Thursday, February 24, 2011

Deconstructing Bart Ehrman

by Charles Lehardy

Back before cable and the internet, we used to depend on Uncle Walter for news. A consummate professional, CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite could always be relied on to get his facts straight and the questions of the day answered with precision.

Today, the inescapable 24/7 news cycle and the tsunami of information have biased us to think of everything as an experience in journalism, where carefully arranged factoids lead us like Hansel's pebbles back to the truth.

In truth, this materialistic, hard-evidence bias of ours leads to a peculiarly modern way of framing history and the events of the day.

It is impossible to understand the Bible, much less discover the God who is revealed there, by pretending to be journalists asking gotcha questions.

This does not mean we must check our brains at the door of the church. Jesus said the greatest commandment of God is to love him with all of your heart, soul, and mind.

That implies a God who expects us to pursue the truth with intelligence. It also points up one of the ways ancient writers of the scriptures saw the world differently than we do: they believed that every human being has a moral center, the soul, which is capable of responding to God's truth, directing our decisions, and accepting responsibility — eternally — for our moral choices.

The Bible was written by men who were no less intelligent than we are, but who nevertheless saw life very differently than we do. They saw God at the center of everything.
If we claim to want to understand the Bible but are dismissive of the cultural-historical perspectives of its writers, or worse, if we read it through the blue-blocker lenses of our modern biases about truth and human nature, we just won't get it.

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