The Philosopher's Eye

News and brain candy for the philosophy community

The ultimate case against Christianity?

If you like to be entertained and you don’t mind F-bombs, watch this very unsafe-for-work talk by Richard Carrier.  He argues that Jesus did not exist.

I do wonder how effective this line of argument can really be.  Carrier spends a lot of effort showing that New Testament gospel accounts are inconsistent and implausible.  For instance, at one point the Sun is supposed to have gone out for a few hours — but later on, no one seems to remember that it happened. Also, according to Carrier, some of the New Testament writers seem to have in mind a purely spiritual son of God, not a flesh-and-blood Jesus.   Whether that text analysis is correct I cannot say.  But if it were correct, it would show at least that parts of the New Testament are wrong from a Christian perspective.

But I think the most Carrier might accomplish is to remove evidence in favor of Jesus’s existence.  I don’t see any evidence in Carrier’s talk against Jesus’s existence.  And it’s hard to imagine what such evidence would look like — it’s hard to prove a negative, after all.  So if people hope to provide any kind of decisive undercutting of orthodox Christian faith, I think they’ll be disappointed if they rest their entire case on the question whether Jesus existed.

Can Religious Experience Provide Justification for Belief in God? By Kai-man Kwan, Hong Kong Baptist University (Nov 2006) Philosophy Compass

Religious Diversity and its Challenges to Religious Belief By Nathan L King, University of Notre Dame (May 2008) Philosophy Compass

One comment on “The ultimate case against Christianity?

  1. Chucky
    February 27, 2010

    I don’t see Carrier making a very strong case at all. Look at what happened when he debated against William Lane Craig (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqoRVplbW5Q). If this is the best case atheists can offer against Christianity, then atheists don’t have much of a case at all.

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This entry was posted on February 27, 2010 by in Viewpoint and tagged , , , , , .

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