Quote – Richard Carrier, “Why I Am Not a Christian”

I’m cognitively defective. Or that’s what Christians tell me. It’s not true, of course. But the curious thing is how desperately they need to believe there is something wrong with me. For otherwise, they cannot explain how someone so well informed about their religion could reject their faith—indeed, someone who doesn’t just give it a pass, but rejects it as firmly as any other bizarre cult or superstition. Which is what it is. This book is about why.

Carrier, Richard (2011-02-28). Why I Am Not a Christian: Four Conclusive Reasons to Reject the Faith (Kindle Locations 35-38). Philosophy Press. Kindle Edition.


Well, on the background of some responses that I’ve received during my exodus from the faith, I certainly resonate with the felt diagnosis from others. And the more people I converse with, the more I realize how common this viewpoint is… and how guilty I myself have been of the same.


  1. Great quote. I totally identify with it.

    Speaking of Carrier, I think you’ve looked into the historicity of Jesus more than I have. The textual contradictions, the way the Bible was put together, the failed prophecies, the problems with doctrine — those were the key issues to me. The evidence for Jesus’ life and resurrection had never been instrumental in my belief. That just didn’t resonate with me, so I’ve been slower to study those aspects.

    Have you looked into the mythicist position very much yet? I know Carrier is a proponent, but I know Ehrman is a firm believer in the historical Jesus. I have a lot of respect for Ehrman, but the little I’ve heard about Carrier has seemed good too. Do you have any thoughts yet on the different positions?


    • Nate,

      Yep, I’ve made the rounds on the historical Jesus stuff. I acknowledge that the secular historical position is the scholarly consensus. However, I find Carrier to be a very interesting guy. Unparalleled knowledge of the connections between Christianity and Greek Mythology. On review, he’s the only mythicist that I pay any attention to. I can’t say that I back his case, and I’ve heard objections from other scholars. But I think I’m the better for having watched his lectures and such on YouTube. I’m also interested to see how his rigorous approach to the subject might change the consensus in the next couple of decades… perhaps.


  2. Epic. My wife, an admitted agnostic with also admitted sympathies for the good feelings religion brings about in people, recognized this even clearer than I did.

    The little I know about Carrier is his ranting about Atheism + and his “with us or against us” attitude on it so I’m not a huge fan of the guy, but his quote really nails it on the head.

    You’ll have to let me know if this book is worth picking up!


  3. I remember some years back when on a discussion list, a young woman so earnestly tried to tell several of us from my own path that if we would just read the Bible, we would become Christians. I don’t know what effect it had on her when we all came back and told her that it was a thorough reading of said book that had made all of us turn away from that path. She never showed up in the discussion group again. Hopefully, after some rest from the shock, she took up reading the whole Bible and thinking about what it actually says. (and of course, when it says the opposite somewhere else.)


    • That’s funny, but also sad. People who say that often haven’t actually read the whole of the Bible… just bits and pieces. The Gospel of John, or Luke, that sort of thing. Hebrews. But they haven’t usually read Leviticus, or the Prophets. They haven’t usually read Kings and Chronicles. Who knows – maybe she went home and started reading the rest. 🙂


      • People who say that often haven’t actually read the whole of the Bible… just bits and pieces.

        How true, Matt.
        Now this chap , below, seems like a perfect example, and he is the founder of a Ministry!


        No, I don’t know for sure if he has not read the entire bible before, but he gives the impression from the tone of this series of posts that this is not the case.
        I must also say, that during previous discussions with him, he was initially adamant that the story of Chariot Wheels On The Floor of the Red Sea was genuine, and considered his source ( Ron Wyatt) on the level.

        I am trekking through Exodus now on my journey through the Bible. Today, I reveal an observation from the beginning of this book.


  4. Oh, and I enjoy Carrier’s mind. As you say, it is encyclopedic. Sadly, this is often how he comes across. He is not charismatic enough to decently carry off a presentation of his case, a la Hitch etc.
    He would do well to have his PR team spruce him up a bit and create an ”image” for him.


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