Lee Strobel's 'The Case for Hope: Looking ahead with confidence and courage', was not a popular read with members but did stimulate our thinking and discussion.
Initial comments included. 'It didn't speak to me or give me any hope that I didn't already have.' 'Some of it was a direct lift from one of his other books and I felt he moved from giving information to preaching.' 'He speaks about the love of God being available for the whole world, but then seems to restrict it as only being a source of hope to Christian believers of a particular view of the resurrection'. 'He gives short shrift to atheists, other faiths and Christians who think differently to him, yet many of them do have hope.' 'Christianity is special to me, but it is not the only source of hope.'
More positive comments were, 'It didn't turn me on, but there were some good bits, such as the shortcomings of some types of hope like wishful thinking, blind optimism and hopeful dreams.' We also agreed with his view of doubt as a normal part of faith and of Jesus as a walking dispenser of hope, where, for instance, he provided cleansing, forgiveness, and comfort.
On the resurrection of Jesus, Strobel quotes one Bible scholar's 'minimal facts' to support the belief that the resurrection happened, namely that 1. Jesus was killed by crucifixion; 2. Jesus' disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them; 3. Persecutor Saul converted to Jesus' apostle Paul; 4. Jesus' sceptical half-brother James was converted to follow Jesus and 5. Jesus' tomb was empty.
We found this interesting but felt that this was a matter of personal faith and belief. Indeed, within the Christian family there are a variety of views on topics Strobel covered, such as resurrection, heaven, doubt, and worry. These differing views make sense to the people who hold them. So, we disagreed with his implied notion that there was only one 'correct' view on these topics.
Some aspects of our faith we agreed would always remain a mystery. And if we can't do anything about something, then we shouldn't worry about it. 'Worrying does not take away tomorrow's problems but it does take away today's peace.' At such times, we need to 'let go and let God'.