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Flat-out Lies or Willful Ignorance. How Do They Get Away With It?

Sometimes it’s enough to make my blood boil.  Maybe someone can explain it to me.

If you were to interview the 7,346,235,000 occupants of this planet, you would find *no* group of people who declare themselves MORE committed to “truth” than the evangelical Christians.  Evangelical Christianity, historically, is about nothing other than the Truth.   Jesus himself said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6); and “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free” (John 8:32).  The Christian faith, for these people, is all about finding the Truth that leads to eternal life.

So why do so many of their spokespersons simply tell lies?   Or at least propagate willful ignorance?  Those are the two choices: they either know what they’re saying is absolutely false or they don’t go to the bother of finding out, when the information is readily available to anyone who wants to take 38 seconds to look for it.

I don’t get it.   Well, OK, I do.  My books on forgery argued that in antiquity Christians did this because they thought that in some circumstances it was appropriate to disseminate false information in order to convert or convince people, to propagate a lie in order to promote the truth.  Possibly some modern spokespersons for the evangelical cause feel the same way?   (In this post I will be talking about just one instance.  I know of many others….)

It just seems terribly ironic to me.   Why should the people they *attack* (by spreading misinformation about them) (either intentionally or in willful ignorance) be the ones who are not afraid of the truth, when *they’re* the ones insisting on the divine virtue of Truth?

So, you’re wondering where this rant is coming from.

I’ve been following the rather brilliant posts about the exposure of the culprit behind the nonsense of an alleged first-century copy of the Gospel of Mark by our fellow blog member and occasional guest poster Brent Nongbri on his own blog.  One of the posts has drawn my ire.  NOT against Brent!  But against the subject of one of his post.   It concerns the original director of the Green Collection (a private collection of ancient biblical antiquities, especially manuscripts, many of them on display now in the Bible Museum in Washington), Scott Carroll, who touts himself as a great expert on ancient manuscripts, even though it is not clear what his actual qualifications are, other than the fact that he has been employed by very wealthy persons to buy manuscripts (that’s not the same thing as being able to analyze them – a very technical skill that takes many years of training).  I say it’s not clear because I can’t find a c.v. for him anywhere, nowhere that he actually indicates his training, other than that he’s bought a lot of manuscripts for very rich people.

Carroll is evidently the person who purchased the alleged blockbuster first-century copy of Mark (which actually dates to the end of the second century or beginning of the third, and is simply a tiny scrap with parts of a few verses on it) for the Green Collection (financed by the Green family that runs the retail outlet Hobby Lobby).  [NOTE: in an earlier post I indicated he bought it for the Museum of the Bible.  I got that wrong.  The Museum of the Bible does not purchase manuscripts.  It displays the manuscripts purchased for the Green Collection by the owners of the Hobby Lobby.]

Carroll is a hard-core evangelical who goes around the world declaring that his manuscript purchases validate the “truth” of evangelical claims about the Bible (and hence, by implication, about their understanding of the Christian faith).     Two days ago I read one of Brent Nongbri’s blogs in which he provided an actual transcript of one of Scott Carroll’s talks, where he maligns me personally, by name, as a crazy liberal who now has been categorically disproven in his claims by the discoveries of ancient manuscripts.

But what he says about my “claims” are absolutely, demonstrably, incontrovertibly FALSE.  Grotesquely false.  He either knows it and is lying through his teeth to convince his evangelical audiences (who evidently express their enthusiastic approval when he makes this comment), or he has willfully remained ignorant by not simply checking to see if what he claims I think, say, write, and teach is what in fact I have thought, said, written, and taught.

Here is the transcript of the talk, taken from Brent’s post:  https://brentnongbri.com/2019/06/24/revisiting-some-scott-carroll-comments-in-light-of-the-first-century-mark-purchase-agreement/.  (I need to point out that Brent has record of Carroll saying the *same* thing in public talks going back to 2012!)

