Richard Carrier vs Mark Goodacre

One of the topics that I am interested in is the evidence for the historical existence of Jesus.  One of the few people with scholarly credentials that denies the existence of Jesus is Richard Carrier.  Recently, Mark Goodacre, a very good and non-evangelical scholar spoke with Carrier on this topic on the Unbelievable program.  If you are interested, you can find it here.

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11 thoughts on “Richard Carrier vs Mark Goodacre

  1. The NT Jesus (a mere man with superhero powers) is fiction…this is but common sense….now there may have been a mere man named Jesus wwho was mythologized after he died, very reasonable, but the NT cosmic Jesus is fiction

    Brett Strong

    I have done such a debate (that the NT Jesus is fiction on STR radio (podcast 2011/Nov 11th) and on Back pack radio (July 15/2012)

    have a great day and Merry Christmas

  2. Brett your statement is obviously layered with philosophical naturalism with respect to who was Jesus exactly in reading the portrait of Him in the New Testament. The arguments put forth to say that the divine Jesus or being portrayed as divine were merely legendary and came long after his death is just plain silliness. This is an old argument that goes all the way back to the mid 1900s under the German Theological Liberalism which they tried to weed out any miraculous elements in the Gospels and try to get to the “real” Jesus. The letters by the Apostle Paul such as Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and even Philippians (Colossians I would also argue) contain high Christological elements that suggest that Christ was viewed in a highly exalted manner and this is no legendary account but goes right back to primitive Christianity.

    So in all honesty there’s no real basis for skepticism about the Gospels being historically unreliable (the arguments against their reliability are very fallacious, dubious, and are never applied to other secular literature but only to the Gospels). The real cushion here is one’s metaphysical or methodological naturalism. You’re welcome to bring that first to the Gospels and then try reading the Gospels in light of that, but honestly until you have some kind of proof for the truth of naturalism, no one (yourself included) can claim to be honestly and dispassionately looking at them from a historical standpoint before considering the evidence for the miraculous.

    I would challenge you to watch these lectures by someone who has high credentials and who knows a lot about Roman & secular history and talks specifically about the Gospels and Acts and a number of things. Here are the links if you’d like to take a look at them:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtL8hCrvctc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKzSV8bWKk0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJizWvoGCIg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHofTmolbi0

  3. To Benjamin Williamson and Stephen J. Bedard: the gospels are beyond unreliable! Just read my super 7 list! And please note: my super 7 list is not mere assertions or claims but are 100% FACT!

    1)…100% FACT: we don’t know who wrote the gospels (guess all you want but at the end of the day we don’t know who wrote them because no one signed their name to them) …RED FLAG!!!!

    2)…100% FACT: not only are the gospels anonymously written, but they are written in the 3rd person (deepening the anonymity of these unknown ancient authors) …RED FLAG!!!!

    3)…100% FACT: and these unknown/anonymous/hidden writers blatantly copied each other (or other sources like the alleged Q, L, M documents), virtually word for word in many places …RED FLAG!!!!

    4)…100% FACT: and worse yet, these unknown/anonymous/hidden writers wrote scenes impossible to eyewitness (like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane) …RED FLAG!!!!

    5)…100% FACT: the gospels are overflowing (jam packed) with what we call SCI-FI material (like superhero comic books) (voice coming from the sky, a guy floating up into the heavens, zombies breaking from their graves and marching into a major city, a flesh and bone man vanishing into thin air [puff, gone], etc, etc, etc) …RED FLAG!!!!

    6)…100% FACT: we have nothing close to an original of any gospel book (besides a single fragment from the 1st century and a dozen or so from the 2nd century one has to around 200 AD before we get any real readings from the gospels) …RED FLAG!!!!

    7)…100% FACT: no on duty judge, jury, prosecutor, defense attorney, or court would accept what we have of the gospels as evidence for anyone in the bible …RED FLAG!!!!

    Bonus 100% FACT: the Jewish Dead Sea Scrolls (written before, during, and after 4 BCE to 30 AD) knows nothing of the NT Jesus or his disciples (the NT Jesus simply don’t exist in them) …RED FLAG!!!!

    Bonus 100% FACT: 4 BCE to 30 AD, worldwide, (far as what we have in our hands) is void of the NT Jesus …RED FLAG!!!!

