How Changing My Views Affected My Relationships

I’ve decided to answer a personal question in this week’s Readers’ Mailbag, about how my relationships with others changed as I went from being a very conservative evangelical Christian to becoming an agnostic/atheist.

 

QUESTION

Would you be willing to elaborate on how your changing views affected your relationships with friends and family and how people reacted to your changing perspective? Thanks so much!

 

RESPONSE

As it turns out, in my case, the biggest “problem” for my relationships with family and friends was not so ...

Continue Reading →
25

Controversy Sells!

A couple of days ago I asked members of the blog for some feedback about the current thread focusing on the development of the views of the afterlife in antiquity – the topic of my next book.  And I’m really glad I asked, because it helped clarify my thinking considerably about the direction I am going to be taking in the book.  For what it’s worth, it is *not* the direction I’ve been taking this thread.  At least it is ...

Continue Reading →
69

My Major Anxiety for my Book. Are People Interested in the Afterlife?

As an author (such as me, for example) thinks ahead to the next book, he has a number of worries, concerns, and anxieties that crop up.  This is all part of the process – deep and cutting anxiety is what ends up inspiring quality.  Otherwise, we would just dash off books without a care in the world, and they would be completely mediocre, not-well thought out, uninteresting, not grappling with the really complex issues in ways that are clear and ...

Continue Reading →
138

Fun with the Jewish Christian Gospels: A Blast from the Past

I was looking through the blog archives today, and ran across this interesting one from four years ago.  In additional to being rather informative about Gospels outside the New Testament, it shows how even in antiquity Christians had to figure out how to reconcile minor discrepancies among the canonical Gospels.  Enjoy!

*********************************************************************

Yesterday in my graduate seminar we spent three hours analyzing the three so-called “Jewish-Christian Gospels.” These are very tricky texts to deal with. We don’t have ...

Continue Reading →
32

My New Scholarly Project

I have a lot more to say about the development of the views of the afterlife in ancient Jewish and Christian thinking – specifically, about how we got from an understanding that there would be a resurrection of the body (the view I’ve been discussing) to the idea that when a person dies, their soul (not their body) goes to heaven or hell —  the view most (not the *vast* majority, of course) people have today.   It’s a good thing ...

Continue Reading →
43

Physical Persecution and the Physical Resurrection of the Dead

In this post I’m thinking out loud rather than making a definitive statement.   A question occurred to me a week or so ago that, since I am on the road and rather unsettled just now, I have not had a chance to look into.  Maybe someone on the blog knows the answer.  Prior to the persecution of Jews by Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BCE, do we have a record of *any* group of people in the entire Mediterranean world being ...

Continue Reading →
68

Is There Evidence that Luke Originally Did Not Have the Story of Jesus Birth?

This is the second of three posts on the question of whether Bible translations should place the first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel in brackets, or assign them to a footnote.  For background: read the post from yesterday!  Again this is a Blast from the Past, a post I made back in December 2012. .

********************************************************************

In my previous post, ostensibly on the genealogy of Luke, I pointed out that there are good reasons for thinking that the Gospel originally ...

Continue Reading →
18

A New Blog Podcast!

There is a new feature of the blog (or rather: connected with the blog) that I hope you like. It is the brainchild of a blog member, John Mueller, who not only conceived of the idea but is doing every single bit of work for it.  It involves a weekly podcast in which John reads two posts that have previously appeared on the blog, some of recent vintage and some archived, often from long ago.  It is called the Bart ...

Continue Reading →
38

The Origins of Heaven and Hell

Where did the idea of a “differentiated” afterlife come from?  I’m not overly fond of the word “differentiated,” since it’s not one we normally use.  But for the moment I can’t think of a better one for the phenomenon I’m thinking of.

An “undifferentiated” afterlife is one in which everyone has the same experience: there is no difference between one person and the next.  It doesn’t matter if the person lived a good life, was kind to strangers, was meek, humble, ...

Continue Reading →
65

A New Attack on My Views

As someone on the blog has pointed out, there appears to be another “response book” written to critique what I have written about the New Testament.  I’ve included here, below, the Amazon description of the book.

Several things about it strike me as rather strange.   Most of all is that the author refuses to name himself/herself.   Why publish an anonymous book if you want to challenge a view that is open and in the public?  There is nothing mysterious about ...

Continue Reading →
97
Page 1 of 32 12345...»