The enigmatic Bart Ehrman

Dr. Bart Ehrman is probably one of the most influential Bible scholars for laymen atheists and agnostics in recent years. Radical evangelizing anti-theists on the Internet and non-Christian apologists prop up Ehrman as their authority for why we cannot trust the New Testament.

Like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, Ehrman’s books have had great influence in turning Christians away from the faith. But unlike them, Ehrman’s influence comes from his expertise in Bible textual criticism.  According to his website bio: 

Bart D. Ehrman has written or edited thirty books, including five New York Times bestsellers: How Jesus Became God, Misquoting Jesus, God’s Problem, Jesus Interrupted and Forged. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity.

So we need to take what he says seriously. But if you look closely you’ll find that Dr. Ehrman is a bit of an enigma, as Dr. William Lane Craig points out in the video below. Craig refers to his enigmatic behavior as “Good Bart-Bad Bart.” The “Good Bart” is the esteemed scholarly Bart who says things like the following in his scholarly circles:

“There are a couple of things that we can say for certain about Jesus after His death. We can say with relative certainty, for example, that He was buried. The earliest accounts we have are fairly unanimous in saying that Jesus was in fact buried by this fellow Joseph of Arimathea, and so it’s relatively reliable that that’s what happened. We also have solid traditions to indicate that women found this tomb empty three days later. This is attested in all of our gospel sources, early and late, and so it appears to be a historical datum. And so I think we can say that after Jesus death, with some certainty, that He was buried… and three days later appears not to have been in the tomb.” (Lecture on the Historical Jesus with the Teaching Company; quote taken from video here).

The “Bad Bart” is the popular writer who Dr. Craig says, “deliberately misleads lay people to believe that the narratives are so contradictory that they cannot be believed.” In Ehrman’s critique of the resurrection, Craig believes that while Dr. Ehrman says there’s no evidence for the resurrection, what he really means is that the resurrection itself is not the best explanation for the evidence.  And the reason Ehrman says this is because he does not believe in miracles. But as we saw in “The resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part Four,” this is just an adaptation of Hume’s circular argument.

Bart Ehrman’s area of expertise is as a New Testament textual scholar but not as a trained historian or philosopher. Dr. Craig, who is formally trained as a historian and philosopher and theologian, takes a critical look at the claims Ehrman makes in his popular books, exposing his fallacious arguments and how he often violates the criteria he uses to refute the historical Jesus. In the video, Craig says this of Ehrman’s treatment of the criteria for the historical Jesus:

“In every single case, Dr. Ehrman misformulates the criterion and then he goes on to misapply it….And this is a consistent pattern with how Bart Ehrman deals with the historical Jesus.”

Dr. Craig exposes Ehrman’s misuse of the following criteria of authenticity:

  • Independent Attestation
  • Dissimilarity
  • Embarrassment
  • Contextual Credibility

Dr. Craig says why this is significant…

“This is important because when I formulate my case for the resurrection of Jesus, I do so with these criteria deliberately in mind.”

Dr. Craig bases his argument for the resurrection on the following four facts:

  1. The honorable burial of Jesus in the tomb
  2. The discovery of His empty tomb
  3. The postmortem appearances of Jesus
  4. The origin of the disciple’s belief in His resurrection

With this in mind, Craig says the following about Ehrman:

“Everyone of these four facts is established by the very criteria that Bart Ehrman states and endorses.”

There’s a lot more on the video. It’s long and a bit academic in nature, but if you wish to understand the popular but enigmatic and contradictory Bart Ehrman from another scholar’s viewpoint, it definitely worth watching.

NOTE: Please confine your comments to the subject matter of the post and video. Also, please keep your comments concise (under 500 words, preferably much shorter).

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 40 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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128 Responses to The enigmatic Bart Ehrman

  1. I may be oversimplifying this but how is it those who don’t believe in Christ work the hardest to discredit Him? Some scientist make conclusions with faulty applications and then there are others who can allow faith and science to coexist, use sound theory and are okay with not being able to explain everything? A rhetorical question but you got me thinking this morning. 🙂

    • Mel Wild says:

      That’s a really good question, Lilka. To adapt Shakespeare’s famous line, “Methinks atheists doth protest too much.” 🙂
      From what I can gather, Bart Ehrman lost his faith over the problem with evil, which that whole thing never made sense to me. Jesus told us we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33). It’s a function of free will.
      And you are right to think faith and science can coexist. It’s not usually the Bible that’s the problem; it’s the interpretation of the Bible. It’s only taking a wooden literal interpretation that conflicts with science. But that’s not how the ancient Semitic people wrote their history. There are several websites that are made up of scientists who are Christians. One such one is http://www.biologos.org. Another one is http://www.reasons.org.

  2. I’m with Lilka here, “how is it those who don’t believe in Christ work the hardest to discredit Him?” The very nature of the dedicated resistance speaks to the Truth and reality of Jesus Christ. It’s like constantly trying to prove and justify your disbelief, which kind of makes me laugh, because Who exactly do you think you are testifying to so earnestly? As God is my witness…..I will not believe?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Very true, IB. What I don’t get is, what’s the problem with being loved unconditionally by the One who created you? “No! I don’t want love, joy, peace, patience, goodness….!” I mean, who would want those things in their life? 🙂 And the funny thing is, they benefit from those things that He gives even though they refuse to believe in Him. Of course, a real problem is with how God has been represented in religious history. Some get mad at God, or the church, or for some other reason and go on a polemic vendetta, spending all their time trying to discredit Him. Talk about an exercise in futility! God bless ’em.

