Why Do Conservative Christian Apologists Lie about Bart Ehrman?

Image result for image of bart ehrman
Bart Ehrman, New Testament scholar

Bart Ehrman, on his blog:

Today a member of the blog sent me the following little bit from William Lane Craig.  (I don’t know why I get dragged into these things by evangelical scholars; I never talk about *their* personal lives or faith….).  He could find my email address and could simply ask me if what he says about me is true.  It’s not.  Here’s what he says (with a link to the rest of his post which, thankfully, is not about me):

“We should have to re-think our doctrine of inspiration in that case, but we needn’t give up belief in God or in Jesus, as Bart Ehrman did.  Ehrman had, it seems to me, a flawed theological system of beliefs as a Christian.  It seems that at the center of his web of theological beliefs was biblical inerrancy, and everything else, like the beliefs in the deity of Christ and in his resurrection, depended on that. Once the center was gone, the whole web soon collapsed.  But when you think about it, such a structure is deeply flawed.  At the center of our web of beliefs ought to be some core belief like the belief that God exists, with the deity and resurrection of Christ somewhere near the center.  The doctrine of inspiration of Scripture will be somewhere further out and inerrancy even farther toward the periphery as a corollary of inspiration.  If inerrancy goes, the web will feel the reverberations of that loss, as we adjust our doctrine of inspiration accordingly, but the web will not collapse because belief in God and Christ and his resurrection and so on don’t depend upon the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.”  Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/what-price-biblical-errancy#ixzz3FN3RdTDC

So let me say to start with that I completely agree with Craig theologically.  The beliefs in the deity and resurrection of Christ should not be based on a view of inerrancy of Scripture.  But what does *my* faith journey have to do with that?  Precisely nothing.   Maybe I said something once that led him to think otherwise?  I thought I’d always been careful in what I said about my journey from fundamentalist to agnostic, but maybe I slipped up somewhere?  If so, I’m sure he’ll let me know.

But the reality is that he is FLAT OUT WRONG that my former belief in the deity of Christ and the resurrection “depended on” my belief in the inerrancy of the Bible.  I have two incontrovertible proofs for that.   The first is that I believed in the deity of Christ and in the physical resurrection BEFORE I held to a view of Biblical inerrancy.  The second is that I believed in the deity of Christ and in the physical resurrection AFTER I gave up my view of Biblical inerrancy.



I grew up a fundamentalist Baptist; spent my twenties as a non-denominational evangelical; and became a conservative Lutheran in my mid 40’s. I deconverted from Christianity in my early 50’s. Fundamentalist Baptist apologists blame my deconversion on my becoming a Lutheran. Evangelical and conservative Lutheran apologists blame my deconversion on my former fundamentalism. Catholic apologists blame my deconversion on my Protestant “sola scriptura” mentality. None of them are ever willing to accept that it was the EVIDENCE that led to my deconversion. In their minds, my deconversion MUST have been due to a lack of understanding of the TRUE version of Christianity—THEIR version of Christianity.

I will bet that this is why conservative apologists must invent reasons for your deconversion, Dr. Ehrman. To admit that the highly educated Bart Ehrman deconverted after a thorough and objective evaluation of the evidence, would be an unthinkable admission. It would be an admission that the evidence for Christianity is contested. The evidence for Christianity is not “strong” as they like to claim.  It would be an admission to “the flock” that intelligent people can walk away from Christianity for rational, informed reasons.  Such an admission would be disastrous for the faith (the cult!).

No, Bart Ehrman’s deconversion was due to a faulty understanding of Christian teaching or…a secret desire to engage in a life of sin!  It couldn’t have been due to evidence.

Image result for image of evidence




End of post.

26 thoughts on “Why Do Conservative Christian Apologists Lie about Bart Ehrman?

  1. Ehrman says he “deconverted” over not finding a sufficient answer (or cause, or reason, or justification, etc) for suffering.

    I know you always talk about “evidence”. But, evidence for what, exactly?

    There is, in Christianity, only one thing that is central to the whole belief system, and that is the resurrection of Jesus. Heck, a person doesn’t even need to believe in God first. That can be a result of having become convinced of Jesus resurrection.

    So, what’s the evidence against the resurrection that you’ve dug up? A new scroll, perhaps? Maybe a letter from the Jerusalem Cemetery gardener to Caiaphas?

    Or, is it that you don’t think there is sufficient evidence to convince you?


    1. You don’t get to shift the burden of proof like that. You are the one trying to convince us of an extremely unlikely thing happening,in the distant past. and you have no real evidence, just a book of religious propaganda from a roman-era mystery cult. I don’t buy your claim, and I don’t have to provide any evidence against it. You haven’t made your case, so I’m not believing you.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Where is the LIE Gary? Please show me the lie.

    Because Craig clearly says “it seems to me.” He’s expressing the opinion he gets from reading Erhman’s material and the engagement they have had. Where is the lie?

    VERY interesting – Erhman said in his book Misquoting Jesus that the beginning of his loss of faith was when his lecturer wrote “Maybe Mark got it wrong” See Erhman, 2005, pg 9.

