Friday, May 15, 2009

The Happy Agnostic

Bart Ehrman describes himself as a "happy agnostic."  Of course, lots of people do, but his case is not so ordinary because he used to be a fundamentalist Christian.
 CNN has his story:

He says he's not trying to destroy your faith. He's not trying to bash the Bible. And, though his mother no longer talks to him about religion, Ehrman says some of his best friends are Christian.  In Ehrman's latest book, "Jesus, Interrupted," he concludes:

Doctrines such as the divinity of Jesus and heaven and hell are not based on anything Jesus or his earlier followers said.

At least 19 of the 27 books in the New Testament are forgeries.

Believing the Bible is infallible is not a condition for being a Christian."

Christianity has never been about the Bible being the inerrant word of God," Ehrman says. "Christianity is about the belief in Christ."

Ehrman also does not believe in the resurrection, either.

But some people can't believe an agnostic can be happy, he says. They tell him that they're praying for him. Others say worse. They say he's being fooled by Satan and he's headed to hell. Some say he's the anti-Christ.

Lots of fundamentalists say odd stuff like that because they think that, if they don't, then something bad might happen to them- like loss of Heaven or some other childish thought. It seems that the fundamentalist must always be in someone else's business, watching, scolding, threatening. I've been subjected to that very behavior on this blog, but I, too, just laugh at the stupidity of it all.

They seem so serious about something so mysterious, so ethereal, so vapid. I wonder what caused them to be this way? Surely early indoctrination as children as well as family history play significant roles in maintaining this queer view of this world and that supernatural one they wish to attain.

CNN concludes the article with these lines:

Whether it's his family, critics or students, Ehrman says he has a better handle on why he is so threatening to so many people -- some Christians worry they will make the same decision he has.

"I changed my mind," he says. "My students find me more dangerous that way. I really do know what they're talking about when they stake out an evangelical position."

I'm learning about that, too, Mr. Ehrman, just from the many encounters I've had with evangelicals on this blog. And, I'm a happy agnostic as well!

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