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Historical Jesus Scholarship and Christians

QUESTION:

If historical Jesus scholars believes that Jesus’ main message was the imminent apocalypse, and that didn’t happen, how can anyone who believe that remain a Christian, given that Jesus was wrong on the main focus of his life?

RESPONSE:

It’s a great question.   Let me say several things briefly in response.    First, there are a number of historical Jesus scholars who do not see Jesus in this way (most prominently, members of the Jesus Seminar, such as Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan).   Their views are not in the majority among critical scholars, but it is worth noting that they see Jesus as thoroughly *non*-apocalyptic.   My sense is that the majority of scholars, however, continue to see Jesus as apocalyptic in his preaching – including such noteworthies as E. P. Sanders, Dale Allison, Paula Fredriksen, Geza Vermes, and – well, it’s a long list.

Most New Testament scholars – and, of course, that subset: Historical Jesus scholars – are Christian.  For obvious reasons.   The people most likely to be interested in early Christianity and the Christian Bible are already Christian.  Some of us started out Christian and moved away from it; some are Jews; and a very few have never had any religious commitments at all.  But the majority are Christian.

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    fred  May 29, 2013

    “in my own atheistic way…” Has your viewpoint changed? You used to refer to yourself as agnostic.

  2. gmatthews
    gmatthews  May 29, 2013

    Is it possible to point to a specific event or time frame where the widespread fundamentalism that we see today started? I’ve tried mentioning this to fundamentalist friends of mine, but I don’t think they buy it. I think they truly believe that Christians have always been fundamentalist (ie., that, specifically, the Bible is literal and infallible). As a lover of history I can easily point to specific points in time, even in the relatively recent past, where fundamentalism was not rampant as it seems to be today, but I can’t think of an event or time where modern fundamentalism started.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 30, 2013

      I believe historians of religion typically place it at the Niagara Bible Conference (meetings) at the end of the 19th century. The place to go for some definitive answers would be the books by George Marsden on fundamentalism.

  3. Avatar
    Javalos  May 29, 2013

    Like your good friend, Jeff Siker- “I believe that Jesus is an expression of God, and that we are ever seeking to find the right analogies/metaphors to describe what this means. I also believe Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet that truly believed God would soon intervene in this world (but apparently he was wrong — along the lines of Schweitzer).”

    This statement: “Expression of God” seems to be used a lot in the more liberal class of Christianity, but I was wondering how it came about. How does Jeff and others like him come to this conclusion, when it seems that most Evangelical Christians believe that Jesus “IS” God and not just an expression “OF” God? Is this view simply modern theology at work or is it somehow grounded historically in the views of early Christianity?

  4. Avatar
    maxhirez  May 29, 2013

    I realize you probably can’t answer for these friends, but in context, do younget the sense that they really think of Jesus as original or revolutionary, revealing God in such a unique way, or Is it just easier to “keep on keeping on” kind of like using Internet Explorer? They must know of the mass of others saying nearly the same thing, like Hillel’s recitation of the Torah while standing on one foot, or the several self-proclaimed messiahs that Josephus describes the slaughter of, etc.

    I’m reminded of “Life of Brian” again, and all the competing prophets…
    “HE’S NOT THE MESSIAH! HE’S A NAUGHTY, NAUGTY BOY!”

  5. Robertus
    Robertus  May 30, 2013

    I believe Jesus shared an apocalyptic worldview with many of his generation but am not sure this was his primary focus. I certainly believe Jesus was indeed wrong or ignorant about plenty of stuff, so that is not at issue as far as I’m concerned. Josephus’ description of John the Baptist doesn’t seem to describe an apocalypticist. I’m not sure we have truly independent attestation of Jesus predicting the destruction of the temple. Paul is clearly strongly apocalyptic but as a Pharisee he may have already been so prior to his conversion. Belief that the resurrection of the dead and the conversion of the Gentiles had already started to occur may have merely strengthened his apocalyptic fervor. I assume Jesus did not teach his own resurrection. If he did not endorse a mission to the Gentiles, he would seemingly have been less apocalyptic than Paul. Or, if Jesus was as apocalyptic, then he presumably did envision some kind of mission to the Gentiles. Or perhaps an apocalyptic war between Israel and all the other nations? I see lots of plausible scenarios. I agree that the gospel of Thomas was later and might reflect a less apocalyptic time, but I don’t see there much in the way of an anti-apocalyptic polemic against the apocalyptic version of Christianity. Some of Jesus’ sayings preserved in Q seem agnostic toward apocalypticism. Other apocalyptic preachers seem to have made a name for themselves briefly and were all but forgotten, while others did not even merit mention. Josephus may mention Jesus and James briefly, again without reference to apocalypticism, but how do we explain the relative strength and staying power of the early Christian movement prior to Constantine? Answer that question and I think we’re on the right track to understand what was most central and fundamental in his message.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 30, 2013

      Yes, I hope to write a book on that eventually — a couple of books from now!

