The bible debunked.

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The bible debunked.

Post by I Think »

CNN -- Just so you know, Bart Ehrman says he's not the anti-Christ.


Bart Ehrman says most of the New Testament is a forgery but it's still an important body of work.

He says he's not trying to destroy your faith. He's not trying to bash the Bible. And, though his mother no longer talks to him about religion, Ehrman says some of his best friends are Christian.

Ehrman, a best-selling author and a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a biblical sleuth whose investigations make some people very angry. Like the fictional Robert Langdon character played by actor Tom Hanks in the movie "Angels & Demons," he delves into the past to challenge some of Christianity's central claims.

In Ehrman's latest book, "Jesus, Interrupted," he concludes:

Doctrines such as the divinity of Jesus and heaven and hell are not based on anything Jesus or his earlier followers said.

At least 19 of the 27 books in the New Testament are forgeries.

Believing the Bible is infallible is not a condition for being a Christian.

Critic: 'There's a touch of arrogance' about him

Ehrman's claims have found an audience, and controversy. He's a fixture on History Channel and Discovery Channel documentaries on Christianity. He's appeared on National Public Radio, CNN and the BBC and talked about scribes misquoting Jesus on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

Yet Ehrman's popularity also may be due to a larger trend. The books of people like Elaine Pagels, author of "The Gnostic Gospels," and Dan Brown, author of "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons," resonate with people who believe there are parts of the Bible that the church left on history's editing floor.

Some scholarly critics say Ehrman is saying nothing new.

Bishop William H. Willimon, an author and United Methodist Church bishop based in Alabama, says he doesn't like the "breathless tone" of Ehrman's work.

"He keeps presenting this stuff as if this is wonderful new knowledge that has been kept from you backward lay people and this is the stuff your preachers don't have the guts to tell, and I have," Willimon says. "There's a touch of arrogance in it."

Yet even many of Ehrman's critics say he has a knack for making arcane New Testament scholarship accessible to the public.

"He has a gift for clear thinking and an ability to present some complicated things in simple, direct ways," Willimon says.

Some pastors also say that Ehrman forces them to confront tough questions about the Bible in front of their congregations.

"His take on the scriptures is a gift to the church because of his ability to articulate questions and challenges," says Rev. Guy Williams, a blogger who also happens to be a Methodist minister in Houston, Texas. "It gives us an opportunity to wrestle with the [Bible's] claims and questions."

Ehrman: There was no resurrection

Ehrman says that no one accepts everything in the Bible. Everyone picks and chooses . He cites some New Testament's references to the role of women in church as an example.

In the first book of Corinthians, Ehrman says, the Apostle Paul insists that women should remain silent in church (1 Corinthians 14:35-36).

In the 16th chapter of the book of Romans, Paul's attitude is that women could and should be church leaders -- and he cites women who were serving as deacons and apostles in the early church, Ehrman says.

Ehrman backs his arguments with a deep knowledge of the culture and history of the New Testament world. He's written 20 books on early Christianity and is an authority on ancient manuscripts used to translate the Bible.

His claims, though, take on some of Christianity's most sacred tenets, like the resurrection of Jesus. Ehrman says he doesn't think the resurrection took place. There's no proof Jesus physically rose from the dead, and the resurrection stories contradict one another, he says.

He says he doesn't believe the followers of Jesus saw their master bodily rise from the dead, but something else.

"My best guess is that what happened is what commonly happens today when someone has a loved one die -- they sometimes think they see them in a vision," Ehrman says. "I think some of the disciples had visions."

Ehrman says he immerses himself in the Bible, though he doesn't believe in its infallibility, because it's the most important book in Western civilization.

"I have friends who teach medieval English," he says. "They don't believe in Chaucer, but they think Chaucer is important," he writes in the conclusion of "Jesus, Interrupted."

The fundamentalist turns agnostic

Ehrman once had a different attitude toward the Bible.

He was raised in the Episcopal Church in Lawrence, Kansas, and became a fundamentalist Christian at age 15 when he met a charismatic Christian youth group leader who reached out to him. Ehrman says he later persuaded his parents to embrace a more conservative brand of Christianity.

He says he became so devoted to the Bible that he memorized entire sections. He was convinced the Bible was "God's words."

But Ehrman says he began to develop doubts about the infallibility of the Bible after attending Princeton Theological Seminary to become a college Bible professor.

He even began to change his opinion of the Christian youth group leader who helped convert him. The youth leader visited Ehrman's father when he was dying of cancer in a hospital.

The youth leader used a bottle of hotel shampoo to "anoint" his father, and tried to persuade his father to confess specific sins, Ehrman says. Ehrman says he was angry at the minister for acting "self-righteous" and "hypocritical."

