Master Christian Apologist: Stephen Colbert

This is an awesome example of GOOD Christian Apologetics being applied against an agnostic scholar (Bart Ehrman). The best part about it is the fact that it is Stephen Colbert telling Bart Ehrman that an agnostic is just an atheist without balls! 🙂

Here it is… Enjoy! Please comment and share your thoughts and reactions.

11 thoughts on “Master Christian Apologist: Stephen Colbert”

  1. isnt it also true that the people who wrote all the different books didnt really have contact with each other and yet all the things mentioned and ideas are still in agreement and “go with each other”?

  2. Angela,

    I would say that you are right about the books of the Bible. There is a great deal of interconnectedness that is found in the documents of the Old and New Testament and the authors didn’t all just sit down together and right it all at once. I don’t know that Ehrman would dispute that, he just doesn’t believe that we can trust it because we don’t have the originals. But since we don’t have the originals of any ancient manuscripts, we cannot really trust anything from ancient history, according to Ehrman’s line of reasoning. He really has a double standard in terms of how he reads other manuscripts that are not found in the Bible. The man is very bitter towards Christians and he’s made it his life goal to rally people against the Christian worldview.

  3. Really? You guys are serious? I thought it was a joke that people believed Colbert was being serious on his show. Can’t you see he is mocking you?
    Although I suspect he agrees with Ehrman off the air- my point is that you are missing the point. It’s COMEDY people! The show is a parody based on fox pundits like Bill O’reilly. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but while Colbert does indeed ROCK, it’s not what you thought. Don’t let that keep you from watching though, you might learn something useful. Check out The Daily Show while you are at it!

    Now, about Ehrman, you probably should try reading his books before you make up your mind. There is a surprising amount of discrepancy in the bible- I know your sunday school didn’t tell you that, mine didn’t either, but i t’s true. My questioning began when I learned that there were many, many “Jesus” type leaders wandering around during the time of Christ- in fact, many of them well before that time. I know it’s scary to start asking questions, but it’s hard to miss the gaps when you really start looking closely.

  4. Linda,

    I never said that Colbert was “being serious” on his show. I think the show mocks almost everything, including Ehrman. Also, if you’ve done any research on Colbert, you would find that he’s a practicing Roman Catholic and even teaches Sunday school on a regular basis. So, needless to say, I don’t think that his arguments against Ehrman are simply mocking Christianity. They were made in order to mock Ehrman and most everyone saw that. Did you watch the video?

    Well, I hope that clarifies things. And you might want to take a look around the web site before you assume that people are just listening to their Sunday school teachers and posting thoughtless material. This is a web site on Christian Apologetics and there are plenty of resource links to address your questions in a thoughtful and meaningful way.

    As for reading Ehrman’s book, I don’t believe I need to take the time to read his book when I’ve heard multiple, multiple interviews and debates that he’s been part of. I also teach New Testament Greek at my local church and understand most of what Ehrman claims. His claims are really quite silly when you consider the rest of ancient history and how he treats “other” historical documents. The man is a self-proclaimed “anti”-Christian scholar. The point of his books is to draw people away from Jesus and the Bible as an authority in their lives. I will not give someone like that much credit since he’s not sincerely seeking to know what the New Testament actually said in the original documents.

    Ehrman’s line of thought is, “We can’t know what the originals said, so I’m going to blast the Bible out of the water and show everyone how much I hate my Christian upbringing!”

    Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope that you will look around the site and consider looking into things more from a Christian point of view that is earnestly seeking the truth.

