Monday, 9 February 2015
Did Bart Ehrman Say Christians Were Idiots If They Remained Christian After The Course?
Prof. Bart D. Ehrman squashes any rumours of him trying to de-convert Christians and calling them idiots if they remain Christian upon the completion of the course. Perhaps some Christians will see Bart Ehrman as the second most dangerous man to Christianity. Dr Zakir Naik was called the most dangerous man to Christianity today by a Christian apologist/missionary named Jay Smith recently.
In my talks with my family I have referenced your work, and my family typically rolls their eyes and tells me that they hold no respect for your work. When pressed on why I have gotten different answers most of them I can dismiss easily but lately they have been sticking to a new story and it goes like this.
“I have a friend from church who has a son and he as a faience who took one of Dr. Ehrman’s classes at UNC. The first day of class he walked in and asked if there were any Christians in the room. He then told them that if they were still Christians by the end of the course that they are idiots and would probably fail. “
So first off please let me know if you have ever said anything like this before and if so why or was it in jest?
I find this comment about me (from the person’s family) to be deeply disturbing and really offensive. It’s not their fault, of course. It’s something that they heard from someone else. But depending on how it originated, it is either a patently false rumor or a malicious lie. In either case, it is not simply untrue. It is the opposite of the truth.
I am not opposed to Christians and have never been opposed to Christians. Ever. I have never tried to deconvert my students. Ever. I have never tried to destroy my students’ faith. Ever. This is just false. The only question is if someone for some reason innocently thought it was the case, even though it’s not, or if someone intentionally made it up in order to slander me. That is to say: is it an erroneous rumor or a mean-spirited attack. I don’t know and have no way of knowing.
...The reality is that the information that students learn – historical and literary information about the New Testament – is just about the same as they would learn in any major college or university in the country. I get attacked only because of my personal religious views, not because of what I teach, even though people who attack me think that they are attacking me for what I teach. But in fact what I teach is pretty much what ever critical scholar in North America teaches when they teach a class on the New Testament, whether they are teaching in an Ivy League school (Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, etc.); major state school (Florida State, University of Texas, U.C. Berkeley – take your pick on any coast or in the middle); private universities (University of Richmond, Loyola Marymount, Wake Forest, whatever); liberal arts colleges (Oberlin, Newberry, Washington and Lee, wherever).
This kind of knowledge is also taught in a wide range of Christian divinity schools and seminaries, by people training future ministers. It is simply ignorant to say that such information is non- or anti-Christian.
And it is offensive to me personally for someone to say that I want to deconvert people from being Christian, or try to deconvert them, or have my goal to deconvert them. That is not just false (and malicious): it is just the opposite of the truth.
Excerpts taken from Professor Bart Ehrman's FB
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