 

There is an interesting comment in Carroll’s 2016 talk to the Koinonia Institute at about the 40 minute mark (and, once again, thanks to the resourceful David Bradnick for digging up this video):

“Let me add one more text from, uh, the gospels I don’t have a picture of, that should be published sometime this year. And you’ll hear about it, and when you do, you’ll remember, ‘Oh yes, uh, Scott Carroll mentioned it.’ There’s actually a, a fragment of the Gospel of Mark that’s been discovered that has been tentatively dated somewhere between 70 AD and like 110 AD. So Gospel of Mark, maybe dating as early as 70 AD. Um, this is outstanding because, uh, the more liberal scholars, uh, like Bart Ehrman from, uh, from the University of North Carolina, uh, has said that the, uh, Gospel of Mark was the last gospel written, and was probably written around 200.  So this will completely, uh, cause him to have to rework his chronologies. That’s what these liberal scholars do. They’ll take things that are early and date them late, and take things that are late and date them early and try to turn topsy-turvey the, um, our understanding of, of things. And so, he’s already crying foul that he’s not had time to, uh, see the manuscript at all, but it’s fortunately in the hands of conservative scholars who usually don’t get an opportunity to work with these things, who are in the process of preparing them for publication. So, uh, that is something to look for. That’ll be major–While these other things may not be international news, that’ll be major international news when that’s published. And so, you heard it here first, and you heard it well in advance of its publication.”

 

What can I say?  Since I was a graduate student 40 years ago I have never, ever thought, said, or written any such drivel.  I have *always* thought that Mark was the first Gospel written, and that it was produced sometime around the year 70 CE.  I used to think it was probably written slightly before the Jewish war, maybe 68-70 CE; I now think it was written slightly later, maybe 70-72 CE.  That’s the extent of my change.

It would be very, very, easy to see that this is what I’ve always said.  It is in every book I have ever written about the Gospels and/or Jesus.  Among other things, it is in my textbook on the New Testament that first appeared in 1997 and has been in wide circulation ever since.   That would be, uh, 19 years before Carroll claims I said something completely and crazily different.

So why is he either lying or spreading willful ignorance?  Because it serves his purposes.  His evangelical audience relish the idea that now the Truth will show why these liberal biblical critics are flat-out wrong, why these opponents of truth will be shown up for what they really are.  That’s an important goal for people like Scott Carroll.  They are enthusiastic to spread slander and false information in support of their cause, willing to propagate easily discredited misinformation or to flat-out lie in service of their Truth.

Why are people like that so afraid of simply being honest and fair, and having reasonable disagreements?


Is There a Way to Know if a Manuscript is the “Original”?
The Hobby Lobby, Biblical Manuscripts, and Academic Scandal

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    roy  June 26, 2019

    so sad so many don’t walk the walk. I have certainly appreciated learning so much from your writings and my study this past year, but as you well know the attempt to spread Christianity by any means possible with so LITTLE evidence is not exactly a new endeavor. i’m just happy they don’t burn us heretics at the stake any longer

  2. Avatar
    tlafleur  June 26, 2019

    Scott Carroll, by saying the things he does and by spreading lies and misinformation, is doing more to discredit his own Christian faith than to bolster it. Also, he is doing a terrible disservice to those he is preaching to. Often Christians will accept at face value what a minister or evangelist says without questioning or investigating to see if it is really true.

  3. Avatar
    madi22  June 26, 2019

    “Willful ignorance” never thought of it that way but you are completely correct, along with the entire opening statement. I know this is off topic but this whole blog just reminds me of a major story in Australia right now regarding an millionaire elite rugby player who is a conservative christian fighting for his right to preach “truth” regardless if hes breaching the legal terms on his 5 million dollar contract. Just a perfect example of willful ignorance across the board. Why is it so traumatic for these guys to consider an alternative point of view or that they may even be incorrect (shock horror).

    1
  4. Aractus
    Aractus  June 27, 2019

    Hello Bart!

