Why did Christianity prevail?

A woman holding a rosary at Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church. CreditSaul Martinez for The New York Times

How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World
By Bart D. Ehrman
335 pp. Simon & Schuster. $28.

“I used to believe absolutely everything that Bill just presented,” the scholar Bart D. Ehrman once said during a 2006 debate with the conservative theologian William Lane Craig. “He and I went to the same evangelical Christian college, Wheaton, where these things are taught. … I used to believe them with my whole heart and soul. I used to preach them and try to convince others that they were true. But then I began … looking at them deeply myself.”

Ehrman, in other words, is no longer an evangelical, or even a Christian. Although he’s written a number of valuable books on the shortcomings of fundamentalist readings of Scripture, not every enemy of fundamentalism has approved. On his popular blog, Ehrman has occasionally responded to personal attacks by the atheist crowd, who do not share his considered equanimity. In 32 years, he’s managed to write or edit more than 30 books, while also pausing to debate Christology with Stephen Colbert.

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Categories: Book, Book Review, Christianity

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