I think he's another religion.

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I think he's another religion.

Postby Petros » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:57 pm

This morning I happened to become cognizant of Bart Ehrman. Allegedly once Christian - by my standards of academic discourse a tad abrasive.

Others aware of him?

A sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHJE7cetkB4
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby ezduzit » Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:52 pm

Good example of an antichrist............
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby Bare_Truth » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:27 pm

ezduzit wrote:Good example of an antichrist............
Ez


Well so long as you said "an antichrist". because I think he is not good enough to merit "the". But he has turned against the religion of his youth and training and is a distroyer of the faith of others. My atheistic agnostic son urged me to read one of his books and it was pretty obvious where the book was going. However it is arguable that he is not of another religion unless you count atheistic humanism as a religion. But what is disturbing is that last I heard he was still a professor of religion. I cannot think of a job he is less suited for. ..... Well, outside of the soviet system where they had an office of superstitions in their bureaucracy.
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby Petros » Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:30 am

I do tend to consider antitheism a religion. It is not clear whether the gentleman is strictly antitheist or just counterchristian - but many do not bother to oppose nonChristian theisms.

As for being professor of religion, in my experience Comp Lit tends not to mention Christianity and there is a big attitude gulf between Black Studies / Women's Studies which describe positively and Holocaust Studies / Religious Studies which describe deploring.

I expect he would fit just fine into most Religious Studies Departments outside seminaries and Bible colleges.
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby ezduzit » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:11 am

Bare_Truth wrote:
ezduzit wrote:Good example of an antichrist............
Ez


Well so long as you said "an antichrist". because I think he is not good enough to merit "the". But he has turned against the religion of his youth and training and is a distroyer of the faith of others. My atheistic agnostic son urged me to read one of his books and it was pretty obvious where the book was going. However it is arguable that he is not of another religion unless you count atheistic humanism as a religion. But what is disturbing is that last I heard he was still a professor of religion. I cannot think of a job he is less suited for. ..... Well, outside of the soviet system where they had an office of superstitions in their bureaucracy.


:like: :like: :like:
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby ezduzit » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:13 am

Petros wrote:I do tend to consider antitheism a religion. It is not clear whether the gentleman is strictly antitheist or just counterchristian - but many do not bother to oppose nonChristian theisms.

As for being professor of religion, in my experience Comp Lit tends not to mention Christianity and there is a big attitude gulf between Black Studies / Women's Studies which describe positively and Holocaust Studies / Religious Studies which describe deploring.

I expect he would fit just fine into most Religious Studies Departments outside seminaries and Bible colleges.


From what I hear he might fit "inside" some Bible colleges and seminaries :(
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby Petros » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:45 am

In these [o tempora! o mores] days I fear you may hAve right.
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby bn2bnude » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:05 am

In my experience (some what limited and very distant), a religious studies professor has to know the material he teaches, not necessarily believe it. Like all of us, their beliefs do show up in the material.

From everything I know, Ehrman had a bunch of influences in his life that were quite "Christian" until he arrived at Princeton. There what he read in the Scriptures and learned in school caused the house of cards he called belief to topple.

So much of Christianity is based upon certainty. We need to make room for doubt.
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby Bare_Truth » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:27 am

bn2bnude wrote:So much of Christianity is based upon certainty. We need to make room for doubt.


bn2bnude, In the interest of clarification,I would like to offer you the opportunity to clarify and reconcile what you mean by the above statement in light of the following:

(Quoted without context for brevity)

Matthew 14:
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Matthew 21:
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

Matthew 11:
23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Luke 12:
29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

Acts 10:
20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

Romans 14:
1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

Romans 14:
23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

1Timothy 2:
8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

I have tried to select the scriptures above on the basis of some form of the word doubt being used as the antithesis of faith. Ephesians 2:8 shows( For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:) faith is an indispensible element of salvation and is in itself a gift from God. Peter walking on the water was undone when he let doubt displace his faith. Nor can we forget "doubting Thomas" whom our Master commanded to "be not faithless, but believing." (John 20:27). Doubt in this sense is the undoing of faith. Also it was the Serpent's tool when, in Eden, he supplanted Adam and Eve's trust in God to get them to doubt that God was being honest with them, and thus seduced them into disobedience.