    His exact words were that “the floodgates opened.”

    The thing is Erhman simply didn’t seem to know how to do ancient history. Instead of trying to reconcile discrepancies, which every ancient historian does with all the other sources of all the other events of ancient history, Erhman thought that any difficulty means that the event doesn’t happen as recored in the New Testament.

    And the trajectory of his loss of faith does seem to emanate from this issue: scriptural inerrancy. So while he NOW claims that they have little relationship, even though reading the introduction to his 2005 book paints quite a different picture.


    1. The lie is disseminating a false story about someone’s motives when WLC had the opportunity to contact Ehrman to obtain his story prior to broadcasting WLC’s uninformed, biased opinion. The truth is: WLC doesn’t want to admit that ANYONE has taken an objective, educated look at the evidence and found it wanting.

      Like me, inerrancy may have started the process, but it wasn’t what caused Ehrman or me to abandon Christianity. We abandoned Christianity when we discovered all the holes in the Christian tall tale (lack of evidence for the Genesis Creation; lack of evidence for the Exodus from Egypt; lack of evidence for the Conquest of Canaan; lack of evidence for the authorship of most of the books of the OT; lack of evidence for the eyewitness/associate eyewitness authorship of the Gospels; lack of evidence for the Pauline authorship of many of the alleged Pauline epistles; and to top it off, the strong evidence of the non-existence of a loving, just, Jesus the Creator, due to the massive, horrific, daily human and animal suffering on this planet.)

      Liked by 3 people

    2. The thing is Erhman simply didn’t seem to know how to do ancient history.

      No, the thing is Christians don’t seem to know how to do ancient history. If they did, they wouldn’t be so quick to argue their case.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. @Liam
      Craig uses the phrase it seems to me so often it has become almost his signature stock -in-trade line for saying – ”I have no evidence but I don’t believe it.”


  3. Not only do they lie and fabricate about the extant cumulative contextual evidence as well as what does not exist, they lie (clinical denial) to themselves too. And the more they do it the more deaf and blind they become and less like their Greek Jesus Christ of authentic history.


  4. Ark –

    re: “There is no evidence for the resurrection so why on earth is there any need to provide evidence against it?”

    Evidence FOR the resurrection?

    No, no, my dear boy. The resurrection is the solution – the hypothesis put forth to explain other facts. One does not need to put forth evidence to explain this hypothesis itself.

    Now, since I am aware that you know very, very little of the study of history (and how it works), let me explain with a simple example:

    “Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon”.

    That is the suggested explanation for how Julius ended up in Rome, when before, his Legion was stationed on the opposite side of the Rubicon. There is not ONE SHRED of evidence that Julius actually crossed the Rubicon. No footprints on the banks of the river, no artifacts, no documents that say it happened. It is the proposed solution to “how Julius came to be in Rome”.

    See how that works?

    The resurrection is the hypothesis put forth to explain things like “what really happened with the body of Jesus”, and “how did Christianity begin”, and “how do we explain the empty tomb”, etc.

    I do realize this can be difficult to wrap one’s mind around. But, that’s how it works.

    Gary said he “deconverted” based on “evidence” – so, I simply asked for “evidence of what?”

    I see he apparently agrees with your response, saying “hear, hear”, which surprises me. I actually thought Gary had a better handle on how hypothesis work in the study of ancient history. I see he has learned little, and, if he agrees with you, then, it’s precious little…


    1. Ok. More accurately, I deconverted due to a LACK of evidence for the claims of Christianity. So it was still an issue of EVIDENCE that led to my deconversion, not my lack of understanding of “true Christianity” or a secret desire to sin, the two most common reasons conservative Christians give for my deconversion, the deconversion of Bart Ehrman, and that of many other ex-Christians. They never state: “This person reviewed the evidence for Christianity and found it insufficient.” They always blame deconversions on insufficient knowledge and/or a sinister ulterior motive.


      1. I know of only one claim of Christianity upon which all else hangs – the resurrection of Jesus.

        But, if you’re looking for evidence (and finding the lack thereof) for the resurrection, you’re looking totally in the wrong direction.

        As I’ve tried to explain to you – (something which you should know very well) – the resurrection is the explanation for the facts – ie, the empty tomb, the claims of resurrection, the claims of “sightings”, etc – as offered by one set of scholars and laypersons. Another such explanation (for example) is that Jesus’ body was stolen and the disciples lied about it.

        So – I still don’t have any idea of what you’re talking about when you say either “evidence” or “lack of evidence”.


        1. You have a point, ftb, but many/most Christians claim the resurrection as FACT. They say nothing about it being an “explanation.”

          Of course, most non-believers reject even the “explanation” since such an event lacks credibility and/or proof and has never been replicated.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Nan –

            Generally, the “best explanation” – if it has broad consensus – is considered (or accepted as) “fact”, as in the case of Julius crossing the Rubicon.