    I would like to share my own perspective. See as an Australia ex-Christian from the Evangelical wing of the Anglican church (i.e. aligned with “Sydney Anglicans”/Moore Theological College). I always found that it seemed to be American evangelical-aligned apologists who were the ones spreading intentional lies (we certainly believed lying to be wrong), and I can give specific examples of these that really bugged me. But actually it was also my own priest that bugged me the most – because he would use very questionable claims despite their shaky ground. One of those claims regarded the Egyptians enslaving the Jews and making them do forced labour – this is just not true. I was taught in primary school that the pyramids were built by slaves, but historians have since discovered that was wrong. And not only did paid workers build the pyramids, but indeed the way that Egyptians made people to harsh physical labour was by conscripting peasants and forcibly sending them to do it – they remained “free” and were paid. I once challenged the priest on this exact point that he shouldn’t be saying the Egyptians practised a worse kind of slavery to what the Jews practised – and his response to this was that since history had recently been revised by historians he had no doubt it would be revise again in the future. It’s quite safe to say he didn’t show historians much credence.

    I too am very interested in getting to the bottom of the lies regarding P137. In particular I’m very interested to know who is the one who came up with the lie that it came from a mummy mask which Craig Evans said on two different occasions in early 2014 and 2015. Evans also said it had been Carbon-14 dated. So I’d like to know if he is the one who lied, or was he mislead and if so by whom? Please get to the bottom of this at the SBL panel session on the matter. If it wasn’t Evans we can clear his name so-to-speak. Also why did Gary Habermas in Feb 2018 say it had “just been dated to 80-110AD”??!

    Many thanks!

    Daniel

    Sources:
    https://youtu.be/8kPgACbtRRs
    https://www.livescience.com/49489-oldest-known-gospel-mummy-mask.html
    https://www.facebook.com/DrCraigAEvans/posts/794228917293308/
    https://youtu.be/KeMBH5b-3PA?t=1334

    • Bart
      Bart  June 28, 2019

      I don’t know where Craig Evans got his information from — and I would very much love to know! As to Habermas, he’s just makin’ stuff up. I wish they wouldn’t do that.

      1
  5. Avatar
    mkofron  June 27, 2019

    “Why are people like that so afraid of simply being honest…?”
    It is no different than the charlatans over at Answers In Genesis. If they stopped quote mining Dawkins, Gould or outright lying and had honest discussions they would damage their revenue stream. “Theocratic warfare” is the term used by one sect (JWs) to misrepresent the truth to protect their faith from “attackers”. They also quote mine.

    1
  6. Avatar
    mikezamjara  June 27, 2019

    not only Dan Wallace used “the first century Mark” to hit you, I remember that also James White brought that charade in your debate with him. They are apologists, haven’t they apologized with you? hehe

    • Bart
      Bart  June 28, 2019

      Ah, I’d forgotten that. (Did he?)

      • Avatar
        mikezamjara  June 28, 2019

        well, not exactly I revisited the debate and instead he used the phrase that there existed 12 manuscripts within the fisrt 100 years after the gospels. Maybe he was thinking in Dan wallace and his 1 censtury manuscript in those 12. But about that, I know only p52 is from that period, The others exist?

        • Bart
          Bart  June 30, 2019

          Not that many; and some are being redated, esp. P52 (by Blogger Brent Nongbri, e.g.)

  7. Avatar
    Steve Clark  June 27, 2019

    A lot of these type of things come from jealousy and a sense of insecurity. Be it from a mythicist or an Evangelical. They pretend to know things with certainty they do not –

    Knowing how little you know fits a man well. Something lost on many who resort to this childish behavior.

    Keep up the great work Bart !

  8. Avatar
    godspell  June 27, 2019

    I’m sure you recognize this is a question that goes far beyond the study of early Christianity. 😐

    There was a time when fundamentalist Christianity largely ignored serious scholarship in this area, because it was inconvenient to their beliefs (look what it did to yours). There were exceptions, but not many. Much more fun to build museums where cavemen ride dinosaurs.

    I think they’ve recognized it as a real threat now–the popularity of your books alone is raising eyebrows. They have to find some way to change the conversation–take control of the texts themselves. Take possession of them–physical possession, in this case. In their minds, owning the earliest copy of Mark was like owning Mark. Yes, it’s stupid. But it’s how they think.

