From the preface of How God Became Jesus, by editor and Australian scholar Michael Bird:
[Bart] Ehrman is something of a celebrity skeptic. The media attraction is easy to understand. Ehrman has a famous deconversion story from being a fundamentalist Christian to becoming a “happy agnostic.” He’s a New York Times bestselling author, having written several books about the Bible, Jesus, and God with a view to debunking widely held religious beliefs based on a mixture of bad history, deception, and myth. He’s a publicist dream since in talk shows and in live debates he knows how to stir a crowd through hefty criticism, dry wit, on the spot recall of historical facts, and rhetorical hyberbole. He also has a global audience…
For conservative Christians, Ehrman is a bit of a bogeyman… Conservatives buy his books if only for the purpose of keeping their disgust with him fresh and find out what America’s favorite skeptic is up to now… For secularists,… Erhman is a godsend. He provides succor and solace that one need not take Jesus too seriously, confirming that religion is the opiate of the masses and that the whole God thing might be just a big mistake.
Why is Bart Ehrman, a professor of religion teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, on a lot of people’s radar?