Comedy Central is not the place to find the best news reports and its certainly not the authority on religion, but this past week The Colbert Report had two segments on religion worth noting:
Bart Ehrman, author of the book Misquoting Jesus, appeared on the show and subjected himself to Stephen Colbert’s routine as outlandish “double devil’s advocate.” Colbert essentially takes the stance of conservative evangelicals, but does it in a tongue-in-cheeck manner, so that no side is favored over another. He simply takes shots at Ehrman, but also subtly plays with conservatives. It’s a very fun interview to watch, especially the part where he actually forces Ehrman to concede his error at one point.
As far as the book is concerned, Ehrman writes as a former conservative if not fundamentalist Christian who is disallusioned and now agnostic. After holding to a completely inerrant Bible, studying the history of textual transmission, and finding many errors in the process, he essentially concluded that the Bible is not reliable. This is a prime example of how an extreme doctrine of inerrancy can shipwreck our faith. The Bible is certainly reliable, true, and trustworthy, but the language of inerrancy can sometimes put too much emphasis on the Bible for our faith and not on God himself and the Christian community who have given us the Bible. Inerrancy taken to extremes can lay a trap for our faith that may be hard to escape.
I think that Ehrman is a scholar struggling to fit his research into his faith. Unfortunately his faith was too narrow to hold what he found.
Stephen Makes It Simple
Colbert jumps into the realm of religion and politics by tossing in this handgrenade of a statement,
“Little government mentions Jesus in a speech. Big government does what Jesus said.” Controversial, eh?