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Ramtha Again: The Question-Answer Session

 

Here is the second part of my talk at the Ramtha School of Enlightenment.   It is a question-answer session that I had with the attendees, and for my money, it was the best, most interesting part of the evening.   Since we had abundant time — well over an hour — I was able to give the questions full, drawn out answers, virtually mini-lectures in themselves, on an enormous range of issues that came up.   The questions dealt with intriguing topics on the whole.  Many of my answers are not what the questioner wanted to hear.   And it is interesting to see what the crowd reaction to my answers was (usually very positive — effusive at times; but it is clear that I am the odd-person-out in this group as, well, you would surely expect!).   At some points I get very personal and talk not just about my scholarship but about my beliefs and understandings of the world.

In any event, I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I enjoyed participating in it.

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Video: Illuminated Manuscripts and Legends about Jesus
Trying Again: More on Ramtha

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    judaswasjames  January 22, 2014

    Bart,

    I watched Part 2 today. It made me sad for you to hear you speak of your rejection of belief in life beyond the physical.

    I can’t help show you the spiritual dimension I know we all have, to help you beyond “Materialism”, as you put it, but I can show you the regional hospital in Beas, India, that my Master Maharaj Charan Singh, commissioned 30 years ago: http://rssb.org/organization.php (click on ‘hospital’) Knowing of your commitment to alleviate suffering, I think you will be much impressed. They treat and put up for FREE, not only patients, but THEIR FAMILIES as well, for the duration. It’s a huge volunteer operation, as is the entire Beas, Punjab Dera Colony operation of some 25,000, supported by 3 million Satsangis worldwide, like myself.

    Notice also that the “kiss” in gPhilip which signifies spirit, is also present in the ‘Betrayal’ in the same function, only INVERTED (Eisenman shows the m.o. of Pauline NT inversion from the Scrolls) to hide James as ‘Judas’. I can put ALL this together in a coherent cause and effect for you. There is so much to see, and I want you to see it all!

    We both started in such similar Evangelical beginnings. Let me show you a Path you might have taken. Suffering is not a ‘problem’. It is an effect. We all make choices, and karma is inexorable. Bu you would need to accept the reality of reincarnation as part of the schema. Without it, nothing makes sense at face value. Release from the physical is the goal. That’s Gnosis. The Masters have it to give to others.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 23, 2014

      Actually, now that I’m a materialist I’m much happier and at peace than when I was a theist.

    • Avatar
      dick.pickett  June 29, 2014

      Bob,

      Are you familiar with David Christopher Lane’s “The Radhasoami Tradition: A Critical History of Guru Successorship”, Garland Publishing, Inc. NY, 1992?

  2. Avatar
    ALIHAYMEG  January 22, 2014

    Stupendous! I really enjoy hearing you speak. Even though a lot of the material is very familiar, there are always little details that come out that I didn’t catch the last time.

    Part of my transition from Christian to…whatever I am now…was through universalism; the belief that ALL people are destined to inherit Heaven, not just those who choose it or say the magic words. I also remember you mentioning in Jesus Interrupted the translational issues surrounding the doctrine of eternal torment and the concept of an aion being a limited period of time…not forever. Does the Bible taken in its entirety support the doctrine of eternal punishment?

  3. Avatar
    rar4433  January 22, 2014

    Listened to it all. Wonderful. Good sense of humor!

    Dr. Ray Rogowski

  4. Avatar
    Wilusa  January 22, 2014

    Terrific! Of course, I especially loved your openness about your own beliefs.

  5. TracyCramer
    TracyCramer  January 22, 2014

    I enjoyed listening not so much for the content of what you had to say, but for the relaxed and playful rapport you had with your audience.

  6. Avatar
    Hank_Z  January 23, 2014

    I was touched by your last answer in which you talked about the way you view the universe and your life. The very positive, thankful response by the audience…who obviously disagreed with your world view…was also moving. Thanks for sharing the video and yourself!

  7. Avatar
    gabilaranjeira  January 23, 2014

    Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed it a lot!

  8. gmatthews
    gmatthews  January 23, 2014

    I’ve never watched any of the other videos you’ve posted because personally I don’t normally have an hour to spend (although in the past I’ve watched a few of your debates on youtube), but I’m really glad I took the time to watch this Q+A. It was very interesting and I’ve changed my opinion of these folks you talked to. They definitely have a good sense of humor. If you’d given that talk in the church I grew up in in SC they’d have ridden you out on a fence post covered in tar and pitch while you prayed to a god you didn’t believe in that no one had a match!

    One thing that’s always made me curious about Gnosticim is how something sooooo complicated could grow out of such a simple message that Jesus taught: love your neighbor. This isn’t a question for you as I know it is a very complicated subject.

    • Avatar
      judaswasjames  January 25, 2014

      I can help with that. I am a practicing gnostic (mystic). It isn’t ‘complicated. It just looks that way! If you want a description of the layers of inner heavens that evidently are there to pass through — all esoteric systems teach of the seven heavens (or five or twelve or 360, depending on how you divide them). It’s all about the Master. Masters come to the world all the time. John 5:35 and 9:4-5 show Jesus taught it. He said himself that his ministry was time-limited: “AS LONG AS I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” After he is dead, he is NOT the Light — someone else (James) takes the torch which he passes.