  3. dcummuta says:

    I’m sure being controversial and saying what atheists want to hear sure sells a lot of books. The revealing truth of that is shown when William explains how Bart was confused by the interviewer that asked him what the bible really says. “Well it says what it says” Wait… what? haha

    Reminds me of the comedy pundits on late night TV that I can’t stand to watch anymore… all they do is say what their audiences want to hear. I’ve seen interviews with that crowd and when they are being candid they always say something like, “Listen, I’m an entertainer, most of what I say isn’t real.”

    That kind of path is easy as opposed to saying what might be difficult to hear and actually challenging your audience to grow. That takes a lot more bravery and most of the time, makes less money 🙂

    Keep up the great work Mel!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks David. Ehrman has been accused of overstating his case many times by his peers. Your entertainment analogy is a good point about being a popular writer. You don’t become a New York Times best seller by scholarly nuancing, saying something to the effect, “All of the data surrounding the resurrection is valid, but I don’t believe it because I don’t believe in miracles.” Saying something like “the narratives are so contradictory that they cannot be believed” is a better sell. 🙂

  4. Arkenaten says:

    “the narratives are so contradictory that they cannot be believed” is a better sell

    Oddly enough this also happens to be the truth.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Well, you bought it.

      • Arkenaten says:

        Are you honestly saying there are no contradictions?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I’m talking about the statement: “deliberately misleads lay people to believe that the narratives are so contradictory that they cannot be believed.” That is not true. Scholarly Bart knows better, but popular Bart says these kinds of things, which is misleading and irresponsible.

        • Arkenaten says:

          So the narratives are or are not contradictory, then?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Don’t you read what I said? They are not contradictory in a way that makes them unbelievable. The contradictions (not variances) actually lend credibility.

        • Arkenaten says:

          In what way do contradictory statements lend credibility?
          Especially as they are not even eyewitness accounts not the traditional authors?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Because they each talk about the story to a different audience, leaving parts out, stressing the points needed for their particular audience. This is a normal way testimonies and story telling works, especially in that ancient culture.

          Here’s a video playlist explaining eleven supposed contradictions in the Gospel accounts if you care to get an idea of what I’m talking about. Each clip is short.

        • Arkenaten says:

          But the stories contradict each other, thus are worthless as testimonies as the truth cannot be established.
          This is how police establish how witnesses are lying.
          .

        • Mel Wild says:

          This is how police establish how witnesses are lying.

          The opposite is actually true with interviewing witnesses, Ark. If an investigator gets the exact same story from all the witnesses, he assumes they have colluded together. Normal eyewitnesses will have seemingly contradictory details and even mention embarrassing details. That’s the nature of true eyewitness testimony. The gospel accounts reveal this kind of testimony.

          J. Warner Wallace, as you probably know, was a cold-case homicide detective in LA who talks extensively about this. Here’s what he wrote on it: “Ten Principles To Considering Alleged Bible Contradictions.”

          Here’s a short video clip where he briefly talks about it:

        • Arkenaten says:

          Details, yes, but the stories contradict each other.
          They are worthless as testimony, which is the view of expert biblical scholars.

          Oh, and you post a video from Wallace who thinks the gospels are written by the original authors. Cute!
          I always have to remind myself that you cannot deal with the truth and still believe that Moses was a real person … Just as the character Jesus of Nazareth did,

        • Mel Wild says:

          Nice dismissal. And absolutely wrong. I used Wallace because that IS his area of expertise…questioning witnesses.

          I will go into your allegations and show that this is an erroneous way of evaluating the Bible in more detail next week.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Wallace is a fundamentalist.
          His methodoligy hasd been taken down by several top class scholars as yoy wel know.
          But it doesnot detract from the fact the gospels accounts are contradictory.

          And if your own maxim were to be the bench mark can you please explain why Matthew uses over 600 verses of Mark for his gospel, some practically verbatim if not by copying?

        • Mel Wild says:

          So, what does that have to do with his expertise in interviewing witnesses?
          This is just another dismissive and fallacious ad hominem attack by you that has no bearing on HOW I used his expertise to answer your specific question.

        • Arkenaten says:

          He is a fundamentalist and believes the gospels are eyewitness testimony.
          They are not, as you well know, and thus his entire approach will be tainted.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Your dismissive avoidance maneuver is fallacious. You take people’s bias into account but you have to deal with what they’re saying. By your standard we would have to dismiss everyone. And Wallace’s area of expertise is in questioning witnesses to see if what they’re saying is genuine.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Good for him. But if you would please provide a sevualr homicide detective who has no ties to an invisible man in the sky then I may reconsider. Meantime…. all the proper biblical scholars recognise tat the stories are loaded with contradictions.
          hell, there are even some theologians that acknowledge there is no way of reconciling the part where they are supposed to meet Jesus after he came back from the dead. Was it Jerusalem or not?

          Is a snow job and that’s all there is to it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          But if you would please provide a sevualr homicide detective who has no ties to an invisible man in the sky then I may reconsider.

          Ark, no you won’t! That is just pure B-A-L-O-N-E-Y! This is where you are being disingenuous and cannot be taken seriously. First of all, Wallace WAS AN ATHEIST most of his time as a homicide detective. Second, it was by using his investigative skills WHILE STILL AN ATHEIST that lead him to open his heart to real possibility. So, your argument is false. You would just find another excuse to dismiss it.

          Meantime…. all the proper biblical scholars recognise tat the stories are loaded with contradictions.

