File Size: 1273 KB
Print Length: 242 pages
Publisher: SPCK (June 15, 2017)
Publication Date: June 15, 2017
For example , one of the points which I identified myself wholeheartedly agreeing together with was the critique of the usual atheist respond whenever the main topic of " meaning" is raised, namely that if God beyond the picture one has to create such meaning. I have always found this specific reasoning pretty silly due to the fact it is as in case I would award personally an academic degree or as if I named myself " husband in the year". Both propositions usually are nonsensical for (I hope) obvious reasons. You get the picture.
In more compared to one instance I identified myself misty-eyed when reading through passages of the guide. For example, one of them was the occult meaning to when "... each tear is wiped aside... " (page 84). This happens to be one of my favorite biblical pathways. Another sentence that handled me deeply was: " For many people, Lord may represent the only probability for any hope regarding ultimate redemption and rights in a world through which they drew the least of straws" (page 83). There are many such gems available, and I do not want to mention any more of them lest I mess up the book to suit your needs. Possess fun finding them! Likewise, in addition of becoming very well written, that is a very easy read: conversational, personal, in addition to engaging.
One thing that I did not like regarding the book was that it did not consist of an index. This reality made the writing of my review more challenging, but most importantly, the lack of a proper index limits the book's usefulness as a resource regarding study groups or any type of related activity. Perhaps a catalog can be included in the reprint edition? Also, I am not sure that an ironclad case for the truth of Christianity could be established based solely on the arguments revealed in the book. This particular book will not persuade any " serious doubter" (like yours truly) to embrace the Christian belief, and in fact this specific is ok because this specific is not what the book is about. Their main purpose is to make readers think, in addition to hopefully initiate conversations based on the points brought up; and in this sense, that suceeds beautifully. Highly suggested!
Note: A rather longer variation of this review has been first posted in my personal blog., Difficult subjects brilliantly, plainly and sure explained., Atheists tell us that they are winners of reason. If thus, so how exactly does a man who each week hears the arguments of the world’s most articulate atheists continue to be a committed Christian? Amazing? No, Justin Brierley is definitely marvelously well informed (and well mannered). Here he or she takes us behind the scenes on his popular debate radio show between atheists and Christians to show us why his Christian beliefs are better than ever before. A beautifully written remedy for doubts, and a spirited defense of Christianity., Justin has been type enough to invite me on his show to debate from three areas so far, most just lately with Richard Carrier more than my book Jesus will be No Myth. I'm wishing some day to field his cheerful inquisitions from Antarctica: perhaps I can discussion a penguin over whether hell is hot or cold. As we've discussed, I've sometimes wondered what Justin was thinking themselves -- he always looked quite fair-minded to me, 1 of the few stuff that Carrier and I agree about -- so I was glad to read this book and locate out!
A good analogy to Unbelievable? can be Lee Strobel's series of arguments regarding the Christian faith: both are wide-ranging, simply and engagingly written, and adopt a journalist's first-hand investigative perspective, credit reporting, summarizing, and chewing more than what " the experts" have to say, then adding additional insights. But Strobel's books have often already been criticized by skeptics due to the fact he only treats Christian scholars. Brierley improves on that, because for more compared to ten years, he has been refereeing debates between top Christian and non-Christian scholars. He is thus able to cite both sides, in an interactive way, retaining the first-person style that manufactured Strobel's books so popular, but including leading (and often famous) skeptics in the conversation. Also, actually while mildly criticizing several guests (or more often, describing what trouble he has together with their arguments), Brierley is invariably a gentleman. This book may therefore charm to some skeptics more compared to Strobel's books. (Which will be not to state that Strobel's experience since a legal reporter in addition to his posture as a skeptic being persuaded to faith do not carry their particular own rhetorical advantages. )
In both cases what this means is that you may not get in specialized depth what you get in sweep and scope. Its not all question is answered, and I would anticipate challenges about certain points say, through the Carrier faction of skepticism. (Having read a few of the very factors Justin makes questioned in fact. ) But in case you get into this guide with an open thoughts, I think you'll locate it reasonably persuasive -- and dig further in case you like, you'll locate more.
