News and brain candy for the philosophy community
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