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Bart Ehrman Audio On Npr


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Guest billmc

I have mixed feelings where Bart Ehrman is concerned. I admire him in that he takes the Bible seriously, especially the NT. His book, "Misquoting Jesus" shows, quite convincingly, that the Church changed the scriptures in order to support it's own theological and authoritarian stance. Bart's critique of the Bible definately demonstrates to us that it is not inerrant and infallible. I also admire that he takes the problem of theodicy seriously, the notion that God is in control of us and our world and that everything is going according to some divine plan, despite all the suffering we see around us. Bart's book, "God's Problem" highlights the problem of viewing God as someone who pulls cosmic levers and pushes metaphysical buttons to make everything happen just the way he wants it to. And Bart is right, IMO, to ask what kind of God would be "in control" of the world the way it is.

 

But this is my problem with Bart's views - they reflect a fundamentalist understanding of God, Jesus, and the Bible. Bart argues successfully against these views, but then discards all notions of God or of the Bible having value. To me, he throws the baby out with the bath water. Because neither God nor the Bible are what the fundies tell us they are, does this mean that there are not other ways to look at God and the Bible? For me, PC presents other ways.

 

So while I appreciate Bart's hard work and agree with him that God is not in control and that the scriptures are not infallible and inerrant, I wouldn't agree with Bart that God is, therefore, nonexistant and that the scriptures are a complete lie. He is certainly good reading for people who are thinking of leaving fundamentalist Christianity. But I think his conclusions point directly to hardline atheism. From what I have heard, Bart lost his faith as a Christian because of the scriptures and the problem of theodicy. I would also IF I continued to view God and the scriptures the way the fundies do. But I found other ways.

Edited by billmc
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Actually, he self-identifies as an agnostic, not an atheist.

 

I agree with your overall assessment. It seems to me that there is more than one way to be enslaved to a literalist reading of the Bible. One is to adhere to it unwittingly as the only right way to understand it and its God. The other is to reject it while still accepting that it is the only right way to understand it and its God.

 

I'm not so sure Ehrman believes that one needs to accept a literalist perspective to "faithfully" read the text, though he does believe that the historical Jesus was an apocalyptic Jew.

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Guest billmc

Actually, he self-identifies as an agnostic, not an atheist.

 

Maybe my mistake. I thought I heard him say in a podcast that he no longer believed in God. I'd have to go back and give a relisten. But then, I am not a theist either. I believe in God, but not as a being out there, as God is most often presented in the Bible.

 

I'm not so sure Ehrman believes that one needs to accept a literalist perspective to "faithfully" read the text, though he does believe that the historical Jesus was an apocalyptic Jew.

 

Is he still teaching NT? I'd love to go here him live, as I would Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris. These people are pretty good at dismantling Christianity as a religion. But I don't think they will be successful at ridding the world of what we call spirituality.

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Is he still teaching NT? I'd love to go here him live, as I would Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris. These people are pretty good at dismantling Christianity as a religion. But I don't think they will be successful at ridding the world of what we call spirituality.

Listening to Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris would rock! :) Actually, I saw a discussion with the four horsemen on youtube. It was really good. Well, until Hitchens had enough to drink to advocate genocide of extremist militant religious groups. Um, yeeeeaaaahhhh...and religion is the root of mass destruction?

 

I believe Ehrman currently teaches at Chapel Hill, NC. If you want to hear him lecture, he has courses on The Teaching Company's site. I have The New Testament, Historical Jesus, and Lost Christianities. Great lectures. And it's a great site. As I recall, I turned AlethiaRivers on to it here (who has sadly disappeared, btw. Alethia, where are you?).

 

 

I've discovered the vids are a great way to connect with people on the "outside." I asked The Teaching Company if I could show them publicly. They said as long as I didn't charge, they were cool with that. But, if I did charge, they would need a cut. Therefore, I gathered a group to watch Historical Jesus on a semi-weekly basis in a coffee shop. People not in the pews really dig this stuff.

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Guest billmc

I'd love to get those lectures - 12 hours worth each! But at $35, whew, my wife would shoot me. I am listening to the podcasts from NPR and enjoying them. Thanks!

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Guest billmc

I've been listening to some more of Bart's lectures and debates, and I have to say that I really like this guy. He left Christianity because of the problem of theodicy, which troubles many people. I certainly appreciate his honesty in doing so. I, too, had to let go of theism or the "God of the Bible" because despite everything that Jesus and Paul said, Jesus' death hasn't really changed things much except for starting a religious system where, for the most part, people were told how to escape the world instead of how to make it better. If God is an all-powerful, all-loving being, all the suffering we see in the world seems to go against this portrait of him. Jesus, Paul, and probably most Christians are apocolypticists, believing that God will intervene at some point in human history to right all the wrongs and create a sort of heaven on earth. It's possible. But not very likely, IMO. If God is intervening today, I think God is doing so through people, Christian or not, who do see the suffering in our world and do what they can to alleviate it.

 

Bart's work shows how the Bible presents a number of varied reasons as to why there is human suffering...and none of them are very convincing. But I think that Bart might miss the other threads found in the Bible that seem to say that if God is going to do anything good in this world, God does it through people. To me, this makes all the difference. We can pray for God to give someone a glass of water to someone who is thirsty...or we can do it ourselves. In that moment, are we not being God or Jesus to them? Or we not being incarnations ourselves of the love and compassion that we call God?

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