Carrier’s First Rebuttal (2006)
Wanchick’s Case Is Insufficient
I don’t have room to rebut every false or dubious claim Wanchick makes in his opening statement, so I will focus only on essentials.
Leibnizian Cosmological Argument (LCA)
Wanchick proposes that (i) “the universe does not exist necessarily,” so (ii) it must have an “external cause,” which (iii) is impossible on naturalism. But he doesn’t establish the truth of either (i) or (ii).
First, Wanchick has not shown that the universe does not exist necessarily. Contrary to what Wanchick falsely claims, scientists now agree that we cannot know whether the whole of existence had a beginning, even if the observable part of it did, nor do scientists agree that everything that exists (including all space-time) will end, even if the present cosmos will. Yet these claims are the only “evidence” Wanchick offers that the universe is “non-necessary.” Since his evidence hasn’t been established, he hasn’t established his conclusion. And Wanchick’s evidence wouldn’t have lead to that conclusion anyway, since he didn’t demonstrate that a necessary being cannot have a beginning and end.
Second, Wanchick has not shown that “every substance [including the universe] has an explanation.” Wanchick only offers as evidence our observations regarding the effects of a universe. But he hasn’t demonstrated that these observations hold for a universe itself. The only way we can logically infer that what is true of “the effects of a universe” is probably true of the universe itself is if we assume the universe is an effect, since otherwise we only have knowledge of effects, and whether the universe is an effect is precisely the matter in dispute. Wanchick hasn’t demonstrated that the universe is an effect, and if the universe is not an effect, what we conclude about effects within a universe will not necessarily apply to the universe.
Third, Wanchick claims “only minds” can cause any time or location to exist, but this cannot be true. It is logically impossible for a mind to think or act without a time in which to think or act, and a mind that has no location exists nowhere and what exists nowhere does not exist. Therefore, he has offered no logical explanation for space-time. Likewise, Wanchick claims “there was no nature prior to the universe” as a reason to reject natural causes of the universe. But if “the universe” includes time, then there can never be a time when the universe didn’t exist—even if the universe began—and therefore it is logically impossible for anything to exist at any time “before” the universe, whether a person or a thing. So if there was no nature prior to the universe, there was no person, either.
Finally, it’s not logically impossible that “it is in the nature of a universe to exist,” and if it’s in the nature of this universe to exist, then the existence of this universe is self-explanatory. Even if we accept that “the explanation of the universe must be a metaphysically necessary, uncaused being,” which “metaphysically necessary, uncaused being” would that be? Wanchick hasn’t demonstrated that this “being” can’t be the universe (or some part of it), nor that it could be a god. And he jumps without justification from effects within a universe to the universe itself, which might not be an effect. The truth is, we simply don’t know whether universes are the sorts of things that have explanations.
Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA)
Wanchick’s claim that “leading philosophers and scientists confirm that the universe came into existence from nothing” is false. Scientists have abandoned the certainty of that conviction, and philosophers can reach no agreement on it (and should defer to cosmological scientists on this question anyway). Hawking is one of few left who still think it likely, and even he is no longer certain, conceding “there may well be other regions of the universe or other universes” different from this one. Wanchick even falsely claims I agree with him, evidently confusing a theory about the origin of “the universe we can see” (italics in original) with a theory about the origin of time. The truth is, there are no longer any facts confirming that everything “began to exist,” as my book explains.
Wanchick also attempts “logical” arguments against an eternal universe, but these arguments contradict the sound analysis of experts in transfinite mathematics. First he argues that if there were “infinite past events” then “it would be impossible to reach” the present. Therefore, “since we have reached the end, the set of past events must be finite.” But this argument requires the assumption of a starting point, which requires abandoning the premise to be disproved (that the series of past events is infinite, and therefore there was no starting point), rendering his argument fallaciously circular. For if there has been an infinite series of events, then there are an infinite number of actual places we could have appeared in that series, up to and including now. So our existence cannot argue against our being elements within an infinite series.
