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Why Don't More Xtians Know About Biblical Scholarship?


Neon Genesis

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In his book Jesus Interrupted, Ehrman wonders why doesn't more of the general public know about the findings of biblical scholarship that have been known to scholars for years now. He thinks it's possibly because the information isn't being conveyed to the general public enough and even though preachers are supposed to know this from xtian college, they don't tell the masses at church about it. I'm not sure though that problem is so much that the info isn't being let out. There are plenty of books on the subject by different authors from various positions of religious beliefs or lack thereof. I think the issue is more so that there's a lack of interest in it among most xtians. Most xtians are already convinced they have all the answers and think it's a waste of time to read anything with different views. Even when they do present this information, the xtians always purposely skew the information to either make it seem more absurd than it actually is or they skew it to make it seem like the conservative view is the majority. Like one time the Sunday school teacher at my parents' church brought up that the Jesus Seminar claims only 10% of the teachings of Jesus are authentic and they laughed about how it wouldn't be difficult to memorize the bible then. They didn't discuss the methods the Jesus Seminar uses to reach their conclusions or even acknowledge even the idea of the Q gospel. They just make it seem like the Jesus Seminar are these intellectually dishonest cherry picking liberals that don't want to read the bible. Or when they were discussing the issue of biblical authorship, they make it seem like it's still being debated among scholars whether or not Paul wrote Hebrews even though the majority of scholars have long since proven Paul didn't write it. Why do you think more xtians don't know about biblical scholarship when this info isn't all that difficult to find? All you have to do is walk into the religious section of your local bookstore and there are plenty of books there on the subject yet the majority of xtians you run into are almost always ignorant about it.

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Goodbye Jesus

Because faith overcomes facts.

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The less you know, the easier it is to believe.

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Simple answer but true - they don't want to know.

 

They have all they need from the Holy Babble, God's Word. They don't need any interpreters of that either, after all, they have the Spirit of God.

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In his book Jesus Interrupted, Ehrman wonders why doesn't more of the general public know about the findings of biblical scholarship that have been known to scholars for years now. He thinks it's possibly because the information isn't being conveyed to the general public enough and even though preachers are supposed to know this from xtian college, they don't tell the masses at church about it. I'm not sure though that problem is so much that the info isn't being let out. There are plenty of books on the subject by different authors from various positions of religious beliefs or lack thereof. I think the issue is more so that there's a lack of interest in it among most xtians. Most xtians are already convinced they have all the answers and think it's a waste of time to read anything with different views. Even when they do present this information, the xtians always purposely skew the information to either make it seem more absurd than it actually is or they skew it to make it seem like the conservative view is the majority. Like one time the Sunday school teacher at my parents' church brought up that the Jesus Seminar claims only 10% of the teachings of Jesus are authentic and they laughed about how it wouldn't be difficult to memorize the bible then. They didn't discuss the methods the Jesus Seminar uses to reach their conclusions or even acknowledge even the idea of the Q gospel. They just make it seem like the Jesus Seminar are these intellectually dishonest cherry picking liberals that don't want to read the bible. Or when they were discussing the issue of biblical authorship, they make it seem like it's still being debated among scholars whether or not Paul wrote Hebrews even though the majority of scholars have long since proven Paul didn't write it. Why do you think more xtians don't know about biblical scholarship when this info isn't all that difficult to find? All you have to do is walk into the religious section of your local bookstore and there are plenty of books there on the subject yet the majority of xtians you run into are almost always ignorant about it.

 

I would say that, contrary to what some other have said on this thread, most people are ignorant about the details of most issues in life, whether it is the taking over of 1/7 of the economy, the nature of reality and the universe, or religious beliefs. I don't think that this is unique to Christians.

 

Now, to correct some of your assertions and misrepresentations. Not all churches and pastors ignore these issues. The churches that I have attended since becoming a Christian have always had very strong teaching and opportunities to learn these ideas. In fact, I hope to soon teach a class that will dig into these issues at my current church. Will everyone, or even a majority of the church attend this class? Probably not. But then again, the majority of society doesn't seem to get much past the headlines in their daily newspaper either.

 

Second, regarding the alleged Q document, I think you overstate your case. Nobody actually knows whether there was an actual Q document, let alone a Q Gospel. It is speculative as a source and we have no actual document or even fragments of such a document. So, although such a document might answer some questions if it existed, it should not be taught that it was an actual document.

 

Third, regarding the Jesus Seminar, I think that people should be taught their methodology and their a priori assumptions that guided the decisions of most of them. Now, it must be said that the JS was not monolithic, there were a handful of more conservative members who were involved; however, the majority held the a priori assumption that the supernatural did not exist and that reflected in their voting patterns on the various passages.