          So what? And all those “proper scholars” recognize that the contradictions don’t invalidate the testimony. The ones who don’t accept it are either agnostic, atheists, or non-Christian Bible scholars. But even Ehrman admits the contradictions aren’t serious. He just implies that in his popular books. This argument only plays well in non-academic circles and the Internet. And all of your supposed contradictions have been dealt with in the video playlist I linked. But I doubt you’ll ever watch them. Again, it’s a waste of time to think you would be honest about this stuff.

          You are the one giving the snow job.

        • Arkenaten says:

          If Wallace’s methodology was straight up then all homicide detectives would soon become Fundamentalist Christians who think the gospels are eye witness testimony.
          Genuine scholars reject Wallace’s assumptions and for good reason.

        • Mel Wild says:

          If Wallace’s methodology was straight up then all homicide detectives would soon become Fundamentalist Christians who think the gospels are eye witness testimony.

          That is fallacious argument. One does not follow the other. The methodology led Wallace to open his heart to the Gospel. No amount of evidence will convert a person with a closed heart.

          You keep saying “genuine scholars. Which “genuine” scholars are specifically saying Wallace’s way of evaluating witnesses is invalid? Your statement smacks of bias. And by whose definition of genuine? There is no such thing as indifferent or non-biased scholars. We must work through the bias and deal with the points themselves.

        • Mel Wild says:

          This is a shorter clip from Wallace that explains how to work through apparent inconsistencies…

  5. tildeb says:

    “Radical evangelizing atheists on the Internet and non-Christian apologists…”

    To any honest person who has any intellectual integrity and an ability to comprehend the written word, that sentence fragment right there should sound the alarm very loudly that what is to follow has no correlation to what is the case but is aimed squarely at misrepresenting for some purpose other than respecting what’s true. It is an obvious and intentional abuse of language. So if this kind of sentence fragment can be said with a straight face and an honest intention, then the speaker – or in this case the writer – and anyone who agrees with it is ether stupid, wicked, or ignorant.

    A robust argument could be had for which one best describes Mel.

    At the very least, having spent time and effort fruitlessly trying to educate him out of his lack of critical thinking in order for him to reduce the ignorance level he proudly maintains in order to continue to think well of his delusional beliefs, this kind of writing has to be an intentional distortion, a willful misrepresentation, because the words themselves are a distortion, are a misrepresentation when put together this way. That’s not an opinion. that’s a fact.

    Ignorance cannot be an excuse. So, if we are to avoid stupidity, then we’re talking about an intention that is wicked. And that indicates the quality of character on display here, a character willing to engage in deceit and dishonesty to promote and protect a particular and highly biased narrative towards those who have much higher standards of critical thought, who do not need distortion and deceit to respect what is the case, a narrative that is unrelated to – and in spite of – what is true. That says something in itself and its not reputable. It’s reprehensible.

    Anyone who doesn’t care about what is true to this degree has no place at the conversation table of mature and well meaning adults. It’s a malicious sales job on display here – a con, a hatchet job – and we know the target: Erhman. We know that just from how Mel maliciously sets up the narrative. And so those who go along with it, who support this kind of lying, and do so in spite of such a loud warning Mel himself imports into its setup, demonstrates at best a profound gullibility and, more sadly, an equivalent lack of respect for what is true.

    • Mel Wild says:

      “Radical evangelizing atheists on the Internet and non-Christian apologists…”

      This “sentence fragment,” as you call it, is descriptive language for exactly what I mean, Tildeb. I take it you don’t like “radical evangelizing atheists.” How about this descriptor instead: arrogant, fallacious, dismissive, self-anointed know-it-all anti-theists who troll the Internet for Christian sites so they can bloviate their pomposity on these witless dullards because they think it’s their duty to make sure to inform anyone who dares believe anything beyond their narrow-minded naturalist worldview just how stupid they are for not agreeing with them. That might be a better description of what I’m trying to say. I think your comment is a case in point.

      • tildeb says:

        Rewritten with that is something much better because each of these accusations is demonstrably false so yeah, you should try being more honest and less deceitful, Mel. Then fewer atheists would take such umbrage at your lying, for you intentional bearing false witness. You seem to have forgotten that not a virtue as you presume it is in your piety.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I’m curious now. Just how am I lying?

        • tildeb says:

          By bearing false witness, Mel.

          You should look that up because if I try to explain the concept to you, you’ll pretend it’s just another example of an “arrogant, fallacious, dismissive, self-anointed know-it-all anti-theists who troll the Internet for Christian sites so they can bloviate their pomposity on these witless dullards because they think it’s their duty to make sure to inform anyone who dares believe anything beyond their narrow-minded naturalist worldview just how stupid they are for not agreeing with them.”

          And we wouldn’t want that, now would we? We just want to you to learn something for a change.

        • Mel Wild says:

          And by the way, this paragraph perfectly makes my point.

          At the very least, having spent time and effort fruitlessly trying to educate him out of his lack of critical thinking in order for him to reduce the ignorance level he proudly maintains in order to continue to think well of his delusional beliefs, this kind of writing has to be an intentional distortion, a willful misrepresentation, because the words themselves are a distortion, are a misrepresentation when put together this way. That’s not an opinion. that’s a fact.

          Well, excuse me for being such a dullard. Who are you talking to, anyway, when you refer to me in the second person? Your superior race? Well, here’s some honesty. I have not even remotely encountered anyone on my blog as arrogant and condescending as you are, Tildeb. That is a fact.

  6. Arkenaten says:

    Ehrman’s books have had great influence in turning Christians away from the faith. (But unlike them,) Ehrman’s influence comes from his expertise in Bible textual criticism.

    So you are objecting to an expert in textual criticism explaining the true nature and meaning of the gospels to people who might otherwise continue to blithely accept what is written with limited or no understanding?
    I thought you would be one to encourage truth and facts?

