Ken Ammi’s True Free Thinker extras:
BooksYouTube or OdyseeTwitterFacebook

Bart Ehrman, Interrupted – on the Bible and Christianity | True Freethinker

“Just so you know,” as per CNN, “Bart Ehrman says he’s not the anti-Christ. He says he’s not trying to destroy your faith. He’s not trying to bash the Bible.”1

Oh good, because I would hate to see what someone would say if they were trying to destroy the Christian faith and bash the Bible.

Actually, we have seen it; we have seen it for millennia.

In fact, virtually his entire career has been premised on destroying the Christian faith and bashing the Bible. Certainly, he is not trying to destroy the faith of those Christians who could care less about the Bible’s contents or how it came to be. But to claim that he is not trying destroy the Christian faith and bash the Bible is tantamount to a boxer stating to his opponent, “I’m not trying to hurt you, I just want to punch you until you lose consciousness and I win. Meanwhile I will show other people how to become good boxers so that they can beat their opponent into unconsciousness, until all that is left of them is a non-functioning bag of bones.”

Of course, Bart Ehrman is aware that malicious inferences are drawn from his implication. For example, he 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, “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.2

Indeed, and this is why Ehrman does not reject the Bible, its God and Christianity due to the Bible problem but based on his emotions. At least one reason that Ehrman strayed while others stayed, in the light of the same evidence, is that he was looking for a way out, he was seeking to justify his emotionally charged views. Others tell of learning the very same materials but of also going on to find resolution to the problems. Ehrman was long wresting with his emotions and finally found a way to express them by calling upon others to see the pseudo-light.


Bart Ehrman claims that “the Nicene Creed, which say not a word about belief in the Bible.” The Creed states that Jesus died “On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures.” The Creed is an communal affirmation of belief, one such belief is in Jesus’ resurrection, which is being affirmed via that which is stated in the “Scriptures,” therefore, it is “belief in the Bible” which drives the Creed.

Bart Ehrman then goes from his statements about “belief in the Bible” to concluding:

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.

Consider the word of Jesus, gleaning from John ch. 5

…the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. Then Jesus answered and said to them, “…Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life…You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life…if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

The context is that Jesus is encouraging them to consider the witness of His own works. If they will not; then He encourages them to consider the witness to Him of John the Baptist. If they will not; then He encourages them to consider the witness to Him of God the Father. If they will not then; He encourages them to consider the witness to Him of Moses. Moses to whom they turned by consulting the Bible—the Tanakh/Old Testament. The problem was that they had their eyes so focused upon the text that they missed looking around to see of whom the text spoke. Thus, indeed, let us not do the same.

However, let us note that, for example, the Bereans were praised—referred to as more noble or fair minded—for their true and honest skepticism since when Paul taught them they would double check everything he said as they “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Note that there are circa 260 quotes from and 370 allusions to the Old Testament in the New Testament. For example, the Book of Revelation is 404 verses long, 278 of those verses are allusions to the Old Testament.Jesus directly quoted or alluded to the following Old Testament books:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, 1st Samuel, 1st Kings, 2nd Chronicles, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Jonah, Micah, Zephaniah, Zechariah and Malachi (see A Jewish Book Called “The New Testament” for details.

There are over fifty references to the scripture(s) in the New Testament and this is not even counting references to the Old Testament by referring to “Moses,” “Isaiah,” etc. or by the quotations and allusions to which I just referred.

Bart Ehrman makes three main points with regards to his Jesus without the Bible arguments (as if he is interested in inspiring the following of Jesus): 1) “Christianity existed before the Bible” 2) “Christianity has existed in places where there were no Bibles to be found…read…[or] understood”

3) “Christianity does not stand or fall with the Bible”

1) Indeed, when we consider “the Bible” to be both the Old and New Testament. Yet, as we have seen; the pattern of reliance upon “the Bible” still applies. 2) Even Peter stated that Paul had written things that were, “hard to understand,” which, by the way “untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction,” and with the addition of affirming that Paul’s words were inspired as they were correlated to scripture, “as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:16 ). Yet, where the Bible was not, or not read, or not understood is whence came false doctrines. And when such communities did manage to life a truly Christian life and hold to traditional/orthodox beliefs it was due to oral traditions or otherwise being able to keep the traditional Christian doctrines alive.

3) Ultimately, perhaps not. But then again; without the Bible what is Christianity? “Being a Christian meant believing in Christ” but how do you know about the true historical Christ without the Bible which is the best record of Him?

Bart Ehrman concludes:

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.

Indeed, biblical scholarship will not destroy Christianity. It might de-convert people away from a modern form of man-made fundamentalist belief (here “fundamentalist” not meaning sticking to the basics but carrying a negative implication). A wide recognition of the Bible’s reliability and a deeper relationship with Jesus is a very good thing indeed.