    You see: there are no facts about the NT Jesus and any SO CALLED EVIDENCE of the NT Jesus is far-fetched/grasping at straws at best—and this shocks people

    …for even the greatest of ancient historians 100% admit that any so called historical facts about the NT Jesus is on a mere man basis (not as a god man but as a mere man only)—and even that (Jesus as a mere man) is HYPOTHETICAL (SPECULATIVE) at best! And it has to be that way because 4 BCE to 30 AD knows nothing of the NT Jesus or his on-paper disciples—thus all is HIGHLY SPECULATIVE (NOT FOUND IN REALITY but more or less imaged) when it comes to anything NT Jesus

    …thus Christendom is a BLIND FAITH RELIGION (i.e. faith based), just like all other our-god-in-the-cosmos-said-this-or-that religions are faith based in nature….

    Brett Strong

    PS: all Tim McGrew is doing, as far as trying to determine who wrote the gospels, is mere hearsay—unsubstantiated hearsay because at the end of the day no one knows (nor can conclusively prove) who wrote the gospels which forever casts them as unreliable for anything Jesus and rightfully so because the NT cosmic Jesus is a fictional character

    FYI: willing to debate (live, in person/Skype/radio/podcast/etc) Tim McGrew and anyone else on the subject that the NT Jesus is a fictional character…I’ll take my commonsense approach vs. there so called scholarly approach any day in a debate and win handily or at least neutralize my opponent

    …just let me know because my super 7 list is unbeatable! Have a great day guys and Merry Christmas :-)

  4. “7)…100% FACT: no on duty judge, jury, prosecutor, defense attorney, or court would accept what we have of the gospels as evidence for anyone in the bible …RED FLAG!!!! ”

    Oddly enough, the statement above IS NOT 100% fact. If you don’t understand why this is not 100% fact you should check out J. Warner Wallace and his discussion on what is an is not evidence in a trial. He deals with evidence all the time as a cold case investigator. The Gospels would be very good evidence in such a situation.

    No offense, but you might want to tone down your rhetoric as almost nothing can be known as 100% fact to begin with. Things don’t have to be 100% known as fact to count as evidence.

  5. Hi Defense and Deliverance, Merry Christmas & thanks for responding buuuuttttt…you are 100% WRONG!!!!!!

    Even J Warner will tell you that, that what we have of the gospels and the entire New Testament would be flat out rejected/refused by any legal court, judge, jury in America, as evidence for anyone in the bible, Jesus included!!!!

    Simply e-mail J Warner, he’ll tell you

    When I debated J Warner on STR Radio November 11th 2011 (listen to the podcast, I was a special call in guest), a time later he admitted exactly what I said was true, that what we have of the NT would be rejected by all courts in America as evidence for anyone in the bible…

    So my friend, all things concerning the NT Jesus is merely hypothetical (i.e. hypothetical to PHD historians and faith based for all Christians) and not cold hard fact because the NT superhero Jesus is an ancient fictional character, akin to our modern day fictional Superman (on-paper characters/mere men with superhero powers)

    Brett Strong

    So as I said, my super 7 100% FACT list stands firm, tall and undefeatable… and I will debate any PhD or any other person on the historicity of the NT Jesus as being merely hypothetical at best and not fact (no where close to beyond a reasonable doubt)…this is easily done with my 100% FACT super 7 list…

    Have a great day and Merry Christmas & any debates out there let me know (recently did debates on Redemption radio and Backpack radio…check out the podcasts on their sites)

    and it would be fun to debate you Stephen J Bedard on this topic

  6. Brett,
    Merry Christmas to you as well. It appears you may be incorrect in your assertions again. J Warner Wallace has discussions on just this topic, comprehensive cases built on circumstantial evidence. All cold cases have are circumstantial evidence. Cold cases tried in court and individuals are convicted. The burden of proof is beyond a REASONABLE doubt, not beyond all doubt.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiYQzOypD9o – Video and Audio
    http://apologetics315.s3.amazonaws.com/audio/JWarnerWallaceRF.mp3 – Audio Only

  7. To Richard Carrier, I suppose I’m not qualified to jump into this fray since I’m not a Historian nor a Ph.D., but I find your FACTS not nearly as persuasive as you seem to suggest they are. Sadly like so many antitheists you seem to think arrogantly shouting louder bolsters your case.