    • Mel Wild says:

      So you are objecting to an expert in textual criticism explaining the true nature and meaning of the gospels to people who might otherwise continue to blithely accept what is written with limited or no understanding?

      Absolutely not. My point was that Dawkins’ and Hitchens’ area of expertise was not in textual criticism. Ehrman’s expertise is specifically with the New Testament textual criticism, which gives him a particular type of credibility that Dawkins and Hitchens did not possess.

      I definitely encourage truth and facts. My point all along has been that people should know how to think, not just be told what to think. But “facts” are often couched in a biased way to promote a particular agenda. And I freely admit that my view is biased and I have an agenda. But what this post is trying to point out is Ehrman’s apparent enigmatic behavior, depending on whether he’s in the scholarly community or popular media. I have no doubt that Ehrman is honest about his agnosticism. But he knows better than to make some of the sweeping statements he makes about the Bible in his books. They are misleading to the uninformed. Dr. Craig has called him out on that and people should know this if they are going to make an informed decision.

      • Arkenaten says:

        Well, allowing for a certain amount of showmanship – something Craig is not averse to in his own special way either -you are at least acknowledging that Ehrman’s work has done an awful lot to help the average person, Christian and non-believer, understand that, among other thing,s the New Testament must not be taken literally and that its texts are neither eyewitness testimony or necessarily accurate historical renditions.
        This you agree, am I correct?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, of course, both express a certain amount of showmanship. That’s not the problem. What’s deceptive is the misuse of the criteria mentioned.

          I do have a lot respect for Ehrman. He’s a brilliant scholar and should be paid attention to. And if he gets us to serious think about the Bible and get away from a wooden literal and flat reading of it, that’s a good thing. And I think he thinks he’s honestly following what he thinks is responsible scholarship. I just think his disbelief in miracles has caused him to adopt some contradictory position and overstate some apparent issues with the Bible. And he seems to be getting increasingly hostile, which I don’t know where that’s coming from.

        • Arkenaten says:

          It’s not only the justified rejection of miracles, but also his ability to highlight much of the erroneous nature of the gospels that most Christians are simply not aware of and that people such as Licona or Craig prefer not to deal with.
          Jesus’s biblical relationship with Moses for one. Even you won’t deal with this.
          Ehrman has shown how the bible contains interpolation and forgery for example and thus shows the average christian that the gospels are not in fact reliable or to be trusted as accurate historical record.
          And such text as Acts for example are now regarded as Historical Fiction.
          Such things people need to made aware of thus allowing them to make a truly informed position.

        • Mel Wild says:

          “It’s not only the justified rejection of miracles…”

          Ehrman’s logic for his rejection of miracles is just a revisit of Hume’s circular argument that was proven untenable over 150 years ago. He doesn’t believe in miracles because he’s stuck in a closed naturalist worldview.

          “…but also his ability to highlight much of the erroneous nature of the gospels that most Christians are simply not aware of and that people such as Licona or Craig prefer not to deal with.”

          And this is absolutely false! You’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid way too long, Ark. They won’t deal with these things? Are you kidding me? It’s precisely Ehrman’s contradictory arguments that Craig is calling him out on in the video! Did you watch it? Ehrman “highlights” these alleged problems by misformulating the criterion and then misapplying them! It’s irresponsible for a scholar of his level to do this. Along with his continual overstatement of issues that scholars have known and resolved years ago. Ehrman knows that, which is why the interviewer was flabbergasted when Ehrman says we pretty much have what was original written. He gives the impression that we don’t.

          Ehrman doesn’t nuance his statements when he writes for the masses, which makes his statements misleading to those who don’t know the arguments.

        • Arkenaten says:

          No. He does not accept the evidence that has been put forward. Just like the rest of us.

          Well, if you really think this is false … and I can only presume you really really do …. then let’s have a chat about Jesus the Nazarene and his belief that Moses was a real person, and by extension the Exodus and Conquest were historical events..

          But just like Craig etc you will not touch this because your arse will be shredded in five seconds flat.

          And this is why you are a coward and disingenuous.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No. He does not accept the evidence that has been put forward. Just like the rest of us.

          No, Ark. He is distorting the evidence because he doesn’t believe anymore. His bias against miracles is his defense against the best explanation for the evidence. Dr. Craig called him out on his abuse of logical argumentation (using criteria negatively, which is fallacious) to make it sound like he is right.

          But just like Craig etc you will not touch this because your arse will be shredded in five seconds flat.
          And this is why you are a coward and disingenuous.

          Haha…wishful thinking. I guess that would make you presumptuous, dismissive, and arrogant.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Wishful thinking?
          Okay, Mister Pastor, let’s put aside all other considerations for now and open a dialogue regarding the character Jesus the Nazarene and his view of Moses, the Exodus and Conquest.

          You’re the Pastor. so you should have this one in the bag right?

          Any time you’re ready.
          You can even start the dialogue.

          Off you go…. first salvo to you. Make a statement .

        • Mel Wild says:

          As I told you before, I will start a series of posts on understanding the Old Testament and the Bible in general next week.

        • Arkenaten says:

          There s no ”understanding the old testament” unless it is based upon the facts that archaeology has revealed. And at this stage I am only interested in your explanation as to why the character Jesus the Nazarene believed Moses was a real person and your response to this fact.

        • Mel Wild says:

          There s no ”understanding the old testament” unless it is based upon the facts that archaeology has revealed.

          That is absolutely fallacious and false! Honestly, Ark, that’s about the stupidest argument you’ve ever given. Archeology does not prove history…AT ALL! We’ve dug up about 1% of these ancient cultures, and MUCH of what we think we know is dependent on interpretation and interpolation. The rocks, bones, and pottery still tells us very little or nothing at all about the people. Especially, which people and what they believed.