Wanchick then engages invalid mathematical reasoning by treating infinities as if they obeyed the mathematics of finite numbers. Experts in transfinite mathematics have come to exactly the opposite conclusion from Wanchick, with confirmed mathematical proofs. As both Vilenkin and Rucker explain, “the mathematics of infinity is different from that of ordinary numbers,” such that “a part is less than the whole” is “indisputably true for finite sets” but not infinite sets. As Bertrand Russell explains, “the similarity of whole and part could be proved to be impossible for every finite whole,” but “for infinite wholes, where the impossibility could not be proved, there was in fact no such impossibility.” After providing the requisite proofs, he concludes that the usual “objections to infinite numbers, and classes, and series, and the notion that the infinite as such is self-contradictory, may thus be dismissed as groundless.” So Wanchick’s examples only show that finite arithmetic is invalid for transfinite numbers, not that infinities don’t exist.
That means Wanchick has no evidence or valid arguments establishing “the universe had a beginning.” Whether it did is simply unknown. But if space-time did begin, Wanchick claims it must then have had a cause, on the grounds that we never observe anything to appear uncaused. But we only observe what is the norm within our universe, and only now that the universe is in a particular state. We have no knowledge of what might hold outside the controls of the known universe, and physicists are agreed that the conditions realized during and shortly after the Big Bang were categorically different from conditions at present, with many physical laws operating quite differently than we are used to. Therefore, Wanchick doesn’t have evidence that every “substance that begins to exist has a cause” in every possible circumstance, especially the circumstances relevant to the origin of the universe, which we know for a fact to be categorically different from circumstances now. And since we only know of causes in time, we have no reason to believe causes can exist outside time.
Therefore, Wanchick hasn’t demonstrated the truth of either premise of his KCA, and therefore hasn’t demonstrated its conclusion. And though Wanchick also argues “since nothing existed without the universe given naturalism, neither did its potential,” this produces no argument against naturalism. For on naturalism, even if the universe began, then there was never a time when the universe didn’t exist. So there was no “place” or “time” where there was “no potential for it” to exist, rendering Wanchick’s objection irrelevant.
Cosmological Design Argument (CDA)
Wanchick claims that “the unimaginably precise fine-tuning” of the laws of physics “appears more epistemically probable given theism than it does given naturalism,” since “there are dozens of factors that must be set precisely in order for life to exist here.” He says “with their slightest alteration, life would be impossible,” and “while there are millions of ways the universe could physically be, very few of them are life-permitting.” Wanchick hasn’t demonstrated this last claim. Stephen Hawking says exactly the opposite, that “the present state of the universe could have arisen from quite a large number of different initial configurations … so the initial state of the part of the universe that we inhabit did not have to be chosen with great care” and that, in addition, “there may well be other regions of the universe or other universes” with different physical properties. Either way, this means the configuration of our universe has not been proved improbable. In fact, “some version of a multiverse is reasonable given the current world view of physics” according to Paul Davies, a view shared by many in the field, including John Barrow and England’s Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees. And current multiverse cosmological models predict that our kind of universe is probable.
In fact, this universe appears more epistemically probable given naturalism than it does given basic theism (BT). In the words of cosmologists Hawley and Holcomb, “if the intent of the universe is to create life, then it has done so in a very inefficient manner,” e.g. “Aristotle’s cosmos would … [have given] a much greater amount of life per cubic centimeter.” In fact, I’ve made the same point before:
A universe perfectly designed for life would easily, readily, and abundantly produce and sustain it. Most of the contents of that universe would be conducive to life or benefit life. Yet that’s not what we see. Instead, almost the entire universe is lethal to life—in fact, if we put all the lethal vacuum of outer space swamped with deadly radiation into an area the size of a house, you would never find the comparably microscopic speck of area that sustains life.
In other words, that we appear to be an extremely rare, chance byproduct of a vast, ancient universe almost entirely inhospitable to life is exactly what naturalism predicts, but not at all what BT predicts.