            Granted, Christians consider the resurrection as “fact”, but then, the vast majority of Christians are not historians, any more than anyone on this thread is. In terms of “historical studies”, though, one can hardly consider the resurrection as “fact”, since it doesn’t have a broad consensus among scholars as the “best explanation”.

            If the majority of Christians understood that historically, Jesus’ resurrection is just a “hypothesis” – one that Christians put forth as best explaining other, known facts – and if the “challengers” (usually atheists, agnostics, skeptics, etc) equally understood this (and it appears none on this thread do), then it would change the dynamic of these conversations immensely.

            For example, you wouldn’t have some clown saying “show me the evidence for the resurrection”.


            1. Ridiculous.

              Just google “evidence for the Resurrection” and you will find a gazillion Christian apologists attempting to give evidence for this alleged event. You LOVE to parse words, ft. It is silly.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. nonsense.

                As you note, those are “apologists”, not historians.

                Scholars such as Craig, Evans, Brown, Ehrman, Funk, etc, understand and use EXACTLY the kind of approach and terminology I use.

                I would not expect a so-called, run-of-the-mill “apologist” to have a grasp on this, any better than YOU have a grasp on it.


        2. There is a lack of good evidence for the overwhelming majority of educated, modern, non-Christians to believe that one empty tomb out of tens of thousands in human history was due to a resurrection! The fact that a few first century peasants claimed to have seen the ghost/corpse/body of the former occupant of this one, empty, two thousand year old tomb is NOT good evidence to justify a resurrection as the explanation for it being empty!!!

          I deconverted due to a lack of GOOD evidence for the claims of Christianity.

          Now, does that make you happy, ft?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. no, it doesn’t make me happy.

            I asked WHAT CLAIMS are you talking about. I didn’t ask (nor do I care) what you consider “good” evidence or not.


              1. I don’t know why you consider a testimony by Paul, that Jesus had been seen (or, appeared to) Peter, the Twelve, etc, as “unverified”.

                Paul clearly states he shared his gospel with Peter, John, James, et al, and they agreed with what he was saying. And, saying “Jesus was seen by Peter, the Twelve, et al” was part of Paul’s gospel.

                This is precisely why so many historians – included some very noted and highly-regarded skeptics – have no doubt that the disciples “saw something” (dream? hallucination? other non-veridical vision?) that led them to claim Jesus was alive.

                So, I don’t see the “claims themselves” as being unverified at all. All that is in question is whether they really saw Jesus, bodily resurrected, or, if they just had hallucinations, dreams, or other non-veridical visions, and – unlike the rest of the population on earth that has had similar experiences in regards to lost loved-ones, but didn’t interpret those experiences to mean their lost loved-ones had bodily risen from the grave and were again living – those that claimed “bodily resurrection” were psychotic, actually taking such “visions” to mean that Jesus had bodily left his grave and was “alive again”.

                But, the claim was “I saw Jesus, resurrected” – and THAT is the very hypothesis, the explanation – for the empty tomb and the proliferation of the message (or idea, or thought, or “belief”) that Jesus was resurrected. And, I don’t think any modern historians doubt that that claim itself is “unverified”.


                1. other than Paul

                  Please read my entire statement before you comment.

                  Paul is the only verified source (and some would even question that, but…) that we have for anyone claiming to have seen this dead person alive again.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. I read what you wrote – and – you missed my point entirely. Completely. And utterly.

                    We may not have a writing by Peter in which he says “I saw Jesus”.

                    But, again – I don’t know of any modern historians that doubt that the disciples “saw something“. In other words, the fact that they “saw something” is very widely accepted, and well-argued, even by skeptics.

                    They just don’t agree on what was seen.

                    But, I don’t guess you “get” that. And, I’m not gonna bother trying to explain it.


                    1. You are wrong. Not even Habermas claims that most scholars believe that the disciples “saw” something. He states that most scholars believe that some of the earliest Christians had experiences of some fashion which led them to believe that Jesus had appeared to them. That is far different than claiming that they “saw” something.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Gary.

                      That’s why the word “saw” is in QUOTES. To indicate it is NOT LITERAL, necessarily.

                      MOST people understand that usage of quotes by time they get out of high school

                      Heck, I’m sure I’ve even seen 9th graders signaling “quotes” with their fingers, while in conversation.

                      But – “saw” – “experienced” – One can always expect a good “semantics” argument out of you.


    2. No, FT it isn’t.

      Your response is not only one of ignorance – as is all of Christianity – but is simply arse-backwards and fallacious.
      There is a tale (the crucifiction) in a book – collection of texts – that states he was crucified and then he was resurrected.There is no evidence of any resurrection, only a claim. In fact there are only claims of a crucifiction and nothing to verify this.

      People believe erroneous claims all the time. You are a perfect example. Evidence is not only lacking for your belief but completely unnecessary.
      Your position as a believer is based on indoctrination and the acceptance that you are a sinner.

      Once this is ingrained then any cockamamie tale will suffice. And you are evidence of this.

      See how it works? And you believe it hook line and sinker.


      Liked by 1 person

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