  9. Avatar
    willow  January 23, 2014

    Question, JWJ: If release from the physical is the goal, why the creation of the physical at all? Why put mankind through such testing even so that he might, or might not, eventually, through the course of many lifetimes, get things right even so that he might finally obtain that ultimate, perfected, spiritual form? How is this not striving for nothing more nor less than self-edification/glorification that becomes but a god, or god, unto itself, and if that be so why the need for one such as God, at all, if our goal is to become but gods unto self?

    Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that I am as much spirit (conscious energy that cannot be ceased but by the giver of it, God. In this I suppose I’m somewhat, but not absolutely, Gnostic) as I am flesh. I believe that my flesh will decay and like all things that rot and fade away I (my flesh) will find my way back to the heavens from which I came and become once again but star stuff that will fall to the ground, over the course of time, and become recreated into what, I do not know, nor do I care. I can but hope it’s something simple, good and beautiful, so that it’s pleasing to all who behold it, and that it never does harm. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Star stuff. The Science of God, that we are coming closer to understanding. If you consider this reincarnation, then so be it. I prefer to refer to it as regeneration.

    But whatever will become of that God-breathed spirit within me if not also to return from whence it came – back to God, where it will go on and He will do with it as He will.

    You’ve made much about your “master” having built a hospital that so well serves the poor, and surely he is to be commended for that; but I ask you, since when are not the wicked also capable of doing good and glorious things? Are good deeds confined to acts of only the righteous? Certainly not! The goodness of man, in my opinion, cannot be measured by what good he does for all to see, but what good he does in secret, for the benefit of others. Show me these things.

    • Avatar
      judaswasjames  January 25, 2014

      How? The Master’s real ‘work’ is within. I can’t “show” anyone. And why are you asking me why is there creation? Master always would say, ask Him yourself when you go within. Worry, if worry you must now, about your meditation. All good flows from that. And it isn’t “selfish” as my Grandma used to tell me, as the idea is to outgrow self, not wallow in it.

      I am not “making much” about the hospital. I just wanted to show Bart, knowing of his interest in charity, the beautiful work that volunteers accomplish from the joy of simply wanting to please their Master. A Master is Word incarnate. That’s what they teach, and it is a beautiful experience, I can assure you. I can tell you how you can see the current one. (Petaluma,CA or Fayetteville, NC, when on tour)

  10. Avatar
    toddfrederick  January 23, 2014

    Bart….I just want you to know that I enjoy these videos that you are presenting very much. This current one is very interesting and the groups seems riveted to what you are saying. My problem is that my ability to stream video is limited due to a very poor wireless internet service, so I often have to watch them in parts when I have a good signal. Please continue showing them.

  11. Avatar
    mediator  January 23, 2014

    Having spent much time with JZ and Ramtha in the 80’s and early 90’s, I can understand your hesitancy about this place. If the current crop of “Ramsters” is like the ones I knew, it is a very educated, affluent, eclectic bunch of thinkers whose heads go in unusual places — places that a disciplined mind like yours probably found discomfiting. (Really, the whole idea of channeling a 30,000 year old warrior defies common sense.) I finally gave up trying to find evidence for his existence, suspended disbelief and looked for the pearls. There were many. Although I chose to disengage and move on, I do not regret a moment of my experience. I found his voice kind, gentle, humorous and very direct.
    What, some ask, didn’t Ramtha try to suck you in to his “cult?” Never. Being a born skeptic, I looked for those times when Ramtha would use his very persuasive personality to control me. It never happened. Instead, his spoke to me about possibilities that included new ways of viewing myself and the world. He helped crack open a rather dull mind. Not a bad thing.
    I was never part of the school; that happened after my departure. I can’t speak for Ramtha’s current teachings. But I hope you were able to experience “The Ram” in person — and I’d love to hear your thoughts about that experience.

  12. Avatar
    Wilusa  January 23, 2014

    I knew I’d have more thoughts later! I’m wondering, did you learn whether these devotees of “Ramtha” also consider themselves Christians? (It doesn’t seem logical – if they believe Ramtha was so important, wouldn’t they think a Jesus who deserved to be considered important in his own right should have known about him?)

    The questions about Mary Magdalene…it seems some of these women have a feminist agenda. Not surprising, given JZ’s claims. But I can never quite “get” it, as applied to Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Many, perhaps most, Christians believe Jesus was God. When these theorists “humanize” him by arguing for a marriage to or relationship with Mary Magdalene, they make him seem less than God. And if people understand him as not being God, why on earth should they *care* whom he was married to, or whether he had children?

    Of course, I’m not convinced Christianity was a great boon to the world. So I – a woman – don’t feel any compulsion to portray women, per se, as having had a greater role in its origin than our known sources suggest.

