Jesus Saves, Not the Bible

By Bart Ehrmanauthor, religion professor “Are you out to destroy the Christian religion?” I’ve been asked this question several times … Continued

By Bart Ehrman
author, religion professor

“Are you out to destroy the Christian religion?” I’ve been asked this question several times over the past month, as some evangelicals have expressed shock and outrage over my book, “Jesus Interrupted,” where I deal with the historical problems of the New Testament. These problems are rife, to be sure. The New Testament contains numerous discrepancies and contradictions; different New Testament authors have different perspectives on key issues, such as who Jesus is and how one can attain salvation; a large number of New Testament books were not written by the people who claim to be their authors; and several key doctrines of Christianity — the deity of Christ, the Trinity, the idea of heaven and hell — cannot be found on the lips of the historical Jesus or the pens of his earliest followers. But doesn’t that make Christianity bogus? “Are you out to destroy the Christian religion?”

The truth is that I find this question more than a little odd. For one thing, I learned all of these problems in a leading Protestant theological seminary, while taking Bible classes in preparation for Christian ministry. These problems are regularly taught in mainline seminaries (Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian, now Catholic) — taught by Christians to prospective Christian ministers in order to prepare them for Christian service. Moreover, these problems have been known for decades, in some cases for well over a century. Only strong evangelicals and fundamentalists demur; ironically, these conservative Christians have a completely modern, not a historical, understanding of the Bible.

The idea that to be a Christian you have to “believe in the Bible” (meaning, believe that it is in some sense infallible) is a modern invention. Church historians have traced the view, rather precisely, to the Niagara Conference on the Bible, in the 1870s, held over a number of years to foster belief in the Bible in opposition to liberal theologians who were accepting the results of historical scholarship. In 1878 the conference summarized the true faith in a series of fourteen statements. The very first one — to be believed above all else — was not belief in God, or in the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was belief in the Bible:

We believe “that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” [that] the Holy Ghost gave the very words of the sacred writings to holy men of old; and that His Divine inspiration is not in different degrees, but extends equally and fully to all parts of these writings, historical, poetical, doctrinal, and prophetical and to the smallest word, and inflection of a word, provided such word is found in the original manuscripts:

To make faith in the Bible the most important tenet of Christianity was a radical shift in thinking — away, for example, from traditional statements of faith such as the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed, which say not a word about belief in the Bible.

The fourteen statements of the so-called Niagara Creed were called “The Fundamentals.” Those who adopted such “fundamentals” of the faith later called themselves “fundamentalists.” Today the term fundamentalist is almost completely pejorative. Even most fundamentalists refuse to admit they are fundamentalists (“fundamentalists” are always the hyper-religious people to your far right, wherever you stand theologically). But the basic fundamentalist faith in the inerrancy of Scripture has become a fixture of one segment of Protestant Christianity, especially in parts of this country, such as the South, where I live. Here, to be a Christian, you have to “believe in the Bible.”

Throughout most of history most Christian thinkers would have been seen this view as theological nonsense. Or blasphemy. The Bible was never to be an object of faith. God through Christ was. Being a Christian meant believing in Christ, not believing in the Bible.

Here are the historical realities. Christianity existed before the Bible came into being: no one decided that our twenty-seven books of the New Testament should be “the” Christian Scripture until three hundred years after the death of the apostles. Since that time Christianity has existed in places where there were no Bibles to be found, where no one could read the Bible, where no one correctly understood the Bible. Yet it has existed. Christianity does not stand or fall with the Bible.

And so, biblical scholarship will not destroy Christianity. It might de-convert people away from a modern form of fundamentalist belief. But that might be a very good thing indeed.

Bart D. Ehrman is the author of more than 20 books, incuding his new “Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible,” published by HarperCollins. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. He came to UNC in 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies.

About

Bart Ehrman Bart Ehrman is one of the most renowned and controversial Bible scholars in the world today. A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, his work continues to drive debate among supporters and detractors alike. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.
  • WmarkW

    Hear! Hear!I hope your efforts will bring people closer to the Jesus of the Gospels, instead of the one in “family” bookstores. (Like I hope the North Carolina of the Research Triangle replaces the one that kept voting for Jesse Helms.)To “believe in the bible” in the fundamentalist sense, means to put faith above knowledge. (e.g. if radiocarbon dating contradicts Genesis, then there must be a problem with radiocarbon dating)Jesus had faith in the dignity of every human being, that no human had the right to condemn another, and that since we are all sinners we must forgive others theirs.It is amazing how some people managed to turn that into a message of hate.

  • Cthulhu3

    All this hullabaloo must be a Protestant thing–I just don’t understand. The Catholic Church has emphasized Scripture and Tradition for more than 1500 years–no problem. Bart, it’s like you just discovered a hidden, profound truth that the rest of us have already known for centuries.

  • US-conscience

    Sola Scriptura – ooops, that was in the 1500′s oh well…there goes that assertion. There are no problems in the New Testament and it does not contain numerous discrepancies and contradictions. New Testament authors do not have different perspectives on key issues, such as who Jesus is and how one can attain salvation. a large number of New Testament books absolutely were written by the people who claim to be their authors; and several key doctrines of Christianity — the deity of Christ, the Trinity, the idea of heaven and hell — were are clearly taught by Jesus. ( and if you didnt have scales over your eyes you would see that. ) I’m afraid you sir are the fruit of modern day seminaries being taught by liberal scholars who are not regenerate and dont believe in the teachings of the Bible and thus push their ungodly views on their students. Your views are easily refutable, and are not the concensus of all highly regarded theologians. These heresies have been around for millenia and are nothing new, but just the kind of vomit that the liberal post loves to publish.

  • Arminius

    WMarkw has it right – I too hope that your message brings people back to the core of what Christianity is – the teachings and life – and death and resurrection – of Jesus.Strange it is that these fundamentalists almost always are quoting the Hebrew Scriptures instead of the Gospels. Of course they mention Revelation sometimes – but the words of Christ, hardly ever. These people are lost.Thank you, Mr Ehrman.

  • Arminius

    US-conscience actually wrote,Well, now, if you really believe that, boy do I have a deal for you on a certain historical bridge in the New York area!Meanwhile, what about these questions:And that is just for starters.

  • beforegod

    Oye Yay!Oh’ Lord!

  • WmarkW

    The claims that the Judeo-Christian bible were written by God are exactly like the Muslim claims that Allah dictated the Quran literally to Muhammed who repeated them verbatim. Such claims allow for neither testability nor compromise.The sooner everyone admits their books were written by humans reflecting the knowledge and bias of the authors’ place and time, the sooner we stop nonsense like teaching Creationism as science and marrying 8-year-olds to pedophiles.

  • edtc

    I’d have to agree with US-Conscience on this. Mr. Ehrman’s criticisms are out and out wrong, and a simple perusal of the Gospels would prove that. No one recognized Jesus’ divinity?? Thomas called him ‘My Lord and My God.’ Peter called him the Christ. Jesus mentioned Paradise when he was on the cross, and talked about hell in other passages (think ‘gnashing of teeth’). As for Scripture being divinely inspired, perhaps you could read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 for the origin of that concept, which was written long before 1878.

  • US-conscience

    response to ccnl:John MacArthur

  • US-conscience

    Response to Arminuis:Which genealogy is correct, Matthew or Luke?Both – one is the lineage of Joseph and one is the lineage of Mary: both of which trace back to the line of David and thus fulfill scripture either way you go.What did Jesus say on the cross?All of these are an issue of Complimentary vs. Contradictory statements.

  • nunivek

    The Word is not the biblical text, that is almost an idolatrous contention, rather the Logos is Jesus Christ. The Truth is not the text, but the incarnate God who became flesh, we do not read truth, we relate to the one who is Truth. So what is the purpose of the biblical text? It is a witness to the life of Christ and the community of believers that followed him. We have the unique opportunity to engage with believers throughout time, and to interact with an account of faith. The text is merely a vehicle that the Holy Spirit uses within a community to illuminate Christ. EDTC, I think your use of 2 Tim, is pretty typical in this discussion but what Scripture is Paul talking about? He certainly is not referring to the New Testament, at best we can say that he is talking about the OT or at least portions of it. But what we do get from this passage is important, first of all the Scriptures only bring wisdom as they point to Christ, secondly they are to be used in a community. Which means that we must never sever the relationship between Scripture and action and most importantly with the community as a whole. What exactly does God-breathed mean? That is really an interesting question I’d like to see your answer to.EDTC, you basically have aptly illustrated exactly what the author is critiquing this notion that the continuation and spread of Christianity is based on the Bible. The head of the Church and the life of the Church is not dependent upon the Biblical text, no the Church exist as the Body of Christ woven together by the acts of the Holy Spirit with Christ as the center. Does the bible play no role in the life of the Church? No, that would be ridiculous to say, the Bible is an important part of our communal expression, but it is not the center and to make it the center is to create an Idol where God should be.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Well, if the “NT” is inerrant, why did some of it have to wait until the thirteenth century to find its way into the text?Then, too, once again: No trial could have been held on Passover, not under any circumstances. There is one exception to breaking the observance: immanent danger to a human life. Period. I don’t mean very ill. I mean will die if not helped immediately.Thus it was and thus it has always been.Neither heaven nor hell existed in the the century during which Jesus lived, if Jesus lived, and if Jesus was a Jew. No heaven in Judaism. No hell.Last supper: Wine equals blood/bread equals flesh. Would have been anathema to Jews then as it would be now. Symbolically or literally. Dietary laws extremely important. No blood of any kind may be ingested. Not ever. Not under any circumstances. There’s more to be said on this, but don’t want to offend. Couldn’t have happened. No Jew would have said this. None would have listened to it.

  • edtc

    Nunivek :

  • Chops2

    Well said WMARKW.”Christianity existed before the Bible came into being: no one decided that our twenty-seven books of the New Testament should be “the” Christian Scripture until three hundred years after the death of the apostles. Since that time Christianity has existed in places where there were no Bibles to be found. Christianity does not stand or fall with the Bible”Spidey, wherever u r: I hope u listen to Mr. Erhman since he clearly knows what he is talking about and makes many salient points.What say u to that quote? WMARKW got it right, the bible was “written by humans reflecting the knowledge and bias of the authors’ place and time”. A patent reality.Since u believe in the bible over christ, what say u to the notion that people were christians before the bible?

  • mono1

    is jesus the god or the son of god or the god incarnate or one of the triangl ?is the bible the word of god or the word of jesus or the word of the disciples or the word of man?to bust the above 2000 +delima or delusion the following is needed,1-the original bible that jesus himself carried .2-the chain of all divine revelation to mankind ,no way to find that except in the last divine revelation to mankind the QURAN.other wise is not only a delusion but the bigest bogus in the history of mankind.

  • nunivek

    EDTC, the problem with saying the Bible does or does not have errors is uniquely modern. What you are suggesting is that there is an objective criteria that we can match the book up to and rationally conclude that there are no errors (and if this cannot be done than we just proclaim its infallible based on faith).

  • aredant

    Exactly what is this “historical” Jesus you speak of? There isn’t a shred of evidence that an actual Jesus person existed, rather he is a collage of pagan deities codified in the books of the New Testament – a lexicon of Christian mythology as all holy books are. The Jesus legend was brought forth by oral tradition and had not an attempt been made to record these myths, they may have died long ago and been replaced with newer ones in modern culture. Even so, the Bible is at best a sloppy patchwork of popular fantasy and open to wild interpretation. Biblical scholars, compelled to find great meaning within archaic text, find reflections of their own intentions and mistake them for truth. If the icon of Christ is so immutable, why then are there now thousands of separate Christian sects that claim to possess the truth about what believing in Jesus supposedly means?

  • 1986

    How can you take someone at their word if you never listen or read their word? If you take away the Bible you take away a part of Jesus. It is a part of who he is and tells us who he. It is like faith and deeds you can’t have one with the other. Faith in Jesus is never alone. It accompanies other aspects like working it out in deeds, quiet times, and prayer, etc. Faith is taking Jesus at his Word. The Bible doesn’t contradict but has difficulties. We are human and somethings in there we might never understand til God chooses to reveal and other things he wants us to work out what that means in our life. You have to compare scripture with scripture not your opinions.

  • CCNL

    The real i.e. historical Jesus was not studied in depth until the early 19th century. Some references to read for those who want to learn more about this simple preacher man:1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm — the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the titles of their over 100 books on the subject. 2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–”The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament.”5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias 9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.10. The Gnostic Jesus 11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission 12. The Jesus Database- newer site: 13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist: 14. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus: 16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/17. Diseases in the Bible: 18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies, continued below:

  • angelpoo12

    I believe placing your faith and trust in Jesus and repenting for your sins saves. The Bible is the Word Of God. You can not separate the 1 from the Other. John 3:16&17

  • globalunits1

    An Exciting and Contemporary Interpretation of Symbolism inWhat do you think of when you look at the cross and the crucifix? Do theyAfter reading Ogechukwu’s book, your perception may change about how the

  • eaglehawkaroundsince1937

    Confusion Confusion Confusion. Was the Bible ment to cause such division and pain? I have searched for truth for many years now. I am running out of time but I know I will know for sure now any day, closer and closer and closer. Ya’ll will join me sooner or later so don’t sweat it. To me Jesus means love and the Bible pain. Hell? Were living in it.

  • naturebook

    Its always rather amusing to me that people argue about the historical validity of the bible but have no problem believing that a man was born to a virgin, died, came back to life and ascended into “heaven”. Talk about your science fiction!

  • renkent777

    If you really want to know if Jesus is real or not…Ask him..Go deep down to your heart and just simply ask him.Go back to a place when you were a child and you looked up at the stars in wonder at night where you could feel something special..and ask him..God love you so very much

  • MPatalinjug

    Yonkers, New YorkProbably utterly convinced that the bible–whether the New or the Old one–is not “The Word of God” but simply the writings of men long ago who saw in it a sinister way of manipulating and exploiting humankind, Bart Erman now comes up with the proposition that “Jesus saves.”Jesus saves?That, Bart Erman, is quixotic if not delusional.Mariano Patalinjug

  • dncthm1

    WE know that we had Christians when the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch from the bible. We know that God created the heaven and earth from the bible. We know that God created a son to redeem us from the punishment of hell from the bible. We learn to have faith in God and His Son from the bible. Men have tamper with the writing of the bible over many years: one thing is clear, they have not been able to change the meaning. Unless you believe in Jesus as the Son of God you will die in your sins and where Jesus is you cannot come.

