Any thoughts on the work by Bart Ehrman, specifically his book “ How Jesus Became God”?

I always enjoy books written about deconstruction. Ive heard of Ehrman mentioned before but mostly by angry fundamentalist who don’t believe that he has anything to contribute. But I’m personally fairly open listening to atheists and agnostics as well.

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I feel the same way. I think every POV can contain something of value. And I’m more invested in getting closer to the truth than I am in selling what I’ve found so far.

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One reason why I like a wide range of outlooks talking about the same thing is because ultimately it will only be beneficial, short of me being convinced of a lie that’s bad enough it results in my life being wasted or destroyed lol.

But the reason why I believe that multiple views on the same subject is beneficial is because typically it results in this.

  1. They agree with me and adds new supporting arguments to my belief.

  2. They disagree with me and while searching it out I learn enough that it results in me changing my views and knowing the subject better.

  3. They disagree with me and either I can already counter their arguments or it’s a new argument that I don’t have a answer to but while digging into it uncover reasons on why they are wrong and have more supporting arguments for my view.

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I like what you’ve said here. It is always good to keep learning and to welcome serious challenges is a healthy attitude to have.

Dr. Ehrman admitted recently to having made an enormous, profound error in his analysis of the NT. After years of stating that the synoptics did not demonstrate that Christ believed He was God, he believes they show exactly that now.
Bart states that Christ wasn’t pro-family. He cites the words of Christ when He described how much his disciples must love him and hate their own flesh and blood, their parents and siblings and children, if they hoped to be his disciples.
He said that all the variances in the bible he writes about don’t change any critical doctrine the church relies upon as essential.
Regarding his conversion and faith in Jesus Christ, Ehrman said, "For me, at the time, it felt like an enormous relief, a lifting of burden, a sense of connecting with the universe in a way I never had before. Very powerful!” “At that point Jesus became not only my Lord and Savior, but also my best friend and closest ally.” “Jesus was my model of self-giving love…”
Bart turned away from his God. He says there is too much evil in the world for there to be a GOD.
I think that isn’t the real reason he left Christ. There was as much evil in the world when he encountered Christ as when he said goodbye to him.

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I haven’t followed Ehrman recently and so can’t speak to your assessment of his faith here.

But I will say this. Anybody who comes away from the gospels thinking that the God of Christ would do anything that no honorable person would do when in possession of all the facts has badly misconstrued the heart of the gospel message. While prooftexting of certain verses that tell us to “hate” our children and spouses can lead to such a simplistic (and wrong) conclusion, the god who would preside over such hatred (construed as a mandate to refuse love to our own family) is not a god that could provide any meaningful salvation to anyone, much less be worthy of worship. Fortunately the scriptures do not teach any such thing.

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Absolutely. Bart has a wonderful, keen mind and a huge amount of knowledge. How he misinterprets something so basic is odd. We are all human and prone to err.

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In my experience from what I’ve read of him and heard on his podcast his opinion is similar to many who believes that the god of the Bible supported sexism, slavery snd so on. Which is common and I’ve seen worries over that brought up here as well and we look at it as hyperbolic war language and to many the idea of a ECT hell is not loving and so on.

I think instead of his book I’ll look more into Unitarian based theology ones. There are definitely other understands to Christ than him being god and even then what that means is different for people. Like I don’t believe in the Trinity and I don’t think Jesus as who he was on earth has existed for all time. I think Jesus came into existence when he was born and so on. But that’s a separate post.

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I think science would conclude that when so many people state they have had the same kind of spiritual awakening Bart describes, there is justification for further research into this “GOD” of theirs.
I have looked and have never found anything like the assertions of Christians. Millions of them exclaim with fervent conviction that their God is real and alive and personal and changed them on the inside.

I definitely don’t believe in a personal relationship with God. No one alive on earth has a personal relationship with God. I have a personal relationship with my fiancée. I can talk to her. I have conversations with her. I can get direct answers from her about anything essentially that I ask her. I have a connection with her that no one else on then planet has.