"For a vulnerable high-schooler who is trying to figure out the world, a personality like that is very attractive," Ehrman says. "They're like cult leaders. They have all the answers."

Ehrman says he later became an agnostic because he couldn't find the answer to another question: How could there be a God when there is so much suffering in the world? An agnostic is one who disclaims any knowledge of God, but does not deny the possibility of God's existence.

Today, Ehrman describes himself as a "happy agnostic."

But some people can't believe an agnostic can be happy, he says. They tell him that they're praying for him. Others say worse. They say he's being fooled by Satan and he's headed to hell. Some say he's the anti-Christ.

"I'm not that powerful," he says, laughing.

His family, however, feels no obligation to talk to Ehrman about his ideas on the Bible, Ehrman says. His mother, brother and sister remain conservative Christians.

He once tried to talk to his mother about his new beliefs, but the discussion proved fruitless.

"My mom is a strong evangelical," Ehrman says. "We talk basketball. We don't talk religion."

Still, Ehrman says he still sends his mother and siblings copies of his latest books. They've never responded, he says.

"I imagine they're hidden in a back room," he says.

Whether it's his family, critics or students, Ehrman says he has a better handle on why he is so threatening to so many people -- some Christians worry they will make the same decision he has.

"I changed my mind," he says. "My students find me more dangerous that way. I really do know what they're talking about when they stake out an evangelical position." E-mail to a friend | Mixx it | Share
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kattwoman2
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Re: The bible debunked.

Post by kattwoman2 »

Well, considering that this version of the Bible was created by a bunch of guys at the Council of Nicea a almost two millennia ago and they left out certain books that they thought were credible earlier, I'm not surprised. When you try to group hundreds, maybe thousands, of different denominations under one book it can be pretty messed up.
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steven lloyd
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Re: The bible debunked.

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nibs wrote: Bart Ehrman ... says he's not trying to destroy your faith. He's not trying to bash the Bible. And, though his mother no longer talks to him about religion, Ehrman says some of his best friends are Christian.
Believing the Bible is infallible is not a condition for being a Christian.


Indeed. Not only is the Bible a flawed account of history, complete with inaccurate re-tellings of oral tradition and politically motivated editing by the Roman Catholic Church (and other powers I’m sure), but to understand a great deal of what is written a person really needs to be educated in history, archaeology, anthropology, etc. to apply correct or more accurate reference to the meaning of what is written.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in any of those fields, but I have watched a few documentaries that have addressed some common misconceptions. The idea that “spare the rod and spoil the child” promotes corporal punishment, for example is likely completely erroneous according to biblical scholars. In historical and geographical context, the use of a long rod was used to “guide” sheep, thus spare the “guidance” and spoil the child.

I vaguely remember some other reference to passing a camel through the eye of a needle, but far from some sort of magic, the “eye of the needle” was, in fact, a small door in the wall around a guarded city that was used as an alternative entrance to the main large gate.

Many of the other ideas expressed the culture at the time and can hardly really be construed to be the word of God. I tried re-reading the Old Testament once (within the last couple of years) and could not get through it thinking “are you kidding me?”

I recognize and acknowledge a good deal of controversy exists over books from the New Testament as well, and always took details proposed about the life of Christ with a grain of salt. First off, when it is said He said “the way to God is through me”, I really believe He was not asking to be worshipped but suggesting the way to God was through His teachings. Regarding his so-called resurrection, I always thought it would be explained by something more like the suggestion put forward by the author nibs has quoted.

There is much about the life of Christ that is still a mystery, but it is all very interesting stuff that could take us for pages and pages of discussion. What is really sad is that powerful and important teachings were lost or twisted by the meddling of political interference.
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Re: The bible debunked.

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nibs wrote:In Ehrman's latest book, "Jesus, Interrupted,"

I haven't read this book, but I have read parts of one of his earlier works called "Misquoting Jesus", where he looks for original books of the New testament but can't find any. What he did find were copies of copies of copies that were often miss-written, mistranslated, or where scribes used "poetic license" in some of their copying. For example; the infamous "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" is not in earlier versions of that testament.

His claims, though, take on some of Christianity's most sacred tenets, like the resurrection of Jesus. Ehrman says he doesn't think the resurrection took place. There's no proof Jesus physically rose from the dead, and the resurrection stories contradict one another, he says.

The Gnostics believe that the Resurrection was more of an ascension from a physical plane of existence to a spiritual one, rather than being brought back to life on this physical plane of existence.
Not that this has much to do with the topic at hand, but just a bit of trivia. :D
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Mr Danksworth
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Re: The bible debunked.

