I read this article recently. I am so happy Bart Ehrman finally said this.
The study of the Historical Jesus has in the past decades generated lots of interest among Scholars. Among the world religion interested in this subject are the adherents of the Islamic faith. Muslims are willing to hear what the Scholars have to say and adapt which ever part seems to agree or confirm the Islamic belief, and in the end will go like “There you have it, the Qur’an have been echoing this for years!”
Among the Scholars Muslims would like to listen to and quote for the defense of Islam and as an attack on the Christian faith is the man, Bart D. Ehrman – the man Muslims love quoting when discussing the critical issues on the Gospels and the Bible as a whole.
The reason why the Muslims love to quote Ehrman among other liberal Scholars is obvious: Erhman is always about attacking the Bible. Even though Dr. Ehrman does not hold the same view with the Muslims – and will not come to the same conclusion with them – they love him anyway.
Recently, Bart posted on his blog, responding to certain questions he was asked, and one of those happened to be a trend that has grown for some years among the Muslims: the use of his material as an attack for the Bible. Before responding to the questions, Bart noted how a Muslim had earlier made this comment about how they use his work:
[After pointing out that whoever said I was about ready to convert to Islam was obviously makin’ in up, or influenced by someone else who was makin’ it up, this Muslim reader commented as follows:] Anyways, that won’t stop us from using your awesome arguments against Christianity. You confirmed like 99% of Islamic belief about Jesus without even resorting to the Quran. That is pretty impressive and no wonder Muslims flock to your blog and FB.
This pretty much gives an insight into the reason why the majority of Muslims are interested in Ehrman’s work, they see this as a tool for defending Islam and attacking the Gospels. Why do they do this? Because it “supports” Islam in a way. In other words, anything that advances the course of Islam should be used – no mater where or who said it. Even though there are some views Ehrman holds – which not only go contrary to some core Islamic teachings – but make Islam look like a made up religion, Muslims DO NOT want to know about this. All they want is what Ehrman has that can be used to destroy the Bible.
Bart continues in his response,
I’m completely happy for my work to be used by Muslims. Or by Mormons. Or by Jews. Or by Buddhists. Or by Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Russian Orthodox, or anyone else. But I have to say that I do not see my scholarship as advancing the agenda of any of these groups. I’m simply engaged in historical scholarship. I do not think that the Qur’an has any particular insights about the historical Jesus that are to be taken as independent reports by historical scholars. Neither does any other historical scholar that I know (or anyone who works seriously on the historical Jesus).
And I doubt very much that my views coincide with 99% of Islamic belief about Jesus. For one thing, I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was physically crucified and died on the cross. That is rock-bottom certain in my books. And it stands completely at odds with standard Islamic beliefs.
– Bart Erhman
How on earth will Muslims continue to use Ehrman’s arguments when he sees one of the fundamental Islamic beliefs as ahistorical and false? How clearer can this be to any honest person looking to use an argument from which the source you disagree with?
That is the highest level of inconsistency I have ever seen. I once told a Muslim who quotes Ehrman in attacking the Bible how he debunks Islam on the crucifixion. His response was that Ehrman was wrong in that regard. Yet he believes and uses his argument on others areas. When will our Muslim friends wake up to the reality of this dangerous position and worldview?
Coming as a big surprise, while the Muslims attack the Gospels as being unreliable accounts of the life of the historical Jesus (on the basis of the fact that the Qur’an has a different opinion and views of Jesus), Bart and other Scholars still agree that the NT is what the Scholars draw from when executing their research on the historical Jesus.
Ehrman remarked that the Qur’an could not be trusted on this and cannot be taken seriously by Scholars on the historical Jesus. This alone should get the Muslims thinking since they love quoting Bart materials and using them as well.
We are not asking the Muslims to agree with Bart Ehrman on everything, but at least, we hope to see a consistent argument from Muslims in the future and not just anything they could get hold of to support Islam.