    As you would be the first to say, serious Christians can be superlative biblical scholars. But fundamentalists can’t, because their job is not to understand the text, but to control it. Fundamentalism is about owning, not understanding. Understanding is the enemy, and must be destroyed.

    And easiest to destroy the enemy from within, no?

    2
  9. Pattycake1974
    Pattycake1974  June 27, 2019

    I have never seen so many mean and hateful comments toward Christians than what I’m witnessing right here. I just added my cousin to this blog yesterday. The first person in my family to show an interest, and this is what she’s going to see. This post is over the top and I haven’t seen any ire toward the very person who started this whole mess—Dirk Obbink. Write a denigrating post about him.

    • Bart
      Bart  June 28, 2019

      I”m not sure if you’re reading the same comments I am. So far I’ve seen only one comment (out of about 60) targeting Christians per se. They’ve all been about one particular kind of evangelical apologists. That ain’t the same thing. Attacking right wing conservative Republicans or democratic socialists is not the same as attacking “Americans.”

      3
    • Avatar
      Jim  June 29, 2019

      I sincerely apologize to both you and your cousin if my flippant comment on this thread contributed to your disappointment.

      2
      • Pattycake1974
        Pattycake1974  July 3, 2019

        I appreciate you saying that. 😊

  10. Avatar
    anvikshiki  June 27, 2019

    Toward the end of your post above, you answered your own question–“it serves his purposes.” I think the “blue lies” comment by AstaKask is also relevant. But nowadays, I often suspect that people make claims for the sheer purposes of benefiting themselves or their “group” short-term, and they just *don’t care* what the truth is. It is very easy for Carroll in this case to saddle you with a claim that is held by no one (Mark is composed around 200) and suffer no consequences for it because the community he is making it to will never bother check for themselves anyway. To some of us, the ideal of “truth” is worth pursuing and pursuing with diligence and courage, even if it often forces us to change ourselves. To others, “truth” is just a punchline. I know this kind of thing is deeply irritating. But just keep doing exactly what you are doing. The rest of us appreciate it.

    3
  11. Avatar
    AntiochusEpimanes  June 27, 2019

    I’m familiar with a fairly influential local church that regularly exaggerates the evidence for Christianity, quite a bit of it concerning the book of Daniel… Using false dates, claiming that critical scholars are godless and date Daniel late only because of presuppositions, claiming that scholars universally agree on certain positions, when in fact these are often minority positions. I’m frustrated, because quite a few people change their entire lives based on this church’s apologetic arguments, which are not remotely as good as they make them to be. I want to get this message out so that at least people will know they’re being given some false information – but I’m not sure out to go about it and get an actual audience. If you were a ‘nobody’ – how would you attempt to get this information out to the public?

    • Bart
      Bart  June 28, 2019

      It’s very hard because most people simply don’t want to hear it. But all you can do is talk to family, friends, and acquaintances and introduce them to a world they don’t konw about, possibly by suggesting books to read by experts, and maybe a blog or two….

      1
  12. Avatar
    meajon  June 27, 2019

    This would be a nice slander case despite your public person status. Maybe the university would take it up since he’s slandering it too.

  13. Avatar
    doug  June 27, 2019

    Dishonesty is part of the core of authoritarianism, because it cannot support its dogma with the honest truth.

    2
  14. Pattycake1974
    Pattycake1974  June 28, 2019

    Carroll said in a 2015 video that “critics” date Mark late. I know his behavior has been less than stellar, but I don’t think this is a purposeful lie. I think he’s either misunderstood (the earliest *copy* is 200 CE, not *written* in 200 CE) or someone misled him, and he’s believed it this whole time. He’s said it at least twice and maybe more than that which makes me think he completely believes it.

    I actually reached out to Carroll yesterday and was told that my message would be forwarded to him. I don’t know if he’ll respond, but I sure hope so! If not me, then somebody needs to get a hold of him, so he doesn’t keep repeating this error to people.

