Sometimes I think that if I’m “getting it from all sides,” I may be doing something right. The religious conservatives seems to be up in arms about my book How Jesus Became God – both conservative evangelical Protestants and conservative Roman Catholics like the Very Reverend Robert Barron. In fact, as I’ve said, I do not think anything in the book is inimical to Christian faith, unless it is completely committed to a view of the infallibility of the Bible and its full, historical accuracy. The Christianity I admire is not like that.
But I get it from the non-religious left as well. Yesterday a member of the blog sent me the following critique – delivered in terms of mocking incredulity – by Richard Carrier, the mythicist (i.e., one who does not believe that Jesus existed) who has shown more vitriol, hatred, and mean-spiritedness toward me than almost any of the fundamentalists who attack me from the other side.
The following is in reference to my point that we do not have any references to Pontius Pilate in any (non-Christian/non-Jewish) pagan sources of the first century – a point I make in order to put into perspective the fact we don’t have any reference to Jesus in any non-Christian/non-Jewish sources of the first century (my point being that if the most important figure – historically, culturally, politically — in all of Palestine during Jesus’ adult years, the Roman governor of Judea, is never mentioned, what are the chances that Jesus would be? This point is made to counter the common but erroneous claim that if Jesus really existed, a lot of sources would have mentioned him. Really? When they don’t mention even someone like Pilate???)
Read Carrier’s critique, and then read the statement beneath it taken straight from my book, Did Jesus Exist.
Richard Carrier is the author of On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt and Why I Am Not a Christian: Four Conclusive Reasons to Reject the Faith, among others.
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