A Fundamental Difference Between Believers and Nonbelievers.

The difference between believers and nonbelievers was pointed out recently by a New Testament scholar in his blog.

While he is not a believer, his wife is.  He asked her what she thought is the most fascinating thing about the Christian faith.  She said it was the about the Divine putting God into a man.

He realized he finds exactly the opposite most interesting.  That is, what interests him is how the faith took an ordinary lower class rabbi and, some years after his death, made him into a god.

Discussing Christianity is interesting to me for the same reason.  This idea of moving god powers around from one spiritual concept to the Jesus figure, and then to a third, the Holy Spirit is amazing.

That is to say, the Bible’s version of God moving his powers in this way is not nearly as interesting as the minds that did it. The same kind of minds who did this are present today in those who believe it happened.

I suppose it is similar to what is interesting when people post or recite scripture.  The scripture itself is of no interest.  That someone thinks it important enough to provide it is something, however, to ponder.

As time goes on, I think I see a little more traction made by those of us who wonder why people believe these things and a little less by those who wonder only what they are supposed to believe.

The difference, however, will remain forever.

http://ehrmanblog.org/

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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42 Responses to A Fundamental Difference Between Believers and Nonbelievers.

  1. entech says:

    The part that fascinates me is the bit about miracles. Dead coming back, Lazarus, Jeshua – although none lately , seems that all stopped when the last eyewitness died. What I like best about miracles is that they have lasted so long, even without the direct intervention so common in the old days, Adam and Eve were in conversation, he even made clothes from them, probably killing the first animals in the process, He spoke to Noah and Abraham. Whats wrong with us, perhaps it is because we are not Hebrews?

    But the best and most interesting thing about miracles is that people still take these ideas seriously (with thanks to David Hume).

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 12:37 I admit the miracles are great. We even have a latter day Jesus in evangelist, Benny Hinn. Like Jesus, he waves his arms and people fall over, healed. Jesus went from healing masses to feeding masses to walking on water. But, he was slow getting from one show to the next. Benny uses his private jet.

      • entech says:

        Yes but the original Jesus wanted to help the poor, Hinn wants to help himself. Just read recently that he is asking for 2.5 Mil. to help him get out of debt, with a beloved friend matching it one for one.
        “God wants your ministry to be completely out of debt, and I want to plant an anointed seed that will help you take a giant step toward becoming totally debt-free!”

        If you accept him at his word then: “You must believe in miracles”. :lol:

  2. Brad says:

    I am always interested by the context of the times in which all of this took place. Not only Jesus, but everything before, all the so-called “miracles” and parting the waters, the great flood, etc etc. All of this happened at a time when mankind had almost no ability to understand anything from a scientific basis. Everything that was unexplainable scientifically at that time was attributed to a god because that’s all they had at the time.

    As time has gone on, there has been the coinciding of more and more ability to explain things scientifically and less and less things occurring that are miracles only explained by a god doing it.

    • Michael Ross says:

      Since 1859 (Origin of Species) we have been able to explain the world on a scientific basis. Before then we only had superstition. This is the hubris of “modern” man. Their parents and all previous generations walked on all 4s and howled at the moon. That is not the least bit true Humans have always been inquisitive of the world we live in yet incurably religious. We are inventive and creative because we bear the image and likeness of our Creator. Since 1859 those few who don’t wish to have a Creator to be accountable to have had a belief system of their own, even though all of its tenets have been proven false.

      • Formerly Fargo Bob says:

        We human beings can be accountable to ourselves and our fellow human beings. We’re also not “incurably religious,” as is evidenced by the millions of our fellow human beings who have cured themselves of religion. Michael, just which “tenets” of our so-called “belief system” have been proven wrong and by whom?

        • Michael Ross says:

          Evolutionists use double standard:

          Chemist and five time Nobel nominee, Henry “Fritz” Schaefer of the University of Georgia, commented on the need to encourage debate on Darwin’s theory of evolution. “Some defenders of Darwinism,” says Schaefer, “embrace standards of evidence for evolution that as scientists they would never accept in other circumstances.”