          According to you, then we would have to dismiss almost all of our history! No more Plato, no more Homer, no more Greek philosophy…and the list goes on. Heck, I wouldn’t even be able to prove I had a great-grandfather who came over here from Ireland! He left NO archeological evidence whatsoever. He didn’t have his picture taken…ever. The only evidence we have is his citizenship papers and the oral tradition of the family. And even that doesn’t mean I know the man. This is just an idiotic argument. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about and know nothing about how we get our history.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You continue to avoid the core argument here and this is the Pentateuch.
          And with specific regard to the Exodus and Conquest and how the character Jesus the Nazarene relates to them, and the supposed Mosaic Law.
          THIS is all I am particulary interested n discussing with you.
          The archaeology in this regard as John Z pointed out is settled.

          And it is not the lack of evidence which is the crucial issue here, but the evidence that shows an alternative history to that which is described in the Old Testament.
          It is this which you continue to skirt around.
          And it this that you are afraid of addressing.
          If you reject this claim then let us open dialogue right now.

          Tell me why Jesus the Nazarene thought Moses was a real person?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Ark, No I haven’t! You have been trying to avoid the subject of my posts and go here because you think you have a better argument with the Pentateuch. Again, this is just a red herring (avoiding the issue) fallacy. This is why you will never be taken seriously with people who actually argue these things logically.

          When we actually get to this subject, I will deal with it head on. But I’m pretty sure you just change the subject again, like you did when you said I wouldn’t deal with the resurrection, and then I did, and you started on this diversionary tactic. If one thing, you are predictable.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Wow! you are going to deal with it head on?
          Seriously? Oh, goody! I can’t wait.
          Doesn’t seem much point in commenting on this other stuff until then does it?

          Oh, will you be brutally honest with regard Jesus the Nazarene and the fictional character Moses?
          And will you also tell the truth and be 100% honest about the accepted archaeological and scholarly view of the Exodus and Conquest as well?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I will be honest about how we are to understand the Old Testament, And I will refer to what I’ve already written on the subject.

          But the real question is, will you be open and honest, Ark? That would probably prove that miracles are real. 🙂

        • Arkenaten says:

          So are you going to acknowledge the archaeological evidence and the current consensus as outline by John Z regarding Moses, Exodus and the Internal Settlement Pattern? Yes or No?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, I will get to archeology somewhere in the mix.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Well, this is the only part that I am interested in reading . This and how you address the question of the Nazarene and his relationship to the fictitious character of Moses.
          But please, I beg you, do not quote Kitchen and his ilk.
          Stick with those archaeologists and Egytologists who are secular and do not let god belief cloud their judgment.
          Just for once do a blog that is honest and stick with evidence and fact. Can you do this? Just this one time?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Stick with those archaeologists and Egytologists who are secular and do not let god belief cloud their judgment.

          Again, you set up a totally fallacious argument! I will do no such thing! Ark, there is NO SUCH thing as unbiased history from anyone anywhere. This is what you don’t understand about history. So, I will not follow your erroneous and fallacious demands.

          Just for once do a blog that is honest and stick with evidence and fact. Can you do this? Just this one time?

          Sure, I will give valid historicity. But, again, you talk about evidence. What kind of evidence, Ark? You didn’t answer this before when I asked you give for something beyond the natural world. This is why you’ve set yourself up to fail here.

        • Arkenaten says:

          But the internal settlement pattern is accepted by archaeologists.
          Archaeologists and all proper historians accept that there was no Exodus as per the bible and the settlement was largely peaceful.
          How can you NOT address this ?

        • Arkenaten says:

          You really should watch this.
          It will help you understand a lot.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Oh boy, another Fundamentalist deconvert making fun of his former Christianity. Sorry, I watched about half of it and was underwhelmed to say the least. All of his arguments are based in bad theology or distortions. So typical…

          Have you watched all the videos I’ve given you to watch? Probably not since your arguments clearly show that you didn’t (or you dismissed them, as usual).

        • Arkenaten says:

          But at least you know why Christianity makes you speak and sound like an idiot.

          Sorry , I have watched enough Craig for a lifetime. He is a disgusting human being that believes and fully accepts Divine Command Theory.
          For this reason alone he can go fuck himself.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I agree, as I said my other comment, bad theology can make us sound like an idiot. That can be fixed with better theology. But not believing in God makes you a fool, so I guess you’ll have to decide which you want to be.

          As to your feelings about Craig, if I adopted your standards, Ark, I would have to dismiss just about every New Atheist I’ve ever heard. Especially, that hack Richard Carrier, which I have absolutely no respect for. Ehrman is one of the few I do respect, even though his use of his scholarship is questionable in his popular books.

        • Arkenaten says:

          But not believing in God makes you a fool, so I guess you’ll have to decide which you want to be.

          Which god would that be, Mel?

          I have already explained why I dismiss Craig as a toe rag, because of his belief and defense of Divine Command Theory.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Again, your fallacious reasoning here is getting old. Okay then, what about your hack toe rag, Richard Carrier? He’s a mythicists. He should be laughed off the stage everywhere he goes! At least Craig is a real scholar, not a self-appointed one.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I actually don’t particularly enjoy Carrier, to be honest. A bit long-winded for me.

          Andrews’ delivery is straight forward commons sense, honest and factual
          and encompasses all the things he would have promoted as a christian, which he is now able to see just how ridiculous they were.
          I imagine he sometimes cringes when he thinks about the good old bad old days.
          I suspect you will too one day.