      • Robertus
        Robertus  May 31, 2013

        I suspect that will be a trade book, but wouldn’t it be marvelous to make that an academic treatment. Not possible many would say, but that would be tour de force.

  6. Avatar
    billgraham1961  May 30, 2013

    I really like these thoughts. It is good to know that serious Christian scholars recognize Jesus as an apocalyptic who was capable of being wrong about the timing of the end. To my way of thinking, this makes Jesus more human, and therefore, more empathetic with our issues. It does not lower him in my eyes; it raises him from a mythological status to historic status as a real human being. His teachings were brilliant, and he left us with insights we can find useful today if we so choose.

  7. Avatar
    hwl  May 30, 2013

    I wonder if the history of Christian attitudes towards the inerrancy of the Bible is in fact quite complex. The issue of biblical inerrancy – as understood today – only came to the fore of theological reflection in the modern era. Hence it is quite difficult to read into Christian writings prior to the modern period, how the writers would have tackled the issue of inerrancy, when neither errancy nor inerrancy were in the forefront of their minds. Some fundamentalists cite proof-texts from St Augustine, St Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin and other major Christian thinkers to argue that they supported biblical inerrancy. The fundamentalists rely on a sentence or a phrase or a word here and there mined from their voluminuous writings to prove their point. But without mastering the corpus of the Christian thinkers’ writings, I think it is hard to be sure one way or another.
    Until the modern era, Jews had believed (Orthodox Jews today still believed) the Pentateuch were the literal direct words of God, similar to the way Muslims have always believed in the unmediated divine revelation of the Quran. Hence every law in the Torah are eternally binding – in this sense, the commands if not the factual details, are inerrant.
    I think there are many non-fundamentalist Christians today who are comfortable with the idea there are mistakes and contradictions in the Bible, but are not so comfortable with the suggestion that Jesus’ central beliefs – including belief about the imminent coming of the kingdom – could be in error. It is one thing to say Jesus could express accidental views about science and history peripheral to his religious teachings (e.g. mustard seed being the smallest seed in the world) which turn out to be wrong; it is quite another Jesus’ central mission could be based on mistaken beliefs – if the world wasn’t going to end soon, he wouldn’t have been so preoccupied with preaching the kingdom of God.
    It is interesting early 20th century Christian apologists like C.S.Lewis – who is now regarded by evangelicals as one of their own – alluded to the suggestion that Jesus could have held mistaken views about certain things in line with people of his time.
    Until the mid 20th century, the Catholic Church showed varying degrees of hostility towards historical criticism of the Bible. In late 19th century, Pope Leo XIII condemned secular biblical scholarship in his encyclical Providentissimus Deus. He wrote that true science (he was addressing geological discoveries about age of the earth and Darwinian evolution) cannot contradict scripture when it is properly explained, and what seems to be proved by science can turn out to be wrong. He acknowledged the possibility of errors introduced by scribes but forbade the interpretation that only some of scripture is inerrant, while other elements are fallible. Of course by Vatican II, Catholic scholars became fully engaged with biblical scholarship.
    The Catholic Church persecuted Galileo, presumably because they were adamant that Scriptures taught geocentricism and this doctrine (if not also all biblical doctrines) could not be wrong.

  8. Avatar
    Seeker  May 30, 2013

    Alright, I am a little bit confused here.. I think we need to see what the definition of Christian is. It seems that a lot of scholars misleadingly say they are Christian, but in a sort niffy niff way. Like Dom Crossan, he will sometimes say he has a Christian faith, but he’s an atheist. The problem is that the word Christian is used for many things, for example Richard Dawkins claims that he’s a cultural Christian. Marcus Borg is another example, most Christians would consider him a heretic (panentheist, spiritual resurrection). If we are going to say the majority of Historical Jesus scholars are Christians we need to define what that means. And really, the only way we can define what being a Christian means that means we need to look at the New Testament as a faith/historical document.