          • entech says:

            Henry “Fritz” Schaefer of the University of Georgia, creationist and Christian apologist. Bit like me recommending reading Dawkins on Evolution. (Don’t read him on religion, not very good, but biology is his field and he is brilliant).

          • entech says:

            Just watched an hour long lecture by Schaefer, purported subject was the Kalam Cosmological Argument (scientific evidence). 95% anecdotes and quote mining to distort the words of people like Einstein and Hawking, much talk about the big bang which merely demonstrates that it is the most widely accepted and acceptable theory of the origin of the universe at this time. No real discussion of the argument just a multi-point conclusion of therefore God and Jesus.

          • Formerly Fargo Bob says:

            Hilarious how Michael conflates evolution and atheism. I accept evolution as true because of the preponderance of the evidence. I see no reason to believe in a god as there is no solid evidence to back up the claim that there is. First off, Michael needs to learn what atheism is and what it isn’t. He also needs refresher courses in biology.

  3. Michael Ross says:

    “As time goes on, I think I see a little more traction made by those of us who wonder why people believe these things and a little less by those who wonder only what they are supposed to believe.

    The difference, however, will remain forever.”

    That it will Jon. Despite God being expelled from the public schools and the religion of evolution being the only theory of origins allowed, and yet:

    A number of studies and polls of Americans’ attitudes have sought to quantify spirituality and religiousness in the United States. Those that do tend to find that a large majority of Americans maintain religious and spiritual beliefs. In 2010, the polling firm Rasmussen Reports found that a full 63 percent, of Americans pray at least once per day. That same year, a USA Today poll found that 83 percent of Americans believe that God answers prayers. In 2008, a Pew Research poll uncovered that 80 percent of the American population believe that miracles take place. That same poll found that 92 percent of people living in the Unites States believe in God or a higher power.
    http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/what-percentage-americans-believe-God

    • entech says:

      Interesting. A snippet from a poster on that site.
      scientists should not try to convience us to believe in their theories.i believe in christ and I would still believe it even if it’s wrong.
      This typifies the problems, plain deliberate and wilful determination to believe in something regardless.

      Science and religion were the earliest attempts by humanity as it was evolving into a thinking creature and leaving it’s cousins far behind. These were the first attempts of the first animals to even be able to think about such things. All this many thousands of years ago, many more than 6.

      It all started with the same basic knowledge; none. Observation and testing began the climb from ignorance to knowledge, along the way two streams emerged and diverged. We had the “you know everything by thinking about it types” and the “let’s see how it works types”. Let’s call them the Rs and the Ss; R for Religion knows the answers; and S for Science looks for the answers.

      The question :- Where did we and all this come from. Quite understandable for nascent thinkers, first question must be along the lines of who am I, where am I and where did all this “where and who” come from.
      R thinks about it and notices that rain is needed for the crops to grow. Also, it does not always rain at the best time, why not, R reaches the conclusion that there must be some agency controlling the rain. Let’s call that invisible and unknowable agent G. The reason it was sometimes good rain and sometimes bad meant G was either happy or sad. Perhaps some propitiation was needed, maybe even some sacrifice.
      S sees the same phenomena and starts to look for a reason. Not an easy task for S starting from scratch, nothing to look back on for examples, no method of correlating and checking all the information coming in from all that looking, all that observation of the actual world. Nonetheless correlations are made, when there are clouds coming over the mountain there is often rain to go with it, it is more frequent at certain times of the year.