So when you say we must leave room for doubt, I think you are likely to be misunderstood unless youcan clarify what aspect of doubt is useful and not the "destroyer of faith" which is the gift of God. Clearly one of the meanings of doubt is that it is the antithesis of faith. Your meaning might be clearer if you chose some other word, not likely to be misinterpreted, to express your meaning.
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby jochanaan » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:42 pm

bn2bnude wrote:...So much of Christianity is based upon certainty. We need to make room for doubt.
I agree, but I would substitute "questioning" for "doubt." There are questions that lead us to a deeper and more personal understanding of God, ourselves and humanity; there are also "smart-aleck" questions that, while outwardly scornful, may mask a hunger for the deep truths that "religion" can only hint at. Socrates said that an unexamined life is not a full life, or something of the sort; I would add a parallel statement that an unquestioned faith is hardly faith at all. True faith welcomes questions, for questions are a sign of and vehicle for growth.
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby Bare_Truth » Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:25 pm

jochanaan wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:...So much of Christianity is based upon certainty. We need to make room for doubt.
I agree, but I would substitute "questioning" for "doubt." There are questions that lead us to a deeper and more personal understanding of God, ourselves and humanity; ....

I am much more comfortable with that concept. I believe your approach is much more aligned with what I meant when I said
Bare_Truth wrote:Your meaning might be clearer if you chose some other word, not likely to be misinterpreted, to express your meaning.
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby Petros » Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:34 pm

And growth is the issue. The little child [reference appropriate scripures] and the genuine scientist have this in common - we [I count myself, as apparently Paul did, in both camps] assume there is an answer out there that we may find or be told but do not figure we have arrived. Contrast the sophomore - "fool what finks he's eddicated" - like Ehrman and too many other allegedly educated outputs, who has a stack of cards with markings like Big Bang - Mark of the Beast - random change - Nephilim, such that when one is shifted slightly the whole edifice kabooms, whereupon he replaces it with another fragil stacked card paradigm, till one day he begins to glimpse the beginning of wisdom.

Call it doubt, questioning, skepticism, awareness we don't got it all - terminology aside, we have be able to live with the realization God is not smallenough to sum up pithily.
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby bn2bnude » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:20 pm

Bare_Truth wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:So much of Christianity is based upon certainty. We need to make room for doubt.


I have tried to select the scriptures above on the basis of some form of the word doubt being used as the antithesis of faith. Ephesians 2:8 shows( For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:) faith is an indispensible element of salvation and is in itself a gift from God. Peter walking on the water was undone when he let doubt displace his faith. Nor can we forget "doubting Thomas" whom our Master commanded to "be not faithless, but believing." (John 20:27). Doubt in this sense is the undoing of faith. Also it was the Serpent's tool when, in Eden, he supplanted Adam and Eve's trust in God to get them to doubt that God was being honest with them, and thus seduced them into disobedience.

So when you say we must leave room for doubt, I think you are likely to be misunderstood unless youcan clarify what aspect of doubt is useful and not the "destroyer of faith" which is the gift of God. Clearly one of the meanings of doubt is that it is the antithesis of faith. Your meaning might be clearer if you chose some other word, not likely to be misinterpreted, to express your meaning.

I'll let someone else explain better than I could...
from http://peterrollins.net/2011/11/faith-%3F-certainty-doubt-belief
The word “faith” is a much misunderstood term. In contemporary discourse it often means the act of believing in something that lacks empirical evidence, something that one affirms through intuition, the interpretation of a particular personal experience or the interpretation of a publicly observable phenomenon. However the term, in its more theological sense, has much more in common with a particular way of living.

It could be said to be an act of protest against the type of philosophy that Paul condemned in the Bible. The philosophical wisdom tradition has always been deeply marked by the idea that life simply is and that we should not impose meaning on it. While we tend to experience certain people as special and invest particular activities with significance (e.g. eating with someone we love) such a view claims that people are just people, that the meaning we see in the world is something we impose upon it and that the universe is simply made up of uniform particles (or vibrations etc.) occupying locations in space and time.

To speak of faith is to refer to a protest against such wisdom. What is important to bear in mind however is that this protest does not necessarily disagree with such a position any more than it agrees with it. To live in faith is to live as though the world has meaning, as if matter is special, as if what we do is significant. It has then nothing to do with belief, doubt or certainty but rather with a particular mode of living as-if.
Some theologians thus use the word “faithing” rather than “believing” to get to the heart of what Paul meant when he spoke of how we approach the divine. In this reading we are not believers but rather faithers. The notion of believers or unbelievers thus falls away in light of the question as to whether we are faithers or unfaithers. In other words, whether we engage with the world as infused with meaning, wonder, enchantment, mystery, divinity and beauty, or whether we don’t. It refers to a way of participating with reality in a different way, not believing an alternative mythology.

