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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Therefore the Possible Faith?, 22 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Not the Impossible Faith: Why Christianity Didn't Need a Miracle to Succeed (Kindle Edition)
It is not immediately apparent, but this book is written as a rebuttal of the arguments of another writer,
one J.P. Holding (a.k.a. Robert Turkel)whom I have never heard of, but who is apparently self-published on multiple topics to do with Christianity. He also has a website pushing all things Christian and attacking various infidels such as Richard Dawkins et al.

Holding obviously cannot be taken seriously when his website states, among other faux pas, that he believes the gospels were written soon after Jesus' death and that Matthew and John wer eyewitnesses, when this goes against the vast bulk of expert biblical scholarship.
Even more telling, he believes in the short creation myth - i.e. that the world was created by god 6000 years ago,
and that evolution is bunk.

Carrier was apparently paid as a serious academic to review, and then as it turned out denounce, Holding's latest work the self-published "The Impossible Faith". Hence the title of Carrier's book. There is obviously a history between the two, but I have to say that Carrier goes out of his way to be seen to be fair. He makes each point tell, and drives them all home successfully. However for that reason it is not always an easy read, as his books usually are.

The main thesis Holding tries to present is that no-one would try to fake a religion led by an unknown carpenter's son from Galilee, who was humiliated and put to death on a cross and then had his body stolen and a story made up that he had been resurrected. It was all so silly and improbable that it had to be true, but also there was likely to have been some irrefutable proof that the faithful could have shown to unbelievers to convince them - Christ himself? some other token?

Carrier goes through this story one piece at a time, rebutting Holding's points at every turn, showing that each one is untrue, but that even if it were true it would not have the effect Holding says it would. It is a masterly exposition and a pleasure to watch.

Even if, like me, you haven't read Holding's work, Carrier gives you enough of his arguments that you can follow what is going on. It is good to see a master craftsman at work, and in addition there is a lot of additional information thrown in the mix to do with the social norms for Rome in the early centuries AD.
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