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Doubting Jesus: A Catholic Biblical Scholar Responds to Skeptical Questions

A couple weeks ago, we launched an #AMA (Ask Me Anything) with Dr. Brant Pitre, who is one of today's premier Catholic biblical scholars. His latest book, The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ (Random House, 2016) seeks to debunk skeptical attitudes toward the Gospels put forward today by scholars such as Bart Ehrman. Hundred of questions poured in and Brant answered as many as he could, sometimes grouping them together where the topics overlapped. Today... Read More

Atheists: What Question Would You Ask a Catholic Biblical Scholar?

Question

In a few days, Dr. Brant Pitre, one of today's premier Catholic biblical scholars, will release a new book titled The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ (Random House, 2016). It seeks to debunk many skeptical attitudes toward the Gospels put forward today by scholars such as Bart Ehrman. Here's a brief summary: For well over a hundred years now, many scholars have questioned the historical truth of the Gospels, claiming that they were originally anonymous.... Read More

Do the “Infancy Narratives” of Matthew and Luke Contradict Each Other?

Magi

What do atheist skeptics and liberal Scripture scholars have in common? They both love to find alleged “contradictions” in Scripture. Though there are many of these alleged “contradictions,” one of the favorites of both of these camps is one that you can expect to find being re-hashed again and again on the Internet:—especially now that we are approaching Christmas—the “contradictions” found in what are commonly referred to as “the infancy narratives” of St. Matthew... Read More

Does the Bible Affirm the Existence of Mythical Creatures?

Unicorns

One common argument against the inspiration or even the trustworthiness of the Bible is that it affirms the existence of mythical creatures. For example, atheist Jason Long says, “The cockatrice, unicorn, and dragon, are examples of mythical creatures in the Bible that fail to leave any reliable evidence for their existence.”1 Do these legendary animals prove the Bible itself is a collection of legends? No, because in most cases the Bible is affirming the existence of real animals.... Read More

How Richard Dawkins Helps Prove Biblical Inspiration

Richard Dawkins

American Atheists responded to the Pennsylvania state legislature’s designation of 2012 as “Year of the Bible” with mocking billboards, and a press release insisting that “the House of Representatives should not be celebrating a barbaric and Bronze Age book.” It’s a common argument against the Bible, that it can’t be trusted because it’s a book from the Bronze Age. Over on Twitter, Richard Dawkins extended this argument to attack both the Bible and the Qu’ran. Bible and... Read More

Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?

SSM-flowchart

A lot of people online are sharing flow charts that are supposed to show the ridiculousness of opposition to gay marriage. For example (click here to expand): There are several variations of this theme, almost all of which say the same three things: (1) Leviticus forbids homosexuality, but it also bans a bunch of other stuff, and nobody [a.k.a., no Gentile] actually lives by all those rules; (2) Paul seems to forbid homosexuality, but actually means something like temple prostitution;... Read More

The Bible and the Question of Miracles: Towards a Christian Response

Ehrman

My previous post at Strange Notions underscored the often-unacknowledged philosophical premises at work when believers and non-believers sit down to debate about things biblical. In the course of my argument, I pointed to a possible area of common ground for Catholics and agnostics/atheists. A survey of statements by thinkers as different as Benedict XVI and Bart Ehrman reveals an important agreement upon the reality that everyone carries their own philosophical presuppositions and that... Read More

Do Christians Believe in Talking Snakes?

Snake

You know how the story goes: in the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve have a conversation with the serpent. Does this mean Christians believe in talking snakes? That’s the charge from certain atheists. To be a Christian, they assume, you have to believe in talking snakes. But then why are there an awful lot of well-educated, smart Christians? Are they simply all gullible or deluded? This story in Genesis about the talking snake, like many others, has to be interpreted using what experts call... Read More

Bart Ehrman, Benedict XVI, and the Bible on the Question of Miracles

EhrmanJesus

“At its core, the debate about modern exegesis is not a dispute among historians: it is rather a philosophical debate.” - Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) My reflection today revolves around this poignant line from Joseph Ratzinger’s 1988 Erasmus Lecture in which he famously called for a “criticism of criticism.” In penning these words, the German cardinal was looking for a self-criticism of the modern, historical-critical method of biblical interpretation. On the part of... Read More

Does Evolution Contradict Genesis?

World

The theory of evolution proposes an explanation for how life in general and mankind in particular arose. It holds that that there was a long period in which natural processes gave rise to life and to the different life forms on earth. This in no way conflicts with the idea of God. As the omnipotent Creator, he is free to create either quickly or slowly and either directly or through intermediate processes that he sets up. He can even do a mixture of these things, such as creating the universe... Read More

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