I finally made it through "on the historicity of jesus*

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Mikhael's picture
I finally made it through "on the historicity of jesus*

All 28 hours of it on audible- I have a job where I can listen to podcasts and stuff while I'm going which is great

Now this book was on the heavier side, but Carrier writes in a super approachable way, I love him, he's gmdoing the dark lords word (ex pagan humor don't shoot me)

Anyway, I wanna relisten later to absorb more but honestly...i really think being at least agnostic towards historicity is going to become more acceptable in the future. Thomson had his life ruined by questioning the legitimacy of of Moses and Abraham, but his views are bow accepted. I don't think hard historicity has much to stand on.

I really enjoyed learning about mystery cults; I knew a little bit since I use to be Greek pagan, and talk of the mysteries was part of that faith. But learning about Jewish angelology and how the elements of the Christ story can be found in ore Christian myths? It's fascinating. Also loved hearing about forced prophesy and early church forgeries (such as learning that the list of bishop lineage is made up? Hell Yeah!)

Anyway, I just really love reading Carrier. I've gotten to a point where I feel I can actually discuss some of this knowledge on my own and add to it with my own research, like i am actually learning something I can process. I also trust secular writers more than religious ones to come forward and amend their work should new information prove them wrong

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Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Mikhael

@ Mikhael

Good for you. But do modifiy your diet of Carrier with other scholars who do not entirely hold the same view.

ilovechloe's picture
At least Carrier backs up his

At least Carrier backs up his work with the proper scientific method. Many other authors just use opinion with no real evidence.

Mikhael's picture
Oh don't worry, I do. I read

Oh don't worry, I do. I read ehrman, thomson, Dawkins too.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Elaine Pagels is a good read

Elaine Pagels is a good read and gives much information.

Exploring the 3000 (and counting) differences in text between the Codex Sinaiticus and the next most modern codex is illuminating.

David Killens's picture
I suggest you change your

I suggest you change your diet to the occasional light fiction, too much theism is hard on the bowels.

Mikhael's picture
I'm a big fan of biographies

I'm a big fan of biographies and memoirs myself, I just finished Beautiful Boy which was quite good

Cognostic's picture
At least you are reading

At least you are reading something worthwhile now.

Kevin Levites's picture
I got one better.

I got one better.

Read Carl Sagan. The Demon-haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark was, I believe, his very best book . . . but Broca's Brain was utterly excellent, and so was Pale Blue Dot.

Also, read Isaac Asimov. He wrote these completely terrific short essays where he could take the most esoteric, strange, peculiar aspects of science down to a lay person's understanding. After reading one of his essays, you could talk intelligently to a physicist about particle physics.

He was an Ambassador to the Masses from the scholarly, scientific world.

Read The Planet that Wasn't, The Left Hand of the Electron, and Of Time, Space, and Other Things to start. They all contain essays that would be very relevant and germane to any athiest.

Grinseed's picture
@Kevin Levites

@Kevin Levites

Asimov is one of my favourite and respected authors. He was one of the greatest exponents of real science fiction literature.

From memory all his stories put normal people into terrible situations in space or on other planets and the resolutions were always based on straight science and not improbable quasi-spiritual woo-like mystical forces, fun as some of those might be. You could read some of his accessible stories and talk confidently to scientists about science.

Asimov's best book, a non fiction, is "Asimov's Guide to Science", dated though it is. A monster book but not boring. Its written, appropriately, something like a detective story, revealing the development of the scientific method and the discoveries of the physical and biological workings of the universe.
Read this and people will think you are a scientist.

And anything by John Gribbin is also well worth reading.

Cognostic's picture
Other great books:

Other great books:
"Who wrote the bible" A must read.
"Jesus, Mything in action."
"Misquoting Jesus" I loved this one
"How Jesus became God"
"Lost Christianities"
"The Origin of Satan" Pagels - A must read. The end of belief in evil bullshit.

boomer47's picture


Only discovered Bart Ehrman 2 years ago, and think he's pretty good. However, I think "Did Jesus Exist?"is a bit weak.

Also recommend' The Gnostic Gospels' 'by Elaine Pagels

and " Did god Have a wife?: Archaeology and folk religion In ancient Israel ' William G Denver. ( got it in Ebook form on Amazon for a few dollars)

Cognostic's picture
"Did Jesus Exist?; Fully

"Did Jesus Exist?; Fully agree. You would think that Bart would have made the best possible argument for the existence of Jesus but what we got was the same old debunked bullshit that does not hold up. Any book must be examined critically,,,, that's all we are saying.

Mikhael's picture
@cog- one, I actually just

@cog- one, I actually just got Pagels books on at work the other day and was thinking about getting it!