      S tells R about his observations and the few tests he has done. R is not impressed, pure reason is far superior and besides the populace have been convinced and are making the sacrifices, which R has determined are most effective at a certain place and in a certain building which is built by the population big enough to have comfortable rooms for R. The early sacrifices were simply a portion of the grain harvest, ground up and burned in a special construction of rocks. Strangely enough when this sacrifice was allowed to cool it was noticed by R that all G really wanted was the sweat smell (they knew this all along, one of the first great prophecies) so rather than go to waste the sacrifice, which they named bread, finished up on R’s table. After a while it was noticed that the sacrifices did not always have the desired effect, perhaps more was needed, perhaps the odd sheep or goat, roasted with due ceremony and the right herbs and spices.
      All the time S was making his observations and keeping his records. This becomes a habit of curiosity amongst other things they noticed that the little lights in the sky had a regularity to them as did the sun and moon, predicting the phases of the moon was good for the hunters, a bright moon meant you could see the prey all the better and experience showed that they themselves could be seen too, S devised weapons that could be used for attack or defence and camouflage and shields. If S wasn’t proving so useful R, by now very influential, would have stifled him completely (stifle or extirpate??). One really useful thing was information about the movement of the celestial bodies, prophecy was always a good trick and if you could build an altar (altars were what they called the ovens the populace used to prepared R’s food) so that the shadow fell on the right place at the time specified by R you had the Sun and Moon Gs in as well.

      You can see how this developed, with R developing his ideas with pure thought and imagination and S kept in the background, useful but not allowed to defile the purity of R and his imagination.

      Eventually the stage was reached when one S was confined to his house for life, just for demonstrating that the methods of S proved that the imagination of R was suspect. That they were not the centre of everything, that the earth moved around the sun. After a while a certain branch of R, let’s say RR. worked out that S had a lot more to offer than was before realised and started a program of working together, it just had to be that R in general and RR in particular has a special truth that S could not interfere with, so S and RR work together mostly to the advancement of knowledge and the development of a pure S.

      Unfortunately some R lets call them CR don’t accept this state of affairs they do their best to destroy S and replace it with a pretend S, CS, and return the world to those early days of superstition and imagination.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        entech 11:16 “..and return the world to those early days of superstituion and imagination.”

        And, here we are today with anger bubbling up when rational explanations are brought up to replace superstition. If only those who know so well the Bible had spent equal amounts of time studying the role of economics, power and cultural norms as explanations for what is written, we could all benefit.

      • Michael Ross says:

        entec, you are a bit long -winded. You must the the longest commenter on the internet. Whether God or our Lucky Stars we can all be thankful entec is not our pastor. By the time he finished his sermon we would all be asleep or at home watching the Vikings.

    • Avatar of realist realist says:

      Michael, your use of the percentage of people believing in god or a higher power assumes that god equals higher power. You need to realize that for many people simply acknowledging the existence of the laws of physics puts them into the 92%. I do not believe in a god, but fully support the law of gravity, the theory of relativity, and so many other natural laws that are all more powerful than I am as an individual. You may want to reconsider your use of these statistics as bolstering your views on belief in a god.

  4. Craig says:

    “That it will Jon. Despite God being expelled from the public schools and the religion of evolution being the only theory of origins allowed, and yet…”
    I find this the most tiresome of all things when talking about believers vs. non-believers. The reality is that there has been no expelling from public schools, the things allowed in those schools today are the same things that have been allowed for the last 50 years or more. The same comment then goes on to state polling data as though a majority of belief must make something true when that is clearly not the case. He also speaks of “alternative theory” as though there is any scientific rational for those alternatives when there clearly isn’t. It’s a typical believer’s response, a lot of talking with no actual evidence whatsoever.

  5. Michael Ross says:

    REFUTING DARWINISM,
    POINT BY POINT – By a former atheist and evolutionist

    http://www.wnd.com/2003/01/16668/

    Evolution is superstition.

    • entech says:

      Pointless.

    • Josiah says:

      For people who don’t want to waste their time, the ‘former atheist and evolutionist’ is James Perloff and (as could be inferred from the title of his previous book “Tornado in a Junkyard”) his refutations are old, long-debunked claims and that wouldn’t be convincing to anyone with even an introductory level of knowledge in the relevant scientific fields.

      Here are the points mentioned in the article:

      Perloff:

      First, mutations – long claimed by evolutionists to be the building blocks of evolutionary change – are now known to remove information from the genetic code. They never create higher, more complex information – even in the rare cases of beneficial mutations, such as bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

      A great counter-example to this argument is Lenski’s E. coli long-term evolution experiment. A bacterial population was divided up into 12 genetically identical populations which were then isolated from each other and allowed to reproduce over tens of thousands of generations. A number of interesting adaptations emerged over the generations, one of the most interesting of these being that one population evolved the ability to use citric acid as a carbon source in an aerobic environment.

