Aug 26 2013

Thank You for So Many Books

Some people who like my work occasionally buy things for me from my Amazon wishlist. The package I get often doesn’t say who sent them or how to reach them. So I’d like to extend an open thanks to everyone who has done that over the years. What especially prompted me to say something today is that I received one such package last week, amidst controversial blogging and an exhausting home renovation project (Jen and I finally did something with our bedroom, which had looked like a moldy, stained, style-less, colorless disaster area since we moved in…you know, as for example, the previous owners had strange ideas about what was an acceptable “repair” to holes in the ceiling or wall…anyway, all sorted; its a beautiful and functional room again).

This time the package I received was filled with some of the more expensive items on my list, and a lot of them. Someone was extraordinarily generous, and I am very grateful. Thank you! Some of the items will help me with my next books (my books on ancient science have been at an academic publisher in search of peer reviewers for ages), some will give me an excuse to learn a little more about Islam (maybe next year), and one in particular is the two volume set by Keener that desperately tries to insist miracles are real, which I may find time later this year to read and review on my blog (since that’s kind of one of my long standing specialties).

Now back to work.


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  1. 1

    Thank you for the reminder. I just bought PZ’s. I missed your visit to DC on the debunking of the Jesus myth. I want to get your book and read it. I have a friend who is a deacon and wanted to go with me. He is a liberal christian and we enjoy good debates. I will buy two, one for him and one for me…..a win-win-win all around. Cheers!

  2. 2

    Would you be interested in Michael Peppard’s The Son of God in the Roman World?

    1. 2.1
      Richard Carrier

      No, thank you. I’ve already skimmed it. It is interesting and valuable in general, but doesn’t help me in any specific respect.

  3. 3

    Once you are “done” with Christianity (for a while), I’m sure a book by you on Islam would be great.

    1. 3.1
      Richard Carrier

      Oh, no, I won’t be doing that. I’d have to spend another decade learning new languages and field-specific background history. I have enough specialties already. It strains my abilities to keep up my knowledge in those. I just can’t fit in another one.

  4. 4

    @Richard Carrier

    I think it is OK for you to concentrate on Christianity; but then don’t generalize your experience with Christianity and Judaism to Islam.

    Without studying Quran it will be quite unreasonable to comment on Quran/Islam/Muhammad.

    One could criticize Muslims though; they could make mistakes, blunders and wrongs for not following teachings of Quran and for that they are accountable.

    Thanks and regards

    1. 4.1
      Richard Carrier

      You could say the same of Taoism. Why aren’t you a Taoist? You haven’t studied it! It could be the one true religion!

      Your reasoning is fallacious. There are thousands of false beliefs. We cannot read all their holy books nor should we. If they were true, we would know it by now: they would have produced unique knowledge that could be independently verified thus confirming they are true in a way the thousands of others are not. Islam has consistently failed to meet that burden for over a thousand years. I have no reason to believe anything is going to change about that in the next ten. It had its shot. It failed. Just like astrology, alchemy, Zoroastrianism, Mormonism, Scientology, and every other system of superstition you yourself have rightly rejected without reading their literature.

  5. 5

    @Richard Carrier:April 28, 2014 at 9:36 am

    I understand that you were born a Methodist Christian and decided to convert to Taoism at a very tender age of 15 years and then converted to Atheism at the age of 21 years.
    Under what principled approach you did that on both occasions?


    1. 5.1
      Richard Carrier

      Taoism, I was converted the same irrational way all religious people are. Leaving Taoism? Reading, study, experience, and application of scientific knowledge and logical reasoning.

      One of those actually works. I’ll let you try to guess which.

  6. 6

    @Richard Carrier : April 30, 2014 at 8:45 am

    I don’t agree with you that everybody gets converted to another religion without a proper principled approach, irrationally.

    I understand your observation, “There are thousands of false beliefs. We cannot read all their holy books nor should we.”

    One could be born in any religion or even without a religion. It is beyond one to decide where to be born. Wherever one is born; that starts one’s journey towards truth.

    The tools make easy for one to do a job. It is therefore important for one first to find a tool that gives equal opportunity to every religion to search.

    Using a tool and then making a comparative study of religions to find which one, at a given period of time, is the most truthful religion is therefore most reasonable and rational.

    I give here one such principle of comparative study of religions which was suggested by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad- the Promised Messiah 1835-1908 in the beginning of an essay that was read in a Conference of Great Religions held at Lahore in 1896; and was later published in a book form titled “The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam” translated in many languages of the world.

    I give below the principle in precisely his words:

    “It is necessary that a claim and the reasons in support of it must be set forth from a revealed book”.
    “I consider it essential that everyone who follows a book, believing it to be revealed, should base his exposition upon that book and should not so extend the scope of his advocacy of his faith as if he is compiling a new book.”

    Since one changed one’s religion two times without a principled approach; I think one should check again the truthfulness of one’s worldview from the start.


    1. 6.1
      Richard Carrier

      Huh? I have only ever had one religion (being in a Methodist family did not make me a Methodist; as I wrote, I was never a believer). And I abandoned it by the only principles approach there is.

      You, however, don’t seem to be endorsing anything like a principled approach, nor does it appear that you have properly investigated competing religious claims even as much as I have.

  7. 7

    @Richard Carrier :May 1, 2014 at 9:25

    “nor does it appear that you have properly investigated competing religious claims even as much as I have”

    How do you know that?

    Please elaborate.


    1. 7.1
      Richard Carrier

      Oh, I’m sorry, so you have thoroughly researched and investigated Zoroastrianism and Scientology?

  8. 8

    @Richard Carrier : May 1, 2014 at 9:25 am
    “I have only ever had one religion (being in a Methodist family did not make me a Methodist; as I wrote, I was never a believer). And I abandoned it by the only principles approach there is.”

    The information that your parents were Methodists and you used to go to that Church and then became a Taoist at the age of 15 and then became an Atheist at the age of 21 is available on your site.

    Please correct it if it is not true.

    You are a renowned scholar while I am only an ordinary man. I want to know as to why did you get converted two times; must be some principled approach in your mind. You cannot do it haphazardly.

    Please write on this topic in detail. Without comparative study of religions and or no-religion under a principled tool one cannot get to the truth.

    The tool given by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is simple and reasonable; you will agree.


    1. 8.1
      Richard Carrier

      I did not have any belief or faith in Methodism. I have only ever had belief or faith in one religion: Taoism. That is compatible with all the data you cite. You seem to be confusing cultural behaviors with faith-beliefs.

      The only conversions I have undergone were to Taoism and then to scientific naturalism.

      I explain why I underwent both in Sense and Goodness without God. If you really want to understand that, read it.

      The tool given by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is simple and reasonable; you will agree.

      The only principled tools are these. Everything else is bullshit.

  9. 9

    @Richard Carrier : May 7, 2014 at 10:40 am

    You were in Taoism. What was in Taoism that you were a Taoist?
    For what positive arguments in Atheism you converted to it from Taoism?


    1. 9.1
      Richard Carrier

      I already told you that information is published. I wrote it precisely so I wouldn’t have to keep repeating it. See Sense and Goodness without God.

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