Former Atheist Lee Strobel on Evidence for the Resurrection
By Jerry Pierce
Lee Strobel, best-selling author of numerous books including The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith, was a committed atheist when his wife, Leslie, became a Christian in 1979. Rankled by this turn of events, Strobel, then legal editor at the Chicago Tribune, poured his legal training and journalistic skills into investigating the validity of Leslie’s newfound faith. He figured he could dismantle it in a weekend.
Twenty-one months later, Strobel laid down his yellow legal pad and surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. He spoke with Decision about how his Christian faith is bolstered both by the evidence and by three decades of walking with the Savior.
Q: In your latest book The Case for Grace, you detail some of your formative experiences that turned you toward atheism. Yet it was the truth of the resurrection of Jesus that turned your life upside down. Do you recall a moment in time when you knew in your gut that you had a decision to make?
A: Yes, Nov. 8, 1981. I had gone to church with Leslie that day. I can’t remember anything that was said, but I came home and I just felt like after a year and nine months of looking at the evidence from science and history, and especially the resurrection, that I needed to reach a verdict. As I wrote page after page of evidence on my yellow legal pad, I just put down my pen and said, “Wait a second, it’s going to take more faith to maintain my atheism than to become a Christian,” because the evidence, I believed, was that strong. So that’s when I concluded the resurrection was true. I read John 1:12, which says that “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe on His name.” I didn’t just believe it, but I repented of my sin and received His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life, and became a child of God. And my life began to change.
Q: Before your wife came to saving faith, how would you have assessed the claim that a Jewish carpenter/rabbi who was flogged and crucified by Roman soldiers rose from the dead after two nights in the grave and then appeared to His followers?
A: Well, I have skepticism woven into my DNA. My knee-jerk reaction to Christianity was that it was ridiculous and not worth checking out. The idea was absurd. As I studied more in the area of atheism, I became more cemented in that view. But when my wife became a Christian and I saw positive changes in her, I decided to use my legal and journalism background to investigate it. Like one of those clown punching bags, I felt like every time I would hit Christianity with an objection, it would bounce back up.
Q: For you, what are the most convincing proofs that point to the resurrection?
A: Well, first we have to look at the issue of whether Jesus claimed to be divine, which is clear and convincing…
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