    Just my input,

    Seeker

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 30, 2013

      My sense is that there is no one definition of what being a Christian is — and those who insist there is one definition usually define it so that it is what they themselves believe/do/are! (Or those who haven’t looked much into the matter much and just take what they’ve always thought….)

  9. Avatar
    stephena  May 30, 2013

    Okay, No, Jesus was not wrong. Not at all. And we don’t have to be fundamentalists or believers in the full Deity of Christ to believe that he wasn’t.

    There’s definitely another way of looking at the apocalyptic sayings of Jesus: Preterism. For earlier generations of Christians, the fact that Jesus accurately predicted that within the generation of those listening to him, and predicted accurately there would be a horrific “apocalyptic” event in Judea – and that this came true in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem (the culmination of the disastrous Jewish War) – was blatantly obvious and was taught from pulpits. And to me, it’s STILL obvious. And yet scholars and critics of Christianity (and agnostics! wink.) seem to ignore the fact that Jesus said something would happen – and it did, coincidentally within a 40 year “generation” of those who heard him.

    One doesn’t have to believe he was God incarnate, part of a Trinity, to say such a thing (I don’t) just that he was remarkably prescient and saw what most others did not – that his society was headed for a collapse. One doesn’t have to believe he was a “real” prophet with God speaking in his ear (I do, but again, it’s not a necessary belief to accept this.)

    That Jesus didn’t predict he’d lead armies to crush all of the enemies of the Jews as a “military Messiah” surely did disappoint many, leading, of course, to his death. But again, assuming the words we have are his, and accurate, he wasn’t wrong!

    Jeremiah and earlier Jewish prophets weren’t God incarnate, either, nor were they military Messiahs, but they seemed to ALSO have a handle on the “signs of the times” as well. The preterist approach (either partial or “full” versions, seeing ALL scripture as already fulfilled) and seeing Jesus as BOTH an “Apocalyptic Prophet of he New Millennium” (again, wink) AND a teacher of wisdom and repentance, does NO damage to Reason, biblical criticism, a rational view of history, or to our Religion. Or, frankly, to the view of Jesus as a “true” teacher or prophet, if people accept him as both (and I do, personally.)

    Am I completely off track here in thinking this is a LEGITIMATE way of addressing this issue which seems to derail some Christians into full skepticism and atheism?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 30, 2013

      I can’t judge if it’s “legitimate” — that would be a theological statement that I’m not qualified to make. But I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind when he was talking about such things. That does not invalidate it as a way of interpreting him though!

  10. Avatar
    toddfrederick  May 30, 2013

    Very good post. Clear and well stated. I sometimes think that the development of Christianity is a process, moving from the Old Testament understanding of God to Jesus and what he taught and then to the more cosmic view that Paul presented, and that the process is moving today to something more suitable for the 21st century…but that’s just the way i see it. It still remains a matter of belief and faith than scientific proof.

    I do have a personal question for you, if you want to get into it:

    *** When I first joined your blog you said that you are agnostic. In this post you say that you are atheist . Has there been a change in your thinking? ***

    I consider myself an agnostic in this way: “I know that I don’t know.” That is: I can’t prove scientifically that there is or is not a God….but I make a leap of faith and choose to believe.

    An atheist is under pressure to prove that the is no God (that is, no infinite source or ground of being) in any form what-so-ever, much as Dawkins tries to do, making atheism almost an evangelical religion as fervent as fundamentalism.

    Are you an agnostic or an atheist and do you try to persuade others of the correctness of your position?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 30, 2013

      See my post today.

    • Avatar
      tcc  May 30, 2013

      “An atheist is under pressure to prove that the is no God (that is, no infinite source or ground of being) in any form what-so-ever, much as Dawkins tries to do, making atheism almost an evangelical religion as fervent as fundamentalism.”

      No they aren’t. Atheism means nontheism, not a theist. The burden of proof lies on the person making the claim that there is a god, what the word “god” means, what it does, etc.

  11. Avatar
    tcc  May 30, 2013

    What do you consider Jesus’ fundamental teachings to be? Would you consider yourself a Christian atheist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_atheism)?