  5. Glenn-
    I appreciate your response and although it is obvious we have quite different views, I respect your feedback about my comments. So, I took your advice and looked more closely at the site. Most of what I see on this site is familiar to me, and like you, I have read dozens of articles, and listened to countless interviews and oral presentations on the subject and so, I am very familiar with most of the arguments in favor of the Bible. As a former fundamentalist/born-again/baptist from Idaho who was raised on red meat, white bread and theology prior to attending a bible college, trust me, I’ve heard most of it before. Despite that, I find that I remain curious (much to my mother’s delight) because I have not yet found the answers to my questions. Now, to be fair, I should admit to a particular bias on my part, that being that when I think/read/speak about “christians” I am generally referring to fundamentalist hard-liners like those I grew up with. Being raised baptist meant believing in a box and ONLY what was in the box. We were afterall, the only “real” christians- (the more radical among us of course, were gracious enough to include some, but not all, Nazarenes). Despite my bias, over the years I have found, much to my surprise, that there are some Christians who are not hate-filled and judgemental and who do not believe that abortion and gay marriage are the most urgent problems facing civilization. They don’t all vote republican or support the war and once in a while I meet a Christian who, like Jim Wallace or Jimmy Carter, believes that focusing on the actual message of Christ is more important than getting bogged down in legalistic interpretations of the bible, and that if we spent time doing that, our world would be a different place.

    Before I get ahead of myself let me summarize my point. Due to my bias, which I admit that I do tend to make assumptions about who I am talking to and what he or she likely believes (as I clearly did in my initial blog response). So, taking this opportunity to check my bias, let me ask, “are you a hate-filled christian?” (that was a meant to be funny)

    In all sincerity, although I had read that Colbert was catholic some time ago (after his delightful George Bush roast at the WH correspondence dinner a few years back), when I read this point in your response, I felt the familiar jolt that comes when I suddenly realize that I have been seeing the world through my bias (much like believing the world really does have a yellow tinge until you realize that is actually the lens color of the sunglasses that you are wearing). So, I wondered what the significance of Colbert being Catholic was for you. I noticed, as I read your response, that the mere thought that I may be interacting with a Christian of the type that is inclusive of other faiths, (as opposed to a fundamentalist who believes catholics are hell-bound), created a complete shift in my physiology. While I would likely still not agree with your perspective, I realized that my approach to any ensuing conversation would take on a very different tone, and my energy would shift (in fact, had already shifted) from being defensive and closed to being much more open and curious. (Let me interject that I am a psychotherapist and much of my work with clients involves tuning in to the various physiological sensations that arise in different contexts- this has proven to be a source of very valuable self-learning for me and is useful in my work, it also tends to be how I approach things in general).
    In thinking about your response, and my response to your response, I realized that, perhaps like Bart Ehrman, I do in fact have a great deal of anger about my christian upbringing and I can see that at times it does make me want to, “blast the bible”. But as I mentioned, that is my response (reactive stance) wehn I encounter someone with beliefs similar to those of my upbringing. However, and here is the interesting part, something shifts in me when I discover that I am speaking with the “other kind” of Christian. I unclench my fists and my jaws and I get curious. I want to have the conversation for a very different reason. My goal shifts from wanting to “win” to wanting to understand and be understood. I want to understand more about the way that you make sense of these things that don’t make much sense to me and want to be understood about why they don’t make sense. So where am I going with this? Perhaps my response is nothing more than my way of processing through some of this and trying to figure out how I will personally reconcile the old (my upbringing) with the new (what I have come to believe since leaving the church- now almost 20 years ago). I’m not sure about Ehrman. I do frequently resonate with what feels like frustration and outrage and I suspect that you are probably correct in your assumption that much of this anger stems from his religious upbringing. That said, could there be more to what he has to say? Maybe you are missing part of his message-(what color lenses do your sunglasses have?). Perhaps like myself, part of his message is an expression of his anger, but maybe there is more than that. Maybe he is, as you say, earnestly seeking the truth, and if we see past whatever anger that might be there, perhaps he is saying something that is important about what he has discovered in his search. He does, afterall, claim to still be a Christian. That by the way, is something I do not still claim and I have to say, based on my own experience, I can’t imagine that he would want to still claim to be something that he fundamentally didn’t believe in. I get the sense that he is being sincere about his belief in Christ. His belief may just be different than yours. Beliefs are beliefs after all. By virtue of the fact that they are beliefs, they are not “right” or “wrong”. Perhaps there are many meanings for the label “Christian.” This would, ironically, support Ehrman’s point (from his books, not the Colbert interview) that many versions of christianity that existed before the “bible,” as we know it, was pulled together (ordained or not by God).

