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Who Is The Enemy?

This will be a very personal post, about being an enemy of the Christian faith.

I’ve long been amazed, surprised, and perplexed about how, when it comes to religion, comments made in one context are completely non-problematic but when the (exact) same comments are made in another context, they are heinous and threatening.   Some of it almost certainly has to do with tone and general attitude.  But I wonder if it isn’t actually much broader than that.

One of the ways I’ve seen this over the years is in the use of humor.  When I was a conservative evangelical Christian at Moody Bible Institute there were all sorts of jokes we would tell about the faith or about our commitments or communities:  just about Moody, we would call it Moody Instant Bibletute; or say we went to Moody, where Bible is our middle name.  Or someone would say (with respect to the view that the “rapture” would occur prior to, not after, the millennium – something we were very big on indeed!) that he was so pre-millennial that he wouldn’t eat Post Toasties.

We all thought that kind of corny humor was funny.  But when later in life I would say the exact same things, evangelicals found them highly offensive.

OK, maybe I’m not so amazed, surprised, and perplexed about it.  Context changes everything.   What is self-deprecating humor on the lips of one person can be a malicious attack on the lips of another.  Same words, different speaker.

The issue keeps coming to mind these days, in a variety of ways.  Recently, as you know, I’ve been posting on the issue of whether the book of James could be a forgery.   “Forgery” is a word that most New Testament scholars really don’t like.  They think it is crass and in your face and hopelessly negative, and so, typically, they completely avoid it, either preferring a term they consider to be more neutral (e.g., “pseudepigraphon.”  Who would take offense at *that*, when no one knows that it means?) or claiming that in fact in the ancient world people didn’t think the phenomenon (an author falsely claiming to be a famous person) was deceitful – or in fact that no one in the ancient world was in fact deceived.

I think that’s completely wrong.  Ancient authors talked about the phenomenon and they consistently disapproved of it, and often said nasty things about it.   For me, if someone today were to publish a novel claiming to be Stephen King, when in fact he was Herman Schmidt, we would call it a forgery.   Why not when someone named Samuel from Antioch claimed to be James of Jerusalem?   It’s true, writing conventions were different then, and there was no such thing as copyright or legal proscriptions etc etc.  I go into all that in my books.  But the phenomenon was seen in a very similar light in antiquity.  It was wrong to call yourself by someone else’s name in order to promote your writing for one reason or another.

The other interesting thing is that when modern people hear about such ancient forgeries, they have different reactions to it.   My sense is that most readers of the blog would say that if a book is forged then Christians are flippin *crazy* to think it could be inspired by God.

This will strike many of you as weird, but I myself don’t agree.  As you know, I don’t believe in God, so it’s not that I think such a book actually *is* or *could be* inspired by God (God can’t inspire a book if he doesn’t exist…).  But I used to believe in God, and as a scholar I certainly believed, even back then, that a number of the books in the New Testament were not actually written by their alleged authors, that the person who wrote 1 Timothy claiming to be Paul was not really Paul, or the author claiming to be Peter in 2 Peter was not really Peter, e.g.  But I still thought that they were the inspired word of God.

How could that be?   I remember what my great teacher, one of the great biblical scholars of the twentieth century, Bruce Metzger used to say.  He was himself very conservative in many ways, and a highly committed and pious believer.   But he was also a learned scholar.  He didn’t accept all the findings of “liberal” biblical scholars, at all.  But there were times where he too had to admit that there were problems with the Bible.  He agreed that there was almost no way Peter actually wrote 2 Peter.  And he thought that the creation stories of Genesis 1-3 were “myths.”  He would use the word.  But he still thought they were Scripture, revelations from God.

And when his conservative students would object to him calling the creation story a “myth,” since it was in the Bible, Metzger’s reply was always: “Who says God can’t inspire a myth”?

I still rather like that.  Why *can’t* God inspire a forgery?  I certainly don’t think he does, since I don’t think he exists; but when I did think he existed I thought he had inspired forgeries.  So it’s certainly possible to believe he did.  (I mean empirically, it’s *proven* that it’s possible to believe it, because some people do!)

And so I’m back to why a view is acceptable in one context and not in another:  the view that there are pseudepigrapha in the New Testament was completely acceptable to those of us being trained as biblical theologians and ministers at Princeton Theological Seminary, but completely Verbotten at Moody Bible Institute.

