Post Author: Bill Pratt
Vampire novelist Anne Rice announced in 1998 that she was converting to Christianity after having turned her back on it for thirty years as an atheist. She then announced in 2010 that she was leaving organized religion, but still believed wholeheartedly in Jesus Christ. In essence, Rice struggled with some of the public policies that conservative Christians were advocating, but she claims that she absolutely retained her faith.
One thing interesting about Rice is that she is a writer and a researcher; she did extensive research on the historical Jesus and she had some harsh things to say about some of the historical Jesus scholarship she had read for so many years as an atheist. Tim Keller, in his book The Reason for God, quotes Rice on this topic:
Some books were no more than assumptions piled on assumptions…. Conclusions were reached on the basis of little or no data at all…. The whole case for the nondivine Jesus who stumbled into Jerusalem and somehow got crucified…that whole picture which had floated around the liberal circles I frequented as an atheist for thirty years—that case was not made. Not only was it not made, I discovered in this field some of the worst and most biased scholarship I’d ever read.
I sometimes encounter people who have only read liberal or skeptical Jesus scholars and have based their entire view of the historical Jesus on those writings. Rice is a perfect example of what can happen when you start to balance out your skeptical reading and begin to question the presuppositions that are sometimes brought into skeptical, historical Jesus scholarship.
I know that it’s difficult to become conversant with all the scholars in the field of historical Jesus research. I’m certainly not, but I ask those who are seeking the truth to make sure they give time to both liberal and conservative scholars. There are highly respected conservative scholars in the field who are well worth reading, men like N. T. Wright, Craig Blomberg, and Craig Evans, to name a few. Buy their books and give them a reading.