slavery. Of this apologist perspective Price wrote:

How can these Christians live with themselves? They love to take credit for Wilberforce doing what Jesus should have done but didn't do, as if one was the same as the other. Jesus left his church to put two and two together; soon enough they'd realize they had to do something about slavery--and they did! A mere eighteen centuries later, Hallelujah!" (.p. 192)

When disputing the apologetic claim that Psalms 16:8-11 is about the Messiah, Price argues as follows:

"The whole thing is a prayer not to be left to die. Go ahead; show me the Messiah in this text." (p, 202).

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Concerning the resurrection of Jesus, Price argues that apologists like William Lane Craig have merely claimed that:

"their version of the resurrection was the most compatible with accepting all the details of the gospel Easter narratives as true and is implicitly an argument among biblical inerrantists in which defenders of the resurrection assume that their opponents agree with them that all the details are true, that only the punch line is in question...This is why, if apologists like William Lane Craig can get an opponent as far as admitting that Joseph of Arimathea probably did have Jesus interred in his own tomb, and if the women did probably visit the tomb, and that the tomb was probably found to be empty, he can press on to the conclusion that Bingo! Jesus must have risen from the dead! What they somehow do not see is that to argue thus is like arguing that the Emerald City of Oz must actually exist since, otherwise, where would the Yellow Brick Road lead? (p. 209).

This is a fine book and I recommend it very highly. I could only wish Christian apologists didn't have their fingers in their ears, but they do.