  • jailkkhosla

    Jesus will save me? From what?I do not have problems when Christian or Islamic preachers preach their blasphemous sermons to adults but when children are taught all these lies then I deeply disturbed.Teaching children and young adults ( below the age of 21)religion or even definitive ideas about God or Gods/Godesses should be made a crime.The law bans us from serving alcohol to children. These laws should be extended to ban the teaching of any form of religion ti children.

  • laurene1209

    It tickles me to read the comments of so many “educated” people on this topic. If you can believe George Washington was the first president(you dont know for sure, cause you werent here), and if you believe that the pilgrims landed(you dont know cause you werent here), if you believe in any of the lies and possibly some truth that has been passed down to all of us by storytelling, then I’m going to believe that Jesus Christ created this world, died for my sins and loves me. I’d rather believe, than not to believe and then one day, he appears in the clouds. P.S.- Folks, stop theorizing and just walk by faith. I know you think because you sat down in a class at an Ivy league it makes you intelligent, it dosent, your ignorance shows even more.

  • [email protected]

    The Messianic Legacy comes from Judaism, where it was believed that all [except possibly the very worst of humanity] are resurrected, sometimes by rebirth to allow for further spiritual development and sometimes at the moment of death.TIME, as humans and the physical world comprehend that term, does not exist in the realms of the creator. Thus ‘one does not wait’ for resurrection because waiting occurs in time.Thus Kabbalah and Buddhism see these other domains virtually identically. Indeed, today DIP [domain interface phenomena] is also a scientific as well as a mystical issue.And what of the ‘secret teachings of Jesus Christ,’ [those not articulated in the NT] like the meditation on the Holy Chariot, or the Throne of God meditation.For all the things that the Bible does not say, or say clearly, or without significant conflict, it is MERELY a reference.

  • joneu316

    Mr Ehrman is just one in a long line of apostates who seek to undermine the Christian faith. That faith is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the payment for our sins — yours and mine, because he loves us. It will not be undermined.

  • aeaustin

    Believing in Mother Nature appears to be the more realistic thing.

  • furtdw

    “Sola scriptura” is a non biblical doctrine and a convenient invention of Martin Luther the use of which causes many, predominately fundamentalists, to deprive themselves in there understanding and the fullness of their relationship to GOD.http: //www dot inreach dot com/~bstanley/sorigin.htmMoreover, the concept of “sola scriptura“ is refuted in:1 Tim 3:15 NIV “…….. which is **THE CHURCH** (not sola scriptura) of the living GOD, the pillar and **FOUNDATION OF THE TRUTH.“** “THE CHURCH” ….. Singular; not churchES, plural. Also see Math 18:17 NIV.Interesting! The concept of “scripture alone” contradicted by scripture itself! Ah well, a house built on sand …….The Bible? Yes. Of course.The Bible alone? Ain’t what Timothy is tellin’ me.

  • deadkoz

    6,000,000,000+ People

  • oldwillie

    To not believe in Jesus Christ with all your heart is the same as tossing your soul to the fire… and in doing so, only to give pleasure to the flame.

  • coloradodog

    Neochristians like O’Reilly Catholics and Dobson evangelicals manipulate the Bible for their theocratic political agendas.If they were forced just to use the loving, inclusive words of Jesus instead of cherry-picking Leviticus (except verse 19:33, of course), their “religions” with all the hateful trappings would go out of business.What is wrong with people who spend more time hating and excluding others in the name of poor old Jesus instead of teaching His love?

  • beforegod

    Commentary on:The ABRAHAMIC; “OLD” (Basorah), the “NEW” (Masorah), The “NEWER” (QURAN) and On;The VEDIC; “GEETA” (old), The “KANGYUR..” (new) so called “HOLY-BOOK”(s)!

  • beforegod

    According to the Holy Cosmic Feeler’s Faith [Ho-Co-Fe-Fa] System (a Religion) via OUR “Paratestament Of The NEW-SONG”, THATThe “NEW-TESTAMENT” (Masorah) needs an INTROVISION of some Biblical-Characters therein. FACTS?:Mr. [Rabbi?] JEZEUS JESSE JEHOVA [pbuh?] was a “Prisoner” [Convict] of Mr. Ceasar, aka ROME & was under House Arrest…Mr. PAUL, aka SAUL of Tarsus [pbuh?] was/is a Mass-Murderer, something of a Nazi…Mr. JOHN, aka REVELATOR [pbuh?] was a “Prisoner” [Convict] and died in his Jail/Prison/Dungen-Cell at Potnuse Prison…Mr. John the BAPTIST [pbuh?]was a Prisoner/Fugitive who got his Head Chopped-Off…2 Interesting Notes: 1: The “CHURCH” {Universe} + the “BIBLE” (NT, aka ‘MASORAH’) was Founded by both PAUL [pbuh?] , also a PELEGian & JOSEPHUS [pbuh?] also was a PELEGian respectfully.2: Mr. JESUS/YASHUA [pbuh], Ancestry was also a “PELEG”ian [pbuh?] Yahudi; not a “JO{K}TAN”ian like Us; of the Ho-Co-Fe-Fa Religion today & morrow!— On the “OLD TESTAMENT” (aka ‘BASORAH’)FACT?: Mr. King Mashiach MOSES [pbuh et al] , also a PELEGian was an Abandoned Child. Mr. MOses was a Mureder. Mr. Moses was a “PRISONER”, COnvict & Fugitive under King PHAROAH of Aegypt. etc..Note: Mr. MUHAMMAD [pbuh et al] , also a PELEGian of the Quran/Hadith was also responsible for the Deaths of Many Yahudi’s! i.e.; According to Oral tradition via my Fathers side THATin YATHRUB he [Muhammad et al] killed my Uncle (canot Name; pbuh et al] & turned my Aunt (canot name; pbuh et al) into his Concubine. Note: interestingly it was my Aunt (cannot Name) whom poisoned his meat +/- 631/632.— POINT:All YE “CHUMASH/BiBLES/QURANS” + “GEETA/GITA/KANGYURS..” are about Killing, War, Imprisoning, ENSLAVING etc.. As i [WE] exposed tthe WHOLE TRUTH (opposite MYTH) & NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (opposite MYTH) so help Us via the “IT”, aka the “Holy-i-Cosmic-NO-Man/Womb”! G-D by 1,000+ Names & no more by 99 (fixed)names!

  • beforegod

    Ooooppssa:Fact: The OLD (written by or about MOSES) & NEW (by JESUS), and NEWER (by MUHAMMAD) from Front-to-Back of BOOK(s); are in Fact written & is about CONVICTS, KIDNAPPPERS, KILLERS, PRISONERS, FUGITIVES (both G-D & Man) etc… ANDThat GITA (by VYASA) & That KANGYUR.. (by GAUTAMA) are also about WAR, Killing each other etc..!Touched by an ANGEL? Ohhhhh Lordddddy PLEAZZZZA!

  • paultaylor1

    For the reader who asked “how many angels (can) dance on the head of a pin,” the answer is clear: no angel.Truth is, angels don’t dance. Unless they’re drunk, of course. And clearly, inebriated angels cannot dance on so fine a surface. About the Bible, should we not view it as a living testament, maybe even an evolutionary work in progress? It has been interpreted and reinterpreted freely throughout its history: by individuals, institutions, and governments. I remember the Dixie South rationalizing a rigid social class system, based on an insular reading of the Bible. The Bible even now is being used to deny homosexuals civil rights that could not be justified in common law.But the Bible has been more than a tool to engineer a perverse social structure. It is also apparently flexible enough in its reading to accommodate the evolving ethos of society, for the good of humanity as a whole. If the “Word of God” is so easily, widely and radically interpreted, it cannot be all that sacred, right?

  • furtdw

    coloradodog wrote:”Neochristians like O’Reilly Catholics and Dobson evangelicals manipulate the Bible for their theocratic political agendas.”*****************************************That is one of your dopier posts and you’ve had quite a few.Just what is an “O’Reilly Catholic?”O’Reilly is a secular figure and represents no religion in his public persona. He never makes reference to the bible.Coloradodog, try again.

  • jmccas

    To paraphrase Shakespeare, it is a tale

  • bcass05

    Want to be “saved”? Argue with God like Abraham. Wrestle with God like Jacob. The Christian scriptures present Jesus doing a surprising thing in the face of death–he went with his buddies to a party to celebrate God’s repeated deliverance of Israel from bondage, drank at least five blasts of wine, ate roast lamb and bread, and sang a bunch of joyous songs about deliverance. The best revenge for evil–LIVE!

  • JohnDoug

    Hey literalists:

  • ggrant9170

    I was reading a survey when ask about the death penalty Christians were more in favor of it. Let me first say, I believe Jesus is the Son of God come down in human form to give His life for humans because we simply could not do it ourselves. Jesus is the lamb whose blood washed away our sins. Christians are watched by the world to see how they act, see if they really follow the teachings of Christ or if its all a glamorous show to use their faith as a weapon or to use their faith as a path Christ walked. God said revenge is His, do not judge, two things many Christians seem to be at odds with. Its not easy to be a Christian if you look at what is being ask as a burden, being a Christian is easy if you look at it as walking in Jesus way. People do not want to let go and let God, they don’t know what that really means. People want to be Christians but do they realize what that means? It means to not be in control of judging and revenge. Two things we as Christians are at odds with. Let go, let God.

  • beforegod

    INCAMERA (Secret):According to the “ULTRA-PARATESTAMENT” [of the "TRUE-SONG"], which replaces & Supercedes the “PARA-TESTAMENT” [of the NEW-SONG], shows, for ALL the World to see THATThe Killers of Mr. [Rabbi?] JEZEUS YASHUA JESSE [pbuh?] was not the Sudducees, nor the Pharasees alone, nor by Rome excusively but rather by the direct intervention/Manipulation via JERUSALEM Market ARAB/BEDUIN, aka the MECCAN/Pagans Idolatary/Worshipping Business men of JERUSALEM!When, in Jerusalem’s retail MARKETs, Mr. JESUS turned over tables & wrecked the ARAB-BEDUIN’s busniss men’s Goods&Wares (via loosing his Temperment, in Public) and chased away prospects/Customers that the Business Men, not only by the Jealous Eberu’s, payed-Off their Corrupt Roman/Centurians {MAFIOS’s} to set-up Mr. Jesus & Co.! Soo,Mr. YASHUA got killed for Loosing his Temper + Spoiled & inturn angered the PRE-ISLAM-ites Idolatarey worshiping Arab-Beduins Meccans because when asked JESUS, “Are you going to Pay Us for the loss…” that Mr. JESUS said, “No & Go back to MECCA (Saudi Arabia Deserts/Caves)..”!Now the World knows the TRUTH (opposite MYTH)! ANDShame on Both Mr. JOSEPHUS & Mr. PAUL for distorting the TRUTH (opposite MYTH) to capitalize off a Dead Rabbi {Pelegian} who can’t talk!! Touched by an Angel? G-D incarnate? Pleaaazaa, stop already!

  • ggrant9170

    God says what He means and means what He says. Understanding the bible is not a easy task if you don’t have a clue what you are reading. Find a bible based church which focuses on the understanding of the bible and not some false interpretations that suit someone’s philosophy other than Gods. To understand what your reading in the bible actually takes work, takes undestanding of what is being said in those days, even the word hate is misintrepreted in the bible to how we think of that emotions in present day form. Jesus was called teacher, Jesus taught from the old testament. Find a good teacher that is bible based and you will be amazed how the bible comes to life, how accurate it is, how maybe what you thought it was saying was really not what it was saying at all, but something wonderful, inspiring and practical for everyday life. The old testament is filled with man’s refusal to follow God’s laws and how man as today tried to turn God’s laws into something we don’t recognize as His intention but our intention to use traditions to rule over man and make laws a burden instead of a blessing for which they were intended.

  • beforegod

    OooooPpppSsssAaaa.Forgot: When Rabbi YASHUA/JESUS/JEHOVA lost his Temper; that his Step-Father offered Him a Glass Of WINE. And unlike the ‘Drunkin” NOAH (Racist) CURSE”, thatbesides destroying business, that Mr. Yashua got tipsy and blurted out, “I’m King Of The JEWS..” [MASSIAH? of the PELEG Eber race; NOT like Us of the JO{K}TAN -- EBERu-race}!Soo, Please do not be in denial [of this REVELATION (opposite Secrets)] to self nor others, especially Loved ones!So time to rip-up all YE THEOLOGIAN DEGREES: aka the “LICENSED JEALOUSY’id”!

  • jkdmax

    Excellent article…..I agree.Lest anyone forget, there are over 300 versions of the bible on the market right now and an average of one a day comes on line.It’s a spiritual concept, not a book !

  • Ombudsman1

    “Christianity does not stand or fall with the Bible.”This is most certainly false. Let’s stick with some facts, then we’ll go into philosophy.First, the Bible as it exists today is primarily the old testament. Both in terms of content and number of pages. Don’t believe me? Take out your bible and put a finger where old and new divide. You’ll be shocked. You’ll say “My goodness, I didn’t realize there was so little to the new testament”.So the Christian faith is based on the life of Jesus yes. But it founded primarily on the same beliefs and history as Judaism. Now onto the philosophy of it. What’s the difference between a brand of Christianity without the Bible and New Age Crystal healing? NOTHING. The words of Jesus, the philosophies of the apostles in their writings to the various churches, the book of acts *ARE CENTRAL TO CHRISTIANITY*.You can’t have it both ways. You can’t a Muslim and not read the Koran. You can’t be a Buddhist and not read the Tripitaka. You can’t be a Jew and not believe in the Torah. And you can’t be a Christian without the Bible.I mean, believe whatever you want. Believe in Jesus but ignore the Bible. But don’t turn around and claim the Bible isn’t central to the Christian faith. You’re not even making any sense with the claim.

  • edallan

    A slight clarification to Prof. Ehrman, but a point of information to the Fundamentalists who’ve been posting. The Bible, at least the part that Jews, Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Christians knew, was pretty much codified a couple of hundred years before Jesus lived.I am not now, nor have I have ever been, a member of the Christianist party, but it has always seemed to me that the underlying promise and premise of Christianity is the belief that redemption flows in large part through belief in the resurrection of Jesus, not in whether the universe was created in six days (it wasn’t) or whether Jesus, if he actually lived (not a concern for me, one way or another), cursed a fig tree.The fact that there are so many variations in so many areas in both testaments should inform people willing to use the intellect that God or whoever or whatever gave them that the Bible can hardly be the inerrant literal word of God. And it seems to me that if one’s faith is dependent on the literal word, then one’s faith has a pretty weak reed to rely on.