And so the personal question that I struggle with a good deal.  OK, this is really highly personal, it’s just me.   But I often feel sad about being seen as an “enemy” of the Christian faith.   People tell me I am all the time – both people who despise me and people who are rooting me on.   Yet the views I put out there for public scrutiny are almost NEVER things that I’ve come up with myself, that I’ve dreamt up, that I’m trying to push on others with no evidence or argument – just crazy liberal ideas I’ve come up with to lead people away from the faith.

So why am I an enemy?

Of course I know why, and my views were given additional support last week, at the international meeting of New Testament scholars I attended in Marburg.  I was talking with a German scholar about advanced training in biblical studies in Germany these days, and he told me that in German theological schools (in his experience), students simply are not as a rule very interested in the historical study of the New Testament per.  The kinds of historical issues we deal with on the blog are simply not pressing matters for them.  These are not why they are in theological training, either to teach or to minister in churches.

Instead, he indicated, the ONE question / issue that most of these students have is:  “How can I be Christian in this increasingly secular world?”

Of course they are interested in historical knowledge – but it’s not what’s driving them.  Instead it is an existential question about faith.  That makes so much sense.  It is what was driving me at that stage too.   But when this fellow scholar told me that, I realized even more clearly why I get so much opposition, even in some learned circles.

Most of the people who are in the business of studying the Bible are committed to faith.  That’s what generates their interest.  And these days it is very hard.  Christians are under attack.   From science, from philosophy, from the neo-atheists, from a society/culture that increasingly doesn’t care.   And the problem with someone like me is that I’m not helping the cause.  On the contrary, I’m not just someone from the outside taking potshots at this faith.  I’m someone who came from within it, and left it, with good reasons, and who argues views that are taken by people in the wider culture to be “evidence” that the faith has no good rational basis.  Even though I disagree with that assessment (since I know full well that people can be devout believers but still agree with everything I say) (not that anyone agrees with everything I say) (sometimes *I* don’t agree with everything I say…) – even though I disagree with that assessment, I get it.

Christians – even Christian scholars – want to cling on to their faith, to cherish it, and promote it, and what they see as negative assaults on the basis of their faith is threatening, especially – this is the key point – if it comes from someone who is *outside* the community of faith but who used to be inside it and understands the views of those who are still inside it extremely well, but who now rejects these views.  And says things that can lead others to reject them as well.

So no wonder I’m the enemy.  As we all say these days: duh.


Learning New Things
My Current Research Projects, 7/2019

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    Brand3000  August 9, 2019

    Dr. Ehrman,

    You do an excellent job of handling the material as an objective historian, and you are willing to acknowledge certain facts per the evidence. We need checks and balances in the field if we hope to arrive at the truth. If there are apologists out there who are saying negative things, they may be being disingenuous because apologists often quote you when they are looking for a reputable scholar who is not merely ‘singing to the choir’ so to speak. As far as your other point; on things that were once light and humorous, now being ‘offensive,’ some of that seems to be linked to the wider, now ultra-P.C. culture that most overwhelmingly claim to detest, yet it continues to devour.

  2. Avatar
    Brittonp  August 9, 2019

    The mentality that “you’re either with us, or against us” doesn’t leave much room for anything in between.

  3. Lev
    Lev  August 9, 2019

    Interesting reflections – especially in this current climate of “alternative facts” where truth is constantly under assault.

    “what they see as negative assaults on the basis of their faith is threatening”

    I’ve noticed this too. I’m a liberal Christian which means I accept as a given that everyone will have their views and opinions, and they will differ with my own. I don’t feel threatened with other people’s views, instead, I enjoy discussing and debating them – hey, I might learn something!

    This is one of the reasons I enjoy this blog so much. We differ a great deal in our views, but I really appreciate and enjoy discussing our differences – and hey, I’ve learned many things here and have occasionally changed my mind.

    What I find disturbing is when I get very hostile and angry reactions from other Christians when I express views that differ with theirs.

    A couple of years ago I was at a dinner party with a bunch of friends from my old evangelical days. They remain evangelicals, but I’ve moved on. We (mostly) get on very well, but at this one dinner I was casually explaining some of the research I was doing into the opening chapters of Matthew and Luke and said I found some evidence that suggests these weren’t original and that (in my view) Jesus was probably not born of a virgin.

    One of the guests next to me immediately exclaimed: “But why would you want to make Jesus to be less than he is?!” (I’ve resisted using upper caps, but it deserved it). The room fell silent as I tried to awkwardly explain that wasn’t my intention. She was extremely angry with me and I soon left – never to be invited back again (she’s still mad with me).