    I’m sure it’s frustrating when people misrepresent your views. At the same time, I’m really disappointed in some of the responses I’ve seen both here and on Facebook. Encouraging you to sue Carroll for slander and libel? It’s nonsense. I absolutely believe it’s important to set the record straight, but litigation is extreme. Carrier has said worse things than Carroll ever thought about saying. No one’s not pushing you to sue him. Why not? Because he’s not an evangelical so that makes it ok? Bias goes both ways. N.T. Wright has misrepresented your views—how many people have you corrected through the years? You’ve probably lost count. I have my own issues with evangelicals, especially concerning the social implications caused by their belief system, but we’re not going to get anywhere by calling them hypocrites and liars.

    But getting back to Obbink—this disaster starts with him.

    1
    • Pattycake1974
      Pattycake1974  June 28, 2019

      No one is pushing you to sue him (Carrier) I meant to say.

    • Bart
      Bart  June 28, 2019

      Actually, some people *have* suggested I sue others. 🙂 But I think you’re missing the point. I’m not complaining about Carroll saying in 2015 that some “critics” date Mark to 200 — although frankly, I have no idea who he’s talking about; of the many hundreds of biblical scholars I personally know and the thousands I know about, I can’t think of a single one who says this. So it too is misinformation. I”m complaining that he calls me out *by name* saying this is what I teach, that Mark was the “last” Gospel written, and it was produced in 200 CE or so. That’s either a bald lie or a self-serving bit or willful ignorance. What alternative is there. (And see my other comment about the anti-Christian comments on the blog: I’ve seen only one to my recollectoin)

      1
    • Avatar
      HoltG  June 29, 2019

      And Ms. Pattycake1974,

      May I just add, suing someone is expensive! In my personal opinion I think it would need to be a greater “event” of something. Like divorce, it’s not something that one can jump to overnight or decide to do overnight (although some people do), it’s something that needs thought ~ and in suing someone, I think one has to really think about it, and it’s consequences … and really weigh is it worth it or not. Would it really be worth it suing this Carroll guy?? In my opinion, no. Save all that money for something you’ll really need it for.

      1
  15. Pattycake1974
    Pattycake1974  June 28, 2019

    More information about Carroll:

    Scott T. Carroll, PhD
    Legacy Professor

    Education:
    Miami University, PhD
    Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, MA
    Tennessee Temple University, BA
    Studies at Hebrew Union College
    Teaching Career:
    Professor of Ancient History, Cornerstone University (2000-2010), specializing in ancient and classical studies, archaeology, and codicology
    Professor in Ancient and Early Church History, Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (1988-1994)
    Professor in Comparative Religion, Grand Valley State University
    Instructor or teaching fellow at various schools while completing his PhD work, including Miami University, St. Joseph College, and Xavier University
    Lectured and presented material at Azusa Pacific University, Cedarville College, and Salem State University
    Led students at both Gordon-Conwell and Cornerstone University on trips to the Mediterranean world
    Other Career Highlights:
    Founder and director of Scriptorium Center for Christian Antiquities, a joint project with Hampton Court Herefordshire, United Kingdom
    Master of numerous languages including Akkadian, Aramaic, Classical Egyptian, Coptic, Ge’ez, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Syriac
    Director of archaeological excavations in Egypt
    Consultant for national media outlets
    Regular speaker at churches
    Publications:
    Author of numerous articles, book reviews, and chapters for several books and scholarly journals
    Among his published periodicals are Christian Scholars Review, The American Journal of Philology, and the Journal of Hellenic Studies
    Extensive contributor to the Anchor Bible Dictionary
    Coauthor of Customs and Manners in Bible Times
    Courses Taught
    Augustine and Medieval Theology

    https://christianuniversity.org/professors/dr-scott-t-carroll/

    • Bart
      Bart  July 1, 2019

      Interesting.

