Bart Ehrman, a professor of religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is something of a celebrity skeptic. He's written a number of bestsellers exposing the alleged errors in traditional accounts of early Christianity. His book Misquoting Jesus (2007) asserts that the manuscripts used to compile the New Testament are corrupted and unreliable, deviant from original autographs. His book Forged (2011) claims that many of the New Testament writings were counterfeits written pseudonymously under the names of the apostles.
In his latest book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, Ehrman argues that belief in Jesus' divinity evolved over the first few centuries and eventually crystallized into what we know today. Jesus didn't claim to be God; rather, his followers thought he was divine because they believed he rose from the dead. But even then, the understanding of Jesus' divinity was incredibly elastic, ranging from a man exalted to be God's vice-regent to a pre-existent person who was equal with God. Only much later was Jesus identified as the Almighty. You can read Ehrman's own summary of his book at The Huffington Post.
Ehrman has a famous de-conversion, turning from an evangelical Christian to an agnostic. And he loves to tell his story. Ehrman is a gifted communicator, never short of a provocative quote. He knows how to stir a crowd, and he does well in talk shows, conferences, presentations, and debates.
But I've got my own de-conversion story to match his.
From Skepticism to Faith
I grew up in a secular home in suburban Australia, where religion was categorically rejected—it was seen as a crutch, and people of faith were ...