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The Religion of a Sixteen-Year-Old

I just got home from spending a week in Lawrence Kansas, my home town.   As I’ve done now for years, I took my mom fishing in the Ozarks for a few days.  She’s 87, and on a walker, but still able to reel them in!

I go back to Lawrence probably three or four times a year, and each time it is like going down memory lane.  I left there to go to Moody Bible Institute in 1973, when I was all of 17 years old; I still called it home for years, but never lived there full time, not even in the summers usually.  I was married and very much on my own only four years later.  So my memories of the place are entirely of childhood through high school.   I can’t help reflecting on this, that, and the other thing in my past as I drive around town, remembering doing this thing here, that thing there, and so on.

This time, for some reason, there was an unusually high concentration of “religious” recollections, of my different religious experiences in one place or another.   As I’ve said a number of times, I had a born-again experience in high school, when I “asked Jesus into my heart.”  I must have been 15 at the time. The odd thing was that I was already a committed church person before that – for my entire life, in fact.  I was an acolyte in the Episcopal church from junior high onwards, every week praying to God, confessing my sins, thinking about the salvation brought by Christ, and so on.   So looking back, it’s hard to know what really I was thinking when I finally “became a  Christian.”  What exactly was I before?

But what really struck me this time around, in particular, was this.   Most of my family and friends who also became evangelical Christians – at least the ones who have stayed that way – are, naturally, upset and confused about why I left the faith.   In their view, the faith I had when I was 16 was the “truth,” and now I have gone over to the way of “error.”  I should stress that my mom and I never talk about such things – we both know it would do no good and that we would just both get upset.  So instead we talk about basketball, and family, and fishing, and lots of other things – but not religion.  Still, I know that she, like the others I knew way back then, think that I used to be right; that I made a terrible mistake when I became a “liberal” Christian in my late-20s; and that I really went off the deep end when I became an agnostic.

But here is what struck me.   About what other form of knowledge or belief would we say that it is better that we should think the way we did when we were 16 than the way we think now?

Would we say that our understanding of science was better then?  Our understanding of biology or physics or astronomy?   Were our views in 1972 better than our views now?   Or how about politics?  Or philosophy?  Would we be better off thinking what we did when we were 16?   Or what about our views of sexual relations?  Or literature?  Or economic investments?  Or … Or anything else?

Isn’t it very strange indeed that so many people of faith – not all of them, of course; and arguably not even most of them; but certainly some of them; in fact a *lot* of them in evangelical circles – think that even though they are supposed to grow, and mature, and develop new ideas, and chart new territories, and acquire new knowledge, and change their understandings  as they get older in every *other* aspect of their lives, they are supposed to hold on to pretty much the SAME religious views that were satisfying to them as a sixteen year old?

That is one of the things that I find most puzzling and dissatisfying and frustrating about many of the good, concerned, committed evangelical Christians who contact me via email or in person (say, at one of my talks): the views they put forth, in trying to “win me over,” are views that are at the intellectual and spiritual level of sophistication of a 16 year old.  They may be successful businessmen, or teachers, or investors, or … name your profession.  And in other parts of their lives they may have considerable maturity and sophistication.  But when it comes to religious belief, they are still back where they were in 1972.   There’s something wrong about that….

I should emphasize that there are lots (and lots) of theologians who are serious scholars, some of them quite brilliant.  They obviously do not work with a 16-year-old’s view of religion.   they are philosophically astute and intellectually impressive, people like Rowan Williams, Herbert McCabe, Fergus Kerr, and Stanley Hauerwas (they are not all like each other, either).   I have no argument with them.  My argument is with the intelligent Christian people who check their intelligence at the door when they enter the church, who think that it makes sense to have a sophisticated view of the world when it comes to their investments, their business practices, their politics, their medical preferences – but not when it comes to their religion.


Larry Hurtado’s Critique of How Jesus Became God
More on Jesus’ Wife!

