Me and Jesus

Yesterday I explained why, in my own opinion, I can no longer consider myself a Christian, and I received a lot of responses:  some sympathetic, others not so sympathetic; some seeing the point and others disagreeing.

One particular disagreement gets to the heart of what I was trying to say.  Several people (OK, lots of people) have commented that if I follow the ethical teachings of Jesus that in that sense I really am a Christian and might as well admit ...

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Why I Am Not A Christian

I just now – fifteen minutes ago – came to realize with the most crystal clarity I have ever had why I cannot call myself a Christian.   Of course, as most of you know, I have not called myself a Christian publicly for a very long time, twenty years or so I suppose.  But a number of people tell me that they think at heart I’m a Christian, and I sometimes think of myself as a Christian agnostic/atheist.  Their thinking, ...

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Pressing Jeff Siker for Answers: An Intriguing Query and Response

The comments by Jeff Siker on why he is still a Christian even though he, like me, has a thoroughly historical-critical understanding of the Bible (comments posted from four years ago) sparked some interesting responses.  One reader wrote him directly the following pressing questions, and Jeff wrote a reply that I thought was even more germane, interesting, and helpful than the original posts.

Here are the questions and his response (as he forwarded them to me).  Jeff, by the way, has ...

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Jeff Siker Part 2: Why I am a Christian (and yet a New Testament scholar): A Blast From the Past

This is re-post of an interesting set of comments from exactly four years ago by my friend and colleague Jeff Siker, a New Testament scholar who agrees with most of the critical views I have of the New Testament but who is still a believing and practicing Christian. This is part 2.  To make fullest sense of this post, you should read it in conjunction with the one from yesterday.

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

Like Bart I became interested in pursuing an academic career, but ...

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Why He Is Still a Christian (And a Biblical Scholar): A Blast From the Past

The past two days I have been giving lectures at Michigan State University.  It’s been great.  I’ve had a number of people ask me after my talks if it is possible to be a Christian and still hold the historical views I do.  My answer — as many on the blog will know — is OF COURSE!  And that has prompted me to want to repost this guest-post from my historian/Christian friend Jeff Siker, posted exactly four years ago today. ...

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Why Don’t I Call Myself a Christian? Mailbag: October 8, 2016

I’ve decided to address two personal questions in this week’s Readers’ Mailbag, one about why I don’t want to call myself a Christian and the other about where the idea for this blog came from.  If you have questions you would like me to address, either personal or dealing with anything having to do with the NT and the history of early Christianity, just make a comment on any post and ask them!

 

QUESTION:

I find it interesting that you and Lüdemann ...

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Paul’s Converted Vision of Himself

To make sense of how Paul’s conversion affected his actual life, not just his theology, it is important to recall what I said about how it did affect his theology.  I repeat the key paragraph from yesterday’s post before drawing the further even more far-reaching conclusion.

To be members of God’s covenantal people, it is not necessary for gentiles to become Jews.  They do not need to be circumcised, observe the Sabbath, keep kosher, or any of the rest.  They need ...

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Was Paul the Founder of Christianity?

It is often claimed that the Founder of Christianity was the apostle Paul – or at least that he was the co-Founder, along with Jesus.

The idea behind this claim is that Christianity is not really about the historical Jesus.

Yes, his words are hugely important, and yes it is also important to know that he did all those miraculous deeds.   But his public ministry is not the core of Christian belief.  Instead, the core of Christianity is the belief in his ...

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Ramblings on Charity and Religion

QUESTION:

Don’t you think that being raised in Christianity makes it more likely that you will make decent contributions to others like you do with your charity contributions?  I know that one does not have to be Christian to be decent, but it seems, for many of us, to help increase the odds of being decent at least some of the time.

 

RESPONSE:

This is a really interesting question.  And maybe unanswerable!   Why are those of us who are concerned ...

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