Bart Ehrman has become a (the?) leading non-believing New Testament scholar due to his ability to write to the academy and the layman, and because he’s an irenic and fun debate partner for biblical scholars. (You can find a whole host of them on YouTube. I’m particularly fond of the Daniel Wallace debates. Michael Bird, et al. also wrote an excellent rebuttal to one of his books on the divinity of Jesus.)
In this video, Ehrman rejects the idea that the historical Jesus was a made-up person, and derides those who argue against Christianity from “mysticism” rather than historical evidence. In other words, stop saying that Jesus didn’t exist and start dealing with what was said about him. While I obviously disagree with his conclusions, he does what I often exhort non-believers to do: deal with Jesus and Christianity on their own terms.
He’s recently requested the deletion of a clip (once posted here) in which he called denying Jesus “foolish,” but here’s a clip of him discussing this:
This unusually vociferous group of nay-sayers maintains that Jesus is a myth invented for nefarious (or altruistic) purposes by the early Christians who modeled their savior along the lines of pagan divine men who, it is alleged, were also born of a virgin on Dec. 25, who also did miracles, who also died as an atonement for sin and were then raised from the dead. …
[T]here is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning in the Western world. And it is no wonder why. These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.
In one regard, at least, Ehrman is our friend.
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