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Question submitted on the website:

Hello! Big fan of your work on the site. Just wanted to let you know that recently, Dr. Richard Carrier, PhD, has been really taking a toll on my faith. I’ve read some reviews of him, and I’ve read the articles here on the site on the historical Jesus, but it seems that he undermines all of it. You see, he responds to every single response he gets on his blog, wins every debate, and overall just seems much more convincing.

Thanks for your email through our Room For Doubt website. Glad to hear you’re a fan of our work, but I’m sorry to hear of your faith challenges stemming from the work of those like Richard Carrier. I’m curious about why, and how, you think he “undermines all of [our articles].” What does that mean? If this means that he simply has responses to give to the claims we make, that’s not surprising—and not in itself significant. Two bigger questions are these: (1) How well does he answer the Christian claims, and (2) What alternative does he offer by way of a comprehensive worldview that can leave us with anything more than pointless existence without adequate moral foundations for how we should live?

Whether Carrier is “more convincing” is something you have the prerogative to decide. But undeniably, there are literally millions of people, many of whom are intellectually brilliant and academically reputable who fundamentally disagree with him. And then there’s the consideration, raised by those like C. S. Lewis, who dispute whether atheists can even justify their capacity of reason to transcend a complete determinism that would make such “decisions” possible in the first place. Also, whether Carrier “wins every debate” is a claim that warrants adequate documentation.

It’s not just a matter of taking shots at specific Christian claims; it’s a matter of how Carrier’s view compares with the explanations needed for a wide range of cosmological, historical, scientific, psychological, emotional, moral, and deeply existential realities. If nothing else, what Carrier leaves us with should be adequate motivation to seek for a potentially better alternative and spend more time on resources that offer that alternative. If you’re interested in additional resources along this line, check out the “Recommended Resources” on our website at https://roomfordoubt.com/recommended-resources/.

I hope you find some encouragement to think that the God-perspective on all of life actually makes more sense and is more appealing than any other alternative.

Sincerely, Rich Knopp, PhD
Rich Knopp

Rich Knopp

Program Director of Room For Doubt and the presenter for Room For Doubt’s seminars and workshops at conventions, conferences, colleges, Christian camps, and churches. He provides and manages the content on the R4D website and mobile app and writes the scripts for the program’s animated videos.