There has been a bit of hooplah on the interwebs recently (e.g. here and here) concerning Richard Carrier and his response to Bart Ehrman’s book on why Jesus mythicism is a joke – Did Jesus Exist? Interestingly enough, it seems like Richard Carrier has very recently released his own book on the historicity of Jesus, or lack thereof (see here).
I have a self-published book of Carrier’s on my kindle, Why I Am Not A Christian: Four Conclusive Reasons to Reject the Faith, and so I thought I would give it a quick whirl while sitting out on the balcony in the sun. I knew I was in for a treat when I cracked the book open (can one use this language when talking about an e-book?) and saw on the first page Carrier saying that he has “become something of a world renowned atheist.” I had no idea!
The book consists of four main chapters, each of which is an explanation of a reason as to why Carrier rejects God. At the beginning of the first chapter, Carrier says,
If God wants something from me, he would tell me. He wouldn’t leave someone else to do this, as if an infinite being were short on time. And he would certainly not leave fallible, sinful humans to deliver an endless plethora of confused and contradictory messages.
This type of reasoning is what you essentially find on many pages of the book: I think God would do XYZ, God does not do XYZ, therefore God could not possibly exist. Yup, that is the main thrust of Carrier’s whole argument. God doesn’t do things the way I would, therefore he doesn’t exist.
The book is extremely light on knowledge of Christianity (Carrier only evinces a very rudimentary knowledge of C.S. Lewis’ brand of “mere Christianity”), and doesn’t even really attempt to touch the surface of theology and philosophy. The four reasons that Carrier provides in the book as to why he isn’t a Christian may be perfectly fine for him, but for those who desire an intellectual discussion of the issue, you will be sorely disappointed. This book makes Christopher Hitchens badly researched book, God is Not Great, seem like a veritable five-star intellectual discussion on Christianity.