  • jkdmax

    Excellent article…..I agree.Lest anyone forget, there are over 300 versions of the bible on the market right now and an average of one a day comes on line.It’s a spiritual concept, not a book !

  • therev1

    Of course Professor Ehrman is right in this article. Too often, however, he utilizes bad to poor scholarship to make his points in his various books. My own seminary theological learnings include the proposition that the teachings of the Bible – from whatever internal perspective – are consistent AND primary, i.e. welcome the stranger, love one another, worship one God – YHWH, YHWH is always attempting to draw humanity into the divine fold – by whatever measures, God is ultimately only about love. Thse themes, and others, are consistent thoroughout both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Many so called teachings are mentioned once or twice – and many times never – by Jesus Christ the Christian Savior, i.e. abortion and homosexuality, to name two of the most rarely mentioned in scripture. This suggests that some teachings are more important than others and that YHWH has set some things aside for us to sort out for ourselves. If the Bible was truly infallible then we would all be in a sorry state since the formula for pi in Chronicles would render geometry – as we understand it – impossible. (the measurement of the Copper Sea).Please, the word of God yes, interpreted by humans yes. And by definition that second statement alone makes the Bible so much less than infallible.Jesus saves, not scripture.

  • usapdx

    LEARN THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE ALL THE BOOKS OF THE GOSPELS, THE BIBLE FROM START TO DATE. ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS. DO NOT JUST ACCEPT THINGS FOR GRANTED. FOR EXSAMPLE, WHY WAS THE BIBLE KEPT IN LATIN FOR SO LONG?

  • ggrant9170

    God says what He means and means what He says. We don’t follow the ten commandments because we want to be Christians we follow them because we are Christians. They are ten very clear rules to follow. God wrote them in our human hearts long before he wrote them on that mountain in which Moses stood! It was Jesus on that mountain, its was Jesus in the Garden of Eden, so to take Jesus out of the old testament is not bibical. Jesus was very clear in His instructions to His diciples to follow HIm, take care of the poor/sick/weak/elderly. Nothing about war, nothing about who has the biggest bombs to kill the most number of people, nothing about “shock and awe” all about love and love.

  • cstation

    While not a professor I do have a seminary degree and have spent a good many years thinking and studying about Jesus in the New Testament. The fact is that, while there are differences in some of the text, all of the New Testament points towards Jesus as the agent of God’s salvation. There are strong unifying themes that run throughout the New Testament. The need for sacrificial love of others, devotion to God, forgiveness and grace, judgement, and the importance of the community of believers, and concern for the poor and outcasts of society.monty keeling

  • erikavanheusen

    Thanks guys! This is all very funny and I was needing a good laugh today.

  • mrhonda

    Where does the Post continually find these un Biblical people to comment on the Bible and Christianity. I continually read in comments that we need to return to the Jesus of the Bible. I will ask a question again that no one seems to have the courage to answer…probably because they know the real answer. Which Jesus do you want to return to? The Jesus that tells the adulterous woman neither do I condemn you? No one seems to have a problem there. Judge not lest you be judged. We don’t seem to have a problem there either. But, what about the Jesus that preached and taught more on Hell than Heaven. What about the Jesus who taught there would be those who would be cast out into utter darkness where there will be wailing and the gnashing of teeth. What about the Jesus that said that narrow is the way that leads to life and few there are who will find it and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there are who will go there. What about the Jesus who said “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me”? So, tell me. There are many who say we need to return to the Jesus of the Bible. Are you really prepared to?

  • djmolter

    If Christianity can be destroyed by one man’s books, it’s not much of a religion. I’ve read Mr. Ehrman’s books, including “Jesus Interrupted,” and I find them enlightening, well-reasoned, well written and comforting. Mr. Ehrman goes out of his way to explain that his conclusions may not be shared by others. That although it’s undeniable the original documents used to produce our current versions of the NT have not yet and may never be found, and that they have been edited, subtracted from and added to over the centuries, these “problems’ need not shake one’s faith. To paraphrase my opening statement, if you need a book to codify your belief system, it’s not much of a belief system.Mr. Ehrman’s books, like the inneracy of the Bible, will be debated long and hard till Judgment Day … if JD ever comes. He has done a service to anyone willing to approach his books, religion in general and Christianity, specifically, with an open mind by showing that the questions he raises are not his alone. And sometimes are unanswerable.Faith is just that — you accept without “proof.” I accept that people have faith, just I accept those who possess faith to understand the position of those who have not yet and may never develop it. But people of faith do themselves a great disservice when they refuse to admit that their faith sometimes waivers, or that their road to faith is the only path.The problem is not with the Bible, it’s with Christians who interpret the Bible to suit their own skewed agendas — such as the (limited) role if women in the church, based on what Paul supposedly wrote. But then, that’s just my opinion. Your mileage may vary. Which is the point that Mr. Ehrman repeatedly makes throughout his books.

  • freespiritheart1

    Here lies the reason why Churches are losing members. Jesus came to show us how to live. He walked amoung the poorest and down trodden. He taugh love, kindness, gentleness, compassion. He showed us how to be better humans. Sometimes I think we even focus in Jesus too much. He came to glorify his Father, when he taught us to pray, he taught us to pray to the Father, yet some people pray to Jesus. Though the words in red that represent his spoken words in the Bible can also be questioned as to their actual validity, we would do well to perhaps go by those instead of the analysis of others who walked with him. He said “He who believes in me will also do the works I do; and greater works than these will he do” (Jn. 14:12). We are to let his life guide us to do as he did, we can also affect change in this world beyond what Jesus himself did by living a life of love, compassion, giving, caring, etc. When the churches start behaving and living with the love of Jesus in their hearts, then I will know they truly believe. Men and churhces do not decide who is worthy. God wants all his children, not just some. He will welcome those the church refuses. The murderer is as welcomed by God as the person who has lived the most pure life. He welcomes the prostitute as much as he welcomed Mother Theresa. The old song says “They will know we are Christians by our Love.” Christians need to stop trying the be political and just be kind. If every person who says they are Christian made the desision to be gentle, kind, loving, giving, etc., the wodl would take notice, and God would be gorified as never before. Wouldn’t it be nice to show and glorify a heavenly attitude while on this earth and leave it a better place because you lived?

  • tinyjab40

    The front page headline says something like, Believing in Christ, not the Bible. Actually, for me, it is believing in Jesus, the man who walked around and told stories about people like good Samaritans and prodigal sons, the one who talked with people like the foreign woman at the well.The Christ aspect of Jesus (savior and all of that) doesn’t matter to me at all. It is Jesus the man with his simple, direct stories whom I follow.I thank Bart Ehrman for being among those who have helped me see Jesus in that way. Doctrinaire people will attack him vehemently, but Professor Ehrman needs to know he has made a big difference for a lot of us for whom the doctrinaire view of Jesus is an anathema.

  • TalkingHead1

    Christianity has been distorted, abused, or malpracticed by those who claim to be Christians for centuries. Very few “Christians” even follow the basic morals that Bible teaches or follow consistently. It’s become a religion of cop outs who wish to use it to further their self-gains or sociopolitical agendas. I really see no difference between the malpractice of Christianity and other religions, like Islam.

  • beforegod

    C h a r k o-825: Never Forget: G-D (not god) is never a HE/Him/His nor is “IT” a She/Her! Else Ye art Insaine!Are Ye 825 Years old & soon gonna kick the bucket?Note: I know this might sound Ambiguous, When i [WE] say “BEFORE-GOD” we [i] APOCALYPTICALLY mean “Before G-D”, or before there was ever any “TIME” (TEMPerature or Balance of Absolute HOT & Absolute COLD existance)) not [man-made]clock time! So,Standing “BEFOREGOD” or GOD(s) is not quite what i [WE] art about! WE are HUEMATE(s), not HUMAN? How about YE?Hint, Brother/Sister; WE are Immortal; Hence We was never created nor can i [WE] be destroyed! LIFE is a Miracle in Holy Cosmic Motion; not via any SIN/Curseth man made PRE-APOCALYPTIC thinking storys! Interesting: According to the “Holy Cosmic Feeler’s Faith” [Ho-Co-Fe-Fa] a religion/belief, beforgod & as prophecied, in “OUR”-Book that It is possible for OUR “TIME” to reverse ‘iTSELF’ {‘G-D’, aka “IT’}!Behold! We [i] are in IT’s “ETERNITY AVOiDING LONLINESS” blessings, not Curse! And the best part is that WE [i] are All Pre-Baptized so to spaketh, way back from OUR Holy-i-Cosmic NEBULA-BUILT S.S. Earth et al! Meaning:WE Magmapercolated via the Holy OCEANIC MEGAPLUME WOMB & will again PLASMATRICULATE for another DUE-TO-BE miracle (zero born in Sin/Curse)!We [i] planet hopp! YE art not alone! Never hath nor never ever will be [Alone]! So forget Mr. YASHUA, his Father & Holyshmoley!So the Mystery of “Split Minded Psychosis” [In Man Made Religions] is now HEURISTICALLY exposed before-god & BEFOREG-D SO, “SOURCE-ONE” is “IT”, not a HE nor a SHE, especially Ghosts!!

  • cletus1

    There are a whole slew of books of the Bible kicking around when the canon was selected that did not make the cut, Acts of Peter, Acts of Mary, Gospel of Thomas, etc. The canon was selected by the theological school that won, and it was selected to support their religious viewpoint. There’s no legitimate basis for supposing that the Gospel of John is any more a true account of historical events than the Gospel of Peter.

  • ravitchn

    Prof. Ehrman is correct in saying that Christian beliefs preceded the bible and not the other way around. But those beliefs of early Christians can hardly be considered historically sound. The real early Christians were led by Jesus’ brother James and he was an orthodox Jew whose understanding of Jesus had nothing to do with the imagination of Paul of Tarsus. To hold to Christ is to ask, which Christ? The real Christ of the early Jerusalem followers under James? The imaginary divine Christ of Paul? The Christ of the Gospels which emerged after two centuries or belief and mislbelief?

  • Blah-Blah

    It is my belief that christianity and religion in general is one of the most successful marketing ploys ever created. Not only are there huge followings of various religions that provide vast financial resources for these irrational and unproven “disciplines of faith” they generate major problems in our society. They provide impetus and a form of rationale for individuals such as terrorists and they create problems for those that believe they are going to a better place after this life on earth and can do as they please and then just “ask for forgiveness”. If everyone focused on doing as much as they could to benefit man in their one shot at life and attempt to benefit man as much as possible I feel the world would be a better place. The two great plaques of the human race are religion and war and these go hand-in-hand. We will not have fully evolved as a human race until we can eliminate these two blights from our existence.

  • jdsmith77

    A careful examination of Scripture reveals that there are no contradictions. Jesus Christ is revealed in the Scriptures as Savior, Lord, and eternal Diety in the Godhead. He was crucified for our sins and rose from the dead “according to the Scriptures” to give those who believe and obey Him eternal life. Jesus Christ has been attacked and vilified ever since He began His ministry. Those who are out to continue such vilification are doing so by attacking the Scriptures. They think that if they can destroy the truthfulness of Scripture, then they can destroy Jesus, undermine the believers’ faith, and prevent the Christian faith from growing in generations to come. It won’t work, Mr. Ehrman! Your attempt to condemn Scripture has been tried over and over for 2,000 years. The Scriptures still stand! Christ lives!

  • joy2

    Mr. Ehrman should not be surprised by negative reaction from the keep-it-simple-true-believer crowd. I ask this question: If God didn’t want us to think, why were we, as human beings, given the power of intelligent thought?The gospels were written long after Christ’s death and have gone through many translations. So, there are bound to be contradictions or discrepancies…right? Isn’t it up to us to find the right path for our own selves. God doesn’t live in some book or some building or some particular religious denomination. God lives inside each and every one of us and all we need to do is listen to that Voice within. It’s called conscientiousness.

  • ggrant9170

    God will tell you what you need to know if you are willing to open yourselves up to His intrepretation and not some others made up intrepretations that fit their ideas and philosophy. The old testament only reinforces my belief in God and that Jesus is the Son of God because I have studied and nowhere found anything written that is not in line with the new testament or each book compared to the other that is disturbing in the least. Read the prophesies of Daniel about things to come thousands of years into the future 100% came true! Now if that isn’t enough, what is? If a prophet is saying what is going to happen thousands of years into the future and it is 100% accurate would any of you start to believe that Daniel was a true prophet. Remember a true prophet has to be right 100% of the time, not part of the time, but 100% of the time and Daniel was. Amazing, truly amazing and it does reinforce my belief in the bible and its 100% true. Daniel was the voice for God to show things to happen in the future, if that isn’t awesome, what is?

  • mrhonda

    Yawwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn….these are the same old tired arguments I heard when I was in seminary as well Mr. Ehrman. Again, as most liberal theologians do, you mistake belief in the Bible as a belief that is necessary for salvation. At no time do those who are so called “fundamentalists”, believe that belief in the Bible is necessary for salvation. Belief in Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins..the blood of Jesus is the only requirement for salvation. Now, with that out of the way. There isn’t the space here to do so..but there are many many scriptures that mention holding on to God’s word. For example, in John 8:31-32, Jesus tells us that if we abide in His word, we are His disciples indeed. We shall know the truth and the truth will set us free. Peter tells us that we are born again by the word. We are told in Romans that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word. The Bible says itself that scripture was inspired by God. And Mr. Ehran, being you are the scholar, I’m sure you know that the Greek word for “inspired” means “God breathed”. David, in the Psalms, especially Psalms 119 writes at length about the truth and importance of God’s word. Now, we have another little problem. What does “God’s Word” mean. Now if, as individuals like Mr. Ehrman say, the Bible is full of contradictions and inaccuracies because of “scholarship”, then it can’t possibly be that “God’s Word” means the Bible. Yet, at the same time, these liberal theologians don’t believe God actually speaks personally to people as one person would speak to another so, in that case, “God’s Word” can’t mean God actually speaking words to us. So, Mr. Ehrman, if “God’s Word”, is not the Bible or God speaking directly to us..then what are we left with??? Nothing but man’s idea of what God is and that is idolatry…lifting up man’s ideas in the place of God. Then, there is that haunting scripture..the one that should haunt all humanists. That is nothing more than what Mr. Ehran and other liberal theologians are…just “Christian Humanists”. They aren’t the secular type..but their teachings are just as dangerous and just as empty. As Jesus warned the disciples against the “leaven of the Pharisees”, I would also warn against the “Leaven of the religious, liberal theologians”. Yet, as I was saying there is that one scripture that is soooo haunting to Humanists everywhere..the ones who exalt man’s ideas above Gods..” Isaiah 14:12-15: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of the assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.

