received a free copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
My rating: 5/5
By primary evidence, Dickerson explains that he means things like firsthand accounts or historical documents of the time period being discussed, similar to the evidence a journalist (which Dickerson is) would use in writing a story. So, the book explores the primary evidence behind science, education, hospitals, and the abolition of slavery to explore the question of whether Jesus’s teachings have helped further justice and progress, or inhibited it. It’s the question of whether Christianity has been good for the world or not, and Dickerson explores it thoroughly, diving deep into statistics and the people behind many important movements.
I knew many things that this book talked about already, but
some I did not, and I enjoyed learning more about how universities were
established, the origins of hospitals, and what life was like for the majority
of people until about two hundred years ago. And the best part of this book is
that Dickerson uses only the words of the people who were involved and facts
and statistics that can be obtained by anyone. There are pictures and documents
and tons of detailed footnotes. There’s even a website, which I peeked at
briefly to see if it would be useful for teaching.
This book was especially helpful for times when I forget
what an impact Christianity can have on people. Dickerson shared personal
stories of his own, as well as stories of people he knew—again, all primary
evidence that can be independently verified. And it will be especially helpful
for when my students broach the exact question Dickerson is exploring in this
novel. Even if you know this information already, Jesus Skeptic is a worthwhile read—but it’s a vital one if you are
not aware of the evidence that is out there for Christian involvement in
education, medicine, science, and the abolition of slavery.