Friday, May 15, 2009

Success Story

Even religious fanatics can have a turn around. Take Bart Ehrman - right here in my own backyard as a professor at UNC-CH. He was once a fundamentalist christian that turned intellectual agnostic over a period of time where he began to question the validity of the bible. John Blake wrote a piece about it for recently.

Now a biblical scholar he actually spreads the good news of critical thinking, pointing out all of the many flaws of the bible and in our interpretations of it. While his work is a great lesson in rational thinking, his critics complain that he is arrogant ... of course this is an ad hominem attack that has nothing to do with the veracity of his claims.

Blake writes about Will Willimon's (past preacher of Duke Chapel) comments:
"He keeps presenting this stuff as if this is wonderful new knowledge that has been kept from you backward lay people and this is the stuff your preachers don't have the guts to tell, and I have," Willimon says. "There's a touch of arrogance in it."
Actually, the arrogance lies with you, Mr. Willimon. Why is it that preachers who use and re-use the same sermons over and over aren't accused of 'presenting stuff as if this is wonderful new knowledge that has been kept from ... lay people' but when someone highlights something that IS new to the lay public, something that normally only gets covered if you go to seminary, is somehow arrogant?

If the preachers of these churches would stand up and apply critical thinking to their favorite homily passages then we wouldn't need people like Bart Ehrman to reveal these novel ideas. But then again, if preachers of these churches preached critical thinking and their congregation learned it, their flock would realize that their shepherd was full of sh*t and become agnostic ... like Bart.

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