Question: (editor’s note: This question is a follow-up to earlier ones. Some unedited earlier correspondence is below)
I am now starting to have more confidence in the Scripture, and starting to see truth from error. So you’re saying Prof. Ehrman is on one side and that side is to work against God, and this is throwing off his explanations of the facts that we have. Is that what you are saying? He is trying to take peoples faith away? Because he is published as a top scholar I thought at first that everything he states was right, and everyone else is wrong. Does he know that his explanation of his information is incorrect? One question I had was whether I can trust your information? I am a little confused how you get the facts, like how you know so much about the New Testament’s so called errors, and everything about scripture? How do others get this information? From a top website? Also, I didn’t really understand what you meant when you said that “Ehrman’s conclusions are not consistent with the data, in my opinion”. What do you mean by “in my opinion”?
All of us filter information, to one extent or another, through our world view. A person such as Ehrman, who has the false world view of atheism as his starting point, is bound to reach false conclusions. As they say in computer science, garbage in; garbage out. A false world view is bound to lead to incorrect conclusions about the meaning of certain information. Ehrman is a good example of a person who rather strongly filters evidence through a particular world view. He has rejected the existence of the supernatural, and therefore, any information which points to the inspiration of the Bible is rejected a-priori. The reason this is so harmful is that this presupposition is just plain wrong. For Ehrman, evidence for the inspiration of the Bible bounces off without having any effect. That is what I have observed by reading his material.
You should decide for yourself how reliable the ideas I express are. I will freely admit that I am approaching information from a Christian world view. I have rather thoroughly checked out most of the world views (atheism, naturalism, postmodernism, theism, deism, existentialism, pantheism, dualism, animism, etc.) and found the Christian world view/theism to best explain reality. The evidence for the inspiration of the Bible is overwhelming, in my opinion. Therefore, I approach information with a certain bias. I tend to see God working in the world. Using an analogy to how I treated Ehrman above, if my world view was wrong (in other words if there is no God), then a number of my conclusion will be automatically suspect. It is your job to decide how you will think about these things. Do you believe there is a God? If so, do you believe that God wants to know us and wants us to know him? If so, then you have already accepted the Christian world view and will, therefore, find most of the ideas I express at my web site to be useful ones.
So, to answer your question, when I say in my opinion what I mean is that I have concluded, from the evidence, that Ehrman has a well-established but false world view which very strongly affects his interpretation of scholarly information. His scholarly information may generally be accurate, but his conclusions, therefore, are often very far from correct ones. That is what I mean. I say that this is my opinion because I do not want to intimidate or manipulate other people in their thinking. I want people to reach their own conclusions. I want to be clear that this is my personal conclusion. When I am talking about facts, I do not say “in my opinion,” but when I am talking about interpretation of facts, I like to make this clear by saying something like “in my opinion.” I hope this helps.
Subject: Re: Prof. Bart D Ehrman
Thanks so much John hope you had a good thanksgiving ! On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 11:33 PM, John Oakes <email@example.com> wrote:
I have read a lot of Ehrman. He is an absolutely top scholar, but his conclusions are not consistent with the evidence. The changes he talks about are extremely minor, despite what he says. The only example he gives is the drops of blood passage in Luke. How does this possible change affect whether the Bible teaches Jesus is God? Even if a scribe added this, the effect on the New Testament is miniscule. The possibility that an ending was added to Mark does nothing at all to undermine the inspiration of the original Mark. This is really just a smoke screen, in my opinion. Read the book of John. Is it clear that John believed Jesus was God? It could not possibly be more clear that Jesus proclaimed his divinity and that John believed in his divinity. You should not be confused by Ehrman’s attempts to take your focus away from the obvious. It could not possibly be more clear that the early church, including John, Luke, Paul, Matthew and Mark all believed Jesus was God. Ehrman is overstating the diversity of early church beliefs and understating the case for the orthodox view. His bias comes through in rather blatant ways. You must look at the actual evidence. I have read much of Ehrman and every time I do, my faith in the overall reliability of the New Testament is not weakened and my faith that the Bible, in the original, was inspired and that Jesus is the Son of God is not lessened at all–in fact it is increased.
The case for the existence of God, for the inspiration of the Bible and for the deity of Jesus is absolutely overwhelming. Ehrman does publish top-rate scholarship, but his conclusions are not consistent with the data, in my opinion.
Was there any conclusion of Ehrman, based on actual data, which caused you to doubt? What might that be? Please supply specifics and I will try to respond. I can see how you might be disturbed by a scholar like Ehrman losing his faith, but you do not know him personally. You do not know what sin he got involved in. Despite his statements, you do not know for a fact that he was in fact saved. Many will leave the faith. This fact does not affect the case for Christ or the case for Christianity. This is based on the evidence and the fact is that, despite all his efforts, the evidence Ehrman offers does little or nothing to undermine reasonable confidence in the inspiration of the original text or in the deity of Jesus.
That is my conclusion. You ought to read one of his books for yourself, remembering that he is coming from a rather strong bias and has a definite agenda which affects his interpretation of the data.
Subject: Prof. Bart D Ehrman
Hey John i just want to give you this link and if you can answer some of the claims he has that would be so great man. This video was the reason i found you and started to have doubts in my faith but some of the first questions he threw out we might have gone over. But the other claims he has could you maybe give some information on that. I am farther in my faith now to take his explanation for his information like we talked about! the claims he has seems that he is working for the devil because of the books he has written. thanks John your a big help for my faith….
here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6PWFvzKl3I