Never before had they known such hope.
In a world drenched in violence and oppression, here was a man armed with a message of peace and freedom. Into lives nearly overwhelmed by grief and sorrow, he brought compassion and healing and the deepest joy. To people who felt like outcasts and aliens, he showed the way home. And then, in one devastating night, all their hopes collapsed.
This is where our story begins—in the valley of despair. It is a tale of two friends, a stranger, and a search for truth in a world gone mad with doubt.
Historian Joseph Loconte unlocks the meaning of their exchange, set in the chaotic days following the execution of Jesus of Nazareth. Drawing from literature, film, philosophy, history, and politics, Loconte shows how this biblical drama is an integral part of our own story. Sooner or later, we will find ourselves among the searchers.
With the tone of a circumspect apologetic, Loconte (God, Government, and the Good Samaritan), a senior research fellow at King's College in New York, examines, among other things, "the poison of religion," acknowledging well-known abuses and disgraces that have plagued Christianity through the ages. While the reader may nod in approval here, he or she will soon squirm. Loconte asserts every civilization is shaped by God seekers who are trying to understand the relationship between the natural and the supernatural; he explores, for example the inexplicable need people have to touch relics or pray to saints. He asserts that this connection carries the hope and gravitas of the supernatural: "They want to believe." And so he builds his case, championing the notion that faith is a mystery and that "mystery," of itself, is not an excuse to disbelieve. He helps the reader with up-to-date cultural reference points, such as a nod to The X-Files, citing Mulder, who "want to believe" and (predictably) Harry Potter. Whereas those of an older, more seasoned, cohort will have read the likes of this before, those of a generation who missed out on John Stott will find the book relevant and compelling.