As for Ehrman, I've heard other authors and scholars say that that is honestly his weakest book and wondering if he farmed it out to an intern to write

Cognostic's picture
It is his weakest book

It is his weakest book because there is no good evidence for the existence of Jesus. All we have are the same tired worn out assertions, probabilities, assumptions, and fallacious arguments. All he does in the book is go over the same shit that we have been hearing and questioning for years. There is no new evidence. There are no clearly substantial facts. The closer you look, the less you see. It's just that simple. To get to the existence of Jesus, leaps of irrationality must occur.

That does not mean, Jesus did not exist. This would also be a very hard thing to assert as the evidence is sparse. However; we do have evidence from those opposing Christianity who assert the Christians are fabricating their Jesus and their god. The Damascus Document comes out and calls Paul a liar. It says Paul was excommunicated from the church. It accuses him of making everything up. There are plenty of writings condemning Christianity to falsehood and none specifically validating the existence of the Jesus character.

Kevin Levites's picture
(Directed at Grinseed)

(Directed at Grinseed)

Agree 100% about Asimov.

I discovered him when I was in the 4th grade, and to this date I've read--at last count--about 380 of his approximately 500 books in my lifetime . . . and I'm always hunting for the last 120.

He also answered several letters that I wrote to him when I was a teenager. I always enclosed an SASE, and out of about 8 letters that I wrote to him over the years, he answered 6 of them. I still have a few framed and hanging on my office wall.

He was always kind, and--even when I was wrong on one point or another--he was never dismissive.

I felt a kinship through his writing probably because he may have had Asperger's Syndrome (a kind of high-functioning autism), which is my issue as well. I could see a lot in his writing that resonated very deeply with me because of this, which is probably why I like his work so much.

Even though he was (and is) a hero of mine, that doesn't mean that I am blind to his failings. I'm from New York (although I live in Florida now), and I knew several people in science fiction fandom and a few people in publishing who knew him personally . . . and there are reasons why I might have punched him in the mouth if I was around him.

He had a "thing" for intimately groping women without their consent in elevators, stairwells, hallways, and anywhere else that he could cop a feel. It also seems that he had no brakes on his behavior because he was the Great Issac Asimov, so he--evidentally--had a sense of entitlement when it came to intimately groping any woman who came within arms' reach. This is enough--in my mind--to define him as a species of sexual predator.

He had a reputation for doing this to young girls, as well.

I didn't want to believe any this when I first heard it, but after he died, his son David Asimov (I also have the idea that David Asimov has high-functioning autism as well, and I can back this up with quotes from his father's writings) turned out to be the biggest child pornography distributer on the west coast. Infants, child rape, animals, and so on . . . and he was able to use his late father's money and influence to skate on any jail time.

Who was the district attorney assigned to prosecute David Asimov? Robert Mueller.

Yes, the same Robert Mueller who drafted the Mueller Report on the "collusion with Russia" scandal.

So . . . I have to ask (as distasteful as it is) if Asimov may have abused one or both of his kids in some ways, if you get my meaning. It's awful to ask this, but anyone would ask under these circumstances if the person under discussion wasn't Isaac Asimov.

Robyn Asimov seems to have turned out well, but I wouldn't let her brother anywhere near me . . . and I would probably beat the living shit out of him if I ever saw him so much as glance at a child while in my presence.

It is horrible feeling when someone discovers that a hero is a deeply flawed, screwed-up, sick individual . . . but that doesn't change the quality of his writing or the magnitude of his many, many contributions. He did leave this world a better place than how he found it.

Nor is this the only time that a literary hero of mine has fallen off of a pedestal.

Marion Zimmer Bradley was an utterly brilliant writer . . . a genius who blazed new ground in unexpected directions. I submitted several examples of my work to her when she was running Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine. She never bought any of my material, but her rejection letters were very encouraging, helpful, and offered important input on how to refine my writing skills . . . and I'm very grateful.

However, both she and her husband were full-fledged pedophiles. Her husband liked little boys . . . the younger, the better.

And . . . she sexually victimized her own daughter from a very early age. I think her daughter was around 3 or 4 when it started.

She was also very involved in procuring little boys for her husband to abuse, and covering up for him when it occurred . . . presumably because he helped conceal her behavior toward their daughter, although I don't know this for a fact.

All of this came out several years after she died, as her daughter felt an obligation to "keep the secret" to "protect" her sick parents.

I was very conflicted when I found out about all of this, as I freely used Bradley's advice and ideas to get published . . . which made me feel dirty, and somehow soiled. This news tainted my victory long after I got my first check for a piece in Analog Science Fiction and Fact.

I didn't save any of Bradley's letters like I did with Asimov. I tore them up into tiny pieces, flushed the fragments down the toilet, and washed my hands with Ajax . . . and still felt dirty.

