Sunday, March 05, 2006

He knows the Bible too well to believe it.


Bart Ehrman is a New Testament scholar. Here was a man who graduated from Moody Bible Institute, a bastion of American fundamentalism. He is a man who studied the Bible constantly and the deeper he looked into this book the more it challenged him. He started out thinking the Bible was the word of God and without error. He ended up a skeptic

Ehrman is the author of a book on New Testament scholarship that is on the New York Times list of best sellers. He teaches religion at the university level now. The New York Times discusses one of Ehrman’s classes:

But as he paces back and forth across the stage, Ehrman ruthlessly pounces on the anomalies -- in this Gospel, Jesus isn't born in Bethlehem, he doesn't tell any parables, he never casts out a demon, there's no last supper. "None of that is found in John!" The crucifixion stories are different -- in Mark, Jesus is terrified on the cross; in John, he's perfectly composed. Key dates are different. The resurrection stories are different. Ehrman reels them off, rapid-fire, shell bursts against the bulwark of tradition.

"In Matthew, Mark and Luke, you find no trace of Jesus being divine," he says, his voice urgent. "In John, you do." He points out that in the other three books, it takes the disciples nearly half of Christ's ministry to learn who he is. John says no, no, everyone knew it from the beginning. "You shouldn't think something just because you believe it. You need reasons. That applies to religion. That applies to politics . . . just because your parents believe something isn't good enough."

Ehrman was converted to fundamentalist Christianity as a teen. He converted his family to the same faith. He feel in love with the Bible and memorized large sections of it. He studied at evangelical schools like Moody and Wheaton College. And he discovered a talent for ancient languages. Now, for the first time, he could read the translations of the Bible that existed from various periods of time. He could read the ancient texts not just the modern English like most Christians. What he found was not pretty for a fundamentalist.

Ancient fragments of the Bible exist but they have different versions of the same story. There are over 200,000 differences between the various texts. Ehrman told the Times: “Put it this way: There are more variances among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.”

Ehrman says many are merely grammatical differences but some are very profound. He notes that 12 verses in Mark were added after the original was written. They are the only NT verses which say Christ appeared after his death. In another section the only verses outlining the doctrine of the Trinity was added to the New Testament a few centuries after the original was written.

The more Ehrman studied the more he realized that the New Testament is not a trustworthy document. It is not historical at all. Again the Times reports on this:

"I just began to lose it," Ehrman says now, in a conversation that stretches from late afternoon into the evening. "It wasn't for lack of trying. But I just couldn't believe there was a God in charge of this mess . . . It was so emotionally charged. This whole business of 'the Bible is your life, and anyone who doesn't believe it is going to roast in hell.' "

6 Comments:

Blogger Derreck said...

Well, I get the point on this one, but shouldn't you keep this in mind? The Bible was written by humans, not by any God. Humans are very unreliable, which I do not need to tell you I'm sure, and humans are prone to tell tales differently, which this proves. Now, I'm sure you people did that game in your schooldays once.

The first person hears a story from the teacher, who has written the story down. The person told the tale, tells it to the next, and so on. After 10 people the story is significantly different, and probably only the core of the story remains, after another ten, it may completely be a different story. Now I know that some silly people, trying to be funny, ruin the accuracydelibaretly, but when retracing the story afterwards, people can easily see how others interpretate their saying.

All I'm trying to tell ya, is that the accuracy of the Bible, can easily have many flaws, but those do not touch the truth at the core.

March 06, 2006

 
Blogger John Hedtke said...

Fascinating! I was particularly interested by this comment: Ehrman says many are merely grammatical differences but some are very profound. He notes that 12 verses in Mark were added after the original was written. They are the only NT verses which say Christ appeared after his death. In another section the only verses outlining the doctrine of the Trinity was added to the New Testament a few centuries after the original was written.

While I'd figured there was plenty of editing that had happened--anyone who thinks the King James version has any value as an accurate translation needs to dip into their savings and buy a frickin' clue--I was unaware of these rather important edits. I'm going to have to get a copy of his book. This kind of data is as important for those wishing to shed light on popular Christian Talibanist myths as the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli.

March 08, 2006

 
Blogger Pirate said...

parsing the truth you may find some errors in the telling.

that's as good a reason to run from God's love as any.

what Erman doesn't tell you is where he focuses when his person is troubled or when he is faced with obstacles.

years ago i use to search the land for tax protestors for the government. there was a groupthat called themselves "The Freeman Society". when their protest came to the end and they were faced with abiding by the law or facing the consequences few followed their path of defiance. what I found the most extrordinary was that the leader of the group had no legal problems because he had been filing and paying his taxes off the money he garnered from the member's dues.

March 09, 2006

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

That you were part of the tax gestapo is no surprise it goes with the theology. Exactly how authoritarian are you? Is obedience your biggest virtue?

March 09, 2006

 
Blogger Pirate said...

my biggest virtue is my dick.

gestopo? I'm guessing you have lived off the income transfers from the productive sectors of the USA and have not contributed much more then your uninformed opinion.

March 10, 2006

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Well Pirate, you are totally wrong. I have never taken income transfers via welfare, social security, etc.. Even when I would have been eligibile to do so I have refused. Nor do I intend to ever apply for social security. In times of unemployment I have lived entirely on the savings I made from when I had income.

November 04, 2007

 

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