Do I agree with Richard Carrier ?

I applaud the local FVASH (Fraser Valley Atheists Skeptics and Humanists) group for arranging lectures that can be of interest to people of many backgrounds and ideologies. And I appreciate the hosts’ attempt to have an inclusive audience.

Being a Christian myself, that does not mean I agree with everything I hear, but I invariably take home something of interest from each lecture.

I give notice to anyone reading this essay that it is not a review of the September 20th lecture at UFV; I am simply focusing on a couple of points with which I took issue.

The first is that Mr. Carrier dismissed the secular writers who wrote of Jesus (please see an earlier essay of mine on this site titled “Jesus: real or imagined?”).

Mr. Carrier seemed to believe that since those writers — who were most definitely not monotheists — would simply swallow whatever the Christians of the day reported.  

I have the highest respect for some of the early CE secular writers, and do not view them as either shallow or gullible. I expect that if they did not particularly like or trust someone, they would want to make doubly sure that the details they reported on were factual.

Now I don’t pretend to be in the category of these writers, but I know that if I dislike or distrust someone, I most certainly would not repeat their assertions, except to perhaps question them in front of others. Would these early writers be less cautious than I?
 Another comment that Mr. Carrier made (and please do not take this as a verbatim quote) was that Paul did not have any personal experience of the life of Jesus, and in fact did not actually view Jesus as a real person.

I expect a true Biblical scholar would offer much more, but I will go with Acts 13:25, in which Paul quotes John the Baptist: “I am not the one you are waiting for . . . He is coming after me and I am not good enough to take his sandals off his feet.”

Quoting the Bible is not likely to sway anyone’s opinion, but the above passage suggests to me a real live person, one who cares whether His feet become sufficiently tired to require the removal of sandals.