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    prestonp  August 21, 2014

    “Regarding Matt 24:36, although many witnesses record Jesus as speaking of his own prophetic ignorance (“But as for that day and hour no one knows it—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son—except the Father alone”), many others lack the words “nor the Son.” Whether “nor the Son” is authentic or not is disputed, but what is not disputed is the wording in the parallel in Mark 13:32—“But as for that day or hour no one knows it—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son—except the Father.” Thus, there can be no doubt that Jesus spoke of his own prophetic ignorance in the Olivet Discourse. Consequently, what doctrinal issues are really at stake here? One simply cannot maintain that the wording in Matt 24:36 changes one’s basic theological convictions about Jesus since the same sentiment is found in Mark.
    In other words, the idea that the variants in the NT manuscripts alter the theology of the NT is overstated at best. Unfortunately, as careful a scholar as Ehrman is, his treatment of major theological changes in the text of the NT tends to fall under one of two criticisms: Either his textual decisions are wrong, or his interpretation is wrong.”

    Review of
    Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 2005)
    by
    Daniel B. Wallace,
    Executive Director,
    Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (csntm.org)

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 21, 2014

      Yes, this is another instance in which Dan Wallace completely misunderstands my point, as I think you’ll see if you actually read my discussion of the problem.

  2. Avatar
    prestonp  August 21, 2014

    “…over 90% of the NT is rather well established in regard to its original text, and none of the remaining 10% provides us with data that could lead to any shocking revisions of the Christian credo or doctrine. It is at the very least disingenuous to suggest it does, if not deliberately provocative to say otherwise”.

    Bruce Manning Metzger
    American biblical scholar
    and textual critic,
    professor at Princeton Theological Seminary

    “Ehrman points to the fact that in Matthew’s version of the ignorance saying (cf. Mk. 13.32 to Mt. 24.36) as some sort of proof that Jesus should not be seen as divine, at least in Matthew’s Gospel. We can debate the textual variants, but even if we include ‘not even the Son’ here which is certainly present in Mk. 13.32 it in no way proves that Matthew presents a merely human Jesus. The Emmanuel (God with us Christology) which we find at the beginning and end of this Gospel rules that notion out all together, as do various other texts in Matthew where Jesus presents himself as the Wisdom of God come in the flesh…”

    Daniel B. Wallace,
    Executive Director,
    Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (csntm.org)

    Reading various points of view

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 21, 2014

      Metzger was my teacher, and I agree with his statement. I agree with Wallace that Jesus is divine in Matthew, but not for the reasons he thinks.

      • Avatar
        prestonp  August 21, 2014

        I know. Thought it was interesting that you and Metzger seemingly drifted far apart on some important issues.

        While 85 to 90 percent of the population may have been illiterate where and when Christ grew up, and while Petaus and Ischyrion may have been barely literate, you apparently recognize that as little as 60 years after his death, at least a few, who wrote the new testament, were brilliant. Common sense mandates that very likely they would have insisted on using qualified scribes.

        Don’t forget that something else factored in to the early minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years following the murder of jesus. He was loved.

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  August 22, 2014

          Loving someone is not a guarantee that you will remember his words and deeds accurately, as cognitive psychologists have demonstrated time and again.

          Probalby 97% of Jesus’ world was illiterate. Those who could read and write were the very upper crust of the wealthy elite.

          • Avatar
            prestonp  August 22, 2014

            Loving someone in this case means they were devoted to getting his message out to everyone, everywhere, and to ensure it was accurate. They didn’t love him hoping to get rich. If he was savagely murdered, so could they. They faced real danger being his devotees. Look at what Saul, on his own, was doing and later what Paul faced for his efforts to tell the world.

            Remember, too, your own first love for him.

            3% of 100,000 is 3,000.

      • Avatar
        prestonp  October 3, 2014

        Doesn’t agreeing with Metzger regarding the “90%” contradict the pronouncements you’ve made that the mistakes and contradictions textual critics have found in the n.t. are major, numerous and profound?

        “…over 90% of the NT is rather well established in regard to its original text, and none of the remaining 10% provides us with data that could lead to any shocking revisions of the Christian credo or doctrine. It is at the very least disingenuous to suggest it does, if not deliberately provocative to say otherwise”.

        • Bart
          Bart  October 3, 2014

          Nope. I think you need to read my views (and Metzger’s) more closely to see what they are. Metzger’s comment is unrelated to my discussions of discrepancies in the NT.

