Local Boy Makes God Lee Strobel Went from Atheist Newsman to Best-Selling Christian Author; Now He's Testing His Faith on TV

By McCoppin, Robert | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 7, 2004 | Go to article overview

Local Boy Makes God Lee Strobel Went from Atheist Newsman to Best-Selling Christian Author; Now He's Testing His Faith on TV


McCoppin, Robert, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Robert McCoppin Daily Herald Staff Writer

In the beginning, God created religion and politics, and your parents told you to never discuss them in mixed company.

Now, strangers are quick to debate what they think of the presidential election or the war in Iraq. That leaves religion as the social leper: few people will volunteer how they feel about God.

Lee Strobel, 52, a successful author originally from Arlington Heights, is out to change that. He wants to drag religion out from the solemnity of churches into the noisy arena of public debate. To serve the sacred, he's employing that most profane modern invention: the television talk show.

"Faith Under Fire," which premiered this weekend on PAX-TV, is billed as the first show on network television to regularly fight out basic religious beliefs. It airs at 9 p.m. Saturdays on WCPX, Channel 38.

Hosted by Strobel, the show intends to stir up hot button issues like: Is the war in Iraq moral? Is God a Republican or a Democrat? Is God pro-choice?

Strobel hopes its controversial nature will attract even those who've already made up their minds, while being respectful enough not to drive them away.

"Most faith-based TV to me is boring," Strobel said. "What if we took the hottest issues and debated them from a spiritual perspective, and let the viewer decide what makes the most sense?"

Born again skeptic

Strobel's new role as the Jerry Springer of the spiritual world is part of a lifelong evolution.

He was raised a Christian, became an atheist and a newspaper reporter, but then went through a conversion that ultimately led to him becoming a best-selling Christian author.

Now, living in southern Orange County, Calif., he's trying to tap into the same interest in spiritual investigation. He's got his work cut out for him, especially since he's doing it on a television network that draws just half of one percent of households in the United States.

If he can get non-Christians to watch the show - and change anyone's beliefs - it may be a minor miracle. Already, skeptics are debating whether the show is a good idea - but Strobel's own experience tells him it's worthwhile.

Strobel remembers exactly where he was sitting in biology class at Prospect High School in 1966, when a teacher told students how scientists had created amino acids, the building blocks of life.

At the time, Strobel thought, "God's out of a job."

He remained a skeptic of religion as he grew up and became a newspaper reporter, and got a master's in the study of law at Yale.

After working as an award-winning legal editor at the Chicago Tribune, Strobel edited the Columbia Daily Tribune in Missouri, then became assistant managing editor of the Daily Herald.

When his wife, Leslie, impressed him with her conversion to Christianity, he began to investigate religious belief in the same way he did a news story.

As they say in the business, if your mother tells you she loves you - check it out.

So Strobel began talking to experts in science, religion and philosophy. Over two years, the more he looked into it, the closer he came to the conviction that God did indeed create the universe, and Jesus was his son.

He converted in 1981, and eventually gave up his newspaper career to become a teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington.

He began writing Christian books, three of which -"The Case for Christ," "The Case for Faith" and "The Case for Easter," have sold more than five million copies combined.

His newest book, "The Case for a Creator," debuted this spring among the top 30 best-selling books on The New York Times nonfiction list.

To build on his success, Strobel set his sights on bringing a Christian viewpoint to television.

This is your life

A couple of years ago, Jim Berger, the president of Rocket Pictures, who was impressed by Strobel's writings, called him to propose making a movie of his life. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Local Boy Makes God Lee Strobel Went from Atheist Newsman to Best-Selling Christian Author; Now He's Testing His Faith on TV
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.