    Ahhh . . . Now there is one of those sticky spots, can you personally accept that there may currently be many different views of Christianity and that none of them is “right”? (or do I need to on my boxing gloves?!)

    OK, I have gone on long enough and should stop avoiding what I am supposed to be doing- the less interesting part of my work (report writing).
    I appreciate your invitation to respond and would be interested in hearing your thoughts about what I have written- really. regardless of your particular theology. I also wanted to ask you to expound a bit more on your view that Ehrman’s arguments are “silly”. What specifically is it about them that seems silly to you?
    Thanks and have a great day, Glenn.
    P.S. to avoid further assumptions on my part- what is the actual meaning of apologetics?

  6. Linda,

    Thank you so much for the reply. Sorry for my delay. I simply had not time this weekend with everything going on, especially my daughters first birthday! 🙂

    I hope you are well. First, if you haven’t already read it, the page on my website called “the reason” gives you a clear definition of what “apologetics” actually is. Basically, it can be broadly defined as a defense or justification of the truth of the Christian Faith.

    So, on to our conversation. I really do appreciate your lengthy response. It really does help me to understand where you are coming from. One thing to point out, unless you know something I don’t… but Bart Ehrman is not saying that he’s a Christian. In the Colbert interview he calls himself an agnostic. I do think he would say that he’s trying to point out the truth of what the Biblical documents are actually able to tell us about Jesus, but he does not follow Jesus or consider himself a Christian any longer. I’ve heard him say that multiple times.

    Now, to answer your last question about Christianity and different forms that may not be right… It all depends on how you clarify the question. Not to be difficult, but if you are referring to Ehrman’s Lost Christianities book, I would say no. Ehrman’s understanding of early Christian history is not agreeable to me or to many qualified Christian history scholars. But, if you are referring to the “current” denominations of Christianity… yes. I believe that all historic Christian denominations are Christian and that there are parts of each one’s doctrinal views that are wrong. But, I do not think that the Christian denominations disagree on the central teaching of the Gospel – that Jesus is Lord and that He died and rose again in order to save all those who trust in Him. Now, some large/small groups within these denominations might actually twist the gospel or even reject it and thus be considered apostate Christians who are no longer true to the Faith. But that is something that the New Testament tells us what happen through this whole period of time on the earth, between Jesus first and second coming. But none of these errors or disagreements of various denominations invalidates the truth of Christianity that is found within the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Does that make sense?

    Lastly, for now, Ehrman’s arguments are “silly” because most Christian scholar’s understand what he’s saying about the variants in the New Testament and they’ve pointed out that this is nothing new for Christian Bible translations. God never promised that he would give us the original manuscripts and neither should we expect to find them. Virtually no Christian who has knowledge about the extant manuscripts would not agree the data that Ehrman’s using to draw his conclusions. The main problem is Ehrman’s conclusions. The most glaring is the fact that his explanation of a variant that affects the meaning of a passage almost always concludes that the copier of the text a some point decided to change it to make it more acceptable. Yet, he cannot ever prove that that is the case. I believe that we should give things the benefit of the doubt and not always assume the worst regarding the nature of the variant.

    So, let’s keep talking and please ask me to clarify if I wasn’t specific enough or didn’t answer your questions clearly. Thanks!

  7. I don’t even come from a religious background, and it was most apparent to me that Bart Ehrman is not intellectually honest. He simply does not make intellectual sense, and is extremely hypocritical when it comes to applying his supposed “historian’s” standards to various things. He negates his own arguments, and says things that are actually silly.

    I suspect that Bart is catering more to the prevailing winds that control academia these days for their own personal interests, and that collects Bart some book promotions, good press from the New York Times, and some awards.

    Unfortunately it leaves scholarly honesty in the dust.

    Bart is a sell out, and for the worst reasons. My main concern is that impressionable kids in a classroom listen to this guy’s house of cards construct, and let themselves down by getting suckered into this guy’s hate trip on Christians.

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