  3. Avatar
    prestonp  August 21, 2014

    A tax collector was not necessarily educated; he could simply be the guy who bangs on your door telling you to pay up.
    He would have to handle and read receipts

    And tehre were no members of the Sanhedrin among Jesus’ followers.
    Joe of Arimathea and Nicodemus were not members?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 22, 2014

      Nicodemus is almost certainly a fictional character; Joseph may be as well. But in any event, neither of them (even inthe preserved stories) accompanied Jesus during his ministry.

      • Avatar
        prestonp  August 22, 2014

        Wouldn’t it have been risky to name them as members when it was verifiable?

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  August 23, 2014

          Members of what? Remember, the Gospels were written decades later in a completely different part of the world, to people who for the most part were not alive when the events narrated took place.

          • Avatar
            prestonp  August 27, 2014

            “Remember, the Gospels were written decades later…”

            The gospels reveal words that were spoken and describe events that took place thousands of years ago. As these things unfolded, people began to write about them for their personal reasons, in their diaries, in letters to loved ones near and far. Children would tell their parents what they saw and heard, undoubtedly, which may have become part of the family’s written history. People are people. I cannot imagine that he wasn’t the topic of conversation wherever people gathered. They knew something special was taking place; even the highest ranking officials were familiar with his reputation and were eager to meet him. Why would his followers or anyone else hesitate to make an accurate accounting? Why would they wait? Most likely they didn’t. Repeatedly, they proclaim that what they had heard and seen and handled was the greatest experience known to mankind, their first hand encounter with the creator of all things. Not trying to preach. Trying to make clear that they were motivated, eager, in fact they were bursting to share the most precious thing they’d ever known. Just look at Dr. Bart’s actions as a young man and new believer. Immediately, he shared with those he loved and others what had become so meaningful to him.

      • Avatar
        prestonp  September 6, 2014

        Even if they didn’t follow him on the ground, that wouldn’t disqualify them in any way from being true believers. Whoever wrote that they were members and followers was foolish if he was lying. They weren’t stupid back then. For the writer to say that herod was curious about him, if untrue, was a good way to get killed real quick.

  4. Avatar
    prestonp  August 23, 2014

    Dr. Bart, the names of the members of the Sanhedrin would be on record when Joe and Nick were mentioned as members and as disciples. Whoever included their names in the account we have would have taken a big risk if he lied because the Sanhedrin was viable and what he wrote would have been available.

    If the authors of the accounts of Pilate were lying, even years later, they took a big risk. They could not be certain someone wouldn’t check other sources and they executed people back then for less.

    Sharing the gospel was dangerous from the get go. The accounts we have of the birth of the church are filled with threats, imprisonment and death. They murdered him to rid their world of the threat of genuine spirituality. He said, expect the same.

    They hated me. They will hate you.

    There are too many texts that support this reality.

    To say that none of his disciples was literate is impossible. We don’t know that. It may be a certain probability, fine. But, it cannot be established as a fact. When “criticism” is scrutinized with the same standards with which it examines the n.t. the culture, the politics and customs, etc. of that era, usually the best it can offer is probabilities of probabilities which decrease sharply the possibilities of 100% certainty. For example, 70% of 90% is only 63%.

    “Criticism” should and must be evaluated in the same fashion it is used. It doesn’t hold up, imo.

  5. Avatar
    prestonp  August 25, 2014

    “I have no argument with them. My argument is with the intelligent Christian people who check their intelligence at the door when they enter the church, who think that it makes sense to have a sophisticated view of the world when it comes to their investments, their business practices, their politics, their medical preferences – but not when it comes to their religion.”

    If everyone obeyed the unsophisticated, old fashioned, ancient 10 commandments presented by hebrews of antiquity, our civilization would be totally revolutionized, completely rejuvenated for the good.

  6. Avatar
    prestonp  August 26, 2014

    Much of what was written in the time frame of Christ’s first appearance could be cross-referenced with relatives and others close to those who were intimately involved in his mission.

  7. Avatar
    prestonp  August 27, 2014

    Does anyone care to explain/clarify what an, “infantile religious worldview” is?

  8. Avatar
    prestonp  August 29, 2014

    And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gad’arenes.
    2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

    We think Schwarzenegger is pretty strong. No contest! This guy had superhuman strength and he knows god when he sees him, even if the account is found in the gospel that doesn’t say jesus was divine.

  9. Avatar
    prestonp  August 29, 2014

    Mark doesn’t seem to be trying to cover up christ’s divinity, does he?

