Did Jesus Exist – The Debate That Wasn’t

Re: Did Jesus Exist Debate – By Gerda Peachey. If I ever need assurance that I actually exist, I won’t be rushing to Michael Horner for reassurance. But on the other hand, Richard Carrier would do little to erode my confidence in my own being.

Richard Carrier is pretty high on himself, declaring to us, with not much more than his own puffery on display, that all the scholarship of the ages gives way before his boastful claims, that the Lord Jesus Christ never existed.

Michaels defence was weak, gutless and dull. But it was even worse than dull. I thought I heard wrong the first time he told the audience that God caused earlier people groups to believe various myths that bore vague similarities to the Biblical account of the Son of God, his miracles, his death, his miraculous return from death, and so on. Horner told the audience in all seriousness that God caused people to believe in these false figures, in order to predispose them to believe in the genuine Redeemer, when he finally arrived on earth.

I hoped it was just my hearing, but Horner and Carrier both referred back to this appalling nonsense. But just as I wrote prior to this non-debate, Michael Horner really can’t intelligently defend the Bible since he does not believe the revelation of God the creator, right at the first chapter.

Horner’s assertion that God sent us a bunch of fiction characters, so we might be able to comprehend Emmanuel, (God with us) reminds me of a young college student I met at a lecture Richard (my husband) gave at her youth group. This young woman was deeply grateful to us for the science Richard brings into the evolution/creation debate, and also for the fossils I’d brought along. For the first time in her life she was free to believe the fossil record. She had been terrible confused by accounts of trillions of life forms, frozen in death, in the rocks, around the world, because her mother, a devout Christian had told her that dinosaurs never existed. Her loving mom believed that the devil had embedded these massive creatures in the earth, in order to confuse Christians, and cause them to believe in evolution. Praise God for the work of people like Henry Morris and Ken Ham.

Michael Horner and this young woman’s mother may both be children of God, but both distort data, because real answers to valid questions elude them.

So Mr. Carrier, who is already a legend in his own mind, assures us that Jesus did not exist, 2000 years ago, because………………………well because, I guess because he does not want it to be true. So he’ll just write that and say that so often, that maybe he’ll get a following, and maybe become very famous, and……….? Well,…… and then he will die, like the rest of us, and he will stand before the Lord of Glory, the God he tried so hard to deny. How awful that day will be for Richard Carrier.

To anyone reading this, who does know the risen Lord, please pray for this man, and pray also for the Abbotsford atheist and sceptics, to see our wonderful God, and live new life with Jesus, and then forever in His presence after this short trip is ended.

So Carrier tries to convince, against mountains of scholarship over several thousand years, a gospel that spread from Jerusalem throughout the entire known world, that IF Jesus had actually existed, then more people would have been talking about him. And if the Biblical Jesus ever existed, Richard Carrier should have lots of extant manuscript evidence as proof. Of course Mr. Carrier waves a haughty, dismissive hand at Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, Timothy or the early church writers. He puffs at claims that thousands believed and were baptized, and were persecuted for their faithful witness to the Christ. Every testimony to Jesus is declared by the Great Carrier to be phoney, erroneous, contrived, false, hallucination. Carrier also gives short shrift to archeology which shows us that scrolls were on tablets of stone, that crumble, on papyrus, plant material, cloths that get moth-eaten, and the brutal destruction of Scripture under numerous tyrannies. But the Bible has not been destroyed because of the meticulous copying, and translation work of believers, Christians who even in great danger carried the Word of God into every part of the world.

So I got thinking about me. What if my authentic existence depended on how many people know about me, and write enough about me, so that a record will remain to prove I actually lived here. How scary! If no one is talking, or writing about me, I cease to have being? There was no television in Jesus’ day, but the Scriptures tell of crowds flocking to him, in various cities…….thousands of them. Pretty impressive, without social media to announce his presence.

For a variety of reasons, over these past 20 years or so, I have been interviewed on television, and radio, and appeared in newspapers, actually quite often. So then will more people know me, or talk about me, because after all television reaches a lot of viewers. Well sadly for my existence (according to the great Dr. Carrier) I am in peril of ceasing to be. Hardly anyone knows or cares about my name, other than a handful of family and friends.

I can try to hold my own while I still have life, but it won’t be long after the grave before the Dr. Carriers of this world pronounce me nothing more than a figment of someones imagination……’cause no one remembers my name.