    I just can’t get down with the guy’s views, myself. Too much hellfire and damnation for unbelievers, and relying on Yahweh to fix all the World’s problems (“consider the lillies!”) seems like one of the big reasons he got killed.

    John Crossan and Don Cuppitt both seem like guys who are trying to keep Jesus’ teachings relevant to a World that’s starting to move on from religion, and I don’t really buy it. Unless they were to recast the Jesus story as an atheist allegory, or something–“here’s what happens when you wait on gods to fix the World. We’ve got to fix it ourselves”.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 30, 2013

      Ah — that’s a BIG question — too long for a post. I do consider myself a Christian atheist, but I haven’t read up on what others mean by that.

      • Avatar
        tcc  May 30, 2013

        Most seem to mean “alright, so it’s pretty obvious that a personal god doesn’t exist, but I like Jesus, he seemed like a nice guy, and I love Christian art and music”. It’s really similar to being an Atheist Muslim or Hindu.

        Though, in the case of Thomas Altizer, he calls himself a Christian atheist because he’s a “Death Of God” theologian who LITERALLY thinks God died when Jesus was crucified. Sounds pretty bizarre, but his view is similar to the problem of suffering that a lot of believers (like yourself) have/had to face.

        “every man today who is open to experience knows that God is absent, but only the Christian knows that God is dead, that the death of God is a final and irrevocable event, and that God’s death has actualized in our history a new and liberated humanity”.

      • Robertus
        Robertus  May 31, 2013

        I sometimes describe myself as a atheist Jewish Christian, but atheism for me is mostly just taking apophatic theology seriously.

  12. Avatar
    jonfoulkes  May 30, 2013

    Hi Bart, wouldn’t the vast majority of christians, fundamentalist or not, believe that Jesus was both a man and God? If he was also God, why would he predict something that never happened? Surely he’d know? (Thanks for all your work on the blog by the way, it’s excellent)!

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 30, 2013

      I’m not sure what the majority believes. Most of the students I have at UNC REALLY think Jesus is God, but not so much that he was really a human, with human weaknesses and limitations. Theologians, of course, do not have simple ways of resolving this problem.

  13. Brad Billips
    Brad Billips  May 30, 2013

    I have always been amazed when you debate, either on stage or radio, and the scholars say the Bible is perfect at the beginning of the debate. Then after you mention things like, Peter couldn’t have wrote 2 PETER or this/that is not original to the Bible, their true personal reflections come out. I have no idea why they don’t just mention that at the beginning of the discussion. I assume they want to feel around and hopefully, maybe, not have to go there. But damn, you make them go every time, with hard facts! Then, one comes to find out, their views aren’t that much different than yours. They just don’t like your tone!

  14. Avatar
    Pofarmer  May 30, 2013

    Great post. I have gotten the question “Well, of it’s not true, how did the church survive for all these thousands of years?”. And this is from Catholics. A fundamentalist Catholic, who beleives that not only is the bible true, but all the traditions ofmthe Catholic church are true, will really make your head spin? Any comments? It could probably be a book. d;0}

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 30, 2013

      I’ve always wondered about this question. Do the people who ask it think that the religions that are *older* than Christianity are therefore also “more true”? 🙂

      • Avatar
        Pofarmer  May 30, 2013

        Thanks Dr. Ehrman. I have more or less been attributing it to the fact that if you didn’t believe, or at least act like you did, the Church could excommunicate you as the nicest form of punishment. Which meant, in much more superstitious times, being completely cut off from community. Of course, being burned at the stake would be a powerful incentive, as well.

  15. Avatar
    Xeronimo74  May 30, 2013

    > Jesus was wrong about the calendar. He thought it was going to happen in his own generation. It didn’t.

    Just like Paul. And big bunch of Christians ever since. Even today you can meet Christians who are convinced that the End is near, and for real, this time! And that it’ll happen during their life time. Of course …

  16. Avatar
    Wilusa  May 30, 2013

    I find it hard to understand what Jesus said or did that qualifies him as a great religious teacher. I see his entire teaching as boiling down to (a) thinking of God as loving parent rather than wrathful judge (which is the healthier attitude, if you’re going to think of “God” at all ), and (b) empathizing with one’s fellow humans (in essence, the “Golden Rule”). I prefer the word “empathize” to “love” (mawkish, in this context), and I’m willing to assume empathy is what Jesus meant.