Faith thus exists in a different register to the categories of belief, doubt and certainty. It exposes the implicit impotence of these categories when applied to the event of Christ. To have faith is to see differently. Indeed the word “mystic” might be appropriate here as the term suggests closing ones eyes in order to see. The person of faith metaphorically closes their eyes to the wisdom that sees the world as without significance in order to see it as saturated with significance.

This is not however something we can muster up; we can’t simply tell ourselves to see the world in this way, it requires being taken up in love. To grasp this take a moment to think about how those who love the world cant help but experience it as meaningful even if they believe that it is not. Just as those who do not love cannot help but experience the world as meaningless even if they believe that it is in fact meaningful.

Faith then is the experience of being taken up in the experience of meaning, of feeling the world to be wonderful, the other as sublime and our neighbour as worth dying for. We cannot will such a way of engaging with the world into being, at best we can invite it, hope for it, wait for it, pray and weep for it.


as well as this video: http://vimeo.com/21173158 (can't get it to work as a video).

By the way, he pronounces doubt "diet"
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby Bare_Truth » Sat Jul 26, 2014 5:53 am

bn2bnude wrote:I'll let someone else explain better than I could...
If the cited text and the video are a better explanation then I think it a lost cause. There are formulas for assessing a "fog factor" in such things based on the number of syllables per word and the frequency of words with many syllables and the number of jargon words specific to a particular viewpoint. I do not have any of these formulas at hand at the moment but both cited sources cited would surely qualify for high fog factors. The fact that the speaker in the video speaks as fast as a used car salesman and layered on top of that is his thick Irish brogue merely makes matter worse. Both the sources are the sort of thing that one can read or listen to and come away with about any understanding that they want, because the whole lot of it is baffle gab. So if that is the better explanation I suppose I will just have to give it a shrug and move on. To quote a movie line, "What we have here is a failure to communicate".
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Re: I think he's another religion.

Postby bn2bnude » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:53 am

Bare_Truth wrote:
bn2bnude wrote:I'll let someone else explain better than I could...
If the cited text and the video are a better explanation then I think it a lost cause. There are formulas for assessing a "fog factor" in such things based on the number of syllables per word and the frequency of words with many syllables and the number of jargon words specific to a particular viewpoint. I do not have any of these formulas at hand at the moment but both cited sources cited would surely qualify for high fog factors. The fact that the speaker in the video speaks as fast as a used car salesman and layered on top of that is his thick Irish brogue merely makes matter worse. Both the sources are the sort of thing that one can read or listen to and come away with about any understanding that they want, because the whole lot of it is baffle gab. So if that is the better explanation I suppose I will just have to give it a shrug and move on. To quote a movie line, "What we have here is a failure to communicate".

:::shrug:::

While I think "questioning" is probably as good an phrase as some will be able to accept, the word I mean is doubt. While there are similarities between the two, I believe doubt drives down to the core.

The "Church Culture" we live in, however, doubt, as you pointed out, is an undesirable word. Certainty, on the other hand, is long heralded as the state we should live in.

We are so inundated with people selling certainty -- "If you died tonight where would you spend eternity". It appeals to the gnostic in all of us... "I KNOW I'm going to heaven". What happens when your mom gets cancer, however, or your fired from your job or you loose your house to a wild fire. Why do bad things happen to good people? The answer from those how pedal certainty is often "God has a plan" or "God must want your mom in Heaven" (if so, why did she have to suffer to get there? He must not have really loved her!)....

Faith and Certainty are, however, two different things. About the only thing I'm certain of anymore is that God loves the world (including me) and that there are forces out there combatting that love. While I enjoy secular disciplines prove out the Bible (archeology, biology, etc), it no longer plays to my sense of certainty.

I suspect the problem Ehrman had (pulling us back on topic) from reading and hearing from him is this. He came from a background where certainty was a virtue. Inerrancy of the Bible was one of his beliefs. The problem is the Bible was never meant to be considered inerrant (in my opinion). That is reading with western eyes. It was meant to tell the story of God's rescue mission.

For instance, how do you reconcile these two verses in Proverbs:
Proverbs 26:4-5 wrote:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

When you start seeing all the places in the Bible that the story being told doesn't match the beliefs your are told to be certain about (and yes, there are plenty) you have two choices -- continue on, embracing the doubt that was introduced or give it all up. Ehrman gave it all up.
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