Through more than 20 books, author Bart D. Ehrman has done more than give up his faith — he’s actively refuted it. “I started out as a pretty hard-core, conservative evangelical Christian who believed that there were no errors in the Bible of any kind,” he recounts. “Through my research, I gave that up.”
In his latest, “Forged,” Ehrman argues that many of the books of the New Testament were not written by Jesus’ close associates but as arguments for particular ideologies — hundreds of years later.
“A lot of readers think of the New Testament as a sacred book that’s trying to propagate the truth,” he says. “And by ancient standards, these people who were claiming to be someone other than who they actually were, were lying about it. So it’s this ironic situation where people who are trying to proclaim the truth are telling lies in order to do it.”
Throughout the book, Ehrman dismisses arguments that writing under another name was an accepted practice at the time. Still, he understands that his research won’t exactly displace the Bible from people’s lives. “We’re never going to get rid of the New Testament, and I’m not urging anyone to get rid of it, but there are a lot of Christians who do a lot of harm in the world because they claim that their views are divinely inspired. They have to understand that the Bible is not a perfect book. You can’t just take texts out of the Bible and pretend these are things that God said.”