    “…she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?” Magic?

    “While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead; why troublest thou the Master any further? 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe…And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Tal’itha cu’mi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, (I say unto thee,) arise. 42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.”

    Was she still alive when this was written about her, or her sister or her children, etc. Additionally, all those who were astonsished knew people and many of them would have kids and grand kids, nephews, nieces and on and on. They could affirm the story or say it was hogwash. The writer had to be aware of that. These kinds of miracles fill the new testament. If criticism claims the synoptic gospels don’t promote his divinity, who was the guy doing all these miraculous deeds? How? Sleight of hand? If criticism uses the synoptic’s omission of his pre-incarnation divinity, it doesn’t take great reasoning skill to understand that by definition, god is eternal, and therefore he must have been divine forever.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 30, 2014

      If you’ve read my recent book, you’ll know that I think Mark does understand Jesus to be divine.

      • Avatar
        prestonp  August 30, 2014

        Thanks Dr. Bart. My understanding of your most recent thoughts on Mark is that he, jesus, doesn’t talk about himself much as divine, rather others make those claims about him. Also, Mark doesn’t establish that he was always divine, as john does, that is, from your point of view.

        Your scholarship is absolutely incredible and much appreciated by many, many from all walks of life and all different beliefs. Amazing, truly amazing.

  10. Avatar
    prestonp  September 3, 2014

    Though a wet behind the ears novice, one thing textual criticism demonstrates to me is that a force outside of man was/is behind the formation of the n.t. In Romans 5, the difference between, “Let us have peace” and “We have peace” for example, is one way of conserving words and space. Rather than finding it troublesome, both meanings are true and applicable. I digress, in a sense. The point is this: the final product, the n.t., just as it is, thoroughly, completely, explains for his purposes, who Christ is, who we are, and the path to redemption.

    Dr., Bart, Christ said, “Be ye perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect”. Doesn’t he mean, be complete? Can’t we say the n.t. is “complete” in the same way, or no?

    I do not think it is possible for human beings to have produced a volume of books and letters, as in the n.t., on our own. This “Volume” has inspired our greatest minds to devote their lives to study it, to analyze it, to dissect it and to devour all pertinent information about the culture, the politics, educational opportunities, the economic status, etc., of those who lived around the time it was written. Why? Who cares? What difference does it make? Folks, it is 2,00 years old! How tough can it be? We think of these ancients as a fairly primitive, unsophisticated bunch of knuckleheads, generally, don’t we? How is it then that they produced this work that is so unique, so convincing and intriguing and controversial and powerful that it has consumed the minds and lives, the energy, of thousands of brilliant men and women. By itself, that is absolutely amazing. No other “Volume” in recorded history is comparable.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  September 3, 2014

      The difference in Romans 5:1 does not involve words and space. It’s a question of one word and it’s spelling — a long o or a short o.

      • Avatar
        prestonp  September 4, 2014

        I meant to say both words are perfectly acceptable, imo. (Just as the n.t. doesn’t provide specific instructions on what we are to do in every particular circumstance we encounter, rather we can rely upon his teachings and him personally, to guide us, can’t we argue that the n.t. gives us everything one needs to engage in a completely mutually satisfying relationship with jesus?) Dr. Bart, I don’t know how to ask that question without sounding like I’m preaching or professing.

        No need to address this next question. I’m still working on it. If people gave names to the various books of the n.t. to try to deceive folks into believing they were authoritative, that doesn’t make them forgeries, if the writers themselves didn’t participate in such a scheme, imo.

  11. Avatar
    prestonp  September 8, 2014


    “Are you asking what “born again” means in the passage in John? There Jesus means that you have to be born from the heavenly realm in the spirit if you hope to see eternal life. The emphasis is not when (“again”) but where (“from above”).” Dr. Bart
    Dr, this was a slip, wasn’t it? “Jesus means…” Because, you believe, “They almost certainly cannot be the actual words of Jesus.”

