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Monday, May 2, 2011

Book: "Faith - Visual Edition"

TITLE: Faith (Visual Edition)
AUTHOR: Lee Strobel
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010, (160 pages).

This is a pictorial album containing excerpts from Lee Strobel's two other books on Christian apologetics: The Case for Christ and the Case for Faith. With lavish photographs and powerful snippets from his two books, the book is a compelling take on the most popular and challenging questions pertaining to the Christian faith. It addresses questions like:
  • Why is Christianity claiming to be exclusive?
  • Where is the place of doubt?
  • How is the Resurrection believable?
  • Is Jesus a hypnotist?
  • Is Jesus God?
  • What about suffering?
My Comments
Firstly, I find the book an oxymoron. On the one hand, it speaks of 'faith is not an argument, but evidence of things not seen.' Yet, the title of the book is FAITH - A Visual Edition. If faith is something not seen, where and how does the 'visual' component fit in?

Secondly, it seems to me that the publisher is doing some new re-packaging of an old idea. Moreover, when excerpts are made, they come at a sacrifice of losing the contexts from which these excerpts come from. The pictures may speak a thousand words, but the associated captions on the pages can at times be misleading.

Thirdly, the biggest criticism I have is the use of images of suffering that comes with the words:

"He is not far from anyone of us." (Acts 17:27)

I feel strongly that in the midst of pain and suffering, the pictures alone suffice. Maybe, the explanation of what the picture represents can be included. However, anything more can make us sound like the three friends of Job, who make a mess of themselves through words inserted foolishly. In fact, for such cases, suffering needs an element of silence. Perhaps, if there is a re-print, remove any words and let the pictures speak for themselves.

That said, I think this book is a huge step toward creative storytelling. It gives the reader an experience beyond words. If the original books of Strobel are 2-dimensional, this book makes it a three-dimensional experience. This book will captivate the attention of the young. It will stimulate old minds. It will challenge the seeker to seek more.


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