    • Avatar
      flcombs  July 3, 2019

      You would think he was able to read. In this example specifically, calling out Dr Ehrman by name with false Information when he could easily determine the accusations are false. Do you think he has Internet and could at least google some things? When he makes claims about people that are easily proven false it demonstrates his true skills and all the credentials don’t mean much. Certainly everyone makes mistakes and if he is the honest person you believe and sincere, I’m sure we will see a public apology from him concerning Dr Ehrman very soon. Let us know when he makes it! (Serious if he does)

      • Pattycake1974
        Pattycake1974  July 3, 2019

        “You would think he was able to read. In this example specifically, calling out Dr Ehrman by name with false Information when he could easily determine the accusations are false. Do you think he has Internet and could at least google some things? When he makes claims about people that are easily proven false it demonstrates his true skills and all the credentials don’t mean much. Certainly everyone makes mistakes and if he is the honest person you believe and sincere, I’m sure we will see a public apology from him concerning Dr Ehrman very soon. Let us know when he makes it! (Serious if he does)”

        In this case, I think he made a mistake and kept repeating it. I could be wrong, but I think he got Bart’s dating of the earliest copy of Mark (200 CE) mixed up with when it was written. Maybe he read something by Bart incorrectly, who knows really. N.T. Wright is a very well respected scholar, and even he has misrepresented Bart’s views. Anybody can make a mistake. I’m not saying he’s an honest or dishonest person, but I think it’s kind of crazy to lie about something that can be so easily disproven. I also don’t think it’s the same as how he says he never told Dan Wallace to announce 1Mark. That would have been a private conversation, so it would be hard to prove/disprove either way.
        I don’t blame Bart for correcting him on his error though. I would too.

        SC’s apology on the ETC website—
        “Scott Carroll6/29/2019 10:59 pm
        Bart, I owe you my most sincere apology for inadvertently misrepresenting your position on Mark.”

        “Bart Ehrman6/30/2019 4:08 am
        Thanks Scott. I appreciate the apology.”

        1
        • Avatar
          flcombs  July 6, 2019

          Well I have been in online debates with people that have done public debates and had a big following on the internet apparently. They specifically cited Dr Ehrman and others as supporting their veiw and with quotes to back them. I had Dr ehrmans books or got them to show he was being totally quoted out of context (before I was on blog to ask). I directly contacted some of the other scholars and had their emails to show my position was more true and the site was totally misquoting and misrepresenting them. I posted a very long detailed list of the back and forth showing the proof for all their faithful to see and read the extensive discussion. What was their response? The site “crashed” and when it came back a while later it was all gone! Ironically one of the participants was on this blog briefly. When I mentioned him misrepresenting Ehrman in the past he said he didn’t know what I was talking about or any of the prior discussion even though it had lasted for months. So I do believe in assuming good intentions and people just make mistakes. But there are also plenty of people that maintain their agenda and “evidence” no matter what they have “learned”.

          • Pattycake1974
            Pattycake1974  July 7, 2019

            I’m curious to know who you’re talking about!

        • Avatar
          Hngerhman  July 7, 2019

          Thank you, Pattycake1974, for posting SC’s apology to Dr Ehrman from ETC. Those (few, many?) of us who weren’t aware of ETC’s existence would not have known about it – nor about Dr Ehrman’s justified directly confronting him on this score and the related scandal.

          SC’s apology is at least somewhat of an acknowledgement that he had repeatedly pushed the 200 CE slop in error, and that he is capable of admitting it in a (limited) public forum. Perhaps it’s damning with faint praise, but in our current world where doubling down on falsity seems the dominant path, even a modicum of contrition is refreshing. Clearly it doesn’t undo the infraction (not does it go far enough to tell his prior audiences of his folly), but maybe it will help to slightly rebalance the universe in some small way…

          FWIW, good on you not abiding SC’s silence wrt Dr Ehrman’s questions posed around the FCM debacle. 😀. Sadly it seems it’s still crickets…

