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If This Is the Best Skeptics Can Do,
Christians Have Nothing to Worry About:

A Brief Review of Earl Doherty's Challenging the Verdict: A Cross Examination of Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ"

By Gretchen Passantino

(This appeared previously in the "customer reviews" section for Doherty's book on Amazon.com)

When is a trial not a trial? When the prosecuting attorney doesn't let any of the witnesses respond to his cross_examination. By that cute (but totally prejudiced) trick, Doherty may have won a few "converts" to skepticism in his abysmal challenge to Lee Strobel's best selling The Case for Christ.

Even if one didn't have the interest, time, or skill to carefully and objectively examine every main point made by Doherty, common sense and a few over_arching principles should give anyone concern that Doherty's case against Christ (Strobel and Strobel's expert witnesses' presentation of Christ)is less than honest.

Compare the two books: Strobel's qualifications are clearly identified and the experts he "calls to the stand" in his defense of the historic Christian view of Christ are well qualified in their respective fields of academic achievement, whether it be history, literature, theology, etc.

Doherty doesn't give any hint about any academic or legal proficiency on his part at all, and by and large the "expert" skeptics he calls to his side in disputing the Christian truth claims are either Jesus Seminar members, who are recognized by most even liberal scholars as far on the liberal fringe, or those like Robert Funk who once told me that his interpretation of Jesus as a first century cynic sage Jewish standup comedian was based on nothing more than his subjective "experience" of the New Testament. No kidding!

I asked Funk, "If the New Testament text we have led you to discover this Jerry Seinfeld Jesus, what kind of text would there have to be for you to discover a Son of God, Resurrected Jesus Christ?" After my husband and I went back and forth asking the same question a couple of different ways until he finally got it, he responded, "The exact same text we have already." No kidding!

"But," I pressed, "If the same text can give some readers a divine resurrected Christ and others a human rabbi comedian Christ, then you're saying either interpretation is completely subjective - based only some 'inner experience' and not on any scientific, historic, linguistic, or rational investigation or standard." In so many words, he agreed.

"After all," he concluded, "This isn't science. It's literature. It can mean all things to all people." Well, post-modern deconstructionism may have earned a few people Ph.Ds for novel ideas, but such "scholarship" based on mere subjective, blind faith can't come close to the historical, linguistic, and rational evidence Lee Strobel and his experts amass so compellingly in The Case for Christ.

Let's see now - how do I get a book to sell well on Amazon.com when I'm a nobody with an ax to grind and a subjective, untestable "faith" that Jesus never existed? I know! Find a best selling book that I disagree with, and get all my buddies to write customer reviews criticizing it and recommending my book! Never mind that I never check the published materials of the Christian book's experts, where they overwhelmingly answer my objections. Never mind that I never give Strobel or his experts the opportunity to answer. Never mind that I contradict myself from page to page, arguing first that Jesus never even existed and then that he did but was just a simple country bumpkin. Never mind that I argue first that we can have no idea what the New Testament documents actually said and then argue that somehow I know they couldn't say what the Christian Bibles say. Never mind that I argue that Christian scholars can't possibly be objective about the evidence because they have a bias in believing Jesus is God, but I also argue that "my" scholars must be objective because they believe Jesus isn't God. And I can misrepresent the evidence, facts, history, scholars, language, and everything else, because it's my book! Only what I want gets in!

This is too cool! Thanks, Doherty, whoever you are! I've gotta get moving and start my own book. I think I'll call it The Defense Rests.


The Lord's Servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will give them a change of heart leading to a knowledge of the truth
II Timothy 2:24-26


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