Quote: Richard Carrier on Christianity

I’m sorry to say that, after 35 years as a Christian, yes, this is what we believe.

Definition of Christianity #1: Fundamentalist Version:

The belief that some cosmic Jewish zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

~ Richard Carrier, Lecture “Are Christians Delusional?”, Skepticon 3

Definition of Christianity #2: Liberal Version:

All that Eve stuff is baloney. But I still have an imaginary friend who manipulates the world for me, and he also magically impregnated a woman two thousand years ago, and she bore him a son who underwent an ancient ritual of blood sacrifice in order to dispel a curse laid upon me, thus ensuring that I will be immortal (although I’ve never seen this work for anyone else before).

~ Richard Carrier, Lecture “Are Christians Delusional?”, Skepticon 3

Jesus’ Atonement:

God needs blood to fix the universe, but only his own blood has enough magical power to do it, so he gave himself a body and killed it.

~ Richard Carrier, Lecture “Are Christians Delusional?”, Skepticon 3


  1. My personal favourite turn of words: God sacrificed himself, to himself, to save humanity from himself.


    • I wish you were wrong – and Carrier – in your characterization. The sad thing is that it really is that circular. Reductio ad absurdum proves an easy exercise.


  2. When I am asked why I believe in Christianity and follow the Bible, among other reasons, I tell people that I can’t find an alternative worldview that corresponds with reality as comprehensively as what I find in the true account of Christianity. This doesn’t mean that I find everything easy to understand or explain because of Christianity. Life is painfully complicated and parts of the Bible (on which Christianity is based) are difficult to comprehend. While there are painful and complicated issues that are beyond my full comprehension, I’ve been driven by one compelling question: “What way of seeing things corresponds most with reality and does not contradict what I clearly know to be true?” Asked differently, “What seems to be the most plausible way of seeing things in light of what we know about humanity, the observable world and its history? – (http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/the-most-plausible-worldview/)


    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      “the true account of Christianity”

      Sorry, Wis – I find that phrase to comprise an oxymoron.

      On three occasions, during your one comment, you indicate you find great difficulty understanding what you’re reading, yet you believe it implicitly – behavior that I find extremely strange.

      RE: “What way of seeing things corresponds most with reality and does not contradict what I clearly know to be true?” – I don’t ask this to ridicule you, Wisdom, but what is it exactly, that you “…clearly know to be true?


    • WFL,

      Thanks for stopping by. I looked at the post to which you linked, and I hear where you’re coming from. I cannot disagree with the legitimacy of your questions, and I cannot but sympathize with your viewpoint – I did share it and disseminate it (vocally) all my life.

      Let me nudge here… We quite often are limited by the questions that we ask. Questions that we do not ask, we generally do not find answers to. Your question:

      ” I’ve been driven by one compelling question: “What way of seeing things corresponds most with reality and does not contradict what I clearly know to be true?” ”

      You seem to have a coupled question/conclusion latent here, and your longer post reflects the same. Your question is constrained. As such, your conclusion will necessarily follow. It is this “half-ness” that stymies the normal Christian’s quest for knowledge (or dare I say, affirmation?). I believe the question is entirely amiss, and it is calculated a priori to arrive at a conclusion. What we “clearly know” already = presupposition.

      The question is not whether Christianity is compelling… it is. It has been for 2,000 years for millions of people. But then, Hinduism has been compelling for more people longer, etc.

      The question is not whether Christianity serves as a highly functional grid for making sense of the world… it is. But then, Mormonism is highly functional. So are countless superstitions and tribal beliefs.

      To be blunt: the question is not whether Christianity provides answers. It does provide answers to the most pressing question of the human condition. As do all faiths. Rather, the proper question ought to be whether Christianity provides factual answers to those questions. Is it true? Full stop. No addenda conditionals regarding what you already “clearly know”.

      A few very straightforward and specific test questions:

      1. Did humanity actually, historically, experience a physical/spiritual fall from a pristine initial state to its present corrupt state? If so, provide support.

      2. Did humanity suffer a relatively early annihilation in a global flood, such that all living people are now descended from eight survivors of this catastrophe? If so, provide support.

      3. Who wrote Genesis, and how do you know? If we do not know, or do not know with good support, from where comes the claim of divine authorship or inspiration?

      For myself, I am not concerned with whether Christianity provides plausible or useful answers to big questions. It does not matter whether it gives a grid for making sense of the world. The question is not whether it resonates deeply with me as a person (burning in the bosom comes pretty cheap). The question is whether the answers Christianity asserts are actually true.


      • Bris — this is an excellently worded comment! I hope WFL replies, as I would be very interested in reading his response.


        • Nate,

          Thanks! I hope so too.

          Another thought that comes to mind, especially after reading the post he linked to, is that both he and some of my friends draw comparisons between the Christian worldview and “other worldviews”. But the problem is, the other worldviews are never actually discussed in any of these comparisons. There is a hypothetical comparison that is going on in the background between their worldview and other worldviews, but it is never clear to me that the people who say these things actually understand what they implicitly critique. It’s all very ambiguous at best.

          I hope to reduce ambiguity, if I can. 🙂


          • I’ve noticed the same thing. As long as people avoid details, it’s easy for them to talk about the magnificence of the Bible (and how mere mortals could never have manufactured it) and the grandeur of Jesus (so grand that no person could have made him up). It’s frustrating.


            • Frustrating is right.

              The details – just as with aircraft maintenance or quality assurance on bridges – matter just a bit. And a good question is like a scalpel.

              Some people say that the devil is in the details, but I think it may be enough to simply say god isn’t (not the Christian one, anyway).


  3. archaeopteryx1 says:
  4. IMHO consumption of the god-body is anthropologically linked to the cannibalization of powerful enemies to assume their power.


  5. The god-body (IMO) is the Leviathan (khet or whale shark). I wrote about this subject in post called “The Great Fish of the Southern Seas”.


  6. archaeopteryx1 says:

    In Carrier’s videos, though I don’t disagree with anything he said, which admittedly is the most important part – on a personal level, I did find him to be a bit smug and self-serving, though I suspect that in hindsight, I was too, at his age.

    Why The Gospels Are a Myth – Dr. Richard Carrier
    Why I Think Jesus Didn’t Exist: A Historian Explains the Evidence That Changed His Mind – Richard Carrier
    Richard Carrier vs David Marshall – “Is the Christian Faith Reasonable?”
    Richard Carrier Vs Mike Licona Did Jesus Rise from the Dead


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