 

Fourth, regarding Hebrews, again, I think that you overstate your case. I personally don't believe that Paul wrote Hebrews for a number of reasons; however, to say that it has been "proven" that Paul didn't write Hebrews is an overstatement. The best you can say is that the preponderance of the evidence would suggest that he didn't write it. However, others dispute that evidence and make a case that he did. Since, none of us knows for sure, we cannot say that it has been proven one way or the other.

 

Regarding some of the assertions by others here that Christians somehow divorce themselves from evidence in order to believe is a bit of a stretch. Convictions should be based upon evidence, which is true for Christianity just it is for anything else about which we have convictions.

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Convictions should be based upon evidence, which is true for Christianity just it is for anything else about which we have convictions.

 

We just disagree on what constitutes "evidence."

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I think some people are more into the fellowship aspect of church than the actual content of what church really means. Kind of like trying to sit a person down and explaining the true meaning and content of Christmas to someone that has every inch of their house decorated for Christmas, and they are walking around with reindeer antlers on their head, all into it.

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I think some people are more into the fellowship aspect of church than the actual content of what church really means. Kind of like trying to sit a person down and explaining the true meaning and content of Christmas to someone that has every inch of their house decorated for Christmas, and they are walking around with reindeer antlers on their head, all into it.

 

Well said.

 

The truth is that most Christians aren't all that into studying the Bible. They just like the songs and the fellowship.

 

And of course the potlucks.

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I think some people are more into the fellowship aspect of church than the actual content of what church really means. Kind of like trying to sit a person down and explaining the true meaning and content of Christmas to someone that has every inch of their house decorated for Christmas, and they are walking around with reindeer antlers on their head, all into it.

 

Well said.

 

The truth is that most Christians aren't all that into studying the Bible. They just like the songs and the fellowship.

 

And of course the potlucks.

 

I will say that I know many christians who "study" the bible diligently and constantly. The problem is that they only use material from conservative sources that believe the same way they do. They don't read any independent scholarship; in fact, they are told by "more knowledgeble" people (e.g. Dobson, MacArthur, etc.) not to. Material like the Jesus Seminar was written by "liberals" and "elites" who wanted to discredit the "fundamentals" of "the Faith", so they shouldn't go near it. So they only study material that reinforces their already held interpretations and understandings. I've heard these types of things said from the pulpit many times.

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I think it has to do with complacency a lot of the time. If they are happy, there is nothing in them that even makes them wonder enough to look, or even quesiton, that there is something else.

 

And, OMG, I agree with LNC here: :HaHa:

 

I would say that, contrary to what some other have said on this thread, most people are ignorant about the details of most issues in life, whether it is the taking over of 1/7 of the economy, the nature of reality and the universe, or religious beliefs. I don't think that this is unique to Christians.

 

No one can know everything and if nothing has happened to make one question, there won't be an inquiry.

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Christians are generally not interested in the details of biblical scholarship. They pretty much want to feel good about their futures and feel like they are good with god.

 

Plus, between work, family and various other responsibilities, it is difficult to find the time to do the serious mental work required to understand biblical scholarship.

 

If the choice is between a warm fuzzy feel good Max Lucado easy read and a tome of New Testament scholarship, Max Lucado is generally going to win.

 

If you have an over committed, neurotic soccer-mom type, they are going to buy the latest Beth Moore offering rather than a work on Biblical Textual criticism.

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"Chicken Soup for the Biblical Scholar" hasn't been written yet.

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One can't brainwash their congregation if they are expecting them to think, now can they? Thinking Christians end up as Ex-Christians.

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Well....

 

In my experience, this is a good example of why:

 

Third, regarding the Jesus Seminar [...] the majority held the a priori assumption that the supernatural did not exist and that reflected in their voting patterns on the various passages.

 

People in the church firmly believe that any scholarship that arises contrary to Biblical teachings must come from people who were blinded and deceived by Satan. Everything is suspect if it doesn't conform to God's word. The Bible is the supreme authority; therefore, anything that casts doubt upon it is obviously wrong. Clearly, in their minds such dangerous teachings should not be sought out, but, rather, strictly avoided.

 

As I am currently in the midst of the "Do I believe or not?!?" deconversion struggle (And I do mean "struggle." When, oh when will it end?? I'm going insane!), when I come across a bit of information that clearly refutes something in the Bible, I continually find my brain's knee-jerk reaction to be, "Oh, well, obviously these people are tools of Satan, sent to deceive us." :twitch: And then I have to reason myself down from that ridiculous ledge. I am so frustrated by this whole way of thinking that has been ingrained in my brain over the past 35 years. It is very difficult to overcome.