    I thought long and hard about that episode, and whether I should keep my mouth shut in future. In the end, I came to an inescapable conclusion: the reason she was so angry was that she felt her faith was threatened by my opinions, and the reason she felt threatened was that her faith was weak.

    I now appreciate why you open your public lectures with words to the effect of “These are my learned opinions, but you must think for yourself.” If only everyone would take these words seriously.

  4. Avatar
    Fernando Peregrin Gutierrez  August 9, 2019

    I don’t think the problem is whether God can inspire a myth or a forgery. The problem lies in the lack of knowledge in general about the stablishment of the biblical canon, both of Catholics and Protestants.
    The proof of the divine inspiration of a text is based, in reality, only on whether or not such text is included in the biblical canon. If it is, then it automatically becomes the Word of God (or more modestly, the Word inspired by God).
    For example, the Catholic Church defined as faith dogma the divine inspiration of the books included in the canon in the Council of Trent, which was ratified in the Vatican Council I:
    “These books of the Old and New Testaments, complete with all their parts, as listed in the decree of the same Council [of Trent], and contained in the ancient Latin edition Vulgate, must be received as sacred and canonical” ( DS 3006).
    The question to be asked to Christians is whether in the days of the promulgation of the canon (both Catholic and Protestant) it had been known, with the very high probability of that being true that we have today that, for example, Paul did not write 1 and 2 Timothy or Titus, or that John is not the author of the Gospel of John and so many and so many that we know are a forgery, these books would now be part of the biblical canon and therefore, would be considered Word of God (or inspired by God).
    If we analyze the criteria of canonicality both Catholic and Protestant, the only conclusion we can reach is that these books are not the Word of God or inspired by God.
    Therefore, the fact that a text is considered inspired by God basically depends on historical circumstances and accidents, whose analysis and study must always be a matter of historiography and not of theology.

  5. Avatar
    godspell  August 9, 2019

    Of course, Bart, one must remember that it has not only been the religious who throw (thankfully metaphorical) stones at you.

    https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/10134

    Were any of those German theological students that rude?

    I don’t think there’s anything about atheism that compels people to be impolite, but at times it does seem that certain personalities gravitate towards it disproportionately–people who enjoy slaughtering sacred cows, get a sense of (sometimes unmerited) intellectual superiority from it.

    It’s not disbelief that’s the problem (most people have doubts about religious claims), but POSITIVE disbelief, the desire to attack those who believe things you don’t, to create a world where everybody believes or disbelieves as you do. Voltaire wanted to ‘erase the infamy’–he also viciously attacked Jews as a group, creating a permanent blot on his noble legacy. It came from exactly the same place inside of him. Polemicsts are polemical. Satirists can’t live without targets.

    Attacking those who are different is an effective way to build support, get people on your side, tighten the ranks–seeing a lot of that now. Christians were no different when their numbers were on the increase. Nobody is all that different, really. Some people are just more tolerant than others. Or more decent. Or maybe just not so concerned with convincing everybody that they and they alone have the truth.

    Which is a lie, no matter who says it. The ideal is that we learn from each other, but we’re still very tribal creatures–only in a globalized society, we’re having a harder and harder time figuring out where our tribe is. Hence fundamentalist religion. Hence fundamentalist atheism. Hence fundamentalist everything. Doubts become the enemy, and the infamy must be erased.

  6. Avatar
    doug  August 9, 2019

    Some conservative Christians may think that we are leading people into eternal torture in hell by the God of perfect love. Seriously.

    • Avatar
      godspell  August 11, 2019

      And some atheists think joining with like-minded theists to achieve shared goals is treason. I read about an atheist convention that basically fell apart over this issue. There are conservative and even reactionary atheists, and there are very progressive Jews and Christians and Muslims–so why shouldn’t progressive atheist work with them? Shouldn’t it be about shared goals in the real world? No, said a lot of people there, it should only be about getting rid of all religion, and screw shared goals. If you believe in God, I’m better than you, and we can’t work together unless you admit I’m right. Not how all or even most atheists think, but of course the vast majority of Christians aren’t fundamentalists, and religion is a deeply progressive force in society on many issues.

      Changing beliefs doesn’t change who you are. Just forming atheist groups means you are forming a religion, whether you call it that or not. Trying to evangelize, proselytize for your position does that as well, and what else would you call it? But tell an atheist this, and he almost invariably blows up at you. (And it’s almost always a he. Western atheism is patriarchal as all hell, with every single major spokesperson for it being white and male.)