    Nothing there is new or startling. The “Golden Rule” concept doesn’t require belief in a deity. It can be arrived at as the consequence of realizing that we’re all connected, all related. Perhaps – in light of that relationship – all parts of a larger Whole. That’s much more healthy than treating our fellow humans well because we think some powerful alien entity is demanding we treat them well.

    I’d like to see a post on what you think qualifies Jesus as an amazing religious teacher. I’m guessing I’m not alone!

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 30, 2013

      Interesting idea. I’ll think about it.

    • Avatar
      tcc  May 30, 2013

      You’re not alone. I definitely agree with you that Jesus wasn’t an extraordinary moral philosopher. Some of his ideas are pretty damned dangerous, actually–“consider the lillies in the field” is a bad idea, considering how many people god, if it exists, allows to starve to death every day, and abandoning my family to follow a 2,000 year dead prophet is also off the cards.

      The writer of Ecclesiastes is more my speed, if I’ve got to pick from The Bible. He was like a Biblical Epicurus–life’s got a lot of problems, try your best to be happy, love your family and friends, then check out, cuz’ that’s our lot.

  17. Avatar
    dennis  May 30, 2013

    I think the real nub of the problem is when Jesus becomes defined as a pre-existent deity ” of one substance with the Father ” . Since God by definition is incapable of error , the orthodox ( note ” small o ” ) Christian must go through all sorts of rhetorical gymnastics to explain the quite obvious human errors of Jesus . By orthodox I mean those who accept the Nicene Creed – many of whom would not consider themselves ” fundamentalists” for a

    moment . Though by most definitions not a Christian myself , I admire the courage and intellectual honesty of those Christians willing to simply look truth in the face . ” He is the true conservative who lops the withered branch away ” Thoughts ?

  18. Avatar
    Kasey  May 30, 2013

    Perhaps we are forgetting that there are many historical Jesus scholars who are christians, and do not settle for a view cognate of Schweitzer and other New-Questers (most similar to the one you are putting forth I suppose, Dr. Ehrman) which states that Jesus’ apocalyptic message of the imminent/eschatological kingdom was the end of the space-time universe. From what I have gathered, some Christian historical Jesus scholars have not abandoned the apocalyptic aspect of Jesus’ message, they have in a way rethought Jewish apocalyptic (i.e. Jesus re-conceived apocalyptic and spoke of the kingdom). The most prominent are those within the ‘Third Quest’ (Wright namely) who would state simply that Jesus understood eschatology as the climax of Israel’s history, involving events for which end-of-the-world language is the only set of metaphors adequate to express what is/will happen to Israel and the temple, but resulting in a new and quite different phase within history.

  19. Avatar
    paulpdm  May 30, 2013

    Regarding the topic of whether scholars believe or not, I find this passage in the book “The New Testament without Illusion” by John L. McKenzie in the chapter “Gospels and Gossip” giving an example on historical criticism.

    The Gospels are, as they have often been called, documents of faith. They give motives for believing that the saving act of God was achieved in Jesus Christ. If the historian has himself made the commitment of faith, he will not, as I have said, fear that Jesus may not withstand historical criticism. If he has not made the commitment he may think that historical criticism is the tool which he can justify his own refusal to believe.

    In my view, the fundamentalist Christians believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Any discrepancies are just things that are not totally understood. The Secular Atheist/Agnostics say that because the Bible is full of discrepancies toss it all out.

    I believe it is somewhere in between, continuing to try to figure out where.

    • Avatar
      tcc  May 30, 2013

      There’s a lot of atheist strawmanning in here.

      Atheists don’t want the Bible “thrown out”, they want it seen for what it is–an ancient collection of theological texts, filled with rules that nobody listens to or reads anymore, some absolute insanity, and some decent moral advice. In other words, a very human book.

      • Avatar
        Greediguts  June 2, 2013

        “they want it seen for what it is–an ancient collection of theological texts, filled with rules that nobody listens to or reads anymore, some absolute insanity, and some decent moral advice. In other words, a very human book.”

        I am an atheist. I am also an undergrad of Religious studies/Jewish studies/ History. I guess I do not view the Bible as you do (except for the “human” part).