Brierley starts by telling his story in addition to the story of his / her show. He argues regarding God's existence, then regarding the reality and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. (A fairly natural advancement, but the one which is usually original and interesting, as a result of each of the stories Brierley pulls in, and as a result of his evident sincerity. ) Justin has been deeply influenced by the writings of C. S. Lewis, who is most likely named more often than Bart Ehrman, one of his / her most common skeptical guests. (And I sometimes seem to be to recognize Lewis' ideas even where his name fails to appear. )
I believe nearly all of Justin's arguments are essentially audio. And I love it when Justin digs down to where life is lived, since he often does:
" On a more practical level, what hope really does the statement, 'Stop worrying and enjoy your life' offer to the drug-addicted prostitute when it rolls earlier on a London coach? Or to the widow in sub-Saharan Africa who has lost her husband, youngsters, and livelihood to an AIDS epidemic? Stop worrying and enjoying life may not be an option regarding them. For many individuals, God may represent the only probability of a hope of ultimate payoff and justice within a world in which they drew the shortest of straws. "
Justin is, indeed. particularly good at the Problem of Pain, which has always troubled me.
Some skeptics may appear askance, but my significant criticism of this guide is actually that I think Justin's case regarding the gospels is sometimes also conservative.
First of just about all, I'm a little astonished he didn't mention Craig Keener, who has written a long book detailing frequently credible and first-hand information of miracles today. Keener is a New Testament scholar who happens to have observed some of those miracles. This is a little secret of modern missions: one of the reasons for this Christianity has spread so far, is the experience of convincing magic who have drawn millions of individuals to faith. (I possess met many men and women who have experienced them personally, on the mission field. ) Keener continues to be about Brierley's program, but maybe this point is fewer essential to Brierley either due to the fact it's hard to argue publicly (those who haven't had such encounters may scoff at such " anecdotal evidence" ), or as the experience of miracles in the modern world will be less important to Justin himself, and this function is partially auto-biographical.
This will be important, because I could notice a skeptic reading Justin's case for the resurrection, which relies on the " Minimal Facts" method of Gary Habermas in addition to Michael Licona, and reacting:
" Okay, then, let us concede there is several decent evidence for that resurrection of Jesus. I'll actually concede that, around the historical facts alone, there could be (say) an 80% chance that Jesus rose through the lifeless. But the historical truth is not alone. One can't just ignore the reality that dead men and women usually remain in their graves, regarding solid chemical and biological causes. Evidence for the resurrection cannot be considered in isolation, as if this specific were a neutral historical reality whose credibility depends solely on the weight of the evidence, like -- Brierley brings this upward -- the crossing in the Rubicon. "
Justin really does mention what is referred to as " prior probability" from one point, background details which make the story of Jesus more likely. He furthermore offers other considerations which I agree make the overall case for Christianity much stronger. Nevertheless the gospels themselves, I think, are richer in positive historical evidence than the " minimal facts" approach might suggest.
This can end up being seen, first, from the unfavorable comment Brierley makes regarding certain on-line skepticism, which could just as well apply to the 2 " skeptical" guests he mentions most often when that comes to the gospels. (Who happen to end up being among my own focuses on in Jesus is no Myth. )
Brierley information that " mythicists" cite a number of intended parallels between the Egyptian god Horus and the story of Jesus. He then warns readers:
" If you go in addition to properly research the tale of Horus instead of depending on the online content articles peddling such claims, you will discover that none of the 'facts' I just listed usually are actually true. They usually are either completely fabricated, or versions of the Horus story twisted beyond recognition to create the parallels. "
Brierley then creates of " probably the most serious voices in mythicism, " by way of presenting his some-time guest (and my two-time debate partner, once on Justin's show), Richard Carrier. Later about he brings Bart Ehrman, whom he frequently speaks of with respect.