  • mrhonda

    I read and hear that term all the time…”Organized Religion” as opposed to “Spirituality”. Are any of you able to define for me the term “Organized Religion”? I’m not sure you can.

  • semidouble

    The bible, q’ran and talmud are the best cases against organized religions.

  • GaryEMasters

    It is just amazing how so much faith can come from so little. While all should be free to believe, few are given the job to convince others.

  • ggrant9170

    The great mystery is why did Satan fall, Satan was a covering angel, where did pride come from? There is so much out there we can’t phantom, why wasn’t Satan safisfied? We as humans spend our entire lifes trying to be satisfied with life, why for so many of us isn’t it enough? Maybe the answer is that once we have everythig we ever wanted, we find its not enough? Satan was Lucifer a covering cheribum and he must have been somthing to behold!but, it wasn’t enough! We find Jesus we realize life isn’t about things, life is about love. Love is truly enough if we are willing to “let go and let God” things don’t make us who we are, things don’t define us at least not in a good way. If you really want to believe in something, start reading the bible, not to believe but to maybe be interested in what the bible says God has to say? You might be surprised that much of the information you heard was in the bible isn’t really in the bible but man’s intrepretation of what’s in the bible? Take one book of the bible, read it, ask God what it says, then go from there. Don’t expect an answer right away, wait until you get an answer, you are going to be either disappointed or enlightened. If your disappointed you haven’t lost anything because you never believed in the first place, if your question is answered then its up to you where you go from there. don’t look for answers , wait for answers! patience is a virtue.

  • ggrant9170

    God is love. God does not change. The bible intreprets itself.

  • john_from_bama

    Mr. Ehrman is just saying don’t sweat the small stuff. Just remember God is love and you can’t go wrong

  • willemkraal

    religion is a total 24/7 fraud, its run by old white homophobic men (no woman please) it poisons everything it touches, stay away from this scam and you be a happier person by far!!

  • rcubedkc

    It’s a real hoot reading these arguments regarding which jeezus to believe in or Daniel the prophet or Meanwhile, what about these questions:It reminds me of the conversation in “Stand by Me” when one of the kids asked the other who would win in a fight, Mighty Mouse or Superman and the other said Superman would win because Superman is real and Might Mouse if fake. Get real you clowns.

  • forrest3

    Ehrman’s insight is astounding and was astounding when Christian’s like C.S. Lewis explained it 50 years ago in books like “Mere Christianity.” Paul said it 2000 years ago.But Ehrman is still fighting against the super-literal, super-fundementalist views he received as a child. He is like an angry teenager who first discovers that Mom and Dad are not perfect or that the United States Constitution is not perfect. He rebels a little too much and elimates any nuance and thereby loses the truth.His books are great in attacking literal approaches to the Bible but very weak in understanding why so many people of all backgrounds have found insights and understanding in the Bible over the last two thousand years.

  • aredant

    CCNL and US-Conscience, citing apocrypha to support apocrypha is still apocrypha. I could come up with a good list of folks and documents supporting the existence of Bigfoot and then you would have the spend the next 5 years trying to prove me wrong. Common sense prevents me from wasting my time on this because there is no proof of Bigfoot, just people making up stuff to fool others into giving them money so they can continue their livelihood doing so. What a shameful lifestyle – religious or cryptozoology scholar – couldn’t you find a more useful career?

  • mikelemm

    The very first one — to be believed above all else — was not belief in God, or in the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was belief in the Bible:

  • mrhonda

    Okay..I will give all of you naysayers and self proclaimed “logical thinkers” a chance. Let’s use science here. Using the scientific method or modern literary criticism…take your pick…prove beyond any shadow of doubt…using one or both of those methods that (a) The Bible is NOT the Word of God, (b) The Bible originated with man and NOT God (c) Jesus never actually existed (d) That there is no salvation from eternal hell accomplished by Jesus on the cross and (e) No one who is intelligent, educated and informed could possibly believe in this Biblical “fairytale”. For those of you who like to mock believers as uneducated, I for one, have a degree from one of the top business universities in the country. I have a Masters Degree, I have studied Hebrew. I have studied Greek. I am now beginning to undertake studies in Aramaic. I have questioned the scriptures. I have searched. I have researched in response to unbelieving attacks by Mr. Ehrman. I believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. I believe that salvation comes through no one else than Jesus..and Jesus alone. I believe that He is God who came to earth in the form of man. I believe that man is a sinner by birth and is in need of salvation. I believe in the miracles of the Bible. I believe miracles still occur as Jesus said that those who believe in Him will do the same things He did. What did He do? He taught..He fed the hungry, He took the side of the oppressed. He also taught on the need of salvation. He healed the sick, He cast out demons, He raised from the dead, He gave sight to the blind, He gave hearing to the deaf and He gave speech to the mute. He also called religious leaders who were unbelieving because of their theology like Mr. Ehrman, white washed tombs…clean on the outside but full of dead men’s bones and all kinds of corruption on the inside. The Bible without FAITH it is impossible to please God…not knowledge…not reason…not literary criticism..not the scientific method..but FAITH. Nevertheless…my question and challenge to all of you “scientists” and “literary critics” still stands.

  • aredant

    US-conscience – you cite Ken Ham in support of your apocrypha. Here is a guy that would have us believe that the earth is 6000 years old and that dinosaurs lived concurrent with humans. If the bible says it, it must be true. You forgot include Ben Stein in your list.

  • nunivek

    MRHONDA, your use of Scripture is very poorly done. What “word” is Jesus referring to in the Gospels, or Paul in 2 Timothy? It certainly is not referring to the Canon established hundreds of years later, if Jesus talked like this in the 1st century he would have made no sense at all. At best we could say that what is being talked about is the Torah and the Prophets. But perhaps the word is more than just the text but Christ himself the living Icon the Word (logos).

  • aredant

    MRHONDA, while the educated TEND to be nonbelievers, that does not preclude even superintelligent intellects such as yourself from believing rather than understanding facts from conjecture. I have a lowly bachelors degree in electronics technology and lo, even I can see that there is no evidence of a Jesus or anything supernatural. You may believe all you want, but that doesn’t do anything to provide empirical evidence for things you feel strongly about. Science isn’t about belief – it’s about accepting the best explanation for phenomena with an understanding that that explanation can be improved upon. Religion and science are fundamentally incompatible.

  • pricetheo

    Mr. Honda writes: Okay..I will give all of you naysayers and self proclaimed “logical thinkers” a chance. Let’s use science here. Using the scientific method or modern literary criticism…take your pick…prove beyond any shadow of doubt…using one or both of those methods that (a) The Bible is NOT the Word of God, (b) The Bible originated with man and NOT God (c) Jesus never actually existed (d) That there is no salvation from eternal hell accomplished by Jesus on the cross and (e) No one who is intelligent, educated and informed could possibly believe in this Biblical “fairytale”. Let’s take these once at a time – It is impossible to prove with science either that a) b) and c) are true or false (we don’t have enough data) – that’s why you believe the bible to be true but you can’t prove it. Why don’t you ask me to prove them true instead of false? The reason is, I can’t do that either and neither can you. Religion is a function of faith and faith is not limited to any particular class, ethnic group, age or sex. Therefore I will prove that your d) hypothesis is incorrect and perfectly intelligent people are perfectly capable of exercising their faith and believing the biblical “fairytale” I don’t think anyone posting on this site on either side has ever claimed that “No one who is intelligent, educated and informed could possibly believe in this Biblical “fairytale”" – and if they have, then they probably don’t have any friends. Stop worrying about what others have to think about your religion and start practicing it in the humble and faithful way that Jesus showed us – in the same Bible that you believe came directly from God.

  • whizkidz1

    I listened to this guy hawking his book on Coast To Coast AM about a week ago, and I was severely underwhelmed. First of all, the few “discrepancies” were neither “hidden” nor in error. What made the supposed incongruities were assumptions, made by slick talking Bart. Going out on a limb here, I can tell you for certain that if you assume that 2+2=5, you can find a whole bunch of inconsistencies in any Mathematics textbook, why, the errors just seem to leap out at you.But, I think the most telling part of the silliness that this guy brings with him is the “why”. He was asked if he was an atheist and he said that he wasn’t, instead he claimed to be an “agnostic”. When a listener phoned in to explain exactly what “agnostic” meant, slithy tongued Bart redefined agnostic to his own liking. (Wow, how easy to find “inconsistencies” when you redefine words at will.) Bart claimed that he wasn’t an atheist because he believed in a God, just not the God of the Bible. Which immediately begged the question, “Well, if you ‘don’t believe in the God of the Bible’, what do you care if there are supposed inconsistencies in that Bible?” Isn’t it kind of stupid to waste your time like that? Why not write a book about the inconsistencies in the ancient Roman religious Pantheon? Oh, there’s no money in that? Hmm, well, that’s different. Gee, how telling that there is such a market in trashing the Bible.Finally, The-Man-With-All-The-Complaints- But-None-Of-The-Answers Bart admitted that his problem with God was the “…He [I'm sure the capital 'H' is my doing] lets children starve. I can’t believe in a God that let’s children starve.” It was apparent that such a statement on Bart’s part explained how his assumption that 2+2=5 could be taken so seriously in such an “educated” mind.Unfortunately, I couldn’t get thru on the phone line to ask good ol’ Bart how starving children was God’s fault. But, prehaps the Bible is false, all mixed up, horse patooie from the start, that would mean that there is a greater truth out there. Now, that I would truly stand in line to see. No, not from you Bart, I already know what 2+2 equals.

  • paris1969

    Very interesting article. I have always wondered why the Bible was altered from Jesus was a “son” of God, to Jesus was the “only son” of God. Yet, in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus begins with, “Our Father…”

  • pricetheo

    CORRECTED:Mr. Honda writes:Okay..I will give all of you naysayers and self proclaimed “logical thinkers” a chance. Let’s use science here. Using the scientific method or modern literary criticism…take your pick…prove beyond any shadow of doubt…using one or both of those methods that (a) The Bible is NOT the Word of God, (b) The Bible originated with man and NOT God (c) Jesus never actually existed (d) That there is no salvation from eternal hell accomplished by Jesus on the cross and (e) No one who is intelligent, educated and informed could possibly believe in this Biblical “fairytale”.Let’s take these once at a time – It is impossible to prove with science either that a) b) and c) and d) are true or false (we don’t have enough data) – that’s why you believe the bible to be true but you can’t prove it. Why don’t you ask me to prove them true instead of false? The reason is, I can’t do that either and neither can you.Religion is a function of faith and faith is not limited to any particular class, ethnic group, age or sex. Therefore I will prove that your e) hypothesis is incorrect and perfectly intelligent people are perfectly capable of exercising their faith and believing the biblical “fairytale” I don’t think anyone posting on this site on either side has ever claimed that “No one who is intelligent, educated and informed could possibly believe in this Biblical “fairytale”" – and if they have, then they probably don’t have any friends.Stop worrying about what others have to think about your religion and start practicing it in the humble and faithful way that Jesus showed us – in the same Bible that you believe came directly from God.

  • bcass05

    “Researchers discovered that the “churn” among the faithful and formerly faithful was higher than first estimated. In this second round of interviews, they found that some people who currently belong to the religion in which they were brought up had tried a different faith at some point, causing researchers to raise their estimate of the people who have changed faith at some point in their lives from 44 percent to 56 percent.They also found that up to one-third of people who have left their childhood faith have jumped around among three or more other faiths.The results are a “big indictment” of organized religion, said Michael Lindsay, assistant professor of sociology at Rice University and author of a book on evangelical leaders. “There is a huge, wide-open back door at most churches. Churches around the country may be able to attract people, but they can’t keep them.”At the same time, the large and growing number of people who report having no religious affiliation are surprisingly open to religion, researchers said. Unlike the popular perception that many have embraced secularism, a significant percentage appeared simply to have put their religiosity on pause — having worshiped as part of at least one faith already, about three in 10 said they have just not yet found the right religion”. (Quote from recent Pew Report.)Those who keep pointing us back to the “old black-backed Bible” religion are pissing against the wind. That religion has had its day. People are searching for meaning in the lately-discovered round world…not in the old flat-earth world. When you bible-thumpers can bring together the best of religion with the best of science, the tide will surely turn.

  • ravitchn

    The purpose of biblical scholarship is and has been to free mankind from the tyranny of organized religion, which is the domain of the fraudulent and the ignorant. But the task will never be done and Bart Ehrman should know it. He can write 100 good books but the need to believe coupled with the miserable education given to kids in this country will ensure that the Bible will continue to be considered valid and useful.

  • amelia45

    Thank you. My faith is in my redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus. The Bible is written by men trying to understand God, the infinite. What arrogance to think that God can be reduced to our understanding, our words, to paragraphs, parables, psalms. The Bible may be inspired by God, but it is written by man, limited to words and concepts of man. No, the Bible does not – it cannot -encompass all of God or all that God wants us to know. Faith is a journey of discovery, knowing that we will never discover all there is to know. How beautiful.

  • freeparking

    Jesus is the Living Word! The bible declares , “John 1:14

  • ggrant9170

    I read the bible for knowledge about God and the history of Christianity which can be read throughout the bible, old testament and new. The old testament has many prophesis of the coming of Christ the Saviour in the future, and He came just as prophesy said He would. His second coming will be just as John in Revelations prophesied He will come. You can do one of two things, argue or read the bible. Take your pick. You choose.

  • ggrant9170

    the trial would never had been held during passover? really, your assuming the religious leaders went by scripture , right? the religious leaders went by what worked for them, scripture was simple a convience to them when it suited their objectives which was to magnify themselves and God was simply a afterthought. They used God as a weapon to their own advantage. So yes , there would have been a trail, actually Jesus had 3 trails before he was crucified! Do you really believe the religuous leaders hatred for Jesus would stop at a little thing called PASSOVER? they had the sabbath so traditional it was a burden for men instead of a blessing, you could be put to death for the simplest of tasks because of sabbath breaking! That is why Jesus said the sabbath was made for men, not men for the sabbath.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Worth re-posting:Sorry, folks, but “the Jews” (sic), were very much occupied with things other than Jesus, if he existed, questionable.