We don’t have that with God. We don’t know what his favorite food is, his favorite color, or his funniest memory of us. We don’t know what he looks like, how he sounds and ect… we can’t even know 100% he’s real and prove it.

Imagine if I said I have a personal relationship with a woman whose my fiancée. But I can’t tell you what she looks like, sounds like, or tell you any information about them that I did not hear from someone else including a book and if I said I believe she’s most likely real but can’t prove it. Everyone would know I don’t have a personal relationship with her.

This is becoming such a classic stumbling stone, there should be (probably is) a name for it. It is to say that any understanding of God must objectively be equal to the reality of God. Language (even language of scripture faithfully transmitted and translated from the lips of the original apostolic sources) will never be adequate to understanding the entirety of God - and our minds would be incapable of receiving it as such if it was.

“But what of the recorded words of Christ himself?” you may ask. As valuable as those can be and should be to us, they won’t avail - alone - to save us if our focus remains on the uttered rather than the utterer. The gift is not our salvation. The Giver is.

It would not be God if you did. God is not just another member of the universe like your fiancée is. That said, though, I would challenge your assertion that there is no personal relationship to be had. True, you can see, hear, and touch your fiancée in physical ways that you can’t God (and you should probably be thankful that is the case), but you also have access to God (and God you) in ways that no other physical person has. Is your physical fiancée always present to your conscience? Does she know your every deepest thought and know you better than you know yourself? Is she with you every moment of your life whether you are aware of it or not? Can you talk with her any time (even in solitude) - prayer - and know that she hears you? I suggest that you have intimacy with God that no physical human - be they family or not - can rival.

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If the lost message of Jesus is as radical as it is, that everything has to be done in love, then all other considerations, relationships have to come second to that. There are certain things that cannot be endorsed in those we love. Violence of any kind. Any. Cruelty. Abuse of power. We can’t be silent, totally passive in the face of it even. Love comes first. Even for those we love when they fail to love.

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If He tells you what his favorite color is, will you then believe?

…which is not to say that they are sacrificed to that. But they (if they be true) will be truly realized and fulfilled within our relationship to Christ.

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This sounds very much like what I think gives rise to God belief. The only difference being what and where we think God is and how He maintains that intimate knowledge of our experience. I lean toward saying it is because He resides not in the empirical world but in the very experience which He makes possible for us. And I agree with you that imagining God to be just another being such as we can meet or marry gets it wrong.

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Point taken. Is your experience not part of the empirical world, though? At least for you?

I think I know what you mean, though. “Experiential”, by itself, does not satisfy scientific methodologies. God, it seems to me, has historically seen fit to give the most specific kinds of revelations through the former sort [experiential]; but also in general ways can be seen (or the footsteps traced out, anyway) most clearly in recent centuries through the latter [science].

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My thought is that if you are going to read Bart Ehrman’s book, you should also read the book Michael Bird edited, How God Became Jesus.

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Agree with @Christy on Michael Bird–I have not read Ehrman’s book, but I respect Michael Bird (have not read his book either–caveat).

I agree that discussion with folks of other points of view really helps us. Thank God for the New Atheists–looking back to the fundamentalism of my youth, my view of God’s righteousness has improved with their sharp witted criticisms, as well as those thoughtful books by Pete Enns, Rachel Held Evans, Brad Jersak, and many others in response.

That’s still is not personal. No one has a personal relationship with God. No one is closer to him or him closer to them. There is no extra special relationship that anyone here has with Go’s that another does not. We all have the same relationship.

Will o believe what? If God told me his favorite color would I believe that is his favorite color? Yeah. But he won’t and he will not to anyone.

I’m not so sure about that. Relationships are not the same for everyone. How much we can open ourselves up to another depends in part on how much we are open to ourselves and how well we take in what others reveal about themselves.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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