    The following is confusing:
    “No, just the opposite. I maintain that the NT *does* present Christ as divine.” Dr. Bart

    “My argument is with the intelligent Christian people who check their intelligence at the door when they enter the church, who think that it makes sense to have a sophisticated view of the world when it comes to their investments, their business practices, their politics, their medical preferences – but not when it comes to their religion.” Dr. Bart

    “No, I completely disagree. Intelligent and thoughtful Christians have substantial reason for thinking Jesus is God.” Dr. Bart

    “Can you tell us what a few of those reasons are? Thanks” pp

    Dr. Bart, “Personal experience. Decision to stand within a certain faith tradition. Sense of the meaning of the world.”

    “The Gospel was written 60 years after Jesus’ death. 60 years earlier, a the last supper Jesus had with his disciples, no one was tape-recording or even taking notes on what he said at the meal, so that after six decades someone else could write them down exactly as he said them.” Dr. Bart

    How do we know Jesus had a last supper? Why would he?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  September 8, 2014

      Sorry — this string of comments and questions confuses me. Maybe ask one question at a time and I can address it.

      • Avatar
        prestonp  September 8, 2014

        “Are you asking what “born again” means in the passage in John? There Jesus means that you have to be born from the heavenly realm in the spirit if you hope to see eternal life. The emphasis is not when (“again”) but where (“from above”).” Dr. Bart

        Dr, this was a slip, wasn’t it? (“Jesus means…”) Because, you believe, “They almost certainly cannot be the actual words of Jesus.”

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  September 10, 2014

          No, it wasn’t a slip. I meant “means” in this narrative context. I agree he means “where.” But the point is that Nicodemus thinks he means “when.” That confusion would not have happened if he were speaking Aramaic. And if Jesus were in jerusalem speaking with a another Jewish teacher, they would have been speaking in Aramaic (since that’s what Jesus spoke).

          • Avatar
            prestonp  October 3, 2014

            “No, it wasn’t a slip. I meant “means” in this narrative context. I agree he means “where.” But the point is that Nicodemus thinks he means “when.” That confusion would not have happened if he were speaking Aramaic. And if Jesus were in jerusalem speaking with a another Jewish teacher, they would have been speaking in Aramaic (since that’s what Jesus spoke).” Dr. Bart

            Then, whom did nic ask? Who answered him?

            Critics know this passage is phony because had jesus been speaking to a real jewish teacher in Jerusalem, the two would have spoken Aramaic and in that language a real jewish teacher couldn’t have been confused over the concept of being born-again?

          • Bart
            Bart  October 3, 2014

            I’m not sure what you mean by “phony.” That’s certainly not the category I have ever used for this passage. The problem is that the double meaning of the Greek word ANOTHEN, on which the entire conversatoin is based, cannot be replicated in Aramaic, the language in which they would have been speaking.

          • Avatar
            prestonp  October 13, 2014

            Critics know this passage is phony because had jesus been speaking to a real jewish teacher in Jerusalem, the two would have spoken Aramaic and in that language a real jewish teacher couldn’t have been confused over the concept of being born-again?

            “I’m not sure what you mean by “phony.” That’s certainly not the category I have ever used for this passage.” Dr. Bart

            What it describes never happened so it is phony.

          • Bart
            Bart  October 15, 2014

            Well, maybe that’s your definition of phony. But I don’t use the term.

          • Avatar
            prestonp  October 17, 2014

            Well, maybe that’s your definition of phony. But I don’t use the term.

            What it describes never happened so it is phony.

            it never happened. what describes it?

          • Bart
            Bart  October 17, 2014

            There are lots and lots of true stories that never happened.

      • Avatar
        prestonp  September 9, 2014

        The Gospel was written 60 years after Jesus’ death. 60 years earlier, a the last supper Jesus had with his disciples, no one was tape-recording or even taking notes on what he said at the meal, so that after six decades someone else could write them down exactly as he said them.” Dr. Bart

        How do we know Jesus had a last supper? Why would he?

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  September 9, 2014

          My view is that everyone who dies has had a last supper.

          • Avatar
            prestonp  October 3, 2014

            I know, but he was preparing for his death at that particular meal which happened to be his last, which is exactly what he said, no?

            “My view is that everyone who dies has had a last supper.” Dr. Bart

  12. Avatar
    prestonp  September 8, 2014

    Sorry for not making this clear and I appreciate the time you take to address the many questions asked of you.

