I have often been puzzled by how defenders of the Christian faith attack me and my views by taking the biographical route, pointing out the course of my faith journey, identifying a flaw in it, and then drawing the conclusion that if I had not thought X or been convinced by Y then I would have seen the truth and not been led astray.
The way this narrative usually works is this: “If Ehrman had not been raised a fundamentalist he would have realized… x, y, and z … and he then never would have left the faith” OR “If Ehrman had not held X view he would not have been so easily swayed when he realized it was wrong” OR “The problem is that Ehrman appears to have thought Y and that’s not at all what true evangelicals think” and so on and on.
The reason I find this puzzling is that people get their notions of how I was raised or what I thought from things I’ve written and said and in most cases they completely misunderstand or, even worse, just flat out misrepresent what I’ve said. I’ve always found it rather funny when some very conservative evangelical scholars accuse me of thinking in black and white when they take something I’ve said and not been able to recognize the nuance.
Just to name a name…. Craig Evans, in his book Fabricating Jesus, devotes an entire opening section to how once I realized that there were textual variants in the manuscripts of the Bible that I ended up losing my faith. Surely, he reasoned, I could have had a more flexible understanding of inspiration than THAT!
But the problem is that
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