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Richard Cevantis Carrier M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D in Ancient History, (born 1 December 1969) is a published historian and atheist philosopher, best known for his writings on Internet Infidels (otherwise known as the Secular Web), where he served as Editor-in-Chief for several years. He is a noted advocate of metaphysical naturalism. He has published many articles in books, journals and magazines, and also features on the documentary film The God Who Wasn't There where he is interviewed about his doubts on the historicity of Jesus. He currently contributes to The God Contention, a web site comparing and contrasting various worldviews.


Besides his work in print, as a contributor to the Secular Web (one of the main web sites for skeptics on the internet) Richard Carrier has composed research articles on subjects ranging from the origins of Christianity to elements of naturalist and atheist philosophy. He has also engaged in several formal debates, both online and in public, defending subjects as diverse as naturalism as a worldview, natural explanations of early Christian resurrection accounts, and the morality of abortion. Carrier is also a cited authority on Hitler's Table Talk.

Defense of metaphysical naturalism

Carrier has defended naturalism as a worldview in his book Sense and Goodness without God, in a formal online debate with Tom Wanchick, and in a public debate with Hassanain Rajabali. Carrier has further defended aspects of naturalism in various articles online.

Critics and proponents of naturalism have responded to Carrier's philosophy. After briefly assessing Carrier's critique of Mark Steiner's The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem, for example, Russell Howe, professor of mathematics at the Christian academy of Westmont Collegemarker, argues that Carrier's line of argument plays into the hands of Steiner, though Carrier disagrees. On the other hand, Yonatan Fishman of the Department of Neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in a paper published for Science & Education, quotes and defends Carrier's demarcation between the natural and the supernatural, which allows supernatural claims (when properly formulated) to be investigated scientifically.

On the origins of Christianity

In The Empty Tomb (and elsewhere), Carrier argues that the earliest Christians probably believed Jesus had received a new body in the resurrection, and that stories of his old body disappearing from its tomb were developed later. He also argues it is less likely but still possible the original body of Jesus was misplaced or stolen. Christian scholar Stephen Davis published a formal response to Carrier on these points in Philosophia Christi, to which Carrier has replied online. Carrier has also written a book arguing against the thesis that Christianity would never have succeeded unless there had been sufficient evidence confirming the supernatural resurrection of Jesus. He is also a noted critic of attempts to reconcile the Gospels on the date of the birth of Jesus. Carrier has also argued for the possibility that Jesus did not historically exist, a view that has evolved in strength over the years. Though originally skeptical of the notion, and subsequently more agnostic, since 2005 he has considered it "very likely" the historical Jesus didn't exist, but that this still "remains only a hypothesis" in need of peer review.

In news and media

Carrier has played an important role in the national atheist community in the United States. When reports spread of Antony Flew's rejection of atheism in 2004, Carrier engaged in correspondence with Flew to find out what happened and published an extensive analysis of the situation on the Secular Web, finding among other things that Flew now believes in some sort of "minimal God" (as in Deism). Carrier also came away with the opinion that his ideas about the matter are not accurately represented in the book There is a God. Carrier's involvement has received national attention in the Associated Press and New York Times Magazine. Carrier also appeared on national television in 2004, debating William Lane Craig on Lee Strobel's talk show Faith Under Fire on the PAX network (now ION Television), in a segment on the resurrection of Jesus. In 2006, The Stanford Daily reported on Carrier's presentation of the hypothesis that Jesus was originally mythical at Stanford Universitymarker. Also in 2006, The Columbus Dispatch reported that Richard Carrier had been selected as the keynote speaker for the Humanist Community of Central Ohio's annual Winter Solstice Banquet in Columbus, Ohio in December of that year, where he spoke on defending naturalism as a worldview. Carrier is also listed in Who's Who in Hell.


Selected papers

  • "The Guarded Tomb of Jesus and Daniel in the Lion’s Den: An Argument for the Plausibility of Theft." Journal of Higher Criticism 8.2 (Fall 2001).
  • "Pseudohistory in Jerry Vardaman’s Magic Coins: The Nonsense of Micrographic Letters." Skeptical Inquirer 26.2 (March-April 2002) and 26.4 (July-August 2002).
  • "The Function of the Historian in Society." The History Teacher 35.4 (August 2002).
  • "Hitler’s Table Talk: Troubling Finds." German Studies Review 26.3 (October 2003).
  • "The Argument from Biogenesis: Probabilities Against a Natural Origin of Life." Biology & Philosophy 19.5 (November 2004).
  • "Whence Christianity? A Meta-Theory for the Origins of Christianity." Journal of Higher Criticism 11.1 (Spring 2005).
  • "Fatal Flaws in Michael Almeida’s Alleged ‘Defeat’ of Rowe’s New Evidential Argument from Evil." Philo 10.1 (Spring-Summer 2007).

Books and chapters

  • Entries on “Epicurus,” “Lucretius,” “Philodemus,” “Second Sophistic,” “Soranus of Ephesus.” In Encyclopedia of the Ancient World (edited by Thomas J. Sienkewicz). Salem Press (2002). ISBN 0893560383.
  • Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism AuthorHouse (2005). ISBN 1420802933.
  • “The Spiritual Body of Christ and the Legend of the Empty Tomb,” “The Plausibility of Theft,” “The Burial of Jesus in Light of Jewish Law.” In The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond The Grave (edited by Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder) Prometheus Books (2005) ISBN 1-59102-286-X
  • “Abortion Cannot be Regarded as Immoral.” In The Abortion Controversy (edited by Lucinda Almond) Greenhaven Press (2007) ISBN 0737732741.
  • Not the Impossible Faith: Why Christianity Didn't Need a Miracle to Succeed Lulu Press (2009). ISBN 0557044642.

See also


  1. He has graduate degrees in history, has published chapters and articles on history (see Publications) and is identified as a historian in the LA Times.
  2. He wrote a book on philosophy and has published in the peer-reviewed philosophy journals Philo and Biology & Philosophy (see publications)
  3. In public he debated Mike Licona on the Resurrection of Jesus ( at UCLA); online he debated atheist Jennifer Roth on the morality of abortion ( Is There A Secular Case Against Abortion? The Carrier-Roth Debate 2000). He has also defended naturalism in formal debates with Tom Wanchick and Hassanain Rajabali (see Defense of metaphysical naturalism).
  4. Catalogued at Richard Carrier's official website Naturalism as a Worldview.
  5. "The End of Faith" (Faith Under Fire episode 1, season 1, aired October 2, 2004). Reported by (" Faith Under Fire hits TV screens: PAX series looks at religion, spirituality, morality"), (Randall Murphree, " Is God Republican Or Democrat? New PAX Series with Lee Strobel Debates Issues"), and ( Richard Carrier debates William Lane Craig on "Faith Under Fire").

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