My skin crawls whenever I think of her.

boomer47's picture
@Kevin Levites.

@Kevin Levites.


SO glad I've read all the Asimov books I want to read.

Only author about whom I was obsessed was Dennis Wheatley , who wrote great historical fiction. I read 50 of the 70 books he wrote. Hard to get because the early ones were out of print. Know nothing about his private life ,and don't want to.

I was diagnosed with what used to be called Asperger's Syndrome when I was 68. Changed nothing concrete in my life, but explained a great deal. Day to day life is no easier, but now I understand why. So I empathise a bit. (about as much as an Aspie is capable of empathy)

Get off my lawn's picture
You should also check out

You should also check out Thomas Römer: "The Invention of God" (https://www.amazon.com/Invention-God-Thomas-R%C3%B6mer/dp/0674504976). In this book, the author traces the evolution of the judeo-christian god from its origins in a storm and war god of polytheistic nomadic tribes in the arabian peninsula to the only god of the monotheistic jewish religion.

Kevin Levites's picture
(directed at Get Off My Lawn)

(directed at Get Off My Lawn)

I am a book addict (my gf actually suggests that I might be becoming a hoarder when it comes to books), and this weakness of mine--combined with the instantaneous gratification of ebooks and Amazon--has compelled me to buy an copy of "The Invention of God". I'll get back to you after I read it.

Thanks for the suggestion.

boomer47's picture
@Kevin Levites

@Kevin Levites

"I am a book addict (my gf actually suggests that I might be becoming a hoarder when it comes to books),"

I stopped reading fiction about 20 years ago because I began reading a lot less. The days of reading James Michener's "The Source"or "Hawaii " in a weekend are long gone .

However, I loved my books, I couldn't bear to part with any .One weekend I realised I might be a bit of a hoarder when I discovered my Sci fi books needed a floor to ceiling bookcase. Overall, there were around 5000 books. I simply removed any books I didn't think I'd read again, as well as my 25 year collection of National Geographic. (they were donated to the local prison's library) Today I have about 200 books.,plus as a good collection on Ebook..

Then it was DVD's . Today I have only about 100. Still collect movies, especially old classics and very good minor/indy films. Today they are mainly on Mp4 .Music, only a couple of hundred cd's, mainly on Mp3 these days.

After all that, one would think I would not have been surprised whenI was diagnosed with a mild case of OCD about 10 years ago. However, I was . I thought my collecting was very normal. Came to suspect it might not be when I had a good look at my tie collection. That still includes some of dad's, from the 1930's. (these daysI only wear a tie when I wear my black suit; weddings and funerals) The ones I wear the most came with a shirt.

I can addict to anything; including internet forums. Today this is the only forum to which I belong. At one time it was 5, with about 8-10 hours a day. I still need to keep an eye on this one. I'm working towards no more than an hour day.

I won't begin to describe my collection of mainly obsolete computer peripherals------

Cognostic's picture
I discovered books on tape:

I discovered books on tape: I listen to books instead of watching TV. I have them going while I am in the forums, doing chores around the house, and when I am going to sleep. Most of my reading is done online and for the purpose of clarifying a point that someone has made. All the math and physics stuff that Sheldon spouts has sent me into a reading frenzy more than once.

boomer47's picture


"I discovered books on tape"

I presume you include audio books on MP3? In which case me too. The first one was the last Harry Potter book, "The Deathly Hallows" read by Stephen Fry. There are 30 chapters, each one takes 30 minutes to read.

Also have "Tales Of Fire And Ice". Have just started.

Accidently bought "The Handmaid's Tale " on audio. I had thought I had ordered an ordinary book. It's read by Claire Danes and beautifully done, but I just can't get into it. Haven't finished watching all of Season 3 yet either. I get it, I really do, but after a while it is just boring to me. This may be because to enjoy a book or film I need to identify with or care about at least on character, I don't.

---this week I watched and thoroughly enjoyed the 1940's films "How green was my Valley" and "The Keys To The Kingdom". Pure schmaltz and I loved it. This week I have "All about Eve' with Bette Davis.

Kevin Levites's picture
(directed at cranky47)

(directed at cranky47)

It's good that you were able to put the brakes on before you ended up like those people on those hoarding shows on reality TV.

My problem with hoarding books is because I'm also a writer. I've had both fiction and non-fiction published in several different magazines (I've written science fiction for Analog Science Fiction and Fact, as well as murder mysteries, non-fiction essays, and so forth for other magazines), and I constantly need to refer to other books, magazines, articles, and so forth in order to keep my facts straight.

There is nothing more embarrassing than getting called out by your audience on something that you got wrong . . . and this is bad for business, as a reader is entitled to accuracy after putting their money down to buy something from me.

After all, I--presumably like most business-people--don't feel good about cheating people out of their money.

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