  • ggrant9170

    traditions of men become so burdensom no wonder people turn from God. its like a maze! read the ten commandments folks, easy to understand, common sense and good commandments for a healthy life. Christians don’t follow the ten commandments to be good Christians, they follow the ten commandments because they are Christians. do they fail, yes they do, over and over, the point is to purify ourselves until following becomes natural and their is no other way. Jesus said, “i am the way” yes you can fail and still be Christians, its called Grace.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    They used God as a weapon to their own advantage. So yes , there would have been a trail, actually Jesus had 3 trails before he was crucified! Do you really believe the religuous leaders hatred for Jesus would stop at a little thing called PASSOVER? DUH, yes. I don’t “believe it.” I know it from contemporaneous documents.The “religious leaders”? Were whom, pray tell? Read the link to Wikepedia. On Passover and its historic observation, the rigid exclusion remains from the beginning. One exclusion held for all: immediate danger to a human life, and I mean IMMEDIATE.If it is judged that unless a human being is in immediate danger of death, observation may be interrupted, actually, must be to save that life. Period.Blood/wine, Flesh/bread. SEe Bible. Not only would no Jew living or dead since pre-rabbinic times have made such an equation, but no Jew of any sort including for sure, the Kairaites, would have listened to it.The Tannaim, who would have been Pharisees, were intent on codifying the Hebrew Bible, interpreting, etc. They were the men to whom the people looked. They were great, great scholars, the greatest Judaism produced, IMHO. They opposed the Sadducees, the elite priestly cast, whose theology was backwards to them.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Previous post intended for CGrant1970, as is this one.The priestly cast, the “peasant,” etc., no one would have ignored Passover for a trial.As well, the likelihood that any of them even knew Jesus existed is very, very slim.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    CGrant:In a sense, my use of the word “Kairaite,” in the post below, is anachronistic. I’m referring, of course, to those opposed to the interpretive stance of the Tannaim, not to the self-proclaimed Kairaites, of the later period, who are still very much among us.

  • jjedif

    The number of “Christians” on the face of the Earth that actually believe what Jesus taught is miniscule and always has been.E.g., even though the Jewish Old Testament demands the death penalty for gays, Jesus NEVER even commented on homosexuality but rather preached love and tolerance…exactly the opposite of what most modern “Christians” believe.In fact, “Saint” Augustine (taking his lead from the “Apostle Paul”, the early church’s leading mysogynist and probably an angry repressed homoseuxal) wrote that it is better in God’s eyes to be a murderer than to be gay. God is love?And oddly, polls show that the more a “Christian” goes to church, the more strongly he or she supports the death penalty…even though we know that the state, at least, some of the time, executes the wrong person and even though the death penalty has been used for centuries (including today) by crooked politicians to impress the public (e.g., Bush, the “compassionate conservative.”).Pro-life “Christians” also believe that if a 12-year-old girl is raped and made pregnant by her own father, that it is HER duty to have a child for the glory of God. Talk about PUNISHING the victim (and the father gets holy points for NOT using a condom because condoms are evil, even though not using one helps spread AIDS). Why are pro-life “Christians” so pro-death?In a word, the teachings of Jesus have been and always will be IRRELEVANT to Christianity. Jesus is merely a symbol attached to the end of a stick that people wave…to justify any and all kinds of barbarism. There really isn’t an millimeter of difference between Pope Benedict XVI, the Ayatollah Khomeini and the leaders of American Protestantism like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.As a non-believer, I may end up in the line waiting to enter the Gates of Hell, but I fully expect all my “Christian” neighbors standing in the same line, and before we enter to roast for all eternity, I plan to say to my “Christian” neighbors, Have a nice day!

  • beforegod

    Farnaz1Mansouri1″Dr. CHOPRA” is a known Plagerizer! His {HINDU} ARMY of Ghost Writers, besides his kids, work for RUPEES, and help his empire of Mass Publications get his “TRANSiDENTAL” Meds stuff disquised as if something other than Myth (opposite Truth)!Dr. Chopra has a Dgree? in Medicine?; But not a degree in As far as CCNL; well I’ve learned some things from Him/Her too & You et al!

  • sobugged

    Step 1: you don’t have to believe in Biblical infallibility to believe in the Jesus figure.Step 2: you don’t have to believe in the Jesus figure to believe in love.

  • Garak

    If the Bible is the literal word of god, then only those who read ancient Greek can understand it. All other versions are man-made translations. The Muslims take this approach with the Koran. God revealed it in Arabic, so only those who read Arabic can understand it.

  • Sheridan2

    Belief in Jesus doesn’t work for me. Belief in the Bible doesn’t work for me. Belief is a religion doesn’t work for me. EOM

  • ggrant9170

    ?

  • ggrant9170

    I don’t believe Jesus teached tolerance at all. All of us sin, sin is universal, how many of us would like to be judged by our own values? food for thought in which Jesus believed in.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Beforegod:Hello! How are you?I am no fan of Deepak Chopra. However, CCNL posted on Rabbi Hirschfield’s thread the name of a book by “Dr. Chopra” (sic) as a source on the Tannaim, replete with reviews from Amazon.com, etc.This was in response to a posting of mine.This happened. He posted worse on that and other threads He gave reviews, etc. I don’t want to waste space pasting his perverse posts. My posting here is in response to something he posted referring to me, on this thread.CCNL, plagiarizer, maligner, bigot, bearer of false witness, etc., was warned many times to cease and desist, including on the matter of the charlatan, Chopra.CCNL will now be getting as good as he gives.The ball has been in his court for quite some time. It still is. Quite an advertisement for Catholicism, is he (?) not.Farnaz

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    “jjedif” even though the Jewish Old Testament demands the death penalty for gays,What the Christians call the “OT” (sic), the Tanakh, actually, forbids is rape of men by men, which occurred particularly during periods of combat, as a means of humiliating them.This was a phenomenon throughout the Near East.

  • 12thgenamerican

    lets see,if God created everything,then why couldn’t he creat it ‘old’,thereby rendering your carbon test useless. just another attempt to do away with judgment for sin. your gospel is false. oh well,one thing for sure,christ isn’t coming as the suffering savoir the next time. he is coming with a rod of iron. wonder what the rod is for? to massage your liberal feelings?

  • spidermean2

    The Bible is NOT a simple book. Many of its passages are figurative. If one doesn’t understand the Bible, it’s impossible that he can know Christ.Those who truly know Jesus Christ understands that the whole Bible (old and new testament) were directed to be written by Christ himself.There is power and much intelligence in that book. People who think they know Christ but does NOT believe the Bible are are actually engaged in SUPERSTITION. It’s NOT surprising that the religions you mentioned like mainline protestantism and Catholicism are making a fool of themselves. If only they would believe and UNDERSTAND the Bible, Doomsday would NOT occur.

  • ghp60

    Wow! I’ve read all the comments and political comments on other articles don’t hold a candle to the ignorance displayed by most here. Some however are quite good. I cannot add anything that would not end up being as long as the book being reviewed. I would like to say, though, that I saw a survey that concluded that most in America consider themselves to be spiritual rather than religious. In my view that’s good. The last thing Jesus wanted was to establish a religion. He delivered spiritual truth that, I think, even the writers of the NT didn’t fully comprehend. The spiritual truths he tried to convey are almost completely absent in modern conservative political thought.

  • Nosmanic

    Good article.

  • owingsmillsnurse

    my problem with christianity is very simple. if we are allowed to have free will to believe or not to believe and we chose not to, then why is our punishment eternal banishment to hell. saw survey the other day christians are more apt to believe in torture than non christians. with all of the brutality in the bible they can’t believe otherwise. I don’t know if there is a god, or some other form of being who created all of this and since this is unknowable why waste time trying to figure it out. and contrary to christian beliefs you don’t have to be christian to have morals. religion of any kind is stupid

  • TalkingHead1

    George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their supporters are all self-proclaimed devout Christians. Think about that, it’s a scary thought, whether you’re a Christian or not.

  • st50taw

    I have a higher power who I choose to call God, although if I shouted out my name for him in a voice that could be heard to end of the universe, he (or she) would probably look over his shoulder (figuratively speaking, of course) to see if someone had joined him. He thinks organized religion is fine to the extent it encourages us to be of service to humanity, but after that he loses interest other than to note what complete twits we can be.Practicing the golden rule is all that’s expected of us. He really didn’t suppose we would need a reminder of that and I doubt he plans on giving us one on the very sound premise that if we needed one, we’d soon forget it anyway.

  • whizkidz1

    Wow, I’ve never seen such an accumulation of Biblical experts before. Could someone please answer a long standing question that I have had? No matter what I’ve been told so far, no one has seemed to give a satisfying answer.Since the Bible is a piece of literature, it must obey certain rules, like, it must be made up of complete sentences, and it must have a Theme. What is the Theme of the Bible? Could someone please give me an answer to that? Thank you.

  • lewaml

    Here’s my problem. Of course I agree with your assessment of the Bible, and the misuse and historical misappropriation of its “authority” by evangelicals and fundamentalists – all the way back to R A Torrey, B B Warfield and the “Princeton School” in the 19th century. Their’s was a reaction to Darwin, Wellhausen and a wholesale floodtide of unhappy and inconvenient truths that assailed bulwarks and, in Paul Tillich’s phrase, shook the foundations of their “biblical faith.” In response to this frontal assault to their faith, Cyrus Ingersoll Schofield had found in John Nelson Darby’s dispensationalism, what he thought was a systematic approach to the interpretation of the scriptures that would serve as a hedge against the relentless assaults of an emergent scientific modernity and the battering rams of German Higher Criticism of the Bible. This is the legacy of both 20th and 21st century evangelical protestantism – but it is NOT the legacy of mainstream Protestants, Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics. Though I laud your efforts, I’m also intrigued. What’s left? What replaces that which must needs be rejected? What does faith in Jesus really mean? How does one get it? How does one know one needs it?What’s the significance, if any, of the resurrection of Jesus? Other than the Synoptic Gospels and the apocryphal “gospels,” where else may we turn to learn more about this Savior of the world? What’s the meaning and the significance of this one particular life and death? What IS the hope of glory? What relevance does any of this have in this postmodern, post Christian era? Why does any of this matter? Those are my questions for you, Dr. Ehrman. Jesus saves? From what? None of your books provide the answers to any one of those questions.With a B.A., M.A., M.Div., M.Th.,and Ph.D. I’m still searching!

  • spidermean2

    “What is the Theme of the Bible? “This is the theme of the Bible : “Iam the Way, the Truth and the Life; NO MAN cometh unto the Father but by Me “Also listen to the song “I shall NOT be moved” by Bird Youmans. Some of the lyrics were derived from the book of Psalms and Jeremiah I think where it says that TRUE Christianity is like a tree that’s planted by the water (river) wherein those who need help will get it like shelter and food.A true Christian becomes that “living tree”.

  • rsmijaf

    The Bible is a intergrated message system from outside our time domainThe greatest question of our time is “Who is the real Jesus Christ?” Was he just an exceptional man, or was he God in the flesh, as Paul, John, and his other disciples believed?The eyewitnesses to Jesus Christ actually spoke and acted like they believed he physically rose from the dead after his crucifixion. If they were wrong then Christianity has been founded upon a lie. But if they were right, such a miracle would substantiate all Jesus said about God, himself, and us.But must we take the resurrection of Jesus Christ by faith alone, or is there solid historical evidence? Several skeptics began investigations into the historical record to prove the resurrection account false. What did they discover? to find out follow this link:

  • nikosd99

    Here we have another “religious” theologian like Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite who doesn’t have the slightest idea what he’s talking about. He and she are both aptly named. He as Ehrman (to err) and she as Thistlethwaite (full of thorns and thistles).Neither of them are qualified to teach the things of God because they are not “born again” Christians. They are in the world and have Satan as their master. Paul said, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)Peter warned that there would be false teachers in 2 Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction..”I don’t know who Ehrman and Thistlethwaite have as their god, but my God, who made heaven and earth, is quite capable of keeping His Word pure. In fact, the apostle Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16) When Jesus told the story of the rich man who found himself in hell and asked Father Abraham to send the beggar Lazarus back to his brethren to tell them that there really was a hell, Abraham told him, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”(Luke 16:31)There you see that it was important for those to know what the teachings of Moses and the prophets were. Also, when Paul was teaching, the new believers would often refer back to the scriptures to see if what he was saying lined up with God’s Word. We read in Acts 17:11, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”If we can’t trust the Bible, which is our rule book, then we are vulnerable to every false teacher who comes down the road. I’ll take God’s Word over these kooks any day.

  • nikosd99

    TO WHIZKIDZ1:The theme of the Bible is that: GOD IS THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, the beginning and the end. And that He is the Creator of all things, and that nothing was created that He didn’t create. But man, Adam, sinned and sin entered into the world and all mankind. But, most importantly, God is Love and He so loved the world that He died for you and me on the cross so that we can be declared “Not Guilty”. Accept Him and have eternal life in His kingdom. To Christ be the glory for there is salvation in no other name than Jesus. Amen.

  • beforegod

    s p i d e r m e a n-2:never Forget CYBER FREUND: That;WE [i] art ALL, EVERY & ANY (1) are SON(s) & DAUGHTER(s) of SOURCE-ONE, aka G-D by 1,000 names & no more by 99 names!THEREFORE: YE, [WE] i {HUEMATEs} art “NATURALLY-SELECT’d” & no more as if “… god(s) Chosen People..”! Good riddence ‘CHUMASH/BIBLES, Good Riddence GEETA/GITA! good-bye QURAN/KORAN! Good riddence KANGYURS/TEWNGYURS..!Hello “HOLY COSMIC FEELERS FAITH: }Ho-Co-Fe-Fa}! The RELIGION of Everything before the SCIENCE of Everything Prophetically, as Promised US (not Ye alone) ariseth out of the ‘Stem/root’ of Us “JO{K}TAN”ian(s), not Via Ye “PELEG”ian Race!Please Re-read YE (not OUR anymore) Pre-Apocalyptic “Infixus-Books” {Bible-Geeta,Qurans..) telling YE that WE [i] hath Come, as Promised! Not Via ISHMAEL! not Via ESAU et al!!! Else Ye art genuinely “SUPER-STUPID-STITIOUS” indeed!HALLALUYA! Praise The HOLY-i-NO-MAN/WOMB!Remember & never forget: “G-D” (by 1,000 names & no longer by 99 names) is never a “HE” nor is G-D an “HIM” nor is Ye G-D an “HIS” nor is G-D a “SHE” nor a “HER”!If Ye saith ‘god(s)’ “INSTEAD OF ‘G-Ds” is a “HE” or swimilar then ye art PRE-APOCALYPTIC! aka a HUMAN, unlike Us Apocalyptarian Thinkers {aka HUEMATE}! Then & only the4n Will YE & Loved Ones be SAVED! Ya Ya!

