Thursday, May 10, 2018

The perplexed, confused mind of the atheist skeptic

I do not know anything about the atheist radio talk show in the clip at bottom that non-Christian historian Bart Ehrman appeared on. As Ehrman says in the interview, "I am not a believer" in the divine nature of Christ. And that is probably why, as he says in the tape, atheist groups and the like keep calling on him to help them rebut Christianity. Below is his response to such a call asking him to affirm that in fact no such person as Jesus of Nazareth ever existed.
Alexander the Great.
His historical existence is much less well attested than that of Jesus of Nazareth.
However, as Ehrman points out, the historical existence of Jesus is better attested than almost anyone else from his era, better attested, in fact, than Julius Caesar. And, although not included in this segment, it is probably worth noting that the earliest reference to Alexander the Great, who died in 323 BC, dates from 300 years afterward,  and the record that is considered most reliable dates 200 years later than that.

That's as if we know the American Revolution occurred in the 1770s, but no record of George Washington will be made until the year 2081, 67 years from now.

And no one doubts that Alexander lived. However, the earliest writings about Jesus of Nazareth, the letters of the apostles, date beginning less than 20 years after Jesus died during the governorship of Pontius Pilate.

So why do these people keep insisting that Jesus never lived, that his character is wholly fictional? Because if you stick to that claim, they think that everything else about Christian faith can be easily dismissed. But that is not so, either. About which more later.

Here is the radio interview with Bart Ehrman, an American New Testament scholar focusing on textual criticism of the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the development of early Christianity. He has written and edited 30 books, including three college textbooks. He has also authored six New York Times bestsellers. He is currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He does not claim Christian faith.

A companion video is of Prof. William Lane Craig, an American analytic philosopher and Christian apologist. He holds faculty positions at Talbot School of Theology (Biola University), and Houston Baptist University. He has debated the existence of God with public figures such as Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Lawrence M. Krauss. Craig established and runs the online apologetics ministry

Here Dr. Craig discusses the relevance of non-biblical sources about Jesus. 

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