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I'm reading the book now. I can understand his discussion of how theodicy can lead one to disbelief. It appears that his problem lies more that he posits that "traditional Christianity" is true Christianity.

I love Ehrman's writing.

Floyd,

I don't think you give Ehrman enough credit. He's smart enough to know the responses to the problem of evil that lie outside of the bounds of traditional Christianity and has looked at them (he says as much througout the book). The book has a narrow focus, "What does the Bible say about the problem of evil?" Ehrman summarizes them into four positions which he describes. His conclusion is that none of the four responses is adequate.

Dave,

I read the book and thought it well done in that it is a good summary of what the Bible says on the subject of the problem of evil. If the problem of evil interests you I would also recommend "Evil in Modern Thought" by Susan Neiman which treats the same subject but in the works of philosophers since Pierre Bayle and Leibniz. Reading both books together was good for me to get a more complete picture of the Athens/Jerusalem and Ancient/Modern dichotomies that exist in attempting to deal with the problem of evil today.

As always Ehrman writes with clarity and simplicity which makes for a quick read. I am interested in hearing your reviews of the book.

I second the idea of picking up where Justin left off when it comes to the book lists. That was one of my favorite features of the Wasp.

If one is reading on evil one really ought nab Levenson's Creation and the Persistence of Evil too. He only deals with OT creation accounts but ties it into a theodicy that should be very familiar to Mormons.

Yes, I noted the subtitle "How the Bible fails to answer our most important question- why we suffer." However, he uses the problem of theodicy in traditional Christianity as his reason for becoming agnostic.

I just read the chapter that discusses when the children of Israel enter the promised land. Ehrman proof texts to avoid those references to the iniquity of the previous inhabitants. I expected more of him; my little world is shattered.

I like how Ehrman gently brings his own religious life experience and views into his books directed to a general audience. On the other hand, I know better than to take such remarks at face value. Just like when an LDS finds his or her belief heading south, I'm sure there's more going on than gets included in the public deconversion narrative. That's not rejecting Ehrman's account, it's just recognizing how complex such personal decisions and determinations are.

Floyd,

I can find no proof texting in the episodes of Israel entering Canaan (I assume you are referring to references on pp 68-70).

However, let's assume he did, why is that significant in this case? Does the iniquity of the Canaanites justify what the Israelites did to them? If you think so then you just missed the entire point of chapters 2 & 3.

Dave, I have found it best to take people's conversion and deconversion stories at face value. Even if there is more going on than they say how are you ever going to find out? How can you be sure that there is more going on? In any case the fact that he admits to waking up in terror at night that he might be wrong about his decision weighs heavily in favor of him being truthful. Your average smug atheist will claim to sleep like a baby and live without guilt. What I found fascinating in Ehrman's deconversion narrative were three things. One, it lasted for multiple years, so it was not something he took lightly. Two, that he was fully invested in a very conservative evangelical outlook on life means that his initial conversion was about as complete as you are going to get. Thus no matter how dedicated you are to a particular religion you can fall out. Third, and the most interesting to me, was the fact that there were way stations on the way out that may have helped him stay in. He went from associating with the Baptists, to being involved in Lutheran charities, to attending Episcopalian services before bowing out. This is interesting because it does work for some people (though not for Ehrman). James Hall took a similar route but ended up sticking with the Episcopalian faith. Why does it work for some but not others? Is there anything that the LDS church can provide for Mormons who have doubts?

A literal reading of the New Testament points to God and Jesus Christ , His Son , being separate , divine beings , united in purpose. . To whom was Jesus praying in Gethsemane, and Who was speaking to Him and his apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration?

The Nicene Creed”s definition of the Trinity was influenced by scribes translating the Greek manuscripts into Latin. The scribes embellished on a passage explaining the Trinity , which is the Catholic and Protestant belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The oldest versions of the epistle of 1 John, read: "There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood and these three are one."

Scribes later added "the Father, the Word and the Spirit," and it remained in the epistle when it was translated into English for the King James Version, according to Dr. Bart Ehrman, Chairman of the Religion Department at UNC- Chapel Hill. He no longer believes in the Nicene Trinity. .

Scholars agree that Early Christians believed in an embodied God; it was neo-Platonist influences that later turned Him into a disembodied Spirit. Harper’s Bible Dictionary entry on the Trinity says “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the New Testament.”

Divinization, narrowing the space between God and humans, was also part of Early Christian belief. St. Athanasius of Alexandria (Eastern Orthodox) wrote, regarding theosis, "The Son of God became man, that we might become God." . The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views the Trinity as three separate divine beings , in accord with the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts.

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