  • US-conscience

    The theme of the Bible in one simple sentance is: Gods redemption of Man.

  • US-conscience

    God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.

  • beforegod

    oooooPppSsssAaaa:G-d is an “IT” & NO-more a “HE” nor a “SHE”!Hence the Global-Cure of [Religio] “Split Minded Psychosis” & the “Religio Jealousy Psychosis Syndromes” etc..!YES! WE [i] art Cosmic-DOCTORS & not Bibl;io Doctors! Hence the Difference between a APOCALYPTARIAN Scientist (US)and a PRE-Apocalyptarian Scientist (THEM)?!

  • whizkidz1

    Thank you for your answers, they are most enlightening. Perhaps it is the poet in me but the best Theme description I ripped off from John Milton: Paradise Lost, Paradise regained. I was hoping for a newer slant, and thus my request, and again, my thanks.

  • lcarter0311

    It is true that Christianity does not stand or fall with the Bible, nor will the biblical scholarships destroy Christianity.The Creation myths or stories from ancient civilization cultures, e.g., Babylonian Creation, African Creation, Native American Creation show a great deal of similarities between one another. These ancient civilization stories are also very similar to the creation story as many Christians and others have come to know as the creation of Adam & Eve in the Old Testament of the Bible. Does one need to question if these stories were truly a myth, or where they passed down from one generation to another during the times of ancient civilizations. For many Christians, including my self, my Christian beliefs go much deeper than the words and chapters documented in the Bible. For me, the Bible is just a tool, e.g., instruction guide in helping those who choose to want to understand the history of mankind, religions, cultures, politics, cults, geographies, good and evil, the coming of Christ, and reasons for his coming and what he represents from a different perspective than what is taught in schools, homes, churches, etc. I also believe that Christianity is a way of life and not a religion. I was baptized as a Christian as a child, before I had an opportunity to fully read, study, and understand the Bible. As an adult, my family members began to die almost every year for 5 – 6 years straight from illnesses, accidents, etc. After the death of my mother, I needed to understand this thing called *death* much better. I figured the only way for me to understand the end of life, as we know it, I needed to go back and find the origins of the beginning of *life*. The only place that I figured would have the answer that I was searching for was the Holy Bible. The Holy Bible not only gave me the answers that I was looking for, but it provided me with much more, probably for the fact that I was hungry for answers and needed to satisfy that need. The Bible provided me with the answers that I needed in understanding creation and death. More importantly, the Bible helped me heal from my broken heart, and not knowing, it also has provided me with much more over the years. I also believe that my *faith* and *belief* in Christ, Christianity, and the Bible are not based on what is representative in the Bible, or what someone else believes or does not believe, but more so on my *own* feelings within my heart and my level of understanding conscious).

  • US-conscience

    Milton is pretty accurate but I would prefer “Paradise Lost, Paradise restored” only because regained has the connotation that it was (is) something we (do) did, we re-gained it when it was actually something the God did, or is doing.

  • RealCalGal

    Thank you Prof. Ehrman, for pointing out what SHOULD be obvious given the dates of Jesus’s life and the assembly of the Bible.It is always amazing to me how many Christians do not know the history of their own religion.

  • RealCalGal

    Thank you Prof. Ehrman, for pointing out what SHOULD be obvious given the dates of Jesus’s life and the assembly of the Bible.It is always amazing to me how many Christians do not know the history of their own religion. nikosd99 certainly proves your point. LOL

  • RealCalGal

    “christ isn’t coming as the suffering savoir the next time.”Was one of those fishes bad?

  • st50taw

    Why do some of you believe that God was such a klutz that we needed a bigger patch than Windows XP? If that was really the case, the Bible turned out to be Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2 must still be in the works. God has got to be smarter than Bill Gates, right?

  • robertjames1

    I am accept the notion that there is one God. However, I have trouble understanding the Holy Trinity which seems to me to amount to three Gods: God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. When I pray I feel comfortable praying to God and to Jesus but I see them as two separate identities. Sometimes I wonder if Jesus is an earthly son just as I am. I also wonder if he is part of God more than I am. I do not understand the Holy Spirit and I have trouble praying to it. In any event, I am confused because I do not know if I should pray to each member of the Holy Trinity separately of if, when I pray to one, I am praying to the other two.I see the Bible as consisting of stories which are metaphors from which we can take what we see as important lessons. Hence, I do not take every statement literally.The Bible takes me to a place of peace, decency, and respect.

  • whizkidz1

    Farnaz1Mansouri1, your logic is a bit amiss. It would seem that quick look around you would confirm that mankind is unable to repair itself. It would seem that after 6000 years of practice, mankind is still unable to act morally, and that, in the end, humans, whether moral or not, will still die. Some external force is going to be necessary to get us off this treadmill, don’t you think?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Whizkidz1:”Some external force is going to be necessary to get us off this treadmill, don’t you think?”What “external force,” if any, are you expecting?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    RobertJames1:”I see the Bible as consisting of stories which are metaphors”That is akin to how Maimonides (a Jew, of course) saw it. In fact much of what you post is in keeping with the more philosophical aspects of his thoughts.These stories, etc., were not the “truth.” They were what Human could understand and use to Human’s benefit.

  • hyjanks

    Jesus was the best of the arrogant, hustling con men of his day. (Yes, dear Christians, there were plenty of messiahs in Jesus’ holy land at the time, repeating the same hocus pocus and all, incredibly, proclaiming themselves the son of god).

  • whizkidz1

    Farnaz1Mansouri1,If we cannot get off the treadmill, then by all means, eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may die. If we are condemned to an eternity of instant replays, what’s the point? By that reasoning, the Mafia has the correct point of view, i.e. take all you can, any way you can, the only “sin” is getting caught, and if my life is made better at your expense, well, that’s tough luck for you.I await an external force that must be 1, benevolent, 2, capable of making a fundamental change within the human being, 3, capable of making a fundamental change of the world around us, that is, a fundamental change in nature, 4, capable of maintaining those changes.

  • nikosd99

    To ROBERTJAMES1: Are you not 3 in 1? Are you not mind, body and soul/spirit? Can I take your mind and say this is Robert James? Or I grab you by the arm and say, “No, this is Robert James.” But someone else says that the real Robert James is your soul/spirit or the inner man. We were made in God’s image ~ Mind, Body and Spirit. So, think of God the Father as the Perfect Mind/Wisdom. God the Son as the Body/Form aka, Jesus Christ. God the Holy Spirit as the Inner Man/Soul/Spirit.I prefer to pray to God the Father, invoking the name of Jesus Christ who is the only mediator between God and man by virtue of ransoming us with His own blood. The Holy Spirit connects with our spirit and teaches us Truth as we read and ponder His Word, the Bible.Does this help?

  • st50taw

    I guess the question remains as to why those of us who believe in a higher power and have a non-religious spiritual life should take any of this pin-head dancing seriously.Saying that we need some sort of moral compass is a non-starter. Once Ugh figured out that hunting mastodons was better done as a communal exercise, the rest was gravy.

  • MGT2

    My first experience with Bart Ehrman had me asking questions. I listen to a couple of his lectures by The Teaching Company and commented to my wife that he has an agenda. He likes to mention what other scholars say, but a quick research will reveal that these scholars share a minority view — a small minority view. For example, he likes to support many of his criticisms by dating the epistles far later than the vast majority of scholars or the historical evidence allows. Of course, a small group of “scholars” agree with him.Another example is his assertion that Jesus makes no personal claim of deity in the Gospels. The only response to this to say that he must know that most Americans do not read the Bible for themselves and will accept what anyone with academic credentials say. But anyone reading the Gospels for the first time will have no difficulty understanding Jesus’ claim to be God.

  • DrS1

    What impressed me about the Bible isn’t the fact that its recording, compilation, and translation are flawed; rather what impresses me is the depth of universal truths and insights that are found therein for those who chose to see them. For example, I am amazed at the pedagogical brilliance of Christ who had to teach at the peril of his followers’ lives given the Roman rule at the time. Simple things like “give unto Caesar, that which is Caesar’s,” which established the need to be obliged to civil government (no matter how poorly ran that government might be), while maintaining one’s religious identity is simply brilliant. No my friends, I would opine that many of the pure and simple truths are there. The question is, however, do we have what it takes to wade through man’s imperfections to find them?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    For example, I am amazed at the pedagogical brilliance of Christ who had to teach at the peril of his followers’ lives given the Roman rule at the time. Simple things like “give unto Caesar, that which is Caesar’s,” which established the need to be obliged to civil government (no matter how poorly ran that government might be), while maintaining one’s religious identity is simply brilliant. Consider the wisdom of this position in contrast with rendering unto Caesar that which is not his.Rendering unto Hitler that which was not Hitler’s so he could commit genocide, while folks could maintain their “religious idenitities.”Rendering unto Idi Amin Dada’s that which was not his.Render unto Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir that which was not his.

  • nikosd99

    To: REALCALGAL ~ The blind shall lead the blind. You follow after Mr. Ehrman and you will end up in the slime of the ditch alongside him.The New Testament is made up with the accounts written by those who were eyewitnesses and followers during the ministry of Jesus Christ. Hence the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The book of Acts is an account of the acts of the apostles after the crucifixion of Christ. The epistles were letters actually written by the apostles, the followers of Christ, and Paul to individuals and to the Churches. The Book of Revelation was writtne by the apostle John when he was banished to the isle of Patmos. When they were finally assembled into book form has no bearing on their authenticity or truth.There is a Deluxe Edition titled, William Shakespeare, The Complete Works published in 1990 by Gramercy. It has 1229 pages and it includes every word written by Shakespeare in his 37 tragedies, comedies, histories, etc. Now, since Shakespeare lived from 1564-1616 and all his works weren’t compiled into one book until The Complete Works was published, does that mean that he couldn’t have possibly written all that is attributed to him?Wow! Wouldn’t it be nice, RealCalGal, if you could just learn to think for yourself instead of having Mr. Ehrman do it for you?

  • EarlC

    I have often stated to my Bible study class that I have no problem with inerancy of God’s Word. However, I have problems with interpretations and translations. It seems that many conservative evangelicals worship the Bible and not the Christ of the Bible. If conservative evangelicals truly understood the Bible and Jesus’ words, I believe that they would behave much differently in both their private and public lives. I believe that their politics would definitely be different and better. In fact, all of us would be much better Christians if we studied Jesus’ words more and judged less.

  • rimsx1

    Bart Wrote:[Begin Quote][End Quote]With all due respect, Bart is wrong in this quote. While the rigid fundamentalist view of the Bible was not espoused during the Patristic period or the centuries that followed, the view of the Bible espoused by the theologically conservative Evangelicalism of today can, by and large, be found in the writings of Augustine (who wrote to defend the Scripture against alleged errors), Luther (less his view of James), Calvin, and many others within both Protestantism and Catholicism (less its view of authority, not accuracy).Just thought I would clear factual error up.

  • EarlC

    Niko SD99 stated: “The New Testament is made up with the accounts written by those who were eyewitnesses and followers during the ministry of Jesus Christ.”It is generally accepted that the gospels and other New Testament “books” were written after Jesus was already ascended into Heaven and not “during the ministry of Jesus Christ” as you state. Neither Mark nor Luke were eyewitnesses. Paul was definitely not an eyewitness and was in fact a persecutor of the early church until his conversion, the time of his belief that he first met the real Jesus.” The writer of Hebrews is unidentified, but may have been Paul. Most of the accounts in the New Testament were based on eyewitness accounts that were passed on by both oral and written accounts. Since no original manuscripts exist, we cannot even verify the actual translations that have been rendered.

  • djmolter

    Instead of all this arguing about what the Bible does or doesn’t say, or what it said the first time it was written down, or who changed it and for what reasons and how many words actually are in the Lord’s prayer and whether Jesus died on Friday or not, why don’t we all put down our (holy) books and get about the business of helping each other?

  • whizkidz1

    Farnaz1Mansouri1,”Rather than await an external force, why not act to make things better?”Why do you assume that I am not? You must be a very physically healthy person with all the exercise you must get from jumping at conclusions. But here is a better question: as for making this current system of things “better”, where would you have me start? Spreading your doctrine, I’ll wager? Or marching in the streets for more compassion, more peace, more security? Stop Somali piracy? Feed the poor? House the homeless? Help drug addiction? Stop abortions? Promote Abortions? Kill the Muslims? Join the Muslims? Free Tibet? Stop drugs? Legalize drugs? Just where do you start to stop a tsunami?You seem to put a lot of stock in free will, a free will that will not keep you alive. But unguided, unfettered, unprincipled, and undisciplined free will is what has gotten us here, yes? The fact is, this system cannot be “saved”, like an AIDS patient that has reached the babbling stage, death of the organism is imminent. We do what “feels” good, we do what is most profitable, or easiest, but rarely do we consider what is right. And certainly, with the likes of Bombastic Bart Ehrman, we do our best to cut the legs out from under the only stable source of direction and guidance we have, because we think it is somehow “inconsistent”, and we end up with a “relative right”. No wonder the Bible describes mankind as “waves, tossed about upon the sea”.This system has to crash on it’s own first, which it is doing with great alacrity. It will end up with a tribulation “greater than has happened before, nor will ever happen again”, and that is when the case will be made, the argument proven, the external force will have had enough, and no further children ever have to starve again. “And death will be no more. Neither will mourning, nor outcry, nor pain be any more. The former things have passed away.” Now that is something worth hoping for. Even if it is an empty promise, it is beautiful and speaks to the heart of every human being. And it is infinitely better than the “oh well, religion is stupid, let’s watch some more TV” attitude that I sense from most of the Bible “experts” I’ve read here today.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Whizkidz1:”Just where do you start to stop a tsunami?”In your home, with your neighbor, at the voting booth, writing your Congressman, in your heart.With obligation to your fellow human, gay, straight, man, woman.

