I have been getting two unrelated sets of comments lately, and I would like to address them both here. Some readers have understandably expressed a wish that I would change the format of this blog and make it free. Many of these readers point out that they already give to charity, and that they think blog content should be available to anyone and everyone. I have real sympathy for this point of view – especially when it has been expressed by people who simply cannot afford the membership fee (say, $3.95 for a month; it is $24.95 for a year – and I can see how the latter, especially, might be a burden for someone).
But if I were to get rid of the membership fees, it would completely undermine the entire point of the Blog – which is for me to raise money for charity. Yes, people could donate of their own free will, but they can do that anyway. I’m truly sorry that some people cannot get access to the full site, but I do hope you understand my driving motivation. It is not to cause hardship but to deal with hardship. And it has nothing at all to do with my desire to make money, since I’m not making a dime (but rather am investing a significant amount of my own money in the project). For those who cannot afford the Blog, my hearty and sincere apologies. I hope that you find the Public Forum helpful, at least.
Relatedly, a number of readers have suggested that I make my responses to Richard Carrier part of the public blog, since lots of people might be interested in them. I am sympathetic to this request as well, and am torn in two directions. But again I want to stress that it is precisely by keeping some really interesting material on the membership site that I am more likely to get more members to join up and pay the fees, allowing me (well, The Bart Ehrman Foundation) to support better those in desperate need.
In this case I have decided to make a compromise. I will have several posts related to Carrier’s scathing attack on me and my book (he gets personal, as some of you know). The first post I will put up on the public site; for the others, I’m afraid you’ll need to get to the members only pages. At least those in the Public Forum will get a sense of the drift of my responses. I do want people to know that his attacks have not stunned me into submissive silence. (!)
Compromises usually please just about no one. But my blogging policies seems like the best thing for me to do, in order to achieve the goals I have in mind for this Blog: (a) to state my views and discuss significant issues on matters related to the New Testament and Early Christianity and (b) raise money for worthy causes. If I had only the first objective, this would be a regular free Blog; if I had only the other, it would require payment for every page. As it is, I’ve worked out what may be an unhappy compromise. But so far it is one that I’m willing to live with.
Many thanks to all who have made comments. I do want to be sympathetic to your concerns.
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.