    I wonder, why should I believe your facts? Didn’t you in 2007 claim that Anthony Flew didn’t author There is a God, only to be refuted by Flew in 2008? Didn’t you, at one time, hold The Secret Mark in high-regard as a legitimate lost gospel while most scholars recognized it as a forgery? Isn’t your scholarship based on a bigoted a priori of naturalism? These are all RED FLAGS for me, an interested seeker!

    Maybe, your FACTS are in fact true, but do they prove your case? I think not.

    Fact 1) It seems to me that anonymity of authorship is not an automatic disqualifier for the subject being false? History is replete with anonymous authors of many types of writings. Anonymity might be a choice to save one-self from life-threatening situations. Or perhaps anonymity could be a literary device to focus the reader on the subject not the author. Finally if these gospels are hand delivered is it possible the messengers identified the authors? These seem highly reasonable considerations.

    Fact 2) Similar to my previous response, writing in the 3rd person doesn’t negate truth and may be a literary device.

    Fact 3) This is so fallacious, if all the gospels were identical you’d claim collusion, if they are different you claim there are in error because they are word-for-word. You establish a no-win straw-man scenario to make your point. Yet, isn’t it reasonable that independent eye-witnesses would have similar, yet slightly different views of the same event? Even if one copied from another, does that automatically discredit it as false?

    Fact 4) I am an eye-witness of the NYC Twin Towers burning and collapsing, in fact, I flew in an airplane around the towers as they were burning, I can describe in complete detail to you what I saw. You cannot eye-witness what I saw. If all videos of the towers are destroyed is my eye-witness account therefore false? If there never was a video of the event, would my account of this event automatically be false?

    Fact 5)…Your philosophical world-view suggests that nothing becomes something, that inanimate becomes animated, that non-life becomes life, that amoral physicality becomes moral all without a guided cause. You would gladly accept the notion of a necessary self-existing eternal universe yet not a necessary self-existing creator, the problem is our best scientific understanding shows the universe has a beginning and logic demands it must have a causal agent. This hypocrisy betrays you.

    Fact 6)…this fact is addressed overwhelmingly and convincingly by so many scholars. The NT does not suffer from a paucity of evidence, the majority of scholars agree with this.

    Fact 7)…this was addressed by Brett.

  8. Hi Defense and Deliverance

    Sorry my friend but you are still 100% WRONG…my Nov 11th 2011 debate with J Warner and his friend AL on STR live radio show I emphatically pointed out to J Warner that we have ZERO (O!!!!) COURT WORTHY CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE (for anything Jesus) when it comes to the gospels or the entire NT or archeologically (again: a Cir. Ev. case for the NT Jesus simply does not exist in reality)…and J Warner was forced to concede my point at his PLEASECONVINCEME podcast a week later…in fact J Warner admitted that he couldn’t even try a case from 50 years ago in court!!!!, thus 2,000 years ago (involving anything Jesus) is obviously 1
    00% unattainable for “beyond a reasonable doubt” in any court in America

    …thus letting you know that the so called evidence for the NT Jesus is NONEXISTENT when it comes to our court system—being that all legal courts in America would flat out reject the gospels/the entire NT Testament/the church father writings/ancient Roman historians/and all else for evidence for an actual Jesus…

    Brett Strong

    Note: J Warner is making an imaginary circumstantial evidence case form the NT Jesus and not a literal one like he does in court…the sad thing is that he doen’t let people know this…so hmmmm, maybe shame on him…anyways, he’s a great guy none the less