  • rutoft64

    You know what I would like? if some one could guarantee there is a salvation. Most all religious claim the here after. But is this all just based on words in a book, or some precher telling us? Well I sure hope not for I would love to see my frinds and loved ones again.

  • rsmijaf

    rutoft64 your post seemed sincere and I am sympathetic to your plea. I have found a resource at

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    ” CE that the “render unto Caesar” passage was said by the historic and very Jewish Jesus.”Not Jewish, not at all. Neither pre- nor post-rabbinic. Impossible. See Tanakh.See Judah HaNasiTalmud, etc.Better sources than “NT exegetes,” I would think. Judaism does not render unto Caesar that which is not due unto him. Romans did, however, as did Greeks.If Jesus said this, he was very, very Greek, assuming he existed, of course.

  • CCNL

    Hmmm, Farnaz/Farnazmansouri1

  • nikosd99

    To EARLC: Sorry, I did not say the Gospels were written during the ministry of Christ. I said they were written by “…those who were eyewitnesses and followers during the ministry of Jesus Christ.” It is often said that Mark was a companion of Peter. Can you prove that Mark wasn’t there? There were many deciples that followed Jesus who were not apostles. I, myself, am a deciple of Christ. Aren’t you? I will concede that Luke may not have been there, but he had first hand accounts from those who were. He states: “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,” (Luke 1:1-3)Paul may have heard and seen Jesus during His earthly walk, but we don’t know that for sure. Paul was known as Saul when he witnessed and was in agreement with the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7. We do know that he most certainly did meet Jesus on the road to Damascus when Paul was on his way to persecute the Christians. He fell to the ground and was blinded. Jesus spoke to him and the rest is history as Paul became one of the most prolific writers of the New Testament. He often fellowshipped with the apostles.So, what’s your problem? It sounds like you are one of those who likes to cast doubt on the authenticity of The Word.Here’s some verses that you might take to your bible study class since you feel that Christians should judge less.1 Corinthians 2:15-16 “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.”In Ephesians 5:6-11 Paul states, “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, BUT RATHER REPROVE THEM” Oh my, does that mean that we should speak out and expose the evil deeds of society?

  • nikosd99

    Lest I be taken to task for missplelling “disciples”, I respectfully submit this correction.

  • sthoffmann1

    Is this title Ehrman’s? Hasn’t he declared himself an atheist? So what kind of “salvation” is he (or the editors?) talking about?

  • Another

    nikosd99,Jesus’ message is simple and not easy. One request of Jesus is, “do not judge.”What interpretation is required except that which alters it to accomodate self righteousness?Reproving sin is just that. Live your life within your promise and commitment to the way of Jesus if you are a Christian. In so doing, sin will be “reproved.”Your life is the proof, not the judgment. God will judge.Judgment is not necessary, and only stands in the way of being with people.Making yourself righteous at the expense of others does not glorify God.God will determine the righteous. Through Jesus we have the forgiveness and the freedom to be with each other to the glory of God.This is faith.Judge if you must. It is as easy as picking fruit from a tree.Give it up to God if you want. Jesus shows the way. What it requires of us is integrity in our word.

  • CCNL

    Luke 1: 1-3 would appear to give credence to Luke getting first hand accounts of the life of the simple preacher man BUT in the next passages (Luke 1: 5-25) describing the conception of John the Baptizer, the claim falls flat as it is the only account in the NT, i.e. no attestations of what should have been an important event recorded in all the gospels or related documents. With respect to what little is known about M, M, L and J, see Father Raymond Brown’s extensive review in his book, An Introduction to the New Testament.

  • usapdx

    AS A CHRISTIAN, WHERE YOU BAPTIZED BY YOUR CHOICE? DO YOU KNOW THE HISTORY OF THE BIBLE? DO YOU AGREE OF HOW AND WHY IT WAS FORMED? DO YOU KNOW WHAT BOOKS ARE IN THE BIBLE AND AGREE WITH THEM AS WELL AS THE BOOKS OF THE GOSPLE THAT WHERE REJECTED? CAN YOU TRACE THE BOOKS IN THE BIBLE TODAY BACK TO WHERE & WHEN WRITEN? DO YOU KNOW WHAT SIN IS? WHAT RIGHT DOES ANY HUMAN TO MAKE A RULE AND IF VIOLATED IS SIN? FOOD FOR THOUGHT. MOST OF THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD ARE GOOD PEOPLE THAT BELIVE AND WORSHIP THE SAME,GOD.

  • nikosd99

    To ANOTHER: Too bad that you weren’t there to instruct Stephen. You could have taught him some gems from Dale Carnegie’s book on How To Win Friends and Influence People. He doubtless would have lived to a ripe old age.Instead, he acted rashly and stated, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.” (Acts 7:51-52)It cost him his life. But then, he was only filled with the Holy Spirit when he uttered those words. Too bad he wasn’t filled with your wisdom.Thirty five years ago when I first became a Christian, I wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper criticizing an anonymous writer who spoke out against a fellow Christian. That night, while I was reading in the Book of Acts, an anonymous caller rang me up and started to berate me, using all sorts of foul language. I was quite shaken and thought that maybe I wouldn’t be so bold as to write another letter. I asked the Lord to forgive me if I had been wrong to voice my opinion. With that, I picked up my Bible and resumed reading at the point where I had been interrupted. It was in the 18th chapter of Acts, verse 9. The words seemed to jump off the page like a flashing neon sign. It said, “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.”That was God’s word to me. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the Lord. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”I suggest that you ask the Lord what your ministry is and don’t meddle in the ministry of others.

  • gdesignr1

    There are several posts by “BEFOREGOD.” I have no idea what that idiot is trying to communicate! Is it shorthand or something?

  • paulhp1951

    I hope everyone has read “Misquoting Jesus” also by Prof. Ehrman. It is so logical. I shared it with a friend at work who was so impressed by it that she bought a copy for her new minister. After 12 years of Catholic school, 20 in the church, and another 4 in the Lutheran church, I walked away from it all (and all the mean Christians in those churches) and for the last 30 years have had a clear mind and better appreciation for God and nature…and sometimes humans, too. I see God’s in a spectacular painting in a gallery – no mortal could do that w/o assistance. And I hear God’s work in a glorious symphony – again, God had part in that. Sunrises, sunsets, full moons – those are much clearer proof of a divine being rather than words on a page that were copied and miscopied and are subject to so much misinterpretation.

  • aredant

    AHAB says:Oil companies pay “scientists” to deny global warming – they are a small minority – no doubt like yourself who claims to know how much others understand about science. I would be willing to bet that your statement would not hold up to peer review. Just because you call yourself a scientist doesn’t mean you are doing good science. Perhaps you share the same credentials as Ponns and Fleischmann, William Dempski, Kent Hovind, Dr. Jeffery Meldrum, Duane Gish to name a few. Please let me know when you are awarded the Nobel Prize for your research in paranormal phenomena.

  • paulhp1951

    WmarkW – I agree with you 100%!!!

  • paulhp1951

    WmarkW – I agree with you 100%!!!

  • tobykoch

    Stop believing that the bible is the full truth ruins everything Bart. I will tell from my own experience. Years ago becoming a Christian I studied and read the bible with great interest. After a while contradictions helped to convince me that thet bible just couldn´t be God’s word. So I stopped reading and studying it. I then witnessed what happens when you do that. Step by step you believe things that people made up and believe to be true and you slowly open up embracing thoughts and ideas, even towards things that God forbids (in the bible). On the other hand read the bible and God blesses your life. So, is the best prove that the bible is the truth not the one when God confirms it by making your life abundant? When happiness and joy come into your life, your marriage restores and well, I could go on… of course it is the truth, God’s blessings show it :)

  • jchenn

    One has to wonder what it is that drives such fervor from a self-avowed agnostic. I suspect the answer is that he hopes to convince himself by convincing. His faith imploded and now he seeks converts to his own religion of confusion.

  • magrus

    Oh how amazing! Over 2000 years after the birth of Jesus, we are still discussing Him. The Bible is meant to be used for discussion; Jesus quoted the Old Testament. Do you really think, for one moment, that our awesome Father, would allow for one “jot or tittle” to be misinterpreted? Not one word is left to the intellect of man….not one! The Holy Spirit has allowed mankind to know the “mind of God” through scripture..plain & simple…believe it or not..it’s your choice. But just tell me, what other belief do you choose? Who else has “died” for you? Who else has been “raised from the dead”..and who saw them & written about them? Who else claimed to be the “Son of God”..name one. No one dared to do that but Jesus, the only begotten Son of God…and you’re still talking about Him, you’re still wondering if it could be …true. Read the Bible…let it speak to you, give it a try…I dare you, I double/triple dare you.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    whizkidz1,”‘In your home, with your neighbor, at the voting booth, writing your Congressman, in your heart.’I reread it. Also, I read it a couple of times when you first posted it. I don’t have definitive answers for you, Whizkidz1, in part, because I, too, see the Tsunami. So do many others, and that, in itself, is problematic: some of us see it from a mountaintop, some from a valley, some from this shore or that. They have different perspectives on it, etc.People as different as Ingmar Bergman and Saul Bellow have said that sometimes, one simply needs to close the front door.Sometimes, yes. The problem, I think, is that if one keeps it closed for too long, one may soon find s/he does not have a front door to close.Again, I have no answers….

  • peace100

    Some of the arguments on this blog occur because there is a mixing of theology with history. Bart Ehrman is writing about historical issues which are events that can be verified at least to some degree.

  • Only1Hope

    Wow, these blog/forum sites are a mirror image of the growing division among man. Sorting through the responses makes me feel like Jesus did when He said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you?” Luke 9:41(KJV). Look, if you want to find Jesus or know that He’s “real”, let your knees find the floor and lay it ALL down before Him. If you really want to find Him then you WILL find Him. Or you always have this dark and dying world to fall back on :-)

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Whizkidz1:”If one does start looking for serious answers, as opposed to theories, guesses, ideas, postulations, surmises, hunches, rumors, or assumptions it always ends up back at the Bible. I wonder why that is?”One doesn’t always end up with the Bible. One may end up with the Quoran, etc. Why is this? The desire for certainty. Reassurance. Making one’s case. Supporting ideology.Consolation, moral guidance, fear, etc.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Whizkidz1:More reasons: Institutions of organized religion, theocracies, etc.

  • CCNL

    Still waiting!!!Hmmm, Farnaz/Farnazmansouri1 Credentials please???

  • CCNL

    Luke 9:41(KJV) Hmmm, according to many contemporary NT exegetes, this passage was not said by the simple preacher man but was yet another embellishment by Luke. See the studies published by the some of the On Faith panelists ( Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen)

  • Gaby1

    paulhp1951:Well said! I agree!

  • efavorite

    Well, Bart – you’re sure not making much progress with this crowd.Nice try though.It would be nice if some of those many other seminary-trained clergy who preach the gospel every Sunday acknowledged that they learned exactly what you did.

  • LookingFromOutside

    The Old Testament contains a lot of gibberish with much, if taken literally, would demand the end of civilised society. The New Testament is an anthology, edited by vested interests in Alexandria. The OT seems more likely to be inspired by a god of some sort than the NT. Ehrman is right, using the bible as the roadmap with which to navigate one’s life reminds me of Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed. Use Jesus as a moral guide by all means but the bible is basically an interpretion by man…those people who have such a desperate need for certainty in the modern by using the bible alone are doing themselves (and others) a disservice.

  • rutoft64
  • CCNL

    Religion Economics/Greed 101: (for those eyes that have not seen)The Baptizer drew crowds and charged for the “dunking”. The historical Jesus saw a good thing and continued dunking and preaching the good word but added “healing” as an added charge to include free room and board. Sure was better than being a poor peasant but he got a bit too zealous and they nailed him to a tree. But still no greed there.Paul picked up the money scent on the road to Damascus. He added some letters and a prophecy of the imminent second coming for a fee for salvation and “Gentilized” the good word to the “big buck” world. i.e. Paul was the first media evangelist!!! And he and the other Apostles forgot to pay their Roman taxes and the legendary actions by the Romans made them martyrs for future greed. Paul was guilty of minor greed?Along comes Constantine. He saw the growing rich Christian community and recognized a new tax base so he set them “free”. Major greed on his part!!The Holy Roman “Empirers”/Popes/Kings/Queens et al continued the money grab selling access to JC and heaven resulting in some of today’s An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue, ( Professors Crossan and Wright are On Faith panelists). “Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God’s hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus’ failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing.”Judaism – Because the foundations are so mythical, it is impossible to be historical about greed in said religion. The historical King Herod and his off-springs were with the assistance of Rome, however, were a very greedy bunch. Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism- A Google search will take you to many instances of greed in the leadership/foundations of said religions even though like other religions greed is a major sin and disorder.

  • holymotion

    CCNLYou wrote: “NT exegetes have concluded after thorough? … that the “render unto Caesar” passage was said by the historic and very Jewish Jesus.(1) Thom 100:Your Proof? Link excluded here.Sir: I’ve been watching you for some time and this time you are very wrong. How can you now admitt that the “very Jewish Jesus” even existed back then, Common Era?

  • Another

    nikosd99,I have had similar experiences.I am then unclear. I thought you were admonishing another for suggesting that as Christians we judge less.My view of Jesus’ request is that we judge not at all.My view of the earliar followers of Christ request is that we not associate with those who would cause our faith to be tempted. If our faith is strong, we are called to be with others to the glory of God.Judgement is not necessary for any of the above, only to know our own faith.I apologize if I misunderstood.

  • Another

    Regarding the Bible, it is an ancient, marvelous, and wise book professing the word of God. Those who do not choose to believe will take issue with that. Duh…It is all there. The phenonmenon, if there is one, is that we see what we choose to see. The pretense is we think what we see is real and the truth.If I have learned anything, it is that nobody human sees it all. I rely on my relationship with others to be complete. My belief in God guides me in the way to this.It is my belief in God that provides me access to this humility.It is only human nature that this will occur as wrong to some. This manipulation of wrong and right to great effort, toil, and frustration is not what I want for myself in my life.My belief in forgiveness and love as a way to overcome this burden in my life works for me. The writing and caring for this meassage in the Bible has proven of great value to me. I accept it gratefully.

