There is surprisingly much (well a little) I like about Richard Dawkin’s best seller, “The God Delusion”. He loathes some things God hates – like using religion to justify brutality or to cloak self interest or using coercion on people to accept a religion; and living in a fantasy world. Dawkins wants people to recognise the difference between fantasy & truth, and to live in the real world of truth. And of course so does Jesus. My complaint is that as a scientist, Dawkins makes a poor historian. Ultimately I believe, his biases distort his assessment of Jesus Christ and His claims. How?
1. Dawkins ignores the historic evidence for Jesus & his claims. He ignores the ultimate proof Jesus offered – his resurrection from the dead.
2. He dismisses the New Testament records (and non Christian records) of Jesus as unhistoric, ignoring scholarship to the contrary.
3. Dawkins faces the “trilemma” of who Jesus Christ really was ie. “Lord, Liar or Lunatic” but “cops out”, saying Jesus was simply “mistaken”, not mad, nor deluded. Yet historically and psychologically that just doesn’t work for the carpenter who said, “I’m God.”
For those looking for answers this Christmas, don’t dismiss Jesus so easily. I recommend the writings of another former atheist. His name is Lee Strobel. Strobel has a Master of Law from Yale and worked as legal journalist for the Chicago Tribune. So unlike Dawkins, his training and job was assessing claims of a personal & historic nature, instead of a science lab.
What moved this hardened, sceptical newspaperman to investigate Jesus’ claims is fascinating. The paper sent him to do a Christmas “human interest” story to Perfecta Delgado, a poor Latino Chicagan, who’s house was burnt down just before Christmas. Strobel was shocked by the difference Christ made in her life.
In his little book, Strobel recounts how he set out to investigate if there was any hard evidence to this Jesus who Perfecta & her family believed in. The results transform this hard nosed atheist into a convinced follower of Jesus Christ. He began by examining the evidence for the reliability of the Bible records. Convinced Strobel then went on to exam the evidence of Jesus life – did he live up to the claims he made? Did he fulfil the dozens of ancient OT prophecies about the Messiah? He describes his conclusion & its life changing effect on him.
“After spending nearly 2 years investigating the identity of the Christmas child, I was ready to make a verdict … I became convinced Christmas is based on a historical reality … God becoming man … so I talked to God in heartfelt and unedited prayer …Over time … (by) his transforming power, my priorities, my values, my character, and my relationships have changed for the better… what about you?” Why don’t you grab a few copies of Strobel’s booklet “The Case for Christmas” read his investigation and share it with others this Christmas.