    On the one hand, christianity promotes an infantile world view. The n.t. is a forged, thoroughly debunked document. On the other hand, you say, “No, just the opposite. I maintain that the NT *does* present Christ as divine.” And, “My argument is with the intelligent Christian people who check their intelligence at the door when they enter the church, who think that it makes sense to have a sophisticated view of the world when it comes to their investments, their business practices, their politics, their medical preferences – but not when it comes to their religion.” Dr. Bart

    You add,
    “No, I completely disagree. Intelligent and thoughtful Christians have substantial reason for thinking Jesus is God.” Dr. Bart.

    How can intelligent and thoughtful christians have substantial reasons for thinking jesus is god when they check their intelligence at the church’s door?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  September 9, 2014

      You are misreading me. I have never said that Christianity presents an infantile world view. But some Christians do indeed hold an infantile Christian world view. You shouldn’t think that every Christian has the same views or the same level of sophistication.

      • Avatar
        prestonp  October 9, 2014

        Richard Thrift June 2, 2014
        “Child-like” faith is not limited to evangelicals. When I was a Lutheran minister (and a believer) I was oft disheartened in realizing that most (not all but certainly most) of my parishioners had the spiritual understanding of a 13-year-old. That’s the traditional age with most were confirmed…and it also marked the end of their Christian education.

        Bart June 2, 2014
        Good point!

  13. Avatar
    prestonp  October 3, 2014

    1 John 1:1-4 New International Version (NIV)

    1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete.

    More than an hallucination, imo. Much, much more, imo. If we lived back during this episode of history with the exact same set of tools they had and nothing more, what would we have done differently to try to convince others that we had actually experienced god, god, himself, in a human body? They saw him. They heard him. They even touched him.

    • Avatar
      prestonp  October 17, 2014

      That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete.

      how could they see, touch and hear god?

      • Bart
        Bart  October 17, 2014

        For the Johannine community, Christ was a divine being who became human. This passage is opposing those who deny Christ’s humanity.

        • Avatar
          prestonp  October 21, 2014

          “For the Johannine community…” Dr Bart
          To reduce it to that is rewriting the passage.

          “…Christ was a divine being who became human.” Dr Bart
          You are saying this passage was written with this concept in mind?

          “This passage is opposing those who deny Christ’s humanity.” Dr. Bart
          And it is asserting that he is indeed god almighty incarnate. We saw him and heard him and even touched the guy! That’s how recent it has been since he was here. I, who write this to you, even me, am among those with firsthand knowledge of him!

  14. Avatar
    Pattycake1974  October 30, 2015

    I’m not asking for a response or anything. This just helps me stay organized.

    http://pattycake1974.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-religion-of-teenager-vs-beliefs-of.html#links

  15. Avatar
    HawksJ  April 28, 2017

    How is your mom doing? Are you still occasionally visiting Lawrence?

    • Bart
      Bart  April 28, 2017

      Thanks for asking! Two weeks ago we moved her to Kent Ohio to be near my brother, just in time for her 90th birthday!

  16. srsy1037
    srsy1037  August 1, 2020

    Thank you for sharing this to us 🙂

    Now for some reasons my comments on the other blog posts are not getting posted for couple of days now. I am beginning to think that maybe I am typing something that’s been interpreted as silly or offensive of some sort. I apologize if this is the case, it is purely unintentional.. but I am guilty however of trying to add some sense of humor ( but maybe I’m not very good at it, sorry I’m just being my goofy self 😁)

    Anyway, I would like to ask Dr. Ehrman if you had some kind of a prejudice (homophobia, sexism, racism or anti-semithism) when you were a conservative fundamental christian?

    And did you overcome this while you are still or just when you are no longer a believer?

    Thank you Dr. Ehrman

    • Bart
      Bart  August 2, 2020

      I do take two days off a week from posting comments, and so sometimes if you make a comment on a Wednesday it won’t show up till Friday. But yes, I was a homophobe and a sexist on principle whan I was a fundamentalist, and a racist by upbringing. I tried very much not to be the latter, and it was not related to my fundamentalism. I worked hard to establish friendships with African Americans and to treat them equally. But looking back I see that I was as wrapped up in the systemic oppression as everyone else in the system, and not proactive in countering the racist impulses of my environment. On the other two issues, I thought that “homosexuality” was a sin and that women were made to be subservient to men. What a religion fundamentalism is!!

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