      See also:

      Mutations and new features

      Mutations adding information

      Microevolution and pre-existing variation

      Perloff:

      Second, cells are now known to be far too complex to have originated by some chance concurrence of chemicals, as Darwin hypothesized and is still being claimed.

      Strictly speaking, this would be a criticism of abiogenesis, not Darwinism, but that doesn’t make it less wrong.

      See:

      Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Probability of Abiogenesis Calculations

      Perloff:

      Third, the human body has systems, such as blood clotting and the immune system, that are, in the words of biochemist Michael Behe, “irreducibly complex,” meaning they cannot have evolved step-by-step.

      Need I mention that this article was written in 2003, before Behe’s “irreducible complexity” argument was very publicly ripped to shreds during the Dover trial?

      See also:

      Irreducible complexity

      Blood clotting and Irreducibly Complexity

      Immune system and Irreducibly Complexity

      Perloff:

      There are three places to look for transitional forms. First, there’s the living world around us. We see that it is distinctly divided – you have invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. But we don’t see transitionals between them. If these creatures ever existed, why did none survive? It is too easy to explain it away by saying they all became extinct. And of course, there is the question: Why aren’t these creatures evolving into each other today? Why aren’t invertebrates evolving into fish today? Why aren’t fish growing little legs and so forth?

      Technically, every lifeform we can see today is a transitional form, including us. Perloff also doesn’t seem to understand taxonomy (invertebrates is not a group; it’s all animals apart from the subphylum Vertebrata) or to recognize the obvious transitional features inherent in the groups that he himself mentioned (amphibians possess features that are transitional between fish and reptiles, reptiles possess features that are transitional between amphibians and mammals and aves, etc). Evolution is also apparently a problem area for him, as Perloff seems to think that populations evolve in specific directions (why would he expect to see invertebrates developing vertebra or fish developing adaptations for terrestrial life?).

      Perloff:

      In the fossil record. And here we have a problem of almost comparable magnitude. We find no fossils showing how the invertebrates evolved, or demonstrating that they came from a common ancestor. That’s why you hear of the “Cambrian explosion.” And while there are billions of fossils of both invertebrates and fish, fossils linking them are missing. Of course, there are some transitional fossils cited by evolutionists. However, two points about that. First, there should be a lot more if Darwin’s theory is correct. Second, 99 percent of the biology of an organism is in its soft anatomy, which you cannot access in a fossil – this makes it easy to invest a fossil with a highly subjective opinion. The Piltdown Man and the recent Archaeoraptor are examples of how easy it is to be misled by preconceptions in this arena.

      It is misleading to call the lack of precambrian fossils a “problem”, especially since Perloff explained the reason for this himself: Soft tissues fossilize even more rarely than bones, shells, and exoskeletons. It is to be expected that fossils of organisms that lacked hard components will be exceedingly rare.

      See also:

      Invertebrate-vertebrate transition

      Preconceptions affecting conclusions

      Piltdown Man

      All About Archaeopteryx

      Perloff:

      Anatomical similarities between men and animals are said to prove common ancestry. But intelligent design also results in innumerable similarities, as in the case of two makes of automobile.

      See:

      Similar form, similar designer?

      Form following function

      Perloff:

      Also, what has been called “microevolution” – minor adaptive changes within a type of animal – is extrapolated as evidence for “macroevolution” – the changing of one kind of animal into another. However, a species is normally endowed with a rich gene pool that permits a certain amount of variation and adaptation. Certainly, those things happen. But the change is ordinarily limited to the confines of the gene pool. It doesn’t mean a fish could adapt its way into being a human.

      See:

      Microevolution and pre-existing variation

      Variation within kinds

      Microevolution vs. Macroevolution

      Barriers to macroevolution

      Evolution by small changes

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Josiah Welcome to our discussion and thank you for the post.

