Quick Guide to My Books: What to Get & Why

To date I have written eight books. All are available in print, electronic, and audio editions, read by me. I’m often asked “Which one should I start with?” The answer depends on your needs, interests, and style. Here’s a guide…

  • Cover of Why I Am Not a Christian, photo showing a church chapel crucifix in black and white.Why I Am Not a Christian: A good, short read (less than a hundred pages). Summarizes four top reasons Christianity is false (God is inert, God is silent, the evidence is wrong, the universe is wrong), worded to anticipate and overcome all the usual rationalizations Christians have concocted to date. It’s great for handing out to door-to-door evangelists, or religious relatives or colleagues, or just boning up on great ways to make these points yourself. And if you are a believer questioning your faith.
  • Cover of Sense and Goodness without God, showing a spaceman in a red space suit descending from a dodecahedron shaped white landing ship onto a strange grasland under blue sky, image on a black background, author name Richard Carrier in white against red on top and title below in blue over black for Sense & Goodness and White over red for Without God and then subtitle white over black A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism. The image is Richard Carrier's One and Only Oil painting, so titled and mentioned in the book. More about that at https://www.richardcarrier.info/coverart.html.Sense and Goodness without God: A complete philosophy of life. Summarized and defended, every element needed to compare it to so-called Christian worldviews. Mostly about positive beliefs, what atheists should believe in, rather than what they don’t (though there is a section on that too). How we know things, what we know about all the things, and what most likely fills the remaining gaps and why. Also how best to think about politics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and ethics. You can use this as a model to build your own worldview from. It’s also a good introduction to what philosophy is, and is really for.
  • Cover of Not the Impossible Faith, showing a gold leaf illuminated icon of Mark the Evangelist.Not the Impossible Faith: This one is fun. An educational and entertaining take-down of a Christian apologist’s silly argument that Christianity did everything wrong to succeed, therefore Jesus must have actually risen from the dead! That book was named The Impossible Faith. So now whenever anyone searches for his book on Amazon, mine comes up right beneath it! You’ll learn lots of stuff about ancient culture and literature, early Christianity and its Jewish and pagan contexts, and more. Refutes claims like “women witnesses were forbidden in court” and “no one would have worshiped an executed criminal.” Eighteen arguments. Eighteen chapters.
  • Cover of Richard Carrier's book On the Historicity of Jesus. Medieval icon image of Jesus holding a codex, on a plain brown background, title above in white text, author below in white text.On the Historicity of Jesus: The magnum opus. Examines all the evidence for and against Jesus having existed as an ordinary guy, whose story was only exaggerated over time—rather than starting out a phantom of apostolic visions and dreams, and placed in earth history a lifetime later. The first peer reviewed treatment of the question in a hundred years; and as thorough as it gets. But also a treasure trove of facts about the origins of Christianity and its political, cultural, and religious context that you’ll find useful and fascinating regardless of the book’s conclusion. Why were Christians hallucinating all the time? What was their creed really about? Why didn’t they record anything? Exposes the mythical nature of the Gospels and Acts, the weirdness of the Epistles, and why none of it is corroborated outside the Bible. Extensive footnotes and indexes.
  • Cover of Hitler Homer Bible Christ. Olive or brown with dark greek falling leaves is the only graphic. The rest is just the title, subtitle at the top, and author at the bottom all in white lettering.Hitler Homer Bible Christ: All my peer reviewed journal articles and magazine articles—on the subject of history—for one low price. Including my Skeptical Inquirer article on the FOX News pyramid aliens nonsense; all my published studies on mentions of Jesus in Thallus, Josephus, and Tacitus; and my exposure in German Studies Review of fraudulent Hitler quotes making him sound like an atheist—showing why the only English edition of the Table Talk is not a reliable source. Plus several other goodies, such as a thorough proof that Matthew and Luke place the birth of Jesus ten years apart (refuting every attempt Christians have made to deny that), and a thorough proof that the long ending of Mark is a forgery (also revealing several other forged endings some Bibles have that you probably didn’t know about!). And more.
  • Cover of Richard Carrier's book Proving History. Illuminated stained glass Jesus in darkened room as peered at through a cross cut-out in an iron cathedral door. Title and author name below.Proving History: My peer reviewed treatise on the logic of historical method, including basic principles and axioms, and why all valid methods reduce to Bayes’ Theorem. Explains what Bayes’ Theorem is, and why it models all valid reasoning about history (like Inference to the Best Explanation), and addresses all significant objections to this conclusion. Then applies this finding to the “Method of Criteria” invented in Jesus studies, showing none of it is logically sound or valid (though reaching no conclusion as to what this means for Jesus; that’s in Historicity). Includes a full survey of all other peer reviewed studies devoted to examining those Criteria, showing every single one reached the same conclusion: they don’t work.
  • Cover of The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire by Richard Carrier, showing a simple Art Deco style drawing of the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria.The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire: My Columbia University dissertation, expanded and summarized for a lay audience (but with ample footnoting for scholars). Who were scientists in the Roman Empire? What did they do? What did people think of them? Were they valued? Hated? Ignored? Did they believe in scientific progress? Did they make scientific progress? What was ancient science like? What did they know? How far did they get? And how did pagan values differ from Christian? A whole chapter on that last question finds that Christians in the first three centuries were very hostile to the basic scientific values of curiosity, empiricism, and progress. And that this explains the lack of scientific progress for the entirety of the Middle Ages, even in fact most technological progress (refuting recent claims to the contrary).
  • Cover of Richard Carrier's book Science Education in the Early Roman Empire, color scheme dark blues and greys, showing a 19th century print of the star field with labeled constellations featuring drawings of the mythical beings matching them, and an edge of a diagram of the planetary spheres.Science Education in the Early Roman Empire: A brief, affordable companion volume to the above. It surveys the entire education system of the Roman period, including even pop culture, and then focuses on how much science was included in it and of what quality. Also covers questions like how philosophers and scientists were educated, who got to have an education (women? slaves?), what it cost and covered, and how Christians and pagans differed on its value and importance. Also shows the Romans actually had numerous universities (contrary to common assumption) and educational subsidies, academic societies, public libraries, and charitable foundations for schools.

Now that you have the gist, you can recommend them to others, or find links to purchase any of these books, in any format, on my Books page.

I’m also developing an app for the historicity of Jesus called CHRESTUS. It contains a configurable Bayesian calculator, and a growing argument-tree of all arguments for and against historicity that I’ll be expanding considerably before year’s end.

Enjoy!

2 comments

  1. Out of curiosity and for the sake of completeness, I was wondering which of Loftus’ and others’ anthologies you are in?

    Reply

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