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Phoenix Within wrote:The Gnostics believe that the Resurrection was more of an ascension from a physical plane of existence to a spiritual one, rather than being brought back to life on this physical plane of existence.
Not that this has much to do with the topic at hand, but just a bit of trivia. :D


Strange parallels between that and the other resurrected god-men from the time, eh? Fancy that.
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Re: The bible debunked.

Post by SimonBolivarX »

Chek this out: from youtube:)
Gervais On Genesis part 1
One of the funniest men ever Ricky Gervais' clip from his standup: Animals

www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_sfSDCV9Jo

my dos centavos hahaha!
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Re: The bible debunked.

Post by Nebula »

steven lloyd wrote:There is much about the life of Christ that is still a mystery,

Like whether he existed. After all, if one is going to cast doubt on the validity of the Bible, one must certainly be open to the possibility that he was made up.
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Re: The bible debunked.

Post by WhatThe »

Faith is a funny thing, it's what religion is based on, and we are to have faith to believe the bible is infallible and it was handed down from God in one way or other. Some of the things Ehrman says make sense, some don't. Eachside of the issue pounds away at "our answers are the right ones." and don't really offer any answers at all.What I would really like is to actually hear the researchers, scholars, theologians, all in one place objectively talking about discrepancies, or lack there of in the history record. I am pretty sure that certain sections of the bible have been verifed as historical fact but I want to hear it straight "from the horses mouth."
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Re: The bible debunked.

Post by Glacier »

Nebula wrote:
steven lloyd wrote:There is much about the life of Christ that is still a mystery,

Like whether he existed. After all, if one is going to cast doubt on the validity of the Bible, one must certainly be open to the possibility that he was made up.

Perhaps, but that would belong in the "nefarious plots" section.
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Nebula
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Re: The bible debunked.

Post by Nebula »

Perhaps.
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Re: The bible debunked.

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soulra wrote:Strange parallels between that and the other resurrected god-men from the time, eh? Fancy that.

Actually I saw a documentary a little while ago (I think it was on the National Geographic channel) about a bunch of other "messiahs" that were around at the same time as Jesus, and most with similar stories (immaculate conception, etc.). Jesus just had better PR, or a message that appealed more to the masses which is why after all these years you hear about him more than the others.

Nebula wrote:
steven lloyd wrote:There is much about the life of Christ that is still a mystery,

Like whether he existed. After all, if one is going to cast doubt on the validity of the Bible, one must certainly be open to the possibility that he was made up.

Absolutely! I've heard stories about the possibility, and I've got a copy of a documentary that explores that idea called "The God Who Wasn't There". I just haven't got around to watching it yet. Jesus could be an entirely fictional character used to teach a lesson. Hell if that's the case, in 500 years time, we could all be worshiping Mack Bolan. He's had far more books written about him!

Myself personally, I believe there was a figure named Jesus who promoted a message more as a prophet than as a messiah.
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Re: The bible debunked.

Post by chickenlittle »

Not to many credible historians of any slant (christian, non christian, etc) deny that there was a "historical" Christ. Whether or not he resembles the Jesus of modern Christianity is another debate topic. Actually the Jesus of the Bible is barely reconizable in most modern churches.

Paul's letters (the legitimate ones anyway) are generally accepted as being the earliest part of the new testement. It would stand to reason that as the earliest account of the early church they would provide us with an the most accurate glimpse of early Christian beliefs. For example, Paul makes no mention of a Virgin birth. If Mary's immaculate conception is such a conerstone of God becoming man, you would think that the earliest recordings of Christian history would have made some mention of it. Similarialy, Paul does not mention a physical resurrection.

Mere mention of this in just about any main stream church will either get you booted out or result in many prayers being said to rid you of the devil's influence.

I am an evangelical christian. I experience God everyday through the Grace that is Christ Jesus. However, God gave me a brain... he probably had some expectatation that I would put it to use.
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Re: The bible debunked.

Post by chickenlittle »

Phoenix Within wrote:
Myself personally, I believe there was a figure named Jesus who promoted a message more as a prophet than as a messiah.


There never was a anyone named Jesus. His real name was most likely Yeshua. Directly translated into English this would be "Joshua". Jesus is the result of a translation from Aremaic or Hebrew into Greek then Latin. Christ is not even a name... but a title... which means Messiah.
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Nebula
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Re: The bible debunked.

Post by Nebula »

chickenlittle wrote:There never was a anyone named Jesus.


chickenlittle wrote:I experience God everyday through the Grace that is Christ Jesus.
You cannot reason someone out of a position that they did not use reason to arrive at.
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Re: The bible debunked.

Post by Phoenix Within »

chickenlittle wrote:Christ is not even a name... but a title... which means Messiah.

I've also heard of Christ not being a title, but rater a state of spirituality similar to the idea of a state of "enlightenment". Hence the phrase of "being christ-like".
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