      • entech says:

        Thank you, I am often accused of being long winded and must admit that I was daunted by the task of replying in less than huge post.
        Very clean, clear and precise. I am envious.

      • Michael Ross says:

        Josiah, You seem to have quite a bit of argument for evolution. At least as much as I have for creation. I’ m sure you would want it in the public domain such as public (that is tax-supported) schools and universities. Then creation can be “ripped to shreds” as ID was in the Dover trial. Since I am not a scientist I cannot very easily address your scientific arguments. I’m just saying let creation be given equal footing on a scientific basis. Since you have all the “science” on your side I would think you and all evolutionists would be the first to advocate for this. Then creation would finally be exposed as the myth you say it is. Would it not? Maybe you could tell me just what evolutionists are afraid of.

        • Avatar of realist realist says:

          You haven’t been paying attention. It has been exposed as a myth; time and time again.

        • entech says:

          The main fear, I would imagine, is granting any credibility to Young earth ideas. Hugh Ross is hard to take but at least gives the correct age for the universe.

        • Josiah says:

          For creationism to be granted equal footing on a scientific basis, then like other scientific hypotheses the creation hypothesis would need to have:

          * Explanitive power – What does the hypothesis explain? (“How does creation work?”, “What are its limitations?”, “How can we tell the difference between something that was created and something that wasn’t?”, “Why are ‘created’ things the way they are?”, etc.).

          *Predictive power – What does the hypothesis predict about what is currently unknown? (“What observations or experimental results would we expect to find in future if the creation hypothesis is true?”).

          *Falsifiability – How would we know if the hypothesis isn’t true? (“What observations, if found, would indicate that the creation hypothesis is false?”).

          Note that this is just for it to be considered a legitimate scientific hypothesis. For a hypothesis to become a well accepted theory, it has to survive and be supported by decades of rigorous testing, experimentation, and observational evidence.

          Creationism, as it currently stands, is more of a religious belief than a serious field of scientific research. Evolutionists aren’t afraid of creationism. They are justifiably upset that creationists have been using underhanded methods in an attempt to get creationsim taught in our biology classrooms without first doing the hard work required to earn its place there.

  6. David says:

    You sure like Ehrman. I don’t think that’s the difference between believers and non-believers. I think believers generally think there is an answer to the question of “why?” and non-believers simply think it is irrelevant. All this talk of evolution and the like seems beside the point. I think if you don’t believe there is a God because of evolution you sort of miss the point. That said, I think if you must rely on half baked arguments against evolution or you will become an atheist – you too short change your religion.

    One aspect to non-believers seems to me to be the desire to be right almost to the point of arrogance. I think there is a social opprobrium placed on the religiously inclined which the non-believers wish to avoid. They think if they believe they will be viewed as being stupid or a simpleton. This desire to be a part of an enlightened group is what drives them. They scoff at the religiously inclined. It gives a sense of superiority. This desire for superiority is what separates them from the general believers. It’s not just with belief in God either. I think it transcends, dare I use the word, to virtually everything. The goal of more knowledge can really be a useless endeavor for them, but they take pride in having knowledge and having been well read – not necessarily for a purpose, but just to know. It gives them a sense of superiority.

    The joy in life then becomes one’s ability to be cynical – the love of pointing out hypocrisy. Surely not all non-believers fall in this category but there seems something to this that I think is unhealthy. I’m not advocating for people to remain uneducated. However, it seems to me that someone that takes pleasure in telling a four year old there is no Santa Claus is supremely selfish. Almost as if there is a transfer of joy. An unbridled cynicism seems unhealthy. Almost enough to make one want to believe in the tooth fairy again.

    • entech says:

      Interesting post, as yours always are. You do seem to, or give the impression that you do, take a fairly neutral stance.