          Scholar or not, Craig is still a disgusting human being. His stance on DCT and especially his views about animals in this regard clearly demonstrate he is utterly immoral.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Andrews is just a comedian musician. He is not a scholar nor is he qualified to make any argument we should pay attention to. At least Carrier is a pseudo-scholar with a PhD, but as O’Neill said, he’s a pathological narcissist. And from I know of his personal life, Carrier actually IS a disgusting human being. You only say Craig is immoral because he disagrees with your atheology. That’s quite a different thing.

          Andrew’s value to the New Atheist agenda is probably that he’s a relatively good communicator and can be funny. He’s instructive to us only in how lay people turn away from God and the issues I mentioned before.

        • Arkenaten says:

          No, I can’t stand Craig because he believes and defends DCT. This makes him disgusting.
          And yes, I can’t stand his religion, but other than that I don’t know him from a bar of soap.

          Andrews demonstrates the very ordinary human face of what is was like to be a fundamentalist and shows exactly how the ordinary person is duped into believing.
          Dan Barker is another excellent example and he , like you, was a minister of sorts I believe.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, I can’t stand Craig because he believes and defends DCT. This makes him disgusting.
          And yes, I can’t stand his religion, but other than that I don’t know him from a bar of soap.

          Your disgust is based in a worldview. My disgust with Carrier is with his actual behavior as a human being. There’s a difference.

        • Arkenaten says:

          His view of animal death will cross over in the way he treats them now and these vile and wholly wrong beliefs he passes on to others.
          If you are referring to Carrier’s infidelity then yeah, in my book this makes him a dick. Odd, though, don’t you think, that the highest rate of infidelity and divorce in the States is among Fundamentalist Christians.
          When I first read the stats I laughed.

        • Mel Wild says:

          But the point is, what Craig believes hasn’t and doesn’t cross over. His leads his life with integrity. But if we used your standard, then we should dismiss everything Carrier believes because he’s a total dirt bag as a person.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Btw, to be clear, I agree with a lot of Andrews’ points. Those things he mentions that Christians do “in the name of Jesus” drive me crazy too. But again, the conclusion he makes is wrong. His problem is with a religious distortion of Christianity and wooden literal flat reading of the Bible, not with Jesus.

          But, beside that, all I hear is him parroting of all the New Atheist talking points given in a humorous way. I already understand this argument, but thanks anyway. Maybe extreme Fundamentalists should watch it and think about their position, but it doesn’t invalidate my faith by any means.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Oh, so you have the low-down on the Real Christianity do you?
          How do you know?
          Are you Filled With Spirit?
          Did Yeshua Whisper in your ear?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Why should I talk to you about it, Ark? You have no understanding of these things because you dismiss anything that does not fit in your little narrow-minded naturalist worldview.

      • tildeb says:

        “I definitely encourage truth and facts. My point all along has been that people should know how to think, not just be told what to think.”

        Evidence there is no just god, folks!

        For if anyone deserved to be struck by lightening for stating such a patently bald-faced lie, it would Mel for this double whopper. Therefore, no just god. And Mel’s the proof.

  7. Arkenaten says:

    This one is even better. Truly, a must watch.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I watched it. It’s funny, his tired arguments sound like a bad radio station to me. Another wannabe standup comedian parroting the same old stuff. Oh yeah, let’s laugh at the stupid Christians.
      So, it goes both ways, Ark.

      • Arkenaten says:

        But his arguments are valid and he was stupid Christian, as he points out.

        • Mel Wild says:

          His frustration with “Churchanity” is valid, but not his theology. And if he was a stupid Christian it was only because he turned away from his faith.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You’ ll get there, Mel. Give it time. *Smile*

        • Mel Wild says:

          You’ll get there, Mel. Give it time. *Smile*

          Haha..,again, prepare to be disappointed. Maybe someday you’ll get it, but I’m not holding my breath.

        • Arkenaten says:

          If you weren’t just a little bit shaky you would have banned me already.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Haha. I always liked Jimmy Durante. I don’t ban you precisely because I want to expose all your anti-theist sacred cows and alleged iron-clad refutations for what they are. Of course, you wouldn’t know it when it happens because you’ll just dismiss it, or divert and avoid, or refuse to acknowledge any valid points, and then, of course, claim victory. Again, you’re pretty predictable.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You do not have to expose anything. I am an out an out anti theist.

          I will never dismiss anything that questions my current beliefs.
          There was a time i would have scoffed at the notion that Moses was not a real person, for example.

          But the evidence showed me otherwise.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You do not have to expose anything. I am an out an out anti theist.

          Obviously! Everyone knew that as soon as you make your overstated comments. What I’m exposing is your fallacious argumentation and faulty understanding of the Bible and Jesus.

          I will never dismiss anything that questions my current beliefs.

          Well, it hasn’t been the case so far. I have no reason to believe that this will change in the future. But we’ll see.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I have no faulty understanding of the bible.
          I may err in knowledge of it, but not the understanding.
          And I most certainly have no misunderstanding of the character Jesus the Nazarene.

          Lol …Yes, that sort of came out as if I had my teeth in backwards. Ooops.
          Obviously I should have included words such as evidence and truth and such like.
          On these grounds I am always open to having my current beliefs turned upside down.
          However, so far your arguments have been just a tad lacking in all these departments.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I have no faulty understanding of the bible.
          I may err in knowledge of it, but not the understanding.

          Actually, it’s the opposite. You have a certain kind of knowledge given to you by skeptics and atheists, but you have shown that you have absolutely no understanding of the Bible.

