[quote="Philosoraptor, post:17, topic:87898"]
Thomas Bokenkotter is dangerously close to being a material heretic. A Concise History of the Catholic Church is a book full of heresy, particularly the sexual nihilism combated by Popes John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI. He creates an artificial distinction between 'historical truth' and 'religious belief' (guess which one is real and which one is not), claims the events of Jesus' birth and life cannot be said to be 'history' (i.e. the Church made them up centuries after His death), and treats Him as only man, not the God-Man of our creed.
I would agree that the biblical events are not written as a "history" in the classic sense; we don't know for instance, the precise date and time of Christ's birth for instance. I do think however that it is widely accepted that Jesus is a historical figure, in that He really did exist in the approximate biblical time frame.
The Gospels are really meant to convey the story of God's relationship with mankind, His incarnation, and His time amongst us. These are really only things that can be accepted on faith. Moreover they must be accepted on faith to be able to come to God freely in love. If we had a detailed, historically accurate and scientifically verified account, we would not be able to accept God freely, He would essentially be imposed on us like one's boss at work is imposed!
The flip side of this is that while some will come to accept Jesus as God made man in free will, many will also reject Him. This shouldn't surprise us nor should it scandalize us that many have not yet accepted Him (and some never will). We may :eek: actually come across a book or two that tries to challenge our faith. We will be faced in fact on a daily basis with people and ideas that challenge our faith. We can't completely isolate ourselves from this. The antidote is not to try to isolate and protect ourselves from them. That's a recipe for disaster.
The antidote for me, is to not run from those books, people or ideas, but rather, to work on nourishing my faith through practice, popular devotions (like the LOTH that I'm deeply attached to), my attachment to the Benedictines as an oblate, and to a wider faith community, and of course through the Graces that our Lord showers on us through His sacraments. And for those who with good will challenge our faiths, and those who with less good will taunt us because of our faith, the answer is to love them anyway and pray for them that they too may be set free by the Truth.