      The evolution argument is well put, from my point of view extremists on both sides are more than a bit silly in making such a tight link between evolution and atheism.
      There are more than a few ordained Christians that are both well known and highly regarded scientists in fields of relevance cosmology and physics for example that have no problem with a personal belief and science including evolution. John Polkinghorne, for example, a professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge, decided that after 25 years he had devoted enough of his life to science and that his best work was behind him. He trained for the priesthood. He doesn’t seem to have ever been an atheist, he was a member of the Christian Union while an undergraduate. George Coyne is another, a Jesuit since 18 he has no problem with belief and a very orthodox position on modern cosmology, He was director of the Vatican observatory and adjunct professor in the University of Arizona’s Astronomy department.
      Both Richard Dawkins and Ken Ham are wrong and foolish when they say that evolutionary theory automatically leads to atheism. That Ham preaches the young earth position makes him doubly wrong. Coyne on the other hand finds no contradiction in his beliefs and his lecturing on an evolutionary universe.

      Your neutrality suddenly disappears when you start on about the problems of non-believers, and take on the “broad brush” approach that is so often used against non-believers when they become too general, we all need reminding that there are many variations in Christian belief.
      When you say: desire to be right, you develop it beyond the bounds of reasonableness. In what way would a desire to be right affect belief? Not all scoff at the religiously inclined. The need for superiority you claim is to my mind better attributed to many, not all, religious people with the idea that universe was created especially for them, that they were created in the image of the creator, unspoken is the idea that the image is to all intents and purposes identical, and you and so many others use the “arrogance” accusation against non-believers :?: The believer knows absolutely that he is God’s creation, the non-believer, generally believes he is a part of an evolving universe, not a very important part, perhaps the most highly evolved part at this time, but definitely not the high point of creation, I ask which position shows the most arrogance the most self importance.
      I am sure you don’t advocate ignorance as a worthy ideal when you disdain knowledge for its own sake, truth and knowledge is what all thinking people aim for believer or not.

      I do think that in contradistinction to your intent your description apply to your own attitudes. The superiority accusation applies to both and is an unfortunate personality trait that is independent of belief or not, something that is observed in others but denied in self.
      My sister in law found one of those humorous cards and gave it to me, this one “Give someone else a chance, be wrong for once”, when I said to my wife “that’s not fair”, she said, “yes it is”. I invite you and others who consider non-believers to be something less that human to wonder if this would apply to them – mainly it would :roll:

      O wad some Power the giftie gie us
      To see oursels as ithers see us!
      It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
      An’ foolish notion:
      What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
      An’ ev’n devotion!

      • David says:

        Nice post. I agree with most of what you wrote. I don’t think believers tend to know things absolutely. I think there are some that suggest this, but it is, of course, an impossibility. I think fundamentalist can come across as arrogant. The whole notion that you cannot be possibly wrong lies more with the fundamentalists. I don’t get the impression from fundamentalists that they have a sense of the need to be superior. I’m sure there is some of that. I think that fundamentalists lack humility which I think is a decidedly un-Christian like attribute. But you are correct that there is an elevation of mankind in general with the idea that man is created in the likeness of God. I don’t think that causes fundamentalists to be arrogant. I think the arrogance, especially when talking with atheists, stems more from defensiveness and stubborn attitudes.

        I do think the desire for knowledge is something that is intrinsic to man. So I don’t mean to suggest it as a bad thing. I think the Catholic church is very high on the idea of finding truth wherever it lies. But when the desire for knowledge is to be used to elevate one over another is the sort of desire I am thinking of. Perhaps this is a self criticism. I certainly have this desire. I just think I notice it in atheists. Now, you have to understand that this is certainly too broad a brush. When one encounters atheism it is almost always in a discussion of religion which. Many atheists I assume just live their lives with little care what someone else believes. The atheists I notice are the ones most vocal.

        I don’t have issues with non-believers. I have been a non-believer many a time. I think for a believer to see non-believers as something less than human is decidedly un-Christian. I think one of the best aspects of Christianity is the challenge to put others first – even others for which you disagree. I think that’s the whole idea behind the parable of the good Samaritan and much of the gospel.