        • Arkenaten says:

          No, I simply read the bible cover to cover and realised that most of it is nonsense.
          Only afterwards did I come across the skeptics and deconverted Christians and secular scholars.

          What exactly is there to understand about genocide , and slavery for example?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Sure, you read the words but you didn’t have any understanding of it, how to read it and what it’s actually saying to you.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Oh, is there a special way to ”read” sanctioned genocide and slavery?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, there is. It must be rightly interpreted or it’s falsely interpreted. It must be anthropologically understood first, relevant to the culture its written in, not by our 21st century standard. You also have to understand the Semitic point-counter point going on within the text. There are multiple voices in the narratives. It is unique in works of antiquity. The OT argues against itself in the very things you bring up, and confronts the pagan worldview and creation myths these people were deeply embedded in, ultimately bringing us to Jesus who revealed what God is actually like. It wasn’t written in a vacuum or dictated verbatim by God, It’s anthropocentric, phenomenological, with multiple genres, all describing man’s interaction and perception of God and his progressive deconstruction of their pagan worldview.

          Ark, it wasn’t written directly to us, in our language, or according to our culture, but what it’s actually saying has brilliant relevance if we will dig beyond the superficial level. But if you try to treat it like it’s a school textbook that can be understood by the data., that is a false understanding and doesn’t even begin to address what the Bible is actually saying.

          So, you only have an argument if one takes a flat wooden literal view of the Bible with a 21st century way of understanding things, which, again, makes you totally misunderstand what the Bible is actually saying to you.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Okay, I have no real problem with being shown that I am reading this out of context, so let’s test this:
          Exodus 21 and the advocation of slavery:
          Please explain exactly in what context it is a good idea to enslave people and make them your property?

          And the word is slavery, Mel, there is no interpretation or cultural idiosyncrasies here., please bear this in mind.

          And while we are at it, in what context is it okay to beat people as long as they don’t die within a couple of days?

        • Mel Wild says:

          And the word is slavery, Mel, there is no interpretation or cultural idiosyncrasies here., please bear this in mind.

          Again, you are reading the words but not understanding what is being said. That’s called wooden literalism, which is usually not treating the text fairly. You have to see the bigger picture in order to understand what’s going on in context. For instance, slavery WAS the culture. They didn’t have factory workers or employees like we do today. They had slaves and tradesmen. Name one culture at the time who didn’t have slaves? But yet, in the Bible we will find the internal refutation of any kind of unjust enslavement. You have to look at this juxtaposed with how slaves were treated by the surrounding cultures.

          So, briefly, God was never for slavery. It says nothing about Him; it says more about humankind at the time it was written. To bring that into our culture would be anachronistic and a wrong view of what’s going on. You will have to wait for a more thorough explanation why that is so.

        • Arkenaten says:

          The Israelite were supposedly Yahweh’s chosen people.
          Yahweh is the omniscient deity you worship that gave Moses the Ten Commandments, fr goodness’ sake!!
          it was Yahweh that gave instructions for the buying and selling of people.
          Please explain exactly the context of Exodus 21 and also explain why your god, who gave laws for eating animals and shrimps and had a commandment that stated Thus Shall Not Kill simply did not say: ”Do not enslave People”

          And you did not offer an explanation fort the part about beating people as long as they did not die

          Please answer the questions honestly.

  8. Arkenaten says:

    It looks like you are deleting comments for some reason. Why?

    • Mel Wild says:

      I haven’t deleted any comments that I’m aware of. To which do you refer?

      • Arkenaten says:

        The dialogue about your continual harassment over the Hamlet issue and my responses. I can’t seem to find them.
        And I am still waiting for an answer regarding the Slavery issue also.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I looked and haven’t found it. But I haven’t deleted any comments. But since you mentioned the gist of it, your accusation of harassment is ridiculous. You are the one who won’t stay on topic. You don’t seem to get this (or don’t want to). Answering the question about the Hamlet and Shakespeare was the relevant topic. That is not harassment, that’s trying to get you into a disciplined conversation, which you stubbornly refused to do. You only seem to want to avoid the question and bring up your red herrings.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I think i was Tildeb who already offered you an answer?
          And I have stated, I give you my word I will answer, in fact I have a reply already typed and saved and will post it the moment I see a response from you as to why the character, Jesus the Nazarene did not know that Moses was a fictional character?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Tildeb did not actually answer it. He said there was no way of knowing and then accused me of setting it up to prove the supernatural. That not only was not the point, it doesn’t actually answer the question. The question was purely hypothetical. In other words, what if there were an “author,” how would Hamlet infer this possibility? Saying we cannot know, or dismissing it a “fools errand” is a cop-out to avoid the question.

        • Arkenaten says:

          So would answering me as to why Jesus the Nazarene did not realise that Moses was a fictional character also a fool’s errand?

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, it’s totally irrelevant to the topic of the post. The fact that you don’t seem to get this is irritating. Please drop it. We will discuss that when it’s actually the topic.

        • Arkenaten says:

          But you are trying to demonstrate the veracity of your supernatural perspective regarding the character Jesus the Nazarene by philosophical means, yet a supernatural being would surely be aware that someone like Moses, and Mosaic Law which was a foundational element of his teaching, was simply a work of fiction?
          This is why it is crucial for your case that we at least try to find out why Jesus
          the Nazarene did not know that Moses, the Exodus, and the Conquest was simply all a work of fiction.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Ark, please stop. We aren’t even close to being there yet. We must first decide what valid evidence would look like for the existence of God. Otherwise, we will argue in circles forever. That was the point of the question and all that’s relevant here. If you cannot answer this question, then our further discussion is pointless because you will just give your naturalist viewpoint which doesn’t even address the question. It’s circular argumentation (I don’t believe in God because there’s nothing more than the natural world, there’s nothing more than the natural world because we can’t prove it with natural science).