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I will say that I know many christians who "study" the bible diligently and constantly. The problem is that they only use material from conservative sources that believe the same way they do. They don't read any independent scholarship; in fact, they are told by "more knowledgeble" people (e.g. Dobson, MacArthur, etc.) not to. Material like the Jesus Seminar was written by "liberals" and "elites" who wanted to discredit the "fundamentals" of "the Faith", so they shouldn't go near it. So they only study material that reinforces their already held interpretations and understandings. I've heard these types of things said from the pulpit many times.

 

Exactly.

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How many times have you heard a church leader (pastor, elder or otherwise) talk to a congregation about Biblical scholarship? I never have, and I think this is a big reason why no one delves into it. I would bet that if you asked christians about it they would think you were talking about a Bible study. It seems to me that is all church is, a big, looonnnggg Bible study: someone talks a little bit about either a specific section (verse, chapter, etc) or a topic, then talks how amazing and good it is, and then everyone feels better. Since this is all church is, why would the average person even think about going any deeper?

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First of all, to clarify I've never said all xtians are ignorant about it hence why I asked why don't MORE of them know it. Second of all, LNC's rants about the Jesus Seminar have nothing to do with what my thread actually is about which is why don't more xtians know about it, whether they agree with it or not. Third, I thought I already declared a long time ago I was not speaking to him so why is he still responding to me? He can respond all he wants but he's really wasting his time.

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First of all, to clarify I've never said all xtians are ignorant about it hence why I asked why don't MORE of them know it. Second of all, LNC's rants about the Jesus Seminar have nothing to do with what my thread actually is about which is why don't more xtians know about it, whether they agree with it or not. Third, I thought I already declared a long time ago I was not speaking to him so why is he still responding to me? He can respond all he wants but he's really wasting his time.

Just ignore him. (Easy for me to say! :HaHa:)

 

He's like the small barking dogs that keep on yapping, and you yell to them to shut up, but they won't.

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Why Don't More Xtians Know About Biblical Scholarship?

 

Probably for the same reason that people don't know about medical findings, or law findings, or accounting schemes. It requires to much specialized education to understand, and there are already people who do it. People hire Pastors and Priests to know this stuff for them.

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Now, to correct some of your assertions and misrepresentations...

 

LNC, is it really any wonder to you why we think you're arrogant and condescending?

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Just ignore him. (Easy for me to say! :HaHa:)

 

He's like the small barking dogs that keep on yapping, and you yell to them to shut up, but they won't.

Besides, I thought that LNC had cited John Dominic Crossan as one of the scholars who accepts his stupid six minimum facts in the other thread even though he was the freaking co-founder of the Jesus Seminar but now he's saying the Jesus Seminar scholars are not real scholars, so which one is it? Now he'll probably lie and deny that he ever cited John Dominic Crossan and demand that I dig through a 50+ thread to prove he did something I know for a fact he did and that he knows he did.
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the majority held the a priori assumption that the supernatural did not exist

 

...and DOES not exist - this is the only sensible assumption to make.

 

apologies to Neon ahead of time if I'm contributing to a sidetracking of this thread.

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Besides, I thought that LNC had cited John Dominic Crossan as one of the scholars who accepts his stupid six minimum facts in the other thread even though he was the freaking co-founder of the Jesus Seminar but now he's saying the Jesus Seminar scholars are not real scholars, so which one is it? Now he'll probably lie and deny that he ever cited John Dominic Crossan and demand that I dig through a 50+ thread to prove he did something I know for a fact he did and that he knows he did.

Exactly. And that's the reason I find no reason to talk to him again, because he's done this multiple times. He's flip-flopping his position, claims one or another scholar to support his belief and be authority of the subject, but only when it suits him, and if we quote the scholar to contradict LNC's position, then the scholar is just rubbish and not to be trusted. There's no use to argue, because LNC is not honestly seeking answers, he's only seeking to dominate the arguments and will do whatever it takes to never be "wrong." (even though we constantly point it out. He also thinks he knows astronomy better than astronomers. He thinks he knows the Bible better than scholars. He knows history better than historians. And of course he knows science, atheism, philosophy, and anything else in the universe, better than any expert alive or dead. Why even argue with a narcissistic megalomaniac like that? It's like eating glass.)

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..the majority held the a priori assumption that the supernatural did not exist and that reflected in their voting patterns on the various passages...

 

Sounds like a reasonable assumption to me.

 

I suspect that most of these folks spent a good bit of their lives looking for the supernatural and didn't find it. I spent a majority of my life looking for the supernatural, believing it existed. I couldn't find it. Eventually I had to assume that it didn't exist.

 

I suspect that LNC believes that it is there too, but he has never found it either. If he had, he could send us a pound or two and end the arguments in his favor.

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however, the majority held the a priori assumption that the supernatural did not exist and that reflected in their voting patterns on the various passages.

Read: the majority applied proper historical methodology.

 

mwc

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