    Happy New Year my friend

  9. Brett Strong replies to Random 99 post

    …Brett Strong states

    1st of all Random 99)…anonymous (unsigned/undated/origin unknown) writings that cannot be verified (concerning anything Jesus [remember 4 BCE to 30 AD WORLDWIDE knows nothing of Jesus]) makes the writings (the 12x anonymous gospels) literally useless and baseless for evidence—period/end of story my friend/no way around it!
    Example: if someone writes an anonymous letter (an unsigned/undated/origin unknown letter) about a crime they swear that happened but yet the crime cannot be investigated because there is nothing there to investigate, then the letter is both useless and baseless for evidence—identical to the gospel writings (because 4 BCE to 30 AD worldwide knows nothing of the NT Jesus/archeology has shown that repeatedly)—thus the gospels are basically good for entertainment value when it comes to the on-paper Jesus the superhero character
    Brett Strong replies:
    2nd of all Random 99)… anonymous (unsigned/undated/origin unknown) writings written in the 3rd person serves to only deepen the anonymity and the utter uselessness as evidence, gospel writings—and any court will tell you that my friend
    Brett Strong replies:
    3rd of all Random 99)…obviously the gospel writers copied each other (or other writings like the alleged Q, M, L) in extremely large sums (and basically word for word)…now the obvious question is this: why would supposed eyewitnesses (like Matthew) need to copy other sources written years (even decades) earlier?
    Imagine if someone said they eye-witnessed something but yet when pushed they admitted that 90% of what they wrote they copied from other anonymous writings…obviously that supposed eyewitness would be laughed out of court as a fraud
    (Now remember: it is noted that Matthew contains up to 90% of Mark, and etc, etc, etc concerning the other gospels writings coping other sources (be it each other or other alleged sources like Q, M, L)…you see how untrustworthy the gospel writers are as supposed eyewitness—totally untrustworthy! And when you add in the fact we don’t even know who wrote the gospels and they were written in the 3rd person then “FORGET ABOUT IT!”)
    Brett Strong replies:
    4th of all Random 99)…question to Random 99: who in the world could eyewitness Jesus crying in the Garden of Gethsemane if his disciples are sleeping?
    And I could name countless (tones of) places in the gospels were stuff is being written that is impossible to eyewitness…like Jesus alone in the desert…people eye-witnessing Mary’s dream/visions and Joseph’s dream/visions…yada yada yada
    You see my friend, this is where the gospel writings go from being totally useless in court as evidence (due to them being unsigned/undated/origin unknown/& written in the 3rd person for even more unsearchable secrecy) and baseless in court as evidence (because the NT on-paper Jesus is void in 4 BCE to 30 AD history)—to being deliberately fiction writings! Thus these unknown writers are able to eyewitness the impossible (time and time and time again) because they are fiction based writings (written within the scope of the very real ancient Palestine)
    Example: if someone went to the witness stand and started saying he eye-witnessed stuff impossible to eyewitness (like he was there and eye-witnessed the billions-of-years-ago Big Bang theory…his own birth…his mom’s birth…his dad’s birth, etc, etc, etc) everyone would know the guy was in fantasy land, identical to the gospel writers, by and large in fantasy land…
    Brett Strong replies (and I’ll stop here at 5):
    5th of all Random 99)… the gospels are overflowing (jam packed) with what we call SCI-FI material (like superhero comic books) (voice coming from the sky, a guy controlling the weather, a guy floating up into the heavens, zombies breaking from their graves and marching into a major city, a flesh and bone man appearing out of thin air [boo!], then vanishing into thin air [puff, gone], a flesh and bone guy [guessed to be around 5’3 & 110 pounds/typical male Jew of 2,000 years ago] saying he was coming back ‘surfing’ the clouds in the sky, etc, etc, etc)
    Again (like point number 4): obviously these, the gospels, from which they are culled from, are pure fictional writings (with the backdrop being the real ancient Palestine)—this is but commonsense
    Imagine if someone took the witness stand and said they eye-witnessed a guy walking on warm bath water, or fly in the air like superman, or a throng of zombies invaded a city, or a voice came from the sky, or am flesh and bone man appeared out of thin air (boo!) then vanished into thin air (puff gone!), etc, etc, etc—obviously he would be laughed at then taken to a psych ward for evaluations then given meds
    Brett Strong
    Random 99, no sense in mentioning points 6, 7, or the 2 bonus ones because it has been emphatically shown to you and the world that the gospels are not only worthless and baseless in court as evidence for the on-paper character NT Jesus (points 1, 2 & 3 emphatically attest to that and J Warner/W L Craig, Gary Habermas, Mike Licona, and all others 100% attest too), but the gospels are shown to be fictional based too (points 4 & 5 emphatically attest to that)…
    Hey Random 99, thanks for responding, it was my pleasure, and if anyone wants to do a debate via Skype, radio, podcast or live in person please let me know…have a great day everyone
    Again, Brett Strong’s UNDEFEATABLE 7 stands steadfast through all charges

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