Despite Wanchick’s amazement, I cannot imagine any possible universe in which intelligent life-forms could evolve which would be incapable of being understood by those life-forms, so I see nothing here that needs to be explained. And in spite of Wanchick’s claim that God has made it easy to understand, the universe actually operates contrary to human common sense (consider relativity theory and quantum mechanics) and understanding it requires extremely advanced mathematical and conceptual background knowledge that most human beings will never attain. Far from being easy, the universe has been particularly difficult to understand, so no claim that it has been “finely tuned” to be understood has merit. The same holds for the idea that “beauty” is a valid criterion for true physical theories. What scientists call “beautiful” and “elegant” is in fact nightmarishly complicated to everyone else, and reflects a learned appreciation, not an innate truth-detector. As I explain elsewhere:
Far from a “beautiful and convenient” chemistry of four elements, we discovered in the end an incredibly ugly, messy, and inconvenient Periodic Table of over ninety elements and counting (never mind the mind-boggling complexity of the Standard Model of particle physics); far from the “beautiful and convenient” planetary theory of Copernicus, the paths and velocities of the planets are so ugly and inconvenient that we need supercomputers to handle the messy intersection of Newtonian, Keplerian, Einsteinian, Thermodynamic, and Chaotic effects.
On naturalism, good and evil are human values, not properties of the universe independent of human needs and desires. Since this is logically possible, the existence of human valuations of good and evil cannot entail the existence of anyone but human valuators, which is exactly what we expect on naturalism. And since Wanchick has presented no evidence demonstrating anything more than this, neither his AFE nor his MAG establishes its conclusion. For example, merely asserting that he has moral opinions contrary to mine establishes nothing more than that he has moral opinions contrary to mine. He also misrepresents my moral opinions, but regardless, I am sure he and I disagree on many issues of morality. But since he hasn’t presented any method by which we can determine which moral opinion is actually “true” (much less “necessarily true”), he hasn’t demonstrated that his opinion is true and mine is false (much less that his opinion is “necessarily true”).
Wanchick’s Ontological Argument (WOA)
“Nothing” is a “possible total state of affairs” and is therefore a possible world, called PWN. PWN lacks a god, and everything else. Therefore, if a “necessary being” must exist in all PWs, then no thing can be a necessary being, since there is no being in PWN. If “nothing” is an impossible state of affairs, then a universe is the only thing shared by every PW, since every PW would then have some kind of universe; yet we can imagine many PWs without a god (e.g. a Taoist world). Therefore, only a universe can be a necessary being, not a god. Since Wanchick’s WOA only holds for beings that are necessary in all PWs, and no being can be necessary in all PWs if “nothing” is possible, his WOA fails (as Wanchick has not shown “nothing” to be impossible). And even if “nothing” is impossible, a god cannot be necessary in all PWs, but a universe can, so Wanchick’s WOA still fails. Finally, we can just as easily redefine Wanchick’s MG (maximally good being) as ME, “a necessary being who is omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly evil,” and Wanchick has stated no reason why the WOA would hold for MG but not for ME. Therefore, if Wanchick accepts the WOA for MG, he must believe in ME as well, which I doubt he would grant.
Argument to the Resurrection of Jesus (ARJ)
There is no consensus “among liberal and conservative scholars” whether historical evidence demonstrates that Jesus rose supernaturally from the grave, and Wanchick has not shown that “the majority of the world’s historians who have studied the life of Jesus” have concluded that he did. Therefore, Wanchick cannot argue from a consensus of experts that he did. Wanchick’s own source, Gary Habermas, claims that fully a quarter of experts don’t even believe there was an empty tomb, which means there is no consensus even on that. So we must examine Wanchick’s evidence on our own. But much of what he says is false or ignores mitigating facts.
First, the tomb. Wanchick claims “if the tomb weren’t empty, Christianity would’ve been defeated in Jerusalem by Jewish authorities revealing so,” but (i) evidence from other fanatical movements suggests that disliked authorities can rarely sway believers and their sympathizers, because evidence can always be denounced as fabricated; (ii) a significant number of experts conclude the earliest Christians did not claim the tomb was empty; and (iii) we know two ways a body can turn up missing: theft and misplacement. Wanchick claims “women’s testimony in Jesus’ culture was considered generally unreliable and far inferior to that of men,” so they wouldn’t invent it, but that’s false: the testimony of women was not so undervalued, and there were reasons to invent it. Wanchick states “the empty tomb is noted by Paul” in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, but that’s false: there is no mention of any tomb being found or becoming empty there, or anywhere in Paul. Wanchick then asserts “the Jewish denial of the empty tomb implies its reality,” but it doesn’t, because no Jewish or contemporary source mentions such a denial (even Acts fails to mention it), nor can the Christian report of this denial be confidently dated to the time of Christ, and there is evidence Christians invented it. Wanchick claims “the story is benignly straightforward, unlike legendary stories of Jesus’ era,” but this is false and impertinent: it’s false because some versions of the story contain flying angels, earthquakes, and risen corpses, and all contain mysterious men and vanished bodies, and it is impertinent because many “benignly straightforward” stories in Jesus’ day were also false. Conclusion: Wanchick’s evidence is insufficient to establish that there even was an empty tomb, much less that the body wasn’t stolen or misplaced.