        I see the Hebrew Bible ( O.T. for Christians, now referred to as the Tanakh by Jews) as a library- a collection of songs, poetry, stories, myths, legends, and yes, the actual history of an ancient people. (BTW- there are some Jews who still try to follow many of the rules and it should go without saying that many people still read the Bible for various reasons). It covers quite a large time period. To just dismiss it because it is a religious text is quite frankly, close-minded.

        To engage ancient history is to engage primary sources that are all full of “some absolute insanity” (dare I say much of the Middle Ages could fall under this as well…). Be it Greek, Roman, Hebrew, etc. Digging around the text within its proper historical context makes the BIble much more interesting and some suprising things jump out.

        An example: Everyone is pretty familiar with the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah, yes? Does everyone remember how it ends? Lot’s wife is turned into a pillar of salt and then he takes his daughters and moves into a cave (Genesis 19:30). After this his daughters get him drunk, have sex with him, and each become pregnant.

        I have heard this tale brought up by atheists to show a Christian how immoral the Bible is. But let’s look a little closer and see what is actually going on.

        The author of the story tells us what the name of each child was when it was born. “The firstborn bore a son and named him Moab; he is the ancestor of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son and named him Ben-ammi; he is the ancestor of the Ammonites to this day”(Genesis 30:37-38).

        The Moabites and Ammonites were two of Israel’s closest neighbors. The ancient Hebrews often came into conflict with each of them. This story has an etiological purpose: These groups shared a similar language and oral tradition probably passed on that Lot and Abraham were related. So what does an ancient author do?

        He basically says “Hey everyone! Ya know those groups who we fight with that kind of talk like us and are related to Lot? The reason they act like that is they’re a bunch of incestuous bastards!” (It’s kinda like the ancient literary equivalent to flipping someone off.)

        If I just read the story and went “What a bunch of immoral, mythical crap!” I would only be seeing part of what the author is telling us.

        My apologies if this post sounds slightly hostile tcc, but being an atheist and taking the classes I do results in a lot of conversations with other atheists like this:

        Me: “Well, off to class.”
        Atheist Friend: “What class?”
        Me: “Um…I got Gnosticism first, then my history methodology/theory class on Women and Religion in the Middle Ages.”
        Atheist Friend:” Ugh. Why are you taking religious courses? It’s all bull$@t!”
        Me:”The classes are about the texts, the historical contexts, the sources…”
        Atheist Friend:(interrupting)” Yeah, whatever. Next thing you’ll tell me is that Jesus is real.”
        Me:”Actually, there was a Jesus, just not a “Christ”. Historically speaking we can…”
        Atheist Friend: (Almost yelling)”Oh my god! How can you say that? Have you not heard Richard Carrier?!?”
        Me: (shaking head slowly and muttering)” I weep for the future.”

        • Avatar
          tcc  June 7, 2013

          The problem is, many of our friends and neighbors think that that book is infallible, the Word of the creator of the Universe, and the perfect guide to ethics and morality. Apologists like William Lane Craig are so devoted to that book that they make up apologetics to defend Biblical genocides (genocides that never happened, but that Craig has to believe happened because of his religion).

          I think it should be seen the same way The Illiad is; read as literature, and not as a weight with a chain to bind around the necks of other people.

  20. talitakum
    talitakum  May 30, 2013

    ” I don’t believe in God”.
    Oh, the news is that you’re atheist and not agnostic (as I thought). A brave choice, that I admire.

    I agree with your post, and I think that the faith of an educated/informed Christian can be stronger than fundamentalist faith (that can be easily demolished with simple arguments, as you often do).

    Regarding the main point of remaining Christians despite Jesus’ mistakes, that’s not been an issue 2000 years ago so I don’t see why it should be an issue today 🙂

    We also have some possible (and very old indeed!) Christian answers at hand:
    1) Mark 13:32 “about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father”
    2) 2Pt 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

    And so on.

    Moreover, if Jesus wasn’t a man with human defects, weaknesses, and pain, then God didn’t come amongst us, like us and didn’t suffer *with* us – so Christian theology would be nothing.

    • Avatar
      Pofarmer  May 30, 2013

      I need to read more 2 Peter. But, there seems to be a lot of stuff in their explaining why stuff just ain’t happnin, which makes sense when you realize it was probably written sometime in the 2nd century.

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