The Fear of Hell, Good Debaters, and the Name of God: Mailbag April 22, 2016

For this week’s readers’ mailbag I have chosen three unusually unrelated questions, one on whether we should be afraid of going to hell, one on how I prepare for public debates, and one on how we got the name Jehovah from the Hebrew name of God, YHWH.   This shows just how wide ranging your questions can be on this blog!   If you one you would like me to address in the future, let me know.

 

QUESTION:

What would you say to someone ...

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My Recitation Debates

Before I talk about the debate I had with myself in front of my class this week, on the topic Resolved: The New Testament Book of Acts is Historically Reliable, I need to do some considerable stage-setting.  First, in this post, let me explain how the class is set up (including the debates the students themselves do), to make sense of what I was trying to accomplish in my staged split-personality (affirmative and negative).

So the class is an Introduction to ...

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The Value (or Not) of Debates

As most readers of the blog know, I do a good number of public debates, almost always (I’m trying to think if there is an exception!) with conservative evangelical Christians or fundamentalists who think that my views are dangerous to the good Christians of their communities and to all those non-Christians they very much want to convert.   My view all along has been that my historical views are not a threat to Christian faith, but only to a particular (and ...

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Debates For A Price

QUESTION:

Robert M. Price posted on his FB wall a few weeks ago that he was considering starting a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to debate Ehrman. Looks like things might be going ahead? Ehrman said on ‘The Skeptic Fence’ podcast a few months back that he’d be OK with debating Price. Reading between the lines, it looks like that they may made some sort of verbal agreement? Dr. Ehrman, are you aware of this challenge??

 

RESPONSE:

Ha!  No, ...

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Defending Myself

Several times a week I get emails from people who ask what it’s like to be the subject of such vitriolic attack by those who don’t agree with my views.   Or they express regret and sorrow that I am so often or viciously attacked.  Or they want me to stand up for myself and reply to my attackers.   Almost always, when I get one of these emails, I think to myself:  Am I being attacked by someone???  Huh.   *That’s* interesting.

The ...

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Follow-up Apologies for the Post on Dinesh D’Souza

I was completely taken aback when I got up this morning (I’m in London – five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time) to check my blog and Facebook pages to find that I caused a bit of a firestorm by my comments on Dinesh D’Souza when in yesterday’s post I introduced the video of the debate that I had had with him a couple of years ago.  That was not my intention at *all* and I’m non-plussed, surprised, and embarassed.   ...

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My Debate with Dinesh D’Souza on the Problem of Suffering

A prominent figure in the news lately has been Dinesh D’Souza. Dinesh is best known as a hyper-conservative political commentator. His most recent book is America, and this week it is #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for non-fiction. It has a companion documentary film. If you’re politically very-right-wing conservative and despise Barack Obama and everything he stands for — this is the book for you! Dinesh was a policy analyst in the Reagan White House as a ...

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