After an extensive, two-year investigation into the claims surrounding Jesus Christ’s life, an atheist journalist sat down and intensely contemplated every statistic and detail he had heard and explored.
It was Nov. 1981, when Lee Strobel found himself internally processing and meticulously pouring over the materials he had collected in an effort to reach a verdict surrounding whether he believed the claim that Jesus truly is God’s son.
“I sat down … and after two years of doing this investigation, my mind was full of all the statistics and evidence,” Strobel recently told Faithwire. “I decided to take my yellow legal pad and to write all the information I encountered during the investigation, and so I wrote page after page and then I put down my pen and said, ‘Wait a second.'”
The reporter suddenly realized he had been faced with an “avalanche of evidence” that was so compelling it forced him to confront an uncomfortable reality — the idea that Christianity is valid after all, and that Jesus, its figurehead, is, indeed, who he claimed to be.
Clearly, Strobel came to a crossroads, and was faced with a decision about where he’d let the investigation take him.
“I realized it would take more faith to maintain my atheism than become a Christian,” Strobel said, noting that it was the resurrection story that was key to his decision to abandon atheism and become a Christian. “You disprove (the resurrection) and you disprove the faith.”
He continued, “Did Jesus live? Was he dead? Was he reliably encountered afterwards? If those three things are true and check out then we can have confidence that his claim of being divine was true.”
Strobel’s two year quest ended up resulting in the hit book “The Case For Christ,” which is also slated to release as a dramatic feature film next year — a movie produced by popular Christian movie house Pure Flix that will tell the story behind the author’s real-life quest to find God.
Strobel said the movie world has been an entirely new experience for him, and one he had never pursued. But after Pure Flix called him about 15 months ago and pitched turning his book into a feature film, he said he considered it.
“I was skeptical at first, because my hesitation that, if we were going to do it, I wanted it to be authentic, honest, real gritty,” Strobel told Faithwire. “I wanted it to be reflective of what my true experiences were.”
In the end, Pure Flix and Strobel committed to work together, and the project soon took form. The storyline and the scenes within ended up being so honest and raw, in fact, that Strobel said he “got chills” and was, at moments, in tears.
“There’s a scene where I come to faith and I was watching a film,” he said. “It was in a house … it was so powerfully done, so authentic, so real, no cheesiness — a very honest portrayal.”
Another scene that depicted Strobel’s difficult, real-life relationship with his father also touched him — and led to what he described as a “really emotional experience” involving actor Robert Forster, who portrays his dad in the movie.
“They were filming that scene for the movie and Robert Forster is playing my father — and he looks just like my dad … (we) were watching the scenes being filmed,” Strobel explained. “He walked over to me, he came up to me as my dad and he put his hand on my shoulder, and he looked me in the eye and he said, ‘I’m sorry.'”
Since Strobel and his real-life father never had the chance to mend fences, he said this was a very emotional experience for him; it was clear Forster was trying to help ease the intense and unhealed real-life rift between father and son.
In the end, Strobel said he hopes “The Case For Christ” helps inspire people to explore the evidence for Christ. Considering skeptics today who, despite the evidence, reject the Christian faith, the author said he believes the key to bridging those divides relies mainly on building “relationships.”
“We all know people in our lives who are spiritually confused,” he said. “As a person who is an evangelist, that’s really my calling, and my giftedness.”
“The Case for Christ” stars Mike Vogel of “Bates Motel” and Erika Christensen from “Parenthood,” among others.
Find out more about the movie here.
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