  7. Avatar
    Kavsor  August 9, 2019

    In no way it is my intention to praise you to your face dr. Ehrman but in order to make a point I do need to say something about you. Having read all the books you have written for layman, listened to all your lectures on historical Jesus and bible from 90s (I guess) and onwards over and over at archive.org , watched everyone of your debates on internet and followed you on your blog for couple of years , it is obvious to me that it is your expertise and your vast knowledge, your razor sharp debating skills that have won you many debates (if not all) and you have subsequently made some ”enemies” along the way. However I am not sure if that captures the entire story. There is something about you that makes it very difficult to dislike you even when you are at the podium dismantling what people have believed all their lives. When people listen to you but don’t want to agree with you and at the same time can’t poke holes in your arguments, they search for character flaws in you. If they can’t defeat you logically and rationally perhaps then they could dismiss you emotionally. They scrutinize your conduct. Unfortunately for them your conduct is always impeccable. you are always very respectful of people who disagree with you, of course you attack ideas , but not people, you don’t ridicule and don’t gloat. As far as I know nobody has ever communicated facts about jesus and christianity so skillfully and eloquently as you and yet to say a derogatory word on the subject. You seem respectful of Jesus no matter who or what you think he was. You are genuinely modest despite your well known academic credentials, you show just the right amount of empathy without being condenscending.
    Who likes these aspiring qualities in an opponent? They should belong to the home team not to the other team. Therefore dr. Ehrman your expertise together with your decency, integrity, compassion and great sense of humor make you not just an enemy but a formidable one and you only have yourself to blame.

  8. Avatar
    flshrP  August 9, 2019

    All of these conflicted, believing Christians who you mention have one thing in common: fear. These individuals have not reasoned their way out of the primal fear that burdens all humans: namely, fear of non-existence, i.e. that there is no afterlife, that there is no immortal soul, and that death is final. They are skeptical about some secular things, but the primal fear prevents them from being skeptical about their Christian faith (i.e. their beliefs that are unsupported by evidence). Their religious beliefs include belief that skepticism is sinful and that apostasy is the unforgiveable sin–religion’s ultimate defense mechanism against the wayward believer, namely fear of eternal punishment.

    These true believers are trapped in this Christian fantasyland by self-erected walls of fantasy and fear that have been built by years of religious indoctrination. What you are experiencing is another facet of their fear–fear that their beliefs will be contaminated by your writings. As you say: it is what it is. Continued interaction with these Christian zombies eventually will be hazardous to your mental and emotional well-being.

  9. Avatar
    ksgm34  August 9, 2019

    Interesting post! How far would you agree with Jason Long?:

    “A dispassionate outlook is an indispensable necessity when in search of the truth. Religious scholars who began as religious believers lack this critical component…
    People who have an interest in pursuing a career in Christianity are undoubtedly those who have already been indoctrinated with the importance of it. If they believe in Christianity ardently enough to pursue a career from it, they are unquestionably more likely to interpret evidence so that it is favorable to their preconceived notions. So it should come as no surprise that the vast majority of experts in any religion believe in the very religion that they study… The opinions of these authorities, who began with a certain conclusion instead of analyzing the evidence to reach that conclusion, cannot be trusted merely because they are authorities. Conclusions based upon evidence are important. Conclusions based upon evidence that has been interpreted to support an a priori assumption are not. For these reasons, I put little stock in the opinions of people who began studying Christianity years after they settled on the existence of a talking donkey.
    If an intelligent, rational group of people who were never exposed to the idea of religion were asked to become experts in the history of the ancient Near East, the unanimous consensus of the group would be that the Bible is bunk.”

  10. Avatar
    Lostallfaith  August 9, 2019

    I recently read the term “deconstruction” used to describe the slow, learned process of letting go of one’s Christianity. I want to thank you Dr. Ehrman for your books, blogs and podcasts. You have made my “deconstruction” less painful and very enlightening over the past 5 years. I am still fascinated by the Bible, but now can read it with an open, questioning mind.

  11. Avatar
    Apocryphile  August 9, 2019

    I have trouble understanding how it’s possible someone can be a legitimate scholar of Early Christianity, yet still believe in the standard tenets of the faith, such as the divinity of Jesus, the Resurrection, the coming again on the clouds of heaven to judge the living and the dead, etc. I can understand their interest, just not their angle of approach. I guess the answer ultimately is that Christianity means, and has always meant, different things to different people.

