If you do nothing else today, consider watching this 8-minute video.
In it, Bart D. Ehrman, a prominent American scholar on the New Testament and development of early Christianity, lays out a calm but compelling case against the veracity of Christian doctrine and the existence of God.
As a former born-again Christian, graduate seminary student and magnum cum laude Ph.D. awardee in biblical studies, and a one-time Baptist pastor, he’s been there, done that. Ehrman is now a distinguished professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
He is also an agnostic atheist, meaning he disbelieves in the existence of gods because such beings are “either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact.”
This Ehrman quote below from a 2018 interview with North Carolina Public Radio station WUNC concisely summarizes the root of his agnosticism:
“I did my very best to hold on to my faith that the Bible was the inspired word of God with no mistakes and that lasted for about two years … I realized that at the time we had over 5,000 manuscripts of the New Testament, and no two of them are exactly alike. The scribes were changing them, sometimes in big ways, but lots of times in little ways. And it finally occurred to me that if I really thought that God had inspired this text … If he went to the trouble of inspiring the text, why didn’t he go to the trouble of preserving the text? Why did he allow scribes to change it?”
The 2009 video embedded in this post is a more fulsome presentation by Ehrman of the myriad practical, rational reasons he stopped believing in Christian dogma.
“Gradually, for a large number of reasons, I started to question the assumptions I had about the faith,” Ehrman notes in the video. “For a long time I thought the Bible was inspired and inerrant, that there were no mistakes in [it] … But as I engaged in historical research on the Bible as I was getting my Ph.D. in New Testament studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, I started finding mistakes.”
Ehrman’s broad research led him to write five deeply researched and best-selling books about religious doubt: How Jesus became God, Misquoting Jesus, God’s Problem, Jesus Interrupted, and Forged.
The video in this post concisely outlines how a deeply committed Christian ultimately convinced himself rationally that his long-held beliefs were fundamentally mistaken.