But in fact, both Carrier in addition to Ehrman play precisely the methods that Brierley rightly decries of unnamed mythicists, in addition to for the same purpose. Both men cite other phony parallels to Jesus accurately as those anonymous mythicists cite Horus. Brierley's comment just as accurately describes Ehrman's repeated use of Apollonius of Tyana and Baal Shem Tov as foils contrary to the miracles of Jesus:
" If you proceed and properly research the story of Apollonius instead of depending on Ehrman's books in addition to class lectures peddling such claims, you'll find that none of the 'facts' he names to support the supposed parallels usually are actually true. They usually are either completely fabricated, or versions of the Apollonius tale twisted beyond recognition to create the parallels. "
This may seem to be a strong charge to create against so eminent a scholar. Yet as I demonstrate, Ehrman frequently cites several ten " facts" regarding Apollonius to make your pet sound more like Jesus. But read Life of Apollonius of Tyana, in addition to not a single one of those " facts" happens to be true. Ehrman makes them up, or twists them " beyond recognition, " just as the uncouth Internet rumor-mongers whom Brierley dismisses. Ehrman similarly grossly twists " facts" regarding the 18th Century Shine rabbi, Baal Shem Tov, to make him sound more like Jesus, ignoring distinctions the size of white-colored whales. And Carrier (and Reza Aslan, another fellow whom Brierley respectfully mentions) is also reckless in his pursuit of phony parallels to Jesus in ancient fictional literature.
Yet top scholars teaching New Testament in major universities such as Ohio State and Rutgers use Ehrman's books to introduce the historical Jesus.
What does this inform us? That even between eminent scholars, no-one can discover anything like a genuine parallel to Jesus in the ancient world or actually in the early modern world. That's why even high level, respected professors like Bart Ehrman have fallen directly into the bad habit of playing " let's pretend. "
I retain far more respect for Gary Habermas and Michael Licona. Yet to be fair to skeptics, I could see exactly why some might view the Little Facts approach they employ (and Brierley borrows) to prove the Resurrection since insufficient. It is adequate to show that just about all else being equal, perception in Christ is reasonable. But all else may not end up being equal: even reasonably sturdy historical evidence may seem to be weak to persuade a strong materialist that a man really rose through the dead. (Especially in case he has not read Keener's book, or locates reason to dismiss several of Brierley's other fights -- though he shouldn't do that! )
This particular is why I prefer a Maximal Facts method of the gospels. Following C. H. Lewis as well, I attempt to forensically analyze the gospels for clues to their historicity, then compare those to ancient fictional and quasi-fictional writings. In doing thus, I have found 30 separate strands of evidence inside the gospels which I argue demonstrate their sturdy historicity. Brierley mentions 3 of those qualities: the truth that we have multiple sources for Jesus, that they are surprisingly early (within the plausible life-spans of Jesus' first followers, in addition to therefore credibly eyewitness accounts, as Bauckham argues), in addition to embarrassing facts within the gospels that no-one would certainly likely have reported in case they didn't really occur, like Jesus' death about the cross itself, in addition to (Brierley also mentions) the truth that women first report his / her resurrection.
But those 3 facts (even if approved, and men and women like Service provider will debate them until the cows go house, by having an eminent scholar using to each cow) is merely the tip of your iceberg of evidence. (The analogy will be more apt than normal in this case: 91% of an iceberg is beneath water, while those other fights for the gospels make up 27 of 30, or 90%. ) Apply " maximum facts" to the gospels, and you will locate no ancient fiction of any kind -- not hagiography, or novels, or legends, or myths -- which even remotely has the exact gospels for credibility. (I have searched high in addition to low for credible parallels. ) In fact , by many of these standards the gospels also stand far ahead of most ancient history in addition to biography.
Now let me dismount my hobby horse, and go back to the book beneath review.
Unbelievable is a great one-stop introduction to the Christian faith, not only why to believe it, but how it makes sense of life. (Which, Brierley acknowledges, is a large part of reasoning. ) If, having read it, you possess further questions -- right now there are more answers. Justin clarifies why he continues to believe with sensitivity, humor, and a personal touch both regarding his own life (I specially enjoyed the way he or she wrapped the book upward by talking about his / her year in Namibia), in addition to the lives of well-known Christians and atheists. Typically the vein of truth that he exposes goes down deeper than any one guide can mine.
This guide is a good begin to what can be a honest reader's life-long exploration.
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