Second, the appearances. That religious people in antiquity had “experiences” of their gods or deceased heroes is not in doubt: we have ample evidence this was relatively common then (e.g. numerous cases of pagans seeing gods or deceased persons are on record, and this was often accepted as normal) and scientists have identified natural psychological, cultural, and neurophysiological causes of such experiences. But scientists have not confirmed a single experience at any time in history as having a genuine supernatural source. Since the findings of more reliable methods should supercede the less reliable, early Christians probably experienced natural hallucinations just like their pagan neighbors, or claimed to have, in order to acquire the authority that such experiences conferred in their culture, which Christians would have desired in order to morally reform society. There are also many natural reasons only a scant few opponents and doubters would join a cause or have experiences convincing them to. Conclusion: Wanchick’s evidence is insufficient to establish that any supernatural beings appeared to any Christians.
Third, Wanchick claims “a lone resurrection of an executed Messiah was utterly foreign to pre-Christian Jews and blatantly contradicted their Messianic expectations,” but that’s false: an executed messiah is explicitly predicted in Daniel 9:25-26, and there is evidence Jews had many reasons to expect their messiah to be executed yet vindicated. Moreover, they were not so monolithic that they weren’t reconceptualizing their faith in dozens of novel ways. Christianity was explicitly Hellenistic (its earliest literature is in Greek and shows influences from Hellenistic philosophy and religion) and resurrected saviors were a fashion of the time, a natural inspiration for syncretism in reconceptualizing the Jewish savior, consciously or not. Conclusion: Wanchick’s evidence is insufficient to establish that anything unnatural occurred in producing Christianity.
So whether Jesus rose from the dead cannot be known from present historical evidence. And even if he did, Wanchick has not shown that a BT God was responsible.
 See quotations and references in Richard Carrier, “The Truth about Singularities” and “The Truth about Smolin Multiverse Theory,” subsections of Richard Carrier, “The Big Debate: Comments on the Barker-Carrier vs. Corey-Rajabali Team Debate” (2004) on the Secular Web.
 See the “Argument from Nonlocality” (ANL) in my opening statement for this debate.
 See G. Veneziano, “The Myth of the Beginning of Time,” Scientific American 290.5 (2004): pp. 54-65, and further discussion in the sources cited in note 1 above and the relevant essays on the cosmological arguments page of the Secular Web modern library.
 Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time: The Updated and Expanded Tenth Anniversary Edition (1998), p. 182.
 Richard Carrier, Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism (2005), pp. 71-88.
 For example: Graham Oppy, “Inverse Operations With Transfinite Numbers And The Kalam Cosmological Argument” (1995), International Philosophical Quarterly 35.2: pp. 219-21; Eric Sotnak, “The Kalam Cosmological Argument and the Possibility of an Actually Infinite Future” (1999), Philo 2.2: pp. 41-52; Arnold Guminski, “The Kalam Cosmological Argument: The Question of the Metaphysical Possibility of an Infinite Set of Real Entities” (2003), Philo 5.2: pp. 196-215; and Guminski’s supplementary articles on the Secular Web: “The Kalam Cosmological Argument Yet Again: The Question of the Metaphysical Possibility of an Infinite Temporal Series” (2003) and “The Kalam Cosmological Argument as Amended: The Question of the Metaphysical Possibility of an Infinite Temporal Series of Finite Duration” (2004).