  • usapdx

    ROME KEPT THE BIBLE IN LATIN FOR PLUS 75% OF THE LIFE OF CHRISTIANITY SO THAT THE LAY PERSON COULD NOT READ IT AND EVEN TODAY MOST CATHOLICS DO NOT. THE BIBLES WRITTEN FROM THE REFORMATION ARE IN BETTER TEXT THAN OF THE PAST. JUST THINK OF THE TIME AND LANGUAGES OF THE MEANINGS OF WHAT IS IN THE GOSPLES FROM THE ORGINAL TO DATE. WHY DO YOU THINK CONSTANTINE WANTED ONE RELIGION? KNOW HISTORY AND ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS.

  • CCNL

    Holymotion,For what we know about the existence of Jesus:See the commentary posted below by: CCNL | May 2, 2009 12:24 AM and also May 2, 2009, 12:23 AM.

  • michael_from_sydney

    The Church teaches that every passage of the Bible expresses truth about the nature of God, His love for us and His plan for our salvation from the consequences of our freely-made decisions to sin. But the writers of the Bile (Old and New Testaments), although inspired by the Holy Spirit of love and truth, used their own mind, knowledge and skills as writers to convey the message. This means they used whatwever literary techniques were avaialable to them, including image, simile and metaphor. For example in the Gospel passages read in Catholic Masses so far this week (the fourth week of Easter), Jesus calls himself the “good shepherd” (John 10:11) and also the “gate for the sheep” (John 10:7). Which is he? After all, in the image John is constructing, it is nonsensical to claim that the gate of the sheepfold and the shepherd of the flock are one and the same thing. Is this John being inconsistent? No – John is illustrating a twofold truth about the way in which Jesus calls His followers. He is the shepherd in that He knows His followers and can distinguish them from people who are not – He looks after, cares for, and literally nourishes them – He guards them from enemies. He is the gate to the sheepfold in that those who seek salvation through Him are doing so legitimately, because they truly belong to Him, as opposed to others who seek it through other ways and means. So which is he? Both. The Bible is rife with seemingly conflicting images like this, in each of which the writer aims to illustrate but one particular aspect of the nature of God and His saving love for us. As for examples which do contain what appear to be contradictory evidence, such as the differing gospel accounts of Jesus’ last words on the Cross, this basic guiding principle of interpretation should still be followed. Each Gospel writer mentions completely different words of Jesus on the Cross. Of course, the Church teaches that Jesus said them all. The only reason Matthew, Mark, Luke and John relate different statements is that each is choosing to emphasise different aspects of Jesus’ saving mission on the Cross. As someone posted below, 4 different witnesses to an event will give 4 different accounts which will not concur in absolutely every detail, but this doesn’t therefore make it impossible for police or a jury to construct the truth of the event beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • zbvhs

    I’m with Prof. Ehrmann. Jesus is my path to salvation, not the Bible or the Church or anything else man-made. The Bible is the best we have. The Gospels were culled from the memories of people who traveled with Jesus, heard Him speak, and watched Him in action. We really know very little of the man and His message. Paul’s letters take us a little further but the real proof is in the exercise of faith and acceptance of His way. Humans get all hung up on institutions and doctrines and nitty details about this or that and miss the real meaning and reality of faith. I do not understand how some people calling themselves theologians can look back two thousand years and proclaim what Jesus did or did not say. The Bible is what it is and it’s the only resource we have. It cannot be “proven”; it can only be accepted on faith.As for science proving the supernatural, it can do no such thing. The word rendered “spirit” from the Koine Greek is “pneuma”, which carries the allegorical connotation of a gentle zephyr breeze barely rustling the leaves of a tree. Beyond that, we have no idea what spirit is or what God’s supernatural realm might be. We call it “Heaven” but know nothing more about it. We can’t make a spirit detector or a meta-telescope to look into supernatural realms and therefore have no way of objectively understanding the supernatural.

  • RogerWDavis

    Christ cannot be denominated and Christinity is a false religion of denominations. Christianity is the religion of anti-Christ (John 2:23-25; Matt 24:4-5).

  • RogerWDavis

    When a man tells me he agrees with Rt.Rev. Jock Strap that salvation comes from belief in Jesus Christ but not in the Biblical testiments Jesus Christ only quoted from (John 5:30,37-39), it amazes me that that man worships what is in Jock Strap (John 5:43-44,45-47; Luke 16:13-15,16,31).

  • youngj1

    I truly appreciate the author’s point of view and find the most interesting part of his essay the fact that the teachings of the seminary include his take but very seldom if ever do you hear it from the pulpit. to me it is as if Christiian clergy in general are not being honest with their congregants.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    several of you have invoked the “josephus” references (as well as the “tacitus” and the “pliny the younger”) references as somehow being evidence for the historicity of jesus. i’ll just deal with the josephus reference since it’s the most famous and josephus wrote closer to the events than tacitus and pliny.josephus, “antiquities of the jews”, book 18, chapter 3.3:“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, is not extinct at this day.”WOW! no wonder christians love to cite this passage, but the fact is most scholars believe the “good parts”, if not the whole thing, were added by someone to josephus’ works. sadly, there are NO ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS from josephus. anything “josephus” was preserved for us by early christians. this passage first appears in a ninth-century translation. many think it was added by eusebius (~310 ad), who is the first early church father to reference it. early church fathers justin the philosopher (~140), clement of alexandria (~192), tertullian (~193), arnobius (~200), origen (~230), cyprian (~258) and irenaeus (330) ALL QUOTED JOSEPHUS, BUT DIDN’T MENTION IT. origen even quoted from book 18! they were all trying to prove the historicity of jesus, were familiar with josephus, but didn’t “use” this passage?! it’s hard to believe.another thing to note is that josephus was NOT ALIVE when jesus died. josephus wrote “antiquities” around 93 ad. so, AT MOST, it would convey what josephus had read or heard about jesus. if authentic, it only tells us that in 93 ad there were people who worshipped jesus as christ.in clinging to the josephus (and tacitus, pliny the younger, and thallus?) reference, you demean your faith.

  • Emad

    It is God only who will judge human beings and he is the one only to decide to forgive sins not Jesus. Jesus is only a prophet of God and not God. Jesus was created by God miraculously.The current bible is full of contradictions and was altered and published by the four writers Mathew,Mark,john and luke.Jesus christ we as muslims believe he received the same message other prohets have received like Moses, Abraham and Mohammed peace and blessings be upon them all.God does not need any mediation from a prophet to forgive your sins you can directly pray to him and he will listen to you and this is logical if God or Allah (The Arabic Name) is all powerful, mighty and all capable ,most superior. most knowing why would he need another being like Jesus or any other prophet between you and him to forgive you? However, it is those writers who fabricated the message of Jesus and thought he was God he is actually a messanger og God sent to Jews who refused the message of God to Moses. Jesus was given miracles those miracles were given to other prophts by God and thus, does not make him God or son of God.Emad Shurrab

  • Emad

    It is God only who will judge human beings and God alone who decides to forgive sins not Jesus peace be upon him. Jesus was a defginfied prophet of God and not God. He was created by God miraculously.The current bible is full of contradictions,altered and published by the four writers Mathew,Mark,John and luke.Jesus christ we muslims believe had received the same message other prophets had received from God like Moses, Abraham and Mohammed peace and blessings be upon them all.God does not need any mediation from a prophet to forgive people sins you can directly pray to him and he will listen to you and this is logical if God or Allah (The Arabic Name) is all powerful, mighty and all capable ,most superior and most knowing why would he needs afterall another being like Jesus or any prophet between you and him to forgive you? It is those writers who fabricated the message of Jesus and thought he was God while he is actually a messanger of God sent to Jews who refused the message of God to prophet Moses. Jesus peace be upon him was given miracles those miracles were given to other prophts by God and thus, does not make him God or son of God.Emad Shurrab

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    emad,while warning of false prophets, deuteronomy 18:22 cautions, “when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken.”this seems kind of obvious, yet christians treat jesus as if he spoke for the LORD. jesus warned his followers that judgment day, the apocalypse, the end of the world, would happen IN THEIR LIFETIMES. He was repeatedly very clear about that (Mt10:23, Mt16:28, Mt23:36, Mt24:29-35, Mk9:1, Mk13:24-31, Lu9:27, Lu21:25-33).he promised the end times to PEOPLE STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. jesus spent a lot of time on this and used it as reason to believe in him. numerous times he said, “repent, for the kingdom of god is at hand.” he said there will be “signs.” there will be “wars, famines, plagues and earthquakes.” the “sun will be darkened,” the “stars will fall” and the “heavens will be shaken.” he told his disciples when they “see these things,” they are to “look up” – for they will see him “returning in glory” “on a cloud” with “angels” and “trumpets” in “judgment” to “redeem” the faithful and cast the wicked into hell. there will be “wailing and gnashing of teeth” for unbelievers and “eternal life” for believers.simply put, he predicted his death and resurrection would be followed by a period of earthly turmoil, his return in judgment, the destruction of the earth, hell for unbelievers and heaven for believers. and he didn’t say, “sometime in the distant future” or “in 2000 years,” he said things like, “ALL THESE THINGS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU.” but alas, they didn’t, and yet we still treat jesus like a prophet.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    emad,do you think these rules were made by men? or god?

  • ThomasBaum

    EMADYou wrote, “Jesus was a defginfied prophet of God and not God. He was created by God miraculously.”I totally disagree with you here but can you think of why Jesus was miraculously created by God if He was not in fact God-Incarnate?You also wrote, “.Jesus christ we muslims believe had received the same message other prophets had received from God”Jesus spoke things that no other prophet has spoken. Jesus said many things about Himself that not other prophet has said about themself. His message was a continuation of what had been spoken and even tho He was a messenger, He was also the Message.I might add that at least some of what Mohammed said totally contradicts what is in both the Old and New Testaments, don’t you agree?Ismael for one, calling God His Father for another, saying that the Father and I Are One for another. Doesn’t some of these make the god of islam upset, to put it mildly?You then wrote, “.God does not need any mediation from a prophet to forgive people sins you can directly pray to him and he will listen to you”Jesus said flat out that He forgave sins so He was either telling the Truth or He wasn’t, don’t you think?If He was telling the Truth, then He Is God just like you said.If He was lying and He wasn’t, then why would the god of islam pick a liar to be one of his prophets?You also wrote, “Jesus peace be upon him was given miracles those miracles were given to other prophts by God and thus, does not make him God or son of God.”The miracles were only signs to help point to Who Jesus really Is. We are all sons and daughters of God, Jesus became the Son of God when He became the Son of Man thru Mary before that He was just God, to put it in human language, the Second Person of the Trinity.Doesn’t the god of islam get angry when someone says that they are a child of God?The True, Living, Truine God Loves us, the godwannabe doesn’t, it is that simple.The True, Living, Triune God is a Being of Pure Love and since we are made in His Image then when Love shines thru us then God is shining thru us.God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof, in other words God looks at the person not the label.It isn’t about religion, it is about relationship. God is our Father and God is our Brother and God is our Guide and Comforter, yes God is a Trinity. God cares for ALL.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom. God wins, satan loses, a tie is unacceptable.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    ThomasBaum,

  • trident420

    Unfortunately, belief in the Bible and belief in Christ go hand in hand. Why you ask? If you remove the Bible from your sack of “religious facts” then you have removed the entirety of the “facts” of Jesus’ teachings. If you cannot base your interpretation by the only truly successful attempt to document these teachings, then which “Jesus” do you follow? The one you have never met/heard/read about? That kind of reasoning smells like a fictional character of your own design, defensible by nothing but your own certainty. L. Ron Hubbard performed the very same mental acrobatics to create his own religion. I would assume you feel your version of deity is more reasonable than his… hmm? Even Mr. Hubbard had to create written word for his followers to learn from. Without it, how would they learn the lessons he wanted them to? From the best guess of a theologian living thousands of years later who works very hard to discredit the textbooks that gave him his degree?Continuing, after using the Bible to base your faith education – you now know “Jesus” well enough to discard the very text that taught you what you know. What about this man’s teachings did you learn from any other primary source? Without primary documentation of a historical person – you would be ignorant of their teachings as they intended (we have all played the telephone game, oral tradition is as farcical as it is embellished) – let alone “believed” in or studied these teachings in a repeatable and defensible way. Trying to cherry pick your way to faith is disingenuous. It’s either TRUTH, or its not. Claiming flawed information in the Bible is claiming that the roots and teachings of your faith are based on flawed information, and therefore creating an entire structure that is flawed in its very composition.

  • Only1Hope

    22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I WILL MAKE KNOWN MY WORDS TO YOU. 24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: Prov 1:22-29 (KJV)

  • ThomasBaum

    WALTER-IN-FALLSCHURCH You asked, “when you say “take care, be ready” are you talking about jesus’ long-overdue second coming?”It doesn’t matter if it is Jesus’s long-overdue second coming, as you put it, or if someone would happen to kick the bucket, so to speak, before that, I am speaking of both.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    TRIDENT420 You wrote, “Unfortunately, belief in the Bible and belief in Christ go hand in hand.”I don’t know why you would say “unfortunately” but nevertheless sometimes God rewards someone’s belief with knowledge.Jesus also said that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide us, did He not?Also there are some that “know”, so to speak, the bible cover to cover but do not know didly-squat about God. The bible can help lead someone to God but that is not always the case.I have met God and some of those that “know” the bible, I would say, much better than me, seem to know nothing at all about God beyond His Name.God has said, “My Ways are not your ways and My Thoughts are not your thoughts…”, just because someone knows what is written in the bible does not mean that they know what it means.Does, “I will send the simple to confound the learned”, ring a bell?It is very simple, God cares for each and every one of us and all of His Creation and He asked us to care for each other, also, God has a Plan and has had His Plan since before creation and God’s Plan will come to Fruition.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth. Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    Bart EhrmanYou wrote, “Are you out to destroy the Christian religion?” I’ve been asked this question several times over the past month, as some evangelicals have expressed shock and outrage over my book,”First: Christianity is not a religion, even tho some think of it as one.Second: Christianity is a relationship between God and a person whereas Judaism is a relationship between God and a People.Third: Maybe evangelicals should put their faith in God rather than themselves, God has had a Plan since before Creation and God’s Plan which is unfolding before our very eyes will come to Fruition.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    Thomas Paul Moses Baum,i find very weird your comment below that,”Christianity is not a religion, even tho some think of it as one.”huh?i suppose you could twist the definitions of “religion” and “christianity” into some unrecognizable form so as to make christianity not be a religion, but that would just be semantics. why would you say it’s not a religion? your next statement makes it sound pretty much like a religion to me:”Christianity is a relationship between God and a person…”people, persons, societies have all kinds of relationships with their various gods – that’s religion.

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