    (Hopefully not too much off topic): belief in God, or in the possibility of some vaster intelligence or consciousness behind the universe, is another matter. Our universe’s fine-tuning is impossible to explain scientifically without recourse to a multiverse scenario of some sort (which may well be the case – there are other, albeit indirect, lines of evidence for this). Just as a matter of logic, the only other options are to either simply accept our universe as a brute fact, or else entertain some sort of god hypothesis. This “god” obviously wouldn’t be the biblical version many may imagine, nor probably any other version in any other human religion, but would still nevertheless be a vast intelligence capable of, and responsible for, creating the universe we find ourselves in. It is what it is. To quote Jon Snow in an episode of Game of Thrones: “What kind of god would do something like that?” (Melisandre to Jon): “The one we’ve got.”

  12. Avatar
    anvikshiki  August 9, 2019

    I am not a theist either. But I often wonder whether American Christian fundamentalists really reflect deeply about what words like “faith” and “inspiration” mean. If they accept the Pauline idea of faith, then it is belief that is secure even in the absence of evidence, not belief that is threatened by a lack of evidence. “Inspiration” seems to mean to be moved or motivated by or filled with the spirit of something, not necessarily to be free of all error or always literally true. A person might be inspired by God to help the poor and visit the sick, but that doesn’t mean they never make any mistakes. According to Christian faith, didn’t God stay loyal to Israel regardless of how often Israel erred, and didn’t God, in order to redeem human folly, completely enter the limited human condition? If so, then what need is there for the fundamentalist to be so afraid of a lack of evidence and human error? So what if Gospel writers got some things wrong and changed or embellished some of their stories? So what if authors of early Christian books sometimes claimed to be someone they weren’t just to ensure their books would be read? It worked, didn’t it–haven’t those very books have been held sacred for two thousand years? It’s like saying all American political ideals are worthless just because one finds out Washington never chopped down a tree and Honest Abe wasn’t as honest as people writing his eulogies made him out to be. If problems like that alone threaten one’s foundations, then maybe the problem is not that there is too much faith, but not enough.

  13. Avatar
    lutherh  August 9, 2019

    Regarding the possibility of a god inspiring forgeries, I don’t think it’s the same as inspiring myths: if you are starting from the position of this god as THE moral authority, then I think it follows he couldn’t/wouldn’t inspire lying, especially in something as central as his word–the only way by which people can interact with him, barring a return to miraculous appearances–on Earth. (“Believe the truth of my word as told by this liar…”) A myth presumably could or would be understood as a myth; a song, a song; a parable, a parable. A forgery? Not so much.

    But the substance of the post rings very true.

  14. Avatar
    Maciej Owczarzak  August 9, 2019

    Dr. Ehrman
    I was reading Origen’s Against Celsus and I’ve noticed a strange passage:
    “Paul, a genuine disciple of Jesus, says that he regarded this
    James as a brother of the Lord, not so much on account of their relationship by blood, or of their being brought up together, as because of his virtue and doctrine”

    So Origen didn’t regard James as Jesus’s brother in flesh? Seems like he is reading galatians 1:19 the same way that mythicists do, or am I misreading it somehow?
    I’ve never heard mythicists using this as an argument so im wondering.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 11, 2019

      I don’t think Origen is saying that James is *not* Jesus’ blood brother. He’s saying that what matters most for him being “brother” is his close relationship. It’s like my saying, “That’s not my wife; that’s my *soulmate*” It doesn’t mean she’s not also my wife. See what I mean?

  15. fefferdan
    fefferdan  August 9, 2019

    Bart, one of the things that makes you a great teacher is that your love for your subject shines through, even though you’ve left behind your former faith. Many believers and doubters alike appreciate this. And God once told a friend of mine that atheists and agnostics have a special place in her heart.

  16. Avatar
    ksgm34  August 9, 2019

    Sorry, another question from me – are students at conservative institutions/ seminaries exposed to “liberal” scholarship (on forgeries or anything else) as part of their education but taught to discount it, or are they not taught it at all?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 11, 2019

      In most places they are taught what the liberals say and why they are wrong.

      • Avatar
        Fernando Peregrin Gutierrez  August 11, 2019

        Bart,
        Why “fundamentalist” Christians – calling them conservatives is a euphemism – pejoratively call “liberals” to those scholars and experts in the Bible, their history and manuscripts, when they do not support the absurd assumption of the inerrancy of the Bible — which in realitity, more than an absurdity, is a joke in bad taste — or that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God, being so that these so-called liberals are those who use with all property precisely the great gifts supposedly given, according to the Christian faith, to humanity by the Holy Spirit, wich are: the search for truth, critical thinking and intellectual honesty?
        That, Deo Gratias!, is typical of American evangelism. Little or none of that is seen in Europe (Catholic or Protestant), where there is not, save for a few and partial exceptions, the idolatry of the Bible. Nor in Latin America, despite the rise of a circus and amusement park Pentecostalism, because in that part of the American continent the supposed evangelical intellectuals only copy, badly and without any rigor, of what is published and preached in the United States.