        That said, I agree with your final paragraph and I unfortunately have to agree that it applies to me – way too much. I had to look up the poem to actually understand it. But I agree. We all would do well, me first in line, to tamp down our pride and gain some humility. Thanks for such a thoughtful post.

        • entech says:

          Yes, Burns was very observant, hard to follow until you get to grips with the “Scottish language”, the Germanic language a distant cousin to Norwegian not Gaelic. We are lucky that by the time of Hume and Smith Scottish Universities had taken to standard English otherwise a lot of interesting thought would have remained obscure.

          You are right, I think, that most non-believers simply carry on without much to say about it as do many Christians. Of my immediate neighbours 7 out of ten are definitely atheist although it never comes out, except as little in jokes. I have little to say outside of this blog.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      David 8:19 “You sure like Ehrman.”

      I do like lots of what Ehrman does. He tries to distinguish between real authors and forgerers in the Bible. He doesn’t say people cannot treat the Bible as a sacred text just because an author lied about who he actually was. He just says some think it is important to know who an actual author is because one with credentials might be considered more believiable than one without.

      That said, I think he does what many do who take the Bible seriously. They take parts of it and project importance to those parts. The parts they don’t like they attach less importance to. He is not a believer, but attaches a lot of importance to understanding the Bible.

      I don’t agree that liking Ehrman makes someone arrogant or disrespective of the faith. While many of us appear cynical of the faith, there are comments by countless believers here to the effect, “Just wait until you die. You will be sorry.” That is arrogence my friend–words that say the believer knows everything, the nonbeliever knows nothing. The quoting of scripture sends the message, “My view is the truth. Yours is meaningless.”

      • David says:

        Jon, I agree that someone liking Erhman makes someone arrogant or disrespectful of the faithful. I think he seems to be a true academic that looks for the contrarian view. Nothing wrong with that. Contrarians are valuable.

        I agree that some of the faithful tend to use their faith as a weapon. I think it is decidedly un-Christian to claim you know more than an atheist. It is a horrible thing to taunt someone that when they die they will suffer at the hands of God. No Christian knows the fate of any man – if as they believe there is a fate after death. I think this goes entirely against Christian faith. Humility should be the mantra. If God is all about truth then truth should be where you find it. Another reason I think it makes little sense to condemn an atheist if they don’t find truth in God – the notion of which many find absurd. I like Stephen Covey’s fifth habit – seek first to understand then to be understood – still working on it. :-)

  7. Wolfy32 says:

    “truth and knowledge is what all thinking people aim for believer or not. ”

    I’m going to disagree with this.. Both Athiests and Religious desire to live in denial and do not at times seek truth and knowledge. In fact, much of our reality is based on peoples desire to remain in the dark and not know the truth.

    If people sought the truth, they wouldn’t be able to live with themselves. It’s outside the bounds of this blog, but, the truth of our reality in any given moment is sad, unbearable, and I think if we knew at any given moment what the reality across our planet was, the knowledge would be unbearable and impossible to handle.

    The reason churches work out so well is, if you go to church, sit in a pew, listen to a sermon, sing a few songs, socialize, and leave, then no one has to do anything but pay in some money, participate in a few rituals, and then go about your life. It’s spoon fed “salvation”. And somehow that makes everything o.k. Who cares about human sex trafficking, or human sex slavery, or hunger issues, or the numerous abuses across the globe.

    It’s much more peaceful to let a God worry about humanity than to have to do anything about it… Kind of ironic really. Religion was supposed to be the social caretaker of the world.. In fact it’s quite the opposite, usurping any need to improve the world by creating a sense of complacency.. God will fix things, therefore I don’t have to do anything…

    My point being, people do not seek truth or knowledge.. In fact I’d go so far as to say, most people do not seek truth or knowledge. There’s very few of us who seek to understand the truth of our existence beyond what is spoon fed us.. I believe in evolution and I believe in creationism. The science supports Evolution, and God supports the science. He knew life needed boundaries to grow and advance in. I believe there was some thought, some design put into creating our little “aquarium” of life.

    That does not go well with either the religious or the Athiests… That’s too bad, I’m not going to believe what is spoon fed me… :)

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