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Not the Impossible Faith

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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  253 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Dr. Richard Carrier is an expert in the history of the ancient world and a critic of Christian attempts to distort history in defense of their faith. Not the Impossible Faith is a tour de force in that genre, dissecting and refuting the oft-repeated claim that Christianity could not have succeeded in the ancient world unless it was true. Though framed as a detailed rebutta ...more
Paperback, 456 pages
Published February 10th 2009 by Lulu.com (first published 2009)
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4.14  · 
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 ·  253 ratings  ·  15 reviews


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Stephen Griffiths
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Evidence wins again over apologetics.
Landon
Jul 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Historian Richard Carrier has delivered the ultimate rebuttal of infamous Christian apologist J.P. Holding's argument in favor of the resurrection--which he detailed in an essay called "The Impossible Faith." Holding's argument was, essentially, that there were so many factors that should have worked against the success of Christianity in its early years, so much so that the actual success of the movement must entail that the earliest Christians had irrefutable evidence for the resurrection. He ...more
Steven Williams
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
In this book Richard Carrier uses his historian’s skills to counter arguments from J. P. Holding that Christianity was so unlikely to succeed without it being true, so it has to be true. Carrier shows that this assumption is not true. He presents lots of evidence for Christianity succeeding without Christ’s resurrection to have actually occurred. Holding claims that it had to for Christianity to be true. In the process of countering Holding Carrier ask a series of questions divided into eighteen ...more
Kahawa
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was one of those books I didn't want to end. Carrier's logic was thorough, covering just about every possible angle of a given topic, and I almost felt sorry for JP Holding.

Holding had written a book basically arguing that Christianity shouldn't have been successful by natural means, therefore it was successful because of supernatural means, or something. What does that even mean anyway? No one would have wanted Christianity, so god made them do it?

Carrier showed that he has a really good g
...more
Mike Day
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, atheism
Have you ever been so pissed off at someone you were arguing with on the internet that you felt like you had to drop everything and type up a 456 page response to correct their stupidity? Richard Carrier knows how you feel, and if that someone happened to be the enthusiastic internet nobody with delusions of apologetic grandeur named Robert Turkel, aka J.P Holding ( JP Holding= JP Moreland?), Carrier has done all the work for you. But don’t get me wrong- as far as 456 page rebuttals to somebody ...more
Joshua
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The book has a bit of a strange structure, as it's a criticism of another work which I hadn't read. However, Carrier provides more than enough context in his responses to understand the original argument.

He's responding to the claim that Christianity must be true, because it's growth was wildly improbable. In so doing (and very effectively disproving this claim) he provides many fascinating explorations into Christianity's origin story and the context that it "grew up" in.

Things I found particul
...more
Steve
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a book about the growth of Christianity in the 1st & 2nd centuries, written as a response to work by one J.P. Holding who made a number of claims about that growth. A common claim made by Holding and others is that Christian origins were too improbable for it to be false. Carrier pretty much demolishes these arguments, one by one, in such exhaustive detail that you almost feel sorry for Holding, except for the fact that Carrier repeatedly shows him to be a liar at best and a very poo ...more
Marcus
Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Richard Carrier tears JP Holding's thesis (i.e. The Impossible Faith) a new rectal cavity in this very complete examination of just how non-miraculous was the rise of Christianity. Carrier is frequently repetitive, beating a point like a dead horse, but he certainly cannot be faulted for glossing over any of Holding's arguments. Christianity is shown to be a not-all-that-remarkable cult among a myriad of similar cults that happened to win the day in the Roman Empire due to mundane circumstances ...more
Misha
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Two thousand years passed you would think people have changed... Nope... Religious virus is still strong and deadly. Now I began to understand why America is so religious. Despite of high living standard compering to others it is a country of misery. It is beyond of my comprehension how in the most pro-capitalist society the utopian christian communistic ideals can flourish in minds of the majority of population.
Jeffrey McKinley
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I spent some time in Seminary learning all the supposed arguments why Christianity had to be true in order to thrive in the time period it was unleashed on humanity. Richard Carrier, a scholar of Roman history, is just the man to examine those assumptions and destroy them. This book is a powerful tool to use when faced with bible and McDowell quoting evangelists who seek to take advantage of people's lack of learning. I own this book in soft cover and kindle. Highly recommend it.
Ashwin
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The book is a bit of a drag to read at some points, but this work is nevertheless like kryptonite to apologetics. I've consulted this book many times already when listening to Christian apologetics and it covers pretty much every topic that might come up.
Peter
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Dissects JP Holding's book, steamroller over the apologist's blather. Solid, deals directly with the holding book yet much is applicable to apologetics nonsense in general , ie the evidence as presented by apologists ain't necessarily so.
Doug McCleary
Interesting naturalistic historical discussion of Christian origins. It's only weakness is that it's written as an answer to Holden's "The Impossible Faith" and thus has a polemical style that can be off-putting at times.
Cindy May
Nov 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
Mostly a personal rebuttal to specific criticisms.
Greg
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable, but when refuting ignoramuses
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Richard Cevantis Carrier is an American historian, published philosopher, and prominent defender of the American freethought movement. He is well known for his writings on Internet Infidels, otherwise known as the Secular Web, where he served as Editor-in-Chief for several years. As an advocate of atheism and metaphysical naturalism, he has published articles in books, journals and magazines, and ...more