          The problem is that you stubbornly admit to nothing, so we cannot even have a meaningful dialogue here.

  9. Arkenaten says:

    This was your comment,( the one I replied to) and I can’t find this either?

    Ark. I wish you could understand just how ridiculous you sound. The topic was the Hamlet and Shakespeare analogy. You could’ve just answered the question and saved us about 50 comments.

    Your braggadocio here is not impressive either.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Ark, you said…

      “if you are going to wrote another piece of fluff like you did on your horrendously pithy god said what? series then it will be ripped to shreds.”

      That’s braggadocio, not my irritation with your stubborn refusal to stay on topic.

      • Arkenaten says:

        So, did you find the comments you deleted yet?
        Check your trash folder, occasionally comments go there.,

        • Mel Wild says:

          I checked both the trash and spam folders. Nothing there. Are you sure it wasn’t posted? There are so many comments here.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I just found one lengthy comment in moderation that I just approved and responded to. I must’ve missed it when you first posted it. Is that the one you’re talking about?

      • Arkenaten says:

        I just want to make sure you actually deal with the archaeological evidence that refutes the Exodus and the Conquest and is honest about Moses, that’s all.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, fair enough. But then be open to my view instead of just dismissing it because it disagrees with yours. We may have agreement in places, even if we disagree with the conclusions.

        • Arkenaten says:

          It is not my view. Can you not understand this?
          It is the factual evidence provided by highly qualified archaeologists and scholars which is now the consensus opinion, not only among archaeologists but also among the majority of Rabbis as well and also a fair number of highly qualified Christians.
          So here’s the thing.
          Are you at last prepared to acknowledge that the character Moses, the Exodus and Conquest as described in the bible are simply fictional?
          This is the first step in really opening up our dialogue.

        • Mel Wild says:

          “Factual evidence provided by highly qualified archeologists and scholars” is STILL pointing to physical evidence to disprove something outside of the physical universe. You’re still not addressing the question. This, again, is circular reasoning.

          And Rabbis and Christians not believing in the existence of God? That’s nonsense. They would be atheists if that were true.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Okay, let’s get this straightened out once and for all as we seem to be at cross purposes here.
          We are talking about Exodus, Conquest and Moses.
          Are you perfectly clear on this point?

          So, the biblical claims of Exodus and Conquest are false.
          Not because of any of the supernatural claims, manna from heaven, parting of the Red(sic) Sea etc but because the evidence demonstrates this tale is simply a foundation myth and there never was an Exodus or Conquest as the bible describes.

          The Israelites emerged from within the Canaanites , in effect they were originally Canaanites – and the internal settlement pattern shows this.

          I hope you understand this now?

          So, are you at last prepared to acknowledge that this biblical tale and the character Moses are simply works of fiction?

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, I’m not talking about Exodus. Get that clear. This is not your agenda. I will talk about Exodus when appropriate. As I said, I will start addressing the Old Testament next week. The only relevant question now is the Hamlet/Shakespeare question.

        • Arkenaten says:

          But the Exodus, Conquest and Moses are crucial to answering your Hamlet/Shakespeare hypothesis truthfully or in any meaningful manner.
          Which, once again, I will answer, I give you my word.

          Your faith is inextricably linked to the bible and Moses’ role is a critical part of your faith.
          I am not necessarily asking for a full on dialogue at this stage merely an acknowledgement of what is the consensus view among archaeologists, Rabbis and a great many Christian biblical scholars.
          that Moses is a fictional character.

          So will you at least acknowledge the truth of the unequivocal evidence-based scholarly and archaeological consensus?

        • Mel Wild says:

          No they are not! This question is not about WHICH GOD, but IF God. Your argumentation is bogus. The hypothetical question does not assume anything but the conditions laid out for Hamlet to make the inference.

  10. Arkenaten says:

    …. merely an acknowledgement of what is the consensus view among archaeologists, Rabbis and a great many Christian biblical scholars.
    that Moses is a fictional character.

    Are you prepared to acknowledge the truth of this?

    • Mel Wild says:

      As I told you before, we will probably find some agreement in various things you said about the data (although our conclusions from the data are radically different). You’ll just have to wait and see next week. 🙂

      • Arkenaten says:

        They are not MY conclusions and they should not be your conclusions either unless you have suddenly acquired archaeologist qualifications that surpass the top archaeologists in the world.

        So, are you prepared to acknowledge that the biblical character, Moses was fictional as acknowledged by the consensus of relevant experts?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Well, since this conclusion cannot prove whether Moses actually existed or not, historically or by archeology (other than an argument from silence), sure I’m always open to the discussion.

          Btw, what responsible and reputable experts actually say is that he “probably” did not exist, not that it cannot be true. They say this because it cannot be proven with absolute certainty one way or the other. You are misusing their findings or parroting the words of irresponsible skeptics.

        • Mel Wild says:

          NOTE: I corrected a typo. I meant archeology, not architecturally. 🙂

        • Arkenaten says:

          Not an argument from silence. The Internal Settlement Pattern shows that there was no Exodus or Conquest.

          Okay, then … ”Probably didn’t exist” .

          So, are you prepared to acknowledge that Moses ”probably did not exist”, that there was no Exodus as described, and no Conquest either?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Of course. Are you prepared to admit it’s possible he did actually exist?

        • Arkenaten says:

          The character as described in the bible? Of course not. He is a work of fiction.

        • Mel Wild says:

          That’s an interpretive answer and what I was asking.

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