  13. Avatar
    mary  January 23, 2014

    After hearing your response concerning your Born Again experience, I was wondering, how do you view What is called ” Born Again” ? It seems to be a vague and imprecise description.

    Or is this theology and not History?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 24, 2014

      It’s simply a modern form of evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity, when someone makes a personal commitment to Christ (in my case: “asks him in your heart”) they become a “new person.”

  14. Avatar
    Wilusa  January 23, 2014

    I just want to say, politely, that I don’t think anyone should be trying to use the blog to “convert” anyone else. To *any* belief!

    If a person really wants others to learn about his or her beliefs, the person should just post a link – perhaps, re-post it occasionally.

    • Avatar
      Hank_Z  January 24, 2014

      Wilusa, thanks for posting your request. I totally agree. You found a tactful way to make what I think is a reasonable request of all members.

  15. Avatar
    toddfrederick  January 23, 2014

    Well Bart, God was with me 😀 I was able to stream your Q&A session and it was delightful. What a fantastic group you spoke to…no one was at all nasty !! Quite to the contrary. I loved listening to you speak off-the-cuff and to be so open and honest about your personal life. Without going into any detail, much of what you said also helped me resolve some issues I am having that are similar to your experiences. Please keep posting videos from time to time. Todd

  16. Avatar
    Peter  January 23, 2014

    Bart.

    That was actually quite a good Q+A. Some of your corniest jokes seemed to go down very well, too!!

    A quick question: you mentioned at one point during the talk that the male disciples most likely fled after Jesus was arrested, while some of the females, Mary M amongst them, did not flee since they had nothing to fear from the authorities. I was just wondering is there any historical evidence that Jewish women ever got involved in violent resistance in 1st Century Palestine? For example, is there any evidence that any women were crucified?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 24, 2014

      Great questions. Wish I had great answers. We’ll have to settle for this answer: not that I know of!

  17. Avatar
    Slydog1227  January 24, 2014

    WOW! The last 10 minutes were quite captivating. Thank’s for sharing your personal thoughts. I found myself constantly nodding in agreement. Looks as if they all thoroughly enjoyed it as well. I just don’t get how obviously intelligent folks, as most of your questioners seemed to be and the vast majority of the audience appeared to be, and assuming that age does indeed impart at least a modicum of wisdom, why do you think people accept such extreme and radical explanations as a logical reason for our existence? I don’t think I will ever understand that. I also wanted to thank you for somewhat increasing my understanding of what Gnosticism was/is. I’m still a little perplexed about it, but your explanations of it are the best I have heard so far, and definitely make it quite a bit more understandable. Seriously…thanks again for all you devote to this. It’s helped me answer a lot of question.

  18. Avatar
    webattorney  January 27, 2014

    I must say that the audience was very appreciative and respectful. I don’t know if I am allowed to ask this question here, but I was curious about the range of speaking fees that you receive for your speaking engagements, aside from your air fare (probably business class) and hotel?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 27, 2014

      You can certainly ask! But I prefer to answer privately, if someone is offering me an invitation….

  19. Avatar
    webattorney  January 27, 2014

    I really enjoyed your video presentation in front of the Ramtha audience. You also seemed to have fun. This question popped into my head while listening to your presentation: Did you ever meet or talk with Christopher Hutchinson?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 27, 2014

      I don’t think I’ve heard of him. (Did you mean Christopher Hitchens? I never met him….)

      • Avatar
        webattorney  January 27, 2014

        Sorry. Forgot his name. Yes, Hitchens. I found it funny that organizations would invite him when I didn’t think he was all that qualified in that area, aside from being an atheist. Also, he seemed to me to be too angry to be persuasive. I love his voice and to certain extent, his writing, though.

  20. Avatar
    bbcamerican  June 25, 2015

    Dr. Ehrman,

    I’m only newly a blog member, having read several of your books and watched many Youtube videos before joining this blog, which I think I actually learned about from the very video clip that you linked in this entry. I have found everything that you say and write to be “intellectual manna”, both thought-provoking and mentally sustaining.

    However, your comments regarding the meaning that you have found in your life, in this world, though made off the cuff, were some of the most poignant I have ever heard with regard to living life “well” and treating others “well”. So many are worried about “what will happen after I die” instead of “what am I doing now to make this world a better place.”

    I wish that more people, Christian and non-Christian alike, would live life in a manner according to what Jesus appears to have actually preached. Paraphrase: In preparation of the imminent Kingdom of God, start living a “righteous” life now, in the present. Be kind to one another NOW. Help the sick and the needy NOW. The kingdom is coming (SOON!), but you shouldn’t wait for it to come before doing what is right. Too many wait for the kingdom to come. Which is, unfortunately, why we seem to have developed this strange brand of Capitalist Christianity in the U.S. I still don’t get this one. Methinks it would be easier to reconcile all of the inconsistencies of the Bible than to reconcile capitalism with Jesus. However, this is one miracle that we in the U.S. are able to perform daily, to my astonishment.

    Thanks for doing all of the scholarly “dirty work” so that all of us in the lay public can reap the intellectual rewards!!

    Mike

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