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 rebuttal to Christian apologist J.P. Holding (author of The Impossible Faith), Carrier takes a general approach that educates the listener on the history and sociology of the ancient world, answering many questions like: How did Christians approach evidence? Was there a widespread prejudice against the testimony of women? Was resurrection such a radical idea? Who would worship a crucified criminal? And much more.
Written with occasional humor and an easy style, and thoroughly referenced, with many entertaining "gotcha!" moments, Not the Impossible Faith is a must-listen for anyone interested in the origins of Christianity. Richard Carrier, PhD, is an expert in the history of the ancient world and a critic of Christian attempts to distort history in defense of their faith.
©2009 Richard Carrier (P)2013 Pitchstone Publishing
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The only thing I didn't like was the fact that he did a lot of arguing from authority; however, I realize that a good deal of it was him just citing ideas that others had before him (so he wouldn't seem like he was stealing other people's ideas). I realize that this is pretty necessary in a book about history, and the book would've been twice as long without saying "this guy said this, and I'm not going to go into why." Still, if he spent more time explaining his strongest arguments (after citing the source) than beating the dead horse that is "The Impossible Faith" by citing argument after argument and example after example, it would've been much more enjoyable I think.
Still, it was an excellent book, and an excellent critique, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. 100% worth the cost, and then some.
"Fish, meet barrel."
In the course of listening to this audiobook I was reminded of Noam Chomsky's systematic, morbidly-fascinating - and somewhat disturbing; 'should I be watching this?' - demolition of B.F. Skinner's behaviourism.
You don't have to have read J.P. Holding's original to enjoy this book. There is a wealth of fascinating material in here, and the context is set up effectively enough to follow the refutation.
As a happy agnostic - I don't call myself an atheist simply because I really couldn't be bothered feeling obliged to argue over such self-evidently irrational beliefs - Carrier's book was a (slightly guilty) pleasure, with much of historical interest. A Christian would be less likely to enjoy it, obviously, depending on the extent of their ahistoric fervour. But it's notable that reading Carrier and Bart Ehrman has made me MORE inclined to pick up a bible, not less...
It's debatable whether Carrier really should read his own books - mellifluous he ain't - but it's a perfect union of tone and content.
"Bloody awful audiobook..."
Although I personally concur with much if not all of what the author says, I have to tell you that, as an audiobook this is like having a sheet of cardboard in place of a steak. It's dry, and the fact that it's a response to another argument that we are not a party to makes it seem 'whiney'. The description is accurate but you won't find much of interest here.
What would have made a much better book is to give the same information without acknowledging that other author and his faults. Trying to tell some sort of coherent story rather than a point by point refutation of some other guy's weak argument would at least make the book worth reading by people other than those involved in these sorts of pissing contests.
I respect that the author is a phd etc and that his information seems good and well researched. His logic seems equally well done. But as a book, as a writer, this is pretty bad listening. Give it a pass.
"Fair, exhaustive, and thoroughly researched."
In decades to come this will be regarded as one of the most important books of our time.
"Truth made simple."
All the facts laid out chronologically, building a much better case for reasonable doubt than anyone has ever done.
Every other book against Christianity looks pathetic compared to this book. A great listen or tead
"Origins of Christianity"
Excellent, evidence based, overview of the origins of Christianity.
Aside from this being a rebuttal to a feeble claim, it also presents the reader with background and context for each piece of evidence.
"Very well researched book."
I enjoyed this book it was very thorough. Well researched the author did a great job. I felt like I was getting a lot of very good information.
"A polemic, pure and simple"
This appears to gave been written by a person in a rage and almost makes one think he doth protest too much. As a person who is not into any particular religion, and as I am not a citizen of the US am happy to describe myself as atheist or agnostic, and yes I do know they are different, I believed this would be a thoughtful work which I could learn about the historical basis for the rise of Christianity and why it was adopted by so many different societies. Instead I got a polemic which really should have been delivered as a personal diatribe - the author just had to get it out of his system. I did not have to listen, and gave up about Chapter 5. The worst book I have ever purchased
Self indulgent, should not have been for public consumption
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