Jesus of Nazareth: Man or Myth?

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I was on holidays for a week and didn’t have a chance to check back on AtheismTV‘s website until today, and BAM! There it was!

(I skipped ahead through the announcements. I trust that no one will mind.)

The sound quality and lighting are unfortunate, but that’s the price we paid for an affordable space that could seat the number of people who came (and we quite filled up – if I recall correctly, we had about 100 people turn out to a non-religious event about Jesus on a Saturday night, which is a miracle in itself!).

I’ve already posted my initial impressions of the event, and I haven’t had a chance to re-watch with the ability to pause and look up claims/references so I don’t have much to add now. If you have a chance to watch it, though, I’d be very interested in hearing your impressions of the debate.

This was a fantastic event, and I would like to thank CFI-Ottawa for supporting my odd little hobbies and for not backing away slowly with widened eyes when I propose these sorts of events. You guys are wonderful! And very very tolerant! While included under the organizational heading, I would also like to specially thank all the volunteers who worked like Clydesdales to make this happen. I know a lot of you are nervous about your names getting out in cyber-space, but you know who you are and you know how much I appreciate you.

And, of course, I must thank Richard Carrier and Zeba Crook for doing such a fantastic job and for putting on such a fabulous show. High fives all around!

Jesus of Nazareth: Man or Myth (First Thoughts)


I mentioned that I was helping to organize a debate between mythicist Richard Carrier and historicist Zeba Crook. Well, it finally happened!

Crook was delightful, as always. I hadn’t heard Carrier speak before, but he was quite good as well. A little snarky at times (though far less so than in his blog), but the material was interesting enough to get through that.

Jesus of Nazareth

One of my pet peeves in debates, generally, is that the person who machine-gun fires the most nonsense tends to come out looking like the winner. To get around that, we the speakers share their notes ahead of time. The result was absolutely perfect, exactly what I wanted to see! Even better, in fact! Both speakers seemed to work together to lay the groundwork for the subject, and then both were fully prepared (with slides!) to address their “opponent’s” arguments during the rebuttal section.

The chemistry between the two speakers was very friendly, very respectful. They both seemed to approach the question from the idea that there isn’t a whole lot of evidence to work with and that it’s a legitimate debate to have, simply differing on which data points to give more weight to and how to interpret their meaning. Coming out of it, I have a lot more respect for the mythicist position (Carrier’s form of it, anyway – even he admitted that the bulk of the position’s proponents are dogmatic to an extreme. I believe the word used was “crazy”).

Unfortunately, I was doing the time-keeping, so I wasn’t able to take notes. There was a lot of evidence presented, on both side, that I’d like to be able to evaluate when I have the sources (and time) at my disposable. Thankfully, the AtheismTV team was there to film the debate, and should be posting the footage to their YouTube channel within the next couple weeks. I’ll post it as soon as I see it.

It was all round a magnificent event. I had so much fun that it took eons to fall asleep when I got home, I just just too buzzed from all the excitement.


EDIT: The video is now online!


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James McGrath, over at Exploring Our Matrix, has used the term “parallelomania” a few times, and it definitely needs to be A Thing. It refers to the over-zealousness in finding parallels, such as between Jesus and various other gods of the ancient world. Also interesting is this post discussing both parallelomania and mythicism.


Jesus of Nazareth: Man or Myth

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I’m helping to organize a debate/discussion between Richard Carrier and Zeba Crook on whether or not Jesus was a real, historical figure. The debate will be held on April 5, in Ottawa, ON, and you can see the Facebook event page here.

Jesus of Nazareth

There’s a few aspects of this event that I think really make it special. Perhaps the most obvious is that neither guest will be taking a position of faith (and, in fact, both are personally atheists). We are also asking both guests to provide their speaking notes to the other guest at least two weeks before the event so that responses can be more informed and considered – since one of my pet peeves about the debate format is that the ability to think on one’s feet scores more points than having the more informative response for the audience. We’ve also tried to pick fairly evenly matched guests, so it won’t be a professional against a crank, for example (though Earl Doherty is local and would have been quite a bit cheaper to get!).

I’m very excited about this event, and doing just about everything in my power to make sure that it will be recorded and – eventually – posted online (I will, of course, post links here once that happens). If you happen to be in the Ottawa area, or can make it, I hope that you’ll come out!

And if you make it out, please do make sure to stop by any of the info/merch desks and let them know that you follow this blog. I’d love to meet readers!


EDIT: The video is now online!