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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory Reading, 5 May 2009
This review is from: God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer (Paperback)
For most of us at some time in our Christian and/or religious life, our faith will inevitably clash with reason. That crisis between the head and the heart, is a struggle that I have experienced personally and have seen many people around me struggle with. One inevitably realises that things don't always work for good as the good old Apostle and the good book says it does.

Why do bad things happen to good and innocent people if an Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omni-benevolent deity is on the throne of justice?
I have seen terrible calamities befall good innocent Christian brothers and sisters so it is a question that I have asked personally many times.

In this book, Professor Ehrman dealt with this issue admirably. He looked at all the angles, all the biblical examples and all the explanations that have been offered by various people over the years. He dealt with them one by one and offered us an excellent, lucid assessment and his very informed and well researched views and opinions.

This is a fantastic book, whatever your Christian belief or lack thereof. In the usual Ehrman style, it is well written, well thought out, and contributes substantially to knowledge.

I will recommend this book to anyone who wants to go beyond the dogmas and take a good objective look at what Christianity has to say about one of the most fundamental questions of our time.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Mar 2010 12:05:33 GMT
Midasin says:
Dear Steve,

I find this puzzling. You write:

"One inevitably realises that things don't always work for good as the good old Apostle and the good book says it does."

I have read the Bible thru a number of times, and copied out the entire NT in the Greek and then translated for myself into English to be sure I was reading it correctly. I don't find that the Bible anywhere says what you say it says. Certainly it says that things ULTIMATELY work out for the best for certain people, but nowhere does it say they work in this way for everyone. Jesus clearly taught about Gehenna where some people will end up. So it is very honest about suffering.

Those who prosper in this life are often those who will suffer in the next.

Midasin

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2010 02:44:33 BDT
James Burke says:
Greetings Midasin,

In Hebrew tradition, the gates of Gehenna are open - thus, it's possible for souls to leave.

[I'm not Jewish, by the way!]

Kindest regards,

James

Posted on 4 Jun 2012 00:18:43 BDT
What puzzles me about this review is the apparent message in this passage:

"I have seen terrible calamities befall good innocent Christian brothers and sisters so it is a question that I have asked personally many times."

There seems *to me* to be an implication that the reviewer himself is a Christian, yet if this is the case he should presumably know that the Bible DOES answer the question - right in the first few pages.

Of course there are many self-styled Christians who either don't recognise that we are "made in the image of God", or have heard it said but never tried to find out what it meant. And then again there are, as far as I can tell, a great many who are wary of questioning anything that appears to be "scienctific", so they just don't think about the question at all.

To fully understand Ehrman's books it is important to understand that whatever the reason for his "deconversion", he has not merely become neutral on the subject of Christianity - he has (in my reading) become completely anti-Christian.
His debate with William Lane Craig on the existence of God a few years back is available on DVD. It is, in my opinion, a real eye opening, and Ehrman in person revels a lot more about himself and his thinking than Ehrman in the pages of his carefully structured and worded books. Part of that lack of neutrality/objectivity is a tendency to tell the truth, but only up to a point. In such cases it is invariably the bit he leaves out that makes all the difference.

For example, one of Ehrman's major complaints is that there are more errors/differences in the various ancient texts of the the New Testament than there are words in the Greek versions of the whole 27 books. So far, perfectly correct. And of course this SEEMS to support his contention that with so many errors and differences we cannot possibly trust what the New Testament says.

BUT

What he DOESN'T tell us is that around 99% of those differences/"errors" are entirely trivial. Such as some copies saying "the Jesus", "the Peter", "the Mary", etc. where others simply say "Jesus", "Peter" and "Mary". Would you think it reasonable to throw out the whole of the New Testament just because different texts follow different rulles of grammar?

Moreover, Bruce Metzger, a widely respected Professor of New Testament language and literature at Princeton Theological Seminary and one-time mentor of Bart Ehrman, co-authored a scholarly version of "Misquoting Jesus" with Ehrman called "The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration". And despite Ehrman's wild claims about the unreliability of the New Testament, Metzger has put it on record that whilst variations and errors exist, at no point to they undermine any significant part of authentic Christian teaching. And that inclides the Resurrection, which Ehrman has publicly represented as being completely historically uncredible.

See "Misquoting Truth" by Timothy Paul Jones, for example, for an indepth study of Ehrman's books "Misquoting Jesus" and "Lost Christianities" in a manner that is penetrating yet accessible even to a reader who has no previous knowledge of textual criticism.
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