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Some Thoughts on Bart Ehrman's Lectures

01 May 2019 5:45 AM | Kenneth Alexander (Administrator)

I found Dr. Ehrman's explanations for "The Triumph of Christianity" very intriguing; they are ideas I have been pondering since the lectures. For me some of the most surprising things were:

  • His theory that Christianity would have ultimately triumphed even if Constantine hadn't converted
  • His argument that the key reasons for Christianity's success were the perceived power of its miracles, its exclusivity, and ability to inculcate the fear of hell.

I think what really impressed me about Dr. Ehrman though was his willingness to seriously engage with every question he was asked, whether it was atheism vs. agnosticism, Albert Einstein, Meister Echhardt, or why he wouldn't rejoin the Episcopal Church.

I'd be really interested to hear the thoughts of others who attended (or watched the lecture videos on our site).


  • 02 May 2019 1:33 AM | Estelle Alexander
    Yes, he did seem to be arguing that the rise of Christianity was almost inevitable, not based on the accident of Constantine having a vision. He even used some mathematics for this argument! This was because Christianity was the first religion to be both exclusive and evangelical.

    It would seem that the rapid rise of Islam, which is also exclusive and evangelical, would illustrate Ehrman'd idea.
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    • 02 May 2019 1:54 AM | Kenneth Alexander (Administrator)
      That's a great point, Estelle.
      It's interesting though that if religious "exclusivism" can help a religion to grow rapidly and maintain its members, it also fosters a lot of what people don't like about religion. Our next speaker, Karima Bennoune, will be addressing this in her talks about fundamentalism.
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