Charles Foster sets out to write a book which explores the cases for and against the resurrection of Jesus. The book is written as a court-drama with two opposing lawyers presenting their positions. One, known only as X, presents arguments against the resurrection of Christ while the other, known as Y, argues in support of the resurrection. Foster is very honest at the beginning of the book to state his personal position, yet he tries his best to present a balanced view of both sides.
Over all I found the book compelling to read – if for no other reason than to be better aware of the arguments that unbelievers will pose. I find it difficult to believe, though, that someone who honestly doesn’t believe in the resurrection would be convinced solely based on the information contained in this book. Foster seems to indicate this as well, though. In his preface he writes,
The Internet seethes with assertions from convinced Christians that the resurrection can be proved ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’ I don’t know what anyone who ways that sort of thing can have been reading, but I do know that it can’t be the relevant evidence. Or at least they can’t have been reading the evidence with any historical or forensic perspective…You can only make ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ assertions if faith has dictated the course of the trial. And a trial like that is no trial at all. Such faith as I have proceeds, stumblingly, from the conclusions of the inquiry that is in this book. Faith has absolute no part to play in the inquiry itself.
Over all this book reminded me of two things: first, and foremost, is the importance of doctrine of the resurrection to Christian faith. The second, though, is the role of faith in this process. If the resurrection could be proved beyond any doubt there would be no need for faith, so the very fact that faith is required seems to require that there is always a certain amount of uncertainty in the entire journey. And I’m comfortable with that. While I would have enjoyed the debate more if it was written by two different authors (each who argued what they truly believed instead of one person trying to argue for a position he doesn’t believe), I found reading it time well spent for the very two reasons listed above. Over all, I’ll give it three out of five stars.
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