Anne Rice on Liberal Jesus Scholars

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.

  • 20110702.2045

    I am a non-denominational Christian. I find that there is no mainstream religion or denomination or sect that has the absolute truth. So just pick out what you think is good for your soul and discard what is evil. Anne Rice, I believe, is right not to commit herself to any religion, except believing in Jesus Christ and following His commandments.

    There is only one true God and the rest are false gods. How do we differentiate? Very simple and logical. Even without citing any verse from any holy scripture of any religion. The true God can prophesy. The false gods cannot prophesy. The key word is prophesy.

    Although the true God is only one, He made Himself into three. He spoke as God the Father in the Old Testament; as God the Son Jesus Christ in the New Testament; and as God the Holy Spirit now. Jesus Christ is true God and true man. The spirit that was in Jesus Christ was the spirit of the true God.

  • Todd Pratt

    I would also encourage reading authors such as Bart Ehrman (Gray distinguished professor at UNC, with a masters and PhD from Princeton divinity school). His last two are “Forged: Written in the name of God”, and “Jesus: Interrupted”. I found both enlightening with impeccable research to back his claims.

  • The Chisel

    Good blog entry Bill. It was on the level of you to say that Rice had a good arguement, and good reason for her decision. Would it have been impossible to leave it at that and not include reccomendations of pro-christian literature?

    It was scientific fact that lead me to my Faith.

    It is also because of that understanding of the natural world and physical universe that I am not a Christian. It’s hard for me to understand how in the modern world with our level of education and intelect people accept a *literal* interpritation of the Bible, and the life of Jesus Christ.

    Christ was raised by a carpenter, and became a carpenter, but by no means a King, or Cleric. In modern terms, an honest, hard working man. Is it plausible when he said “I am the son of God” could he have been implying – “if this lowly carpenter is a creature God, the so must you be”? When through His holiness He made water into wine, could it not have been analogous? Either teaching an appreciation for the simple necessities of life, or, that he took low broken hearted people and told them that they themselfs were holy – He thereby refined their hopes, and lives, and toughtg them to love and be glad?

    2000 years ago simple things like clean water and daily meals *would have* been seen as true blessings from God. It astonishes me that in this day and age people willingly forfeit their own intelect in the name of Religion. In this day and age we lack knowledge of the context many lessons and parables where applied in – we also have a different application of language. That is to say much alagory is lost with time and translation.

    I steadfastly apply the moral teachings of Christ in my life. “do unto others, love thy neighbour, judge not” But will not call myself a Christian because logic and intelect does not allow me to accept a literal interpretation of the Holy Bible.

    I do not mean to attack anyones values or life style but to share my own. wich seems not unlike Rice’s. I am a man strong in Faith, but one without religion.

  • The Chisel

    <—

    when I said I "will not call myself a Christian because logic and intelect does not allow me to accept a literal interpretation of the Holy Bible" I should have continued to say that I cannot accpet the interperative teachings and dogma of the Church. I feel that doing so would be doing Christian's a insult and disservice to their values.

  • Todd Pratt

    Chisel,

    You said, “I steadfastly apply the moral teachings of Christ in my life. “do unto others, love thy neighbour, judge not”…

    Do you think Christ (or God) is necessary to maintain these morals?

  • The Chisel

    By no means whatsoever, Todd.

    They are morals I follow because I feel it is the correct thing to do, not because of anyone else who has followed or taught those same morals.

  • Pelagianism?

  • JakeJustus

    Brother, please read C.S. Lewis. He dealt with this exact, actual, specific quotation at length. Start with Mere Christianity.

  • MJ Pete

    Since you said “I find that there is no mainstream religion or denomination or sect that has the absolute truth”, do you think Christianity is not the truth then? Why do you hold that position? Also, God didn’t “make himself into three”, God has always existed, uncaused, as three distinct beings in unity of purpose.