  17. Avatar
    rburos  August 9, 2019

    Outsiders don’t get to say what insiders say, which has been true for as long as I can remember. I do believe you have an additional rock in your rucksack in that you are very popular, and that simply makes you the target–it’s the price of being number one. It’s similar to listening to conservative pundits complaining about Rush Limbaugh (even though they say the same things he does).

  18. Avatar
    Hngerhman  August 10, 2019

    Dr Ehrman –

    Very few people want to hear their most cherished beliefs are rooted in error. I know I don’t, even when I actively work at trying to listen dispassionately to the counter-evidence.

    Curious if you were to stratify the complaints, what rough proportion would be from:
    – Protestant vs non-Protestant
    – Inerrantist vs non-Inerrantist
    – Evangelical vs Mainline

    For recognizing that average organism population traits change over time by natural selection, Darwin has been pilloried as public enemy number one within certain factions of religious conservatism. Outside physics, no other scientific theory has been so overwhelmingly reconfirmed by the data, and yet evolution by natural selection is dismissed by huge swaths of people.

    If literally the entire history of life on our planet can be rejected with emotion on the basis of ill-fit with cherished religious beliefs, then dismissing the fact that Mark and John have Jesus die on different days is a cake walk. And it hits closer to home, because the threat is from within the house.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 11, 2019

      Protestant, inerrantist, evangelicals are the most frequent; but others get in on the fun as well.

  19. Avatar
    Bewilderbeast  August 10, 2019

    I can’t agree that “Christians are under attack.” New evidence and new candid-ness has exposed Christianity. That’s all. There’ll be better analogies, but here’s a quick one: Newspaper readers are reducing in number because many of us are finding our news on the internet, not because they’re “under attack.” FEELING as if you’re “under attack” does not mean you ARE under attack, and honest Christians should see that. I personally think that this dishonest description is deliberately used by people who object to their ideas and myths – and yes, lies – being questioned.
    In fact I believe the whole “crisis of Christianity” is because of dishonesty. It’s getting harder to deny reality and evidence and harder to get people to simply nod when they say things without evidence.
    And its bringing out the worst – the “Burn-them-at-the-stake”, “Start a new Crusade” worst in some Christians.
    When people who always believed prayer cured disease discover antibiotics which do cure disease, they need to re-think their beliefs, not kill the doctor or the pharmacist.

    • Avatar
      Pattycake1974  August 11, 2019

      I think you’re being very hard on Christians. There may be certain belief systems difficult to deal with which exist within the faith, but generally speaking, I don’t see what’s so bad about them. Christians do a lot of good in this world. Churches in my area offer free meals all the time and would never turn away someone who’s hungry. A church just a few miles from me has a huge community outreach that includes a back to school program for school supplies, a fall festival with food and games, widow care that includes car and house repairs, a halfway house for women, divorce care, along with other outreach programs….it’s been around for years and it’s all free. The outreach at Christmas time for children is a huge deal around here as well. The church is so involved with the community, that without it, would be the detriment of many. It’s wealthy and conservative—not the stereotype we’re used to hearing about!

      I don’t believe they’re knee-deep in lies and myths any more than anybody else in this world. If they were denying reality, they wouldn’t be striving so much to serve the community.

      Christians aren’t being attacked physically but instead with the negative rhetoric they deal with on a regular basis, especially on social media.

  20. Avatar
    jscheller  August 10, 2019

    I agree with Albert Hodges’ comment above. I am a pastor in a mainline Christian denomination and I believe in Jesus Christ as Lord. I in no way regard you as an enemy. In fact, I consider you a valuable resource. I trust you more than scholars of the faith and scholars opposed to the faith because you strive to be non-partisan in dispensing your knowledge. Of course, that won’t be appreciated by people who view scripture as the fourth person in the Godhead. Although I believe in the inspiration of scripture that isn’t a blanket statement that covers all scripture – each book must be evaluated on its own terms. And even what I consider inspired is not free from the human mind that may have been inspired but I doubt was possessed. I think anyone who is committed to a search for truth will always have antagonists – from within and without. Keep up the good work!

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