          1
  16. Avatar
    dannawid  June 28, 2019

    Dr. Ehrman,
    I agree 100% with you: “They do a world of good, as do Jews, Muslims, Buddhists…”
    If we were to go to the original messages of Moses, Jesus, Mohamed and Buddha, we find that they share many noble principals.
    The Jewish rabbis were not satisfied with Torah so they added the Talmoud. Those waho claim to be followers of Jesus misquioted him and re-engineered him. The muslims were not satisfied with the Quran so their mullas followed the example of the christians by compiling his sayings 150 years after his death and made them equal to the Quran. The Buddhist monks became holly and interpreted the teachings of Buddha as they see fit. With the passing of time the original messages get deluded by those who were entrusted with their propagation in order to gain new converts or for political gains or to score point on the competition. The story of Jesus and the adalterous woman is an example. A mulla liked the story so he coposed a new vergin of it and attributed to Mohamed: A woman came to Mohamed claiming she commited adultry, Mohamed said maybe you are immagining, and told her to go on her way. but the woman said look at my tommy. so Mohamed said deliver the baby then come back. Once the woman delivered her baby she came back to Mohamed and said remember me? and she jogged his memory. Mohamed told her to go and nurse the baby for two years then come back. After two years the woman returned to mohamed and said remember me? Mohamed feigned ignorance, so she jogged his memory, He said: nothing has been revealed to me about adultry yet so off you go. But one of his companion said: according to the Torah the woman must be stoned to death, so Mohamed cried and ordered her stoning. This story is totally made up. according to the Quran Mohamed is not to issue an edict outside the revelations. the Quranic punishment for adultry is 100 lashes, not stoning. Based on this story many women in Saudi Arabia have been stoned to death.

    1
  17. Avatar
    seahawk41  June 28, 2019

    I ran into this back in the days when I taught at a college affiliated with the “conservative evangelical” denomination I grew up in. All of the science faculty acknowledged that evolution was the best theory of life, including humans. Most were “theistic evolutionists”; i.e., they (me too, although I am far from there now!) accepted the ancient age of the earth, and that life had evolved from single-celled organisms to more complex forms including humans, but guided by the hand of God. There were those, however, mostly in the administration, who disagreed and made a point of inviting creationists to speak on campus. What amazed me about these folks, at least one of whom had a PhD in biochemistry, was the far-fetched arguments they made to defend their position. And of course, the creationists and “intelligent design” proponents since then have included many with advanced degrees in science. I’m still left wondering what is going on with these folks: are they deliberately ignoring the facts or in fact lying about them?

    2
  18. Avatar
    seahawk41  June 28, 2019

    Another comment re evangelical gullibility: Back in the 1970s this thing went around that NASA had run models of the Solar System backward in time and showed that the world began ~6000 years ago. The claim is patent nonsense to anyone trained in physics, but was reprinted in many Sunday School magazines (for adults), and many (most?) evangelicals believed it. Some more skeptical evangelicals pursued the issue and found that it went back to one person who “couldn’t remember” where he got the info. The will to believe and confirmation bias are potent forces!!

    1
  19. Avatar
    KSS  June 28, 2019

    Dr. Ehrman, question…how do Evangelicals reconcile Jesus’ comments on being the “truth” and stating he was not changing one iota of the Hebrew Torah/Law, and yet disregard the 600? laws in the OT they don’t seem to now use? Saved by “grace” and not OT law they say. Another example of twisting interpretation to fit their belief? John Lennon said it well…”just give me some truth, all I want is the truth”. Thanks as always!

    • Bart
      Bart  June 30, 2019

      For them the “truth” is that the law was a *temporary* measure until the coming of the messiah.

      1
  20. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  June 29, 2019

    Your question about Evangelicals and truth has haunted me for a long time and reached a peak in my mind with the advent of “alternative facts” and “fake news.” I don’t think most of these people lie, but, even worse, they have not bothered to educate themselves, even in beginning knowledge about the Bible, even at Christian universities, which seems quite odd for a group who believe so strongly in the Bible. I have studied confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance reduction, the backfire effect, the Dunning-Kruger Effect, and the illusion of truth effect, but still remain puzzled and frustrated by your question. When, and if, you find the answer please let me know. I think It probably has to do with people being scared that if the first domino falls, then the whole Christian edifice falls. Whatever it is, isn’t it the same thing that keeps 40% of Americans supporting President Trump and lots of Americans crusading against immunizations of children and so on and so forth? Humans are nuts! Science and reason are out there somewhere, but ….

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