 Rudy Rucker, Infinity and the Mind: The Science and Philosophy of the Infinite (1982), p. 296; N. Ya. Vilenkin, In Search of Infinity (1995), pp. 50-69; Bertrand Russell, The Principles of Mathematics, 2nd edn. (1937), esp. § 3.23 and all of § 5 (e.g. 5.43). In addition, see the expert commentaries cited in note 6 above, and the reference entries: “Is there really such a thing as infinity? from the University of Toronto Mathematics Network; “Infinity” from the History of Mathematics Archive; and “Continuity and Infinitesimals” from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
 This is explained by Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time: The Updated and Expanded Tenth Anniversary Edition (1998); Joseph Silk, The Big Bang, 3rd edn. (2000), esp. pp. 85-123; and John Hawley and Katherine Holcomb, Foundations of Modern Cosmology, 2nd edn. (2005).
 Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time: The Updated and Expanded Tenth Anniversary Edition (1998), p. 137, 182. I discuss these and other conceptual problems with fine-tuning arguments in Richard Carrier, “Response to James Hannam’s ‘In Defense of the Fine Tuning Design Argument’” (2001).
 Paul Davies, “Multiverse Cosmological Models,” Modern Physics Letters A, 19:10 (2004), pp. 727-743. For Barrow, Rees, and others, see: “The Truth about Smolin Multiverse Theory,” subsection of Richard Carrier, “The Big Debate: Comments on the Barker-Carrier vs. Corey-Rajabali Team Debate” (2004) on the Secular Web; and G. Veneziano, “The Myth of the Beginning of Time,” Scientific American 290.5 (2004): pp. 54-65.
 See note 5 above.
 For Wanchick’s definition of BT, see this debate’s Joint Statement.
 John Hawley and Katherine Holcomb, Foundations of Modern Cosmology, 2nd edn. (2005), p. 158. Coincidentally, I independently demonstrated this same conclusion, in greater detail, in the source cited in note 14 below.
 See my Atheistic Cosmological Argument (ACA) in my opening statement for this debate and my discussion, using the Smolin multiverse theory as an example, in Richard Carrier, Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism (2005), 71-88.
 See my discussions of the evolution of reason in Richard Carrier, Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism (2005), pp. 173-91; and in Richard Carrier, “Argument from Reliability of Rational Faculties (AfRF),” “Reliablism,” “Five Axioms of Science?,” and “We Should Attack Rocks?,” all subsections of Richard Carrier, “Critical Review of Victor Reppert’s Defense of the Argument from Reason” (2004) on the Secular Web.
 See the whole discussion of this very subject in Richard Carrier, “Fundamental Flaws in Mark Steiner’s Challenge to Naturalism in The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem” (2003) on the Secular Web. See also my discussion of the evidence that human concepts of “beauty” in general are partly evolved by natural selection, and partly learned from personal and cultural experience, in Richard Carrier, Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism (2005), pp. 349-66; and on the alleged criterion of ‘simplicity’, see the pages referenced in the index, s.v. “simplicity,” ibid., pp. 422-23.
 See “Defining Good and Evil” in Richard Carrier, Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism (2005), pp. 337-39, and for this and the arguments to follow, see the whole of Part V, “Natural Morality,” ibid., pp. 291-348.
 Like, for example, my naturalistic method of determining moral truth that I outline, defend, and employ in Part V, “Natural Morality,” of Richard Carrier, Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism (2005), pp. 291-348.
 See Gary Habermas, “Resurrection Research from 1975 to the Present: What are Critical Scholars Saying?,” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 3.2 (June 2005): pp. 135-153; and Gary Habermas, “The Late Twentieth-Century Resurgence of Naturalistic Responses to Jesus’ Resurrection,” Trinity Journal 22.2 (2001): pp. 179-196.
 See examples and discussion in: Richard Carrier, “The Plausibility of Theft” in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (2005) ed. Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder, esp. pp. 355-57; Richard Carrier, “The Spiritual Body of Christ and the Legend of the Empty Tomb” in ibid., esp. pp. 170-79, 198 n. 3; Jeffery Jay Lowder, “Historical Evidence and the Empty Tomb Story,” in ibid., esp. pp. 287-90. See also Richard Carrier, “Would the Facts Be Checked?” and “Was Christianity Highly Vulnerable to Inspection and Disproof?,” chapters 13 and 7 (respectively) of “Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False?” (2005), though other chapters of that work are also relevant.
