Peter Rollins and Bart Ehrman: Towards a Church Beyond Belief

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In case you have missed it, Pete has a new website. He has made the switch from his other blog and now seems to have a real site.
What is more, you can use this as a reminder to pre-order his next book, entitled The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief (or The IR/Religious Heart of Christianity. I promise, if you liked the first one, you are really going to enjoy this one. It should begin to appear around April, with lots of controversy to follow.
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Also, earlier today, my friend sent me a link a to this article about Bart Ehrman’s new book entitled, God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question–Why We Suffer. There is also an audio link to to an interview between he and npr. I am not sure if you have read much by Ehrman; however, here is a snippet from the book to tempt you:
“In an earlier book, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, I have indicated that my strong commitment to the Bible began to wane the more I studied it. I began to realize that rather than being an inerrant revelation from God, inspired in its very words (the view I had at Moody Bible Institute), the Bible was a very human book with all the marks of having come from human hands: discrepancies, contradictions, errors, and different perspectives of different authors living at different times in different countries and writing for different reasons to different audiences with different needs. But the problems of the Bible are not what led me to leave the faith. These problems simply showed me that my evangelical beliefs about the Bible could not hold up, in my opinion, to critical scrutiny. I continued to be a Christian—a completely committed Christian—for many years after I left the evangelical fold.
Eventually, though, I felt compelled to leave Christianity altogether. I did not go easily. On the contrary, I left kicking and screaming, wanting desperately to hold on to the faith I had known since childhood and had come to know intimately from my teenaged years onward. But I came to a point where I could no longer believe. It’s a very long story, but the short version is this: I realized that I could no longer reconcile the claims of faith with the facts of life. In particular, I could no longer explain how there can be a good and all-powerful God actively involved with this world, given the state of things. For many people who inhabit this planet, life is a cesspool of misery and suffering. I came to a point where I simply could not believe that there is a good and kindly disposed Ruler who is in charge of it.
The problem of suffering became for me the problem of faith. After many years of grappling with the problem, trying to explain it, thinking through the explanations that others have offered—some of them pat answers charming for their simplicity, others highly sophisticated and nuanced reflections of serious philosophers and theologians—after thinking about the alleged answers and continuing to wrestle with the problem, about nine or ten years ago I finally admitted defeat, came to realize that I could no longer believe in the God of my tradition, and acknowledged that I was an agnostic: I don’t “know” if there is a God; but I think that if there is one, he certainly isn’t the one proclaimed by the Judeo-Christian tradition, the one who is actively and powerfully involved in this world. And so I stopped going to church.”
The interesting nature of these two books is that actually, if you just follow the teaser of Rollin’s upcoming book, it might just be that by losing his faith, Ehrman actually found a truer more real faith. Seems odd, but maybe, just maybe, Pete is once again really on to something.
have faith? lose it!
joshua

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