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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By James Sanderson on 06-01-18

super interesting insights and view of history

Even as a non academic I found it superbly interesting. A real insight into the early Christian world.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By bill doyle on 07-08-14

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.

Or demolition.

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.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Nathanael on 28-12-13

Excellent critique

Any additional comments?

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.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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