 See Richard Carrier, “The Spiritual Body of Christ and the Legend of the Empty Tomb” in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (2005) ed. by Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder, pp. 105-233, with its corresponding Spiritual Body FAQ. See also: Peter Lampe, “Paul’s Concept of a Spiritual Body” in Resurrection: Theological and Scientific Assessments (2002), ed. by Ted Peters, Robert John Russell, and Michael Welker: pp. 103-14; Gregory Riley, Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy (1995); Dale Martin, The Corinthian Body (1995); Adela Collins, “The Empty Tomb in the Gospel According to Mark” in Hermes and Athena: Biblical Exegesis and Philosophical Theology (1993) ed. by Eleanor Stump and Thomas P. Flint: pp. 107-40; C.F. Moule, “St. Paul and Dualism: The Pauline Conception of the Resurrection,” New Testament Studies 12 (1966): pp. 106-23.
 See Richard Carrier, “The Plausibility of Theft” in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (2005) ed. by Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder: pp. 349-68, with its corresponding Plausibility of Theft FAQ, and Richard Carrier, “The Burial of Jesus in Light of Jewish Law,” ibid., pp. 369-92, with its corresponding Burial of Jesus FAQ. See also: Jeffery Jay Lowder, “Historical Evidence and the Empty Tomb Story,” ibid., pp. 261-306, and Peter Kirby, “The Case Against the Empty Tomb,” ibid., pp. 233-60.
 I present all the evidence on this matter in Richard Carrier, “The Plausibility of Theft” in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (2005) ed. by Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder, pp. 349-68, with its corresponding Plausibility of Theft FAQ.
 See evidence and sources in Richard Carrier, “The Spiritual Body of Christ and the Legend of the Empty Tomb,” The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (2005), esp. pp. 170-97, and Richard Carrier, Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism (2005), pp. 202-208.
 See discussion and scholarship in Richard Carrier, “Malina & Neyrey on the Role of Revelation,” part 4 of chapter 10 (“Would Groupthinkers Never Switch Groups?“) of “Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False?” (2005), and in the sources cited in the footnotes there (14, 15, 16). From the same work see also chapter 13 (“Would the Facts Be Checked?“). For discussion of possible natural causes of the first visions, see Richard Carrier, “The Burial of Jesus in Light of Jewish Law” in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (2005) ed. by Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder, esp. pp. 386-88, with corresponding endnotes on pp. 391-92. For examples of Christians having or claiming authority-granting hallucinations, see Acts 7:55-56, 10:1-7, 11:5-14, 12:6-11, 16:9-10, 22:17-21. And on the methodological principle that more reliable methods should supercede lesser, see my Basic Argument for Naturalism in my opening statement for this debate, and Richard Carrier, Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism (2005), pp. 49-62.
 Discussed throughout the sources cited in note 28 above; with Richard Carrier, “The Spiritual Body of Christ and the Legend of the Empty Tomb” in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (2005) ed. by Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder, esp. pp. 194-95.
 See Richard Carrier, “Many Converts Expected a Humiliated Savior,” part 4 of chapter 1 (“Who Would Buy One Crucified?“) of “Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False?” (2005), with the relevant entries in chapter 19 of the same work (“Responses to Critics“). On Jews reconceptualizing their faith in novel ways, see Richard Carrier, “The Spiritual Body of Christ and the Legend of the Empty Tomb” in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (2005) ed. by Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder, esp. pp. 107-118.
 See Richard Carrier, “Was Resurrection Deemed Impossible?,” chapter 3 of “Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False?” (2005), with the relevant entries in chapter 19 of the same work (“Responses to Critics“). See also the issues raised throughout Richard Carrier, “Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story” (6th edn., 2006) and “Why I Am Not a Christian” (2006).
 For thorough treatment of whether anything unnatural (much less a BT God specifically) was required for the origin or success of Christianity, see Richard Carrier, “Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False?” (2005), “Why I Am Not a Christian” (2006), and “Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story” (6th edn., 2006).