But hold on now, while that will likely be true of me, it is most definitely not true of Jesus Christ. Despite the shoddy scholarship claims of Dr. Carrier, the name of Jesus is on the lips, and in the hearts of billions of people, and has been since He died and rose from the cross of Calvary, to save mankind from their sins. That’s 2000 years of remembering. And millions of those believers past and present speak his name even when there is deprivation, suffering, torture and even death as the price they pay because they believe in the Saviour, and love Him.

Maybe that is what drives Richard Carrier to run around saying silly things, so he will be noticed, so lots of people will take note of him, so maybe enough will be recorded in history to authenticate his existence. Because if no one remembers Richard Carrier 100 years from now…………..

he never existed.

Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Jeff says:

    Gerda, thanks for attending the debate. We do appreciate your support for our event. Despite your objections we thought both Richard Carrier and Michael Horner presented their arguments thoroughly and respectfully.

    You on the other hand have done nothing but name call and ridicule. This does nothing but point to the weakness of your position.

    You resort to fear tactics by referring to Carriers Judgement Day.

    If you really disagree with him, explain what is wrong with his theory. Do with information and facts not name calling and ridicule.

    Me think thou doth protest too much.


  • meghanncoughlan says:

    The quote is actually “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

    Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2.

  • Jeff says:


    If you respond with substance rather than emotion it will give your position more credibility.


  • Kevin Francis says:

    Yes, Gerda Peachey has come to finally save you from evil scientists and all the evils they brought to mankind like technology and medicine; the horrendous socialists that dare improve your life with human rights and social nets for the poor. Yes brothers and sisters, let Gerda bring you back into the fold of a Jewish desert god of the Bronze Age where goat sacrifices and stoning were healthy family activities…can I get an amen!
    Fear not, for she is now selflessly seeking office for the betterment of the little people! She knows that only in the tender bosom of Jebus; a mythical carpenter around 2000 yrs ago and his ridiculous human sacrifice, can we be saved from this genocidal god’s wrath for sins of which he so tenderly gifted us with in the first place. How could it not be true?!?! It’s written in a book by goat herders, translated to Greek and English a thousand times with variations, the same way spider-man lives in New York because his book said so…I believe it too.
    Don’t listen and be fooled by brilliant academics like Richard Carrier (historian) or Eugenie Scott (physical anthropologist), which btw Gerda also disagrees with, or Neil DeGrasse Tyson (astrophysics ) or even Stephen Hawkins ( mathematician & theoretical physicist), noooo brothers and sisters, turn away from the light of science and what it does for us; it’s only the best idea we ever had.
    Instead, I implore you to keep being sheep and follow into the dark cave of ignorance people like Ken Ham(author) , Kirk Cameron (failed actor), Peter Popoff (fraud pastor) and now Gerda Peachey( attempted religious political crusader).
    It might be dark in the cave of ignorance, just like at the voting booth, would you turn on a light with the flick of a switch or are you still determined to look for a burning bush?
    You may face palm now!

  • meghanncoughlan says:

    Here’s the thing, guys. Gerda was invited to attend the debate by members of FVASH. You all know she is a creationist and that she would write her thoughts on the debate. Wasn’t that the point, though? Didn’t you want to have a creationist there just you could say that you invited one?

    And you all knew that she would write her thoughts and publish them on her blog. You knew that she would email them, as she often does, to anyone she thinks might be interested in reading it.

    And what do you do? Immediately post this article to your atheist group and encourage people to comment (argue, if we’re being realistic). Nancy, in a previous post in the FVASH Facebook group, stated that there was a “wingnut” and “a sermon”. I’m not saying that you meant Gerda, but I am saying that for all your valiant efforts to look open-minded by inviting the opposition it is clear that you all are incapable of responding without emotion, as well.

    So now Gerda writes her thing and Jeff comes in and criticizes the way she did it. Then, in a definition of irony that would make Oxford proud, he decides to throw in the Shakespeare misquote. But who is protesting too much here? Methinks it’s the atheists. You all could have gone about your lives letting her thoughts sit here but this post has already popped up on FVASH, (thanks to Nancy who is inviting members of FVASH to come and comment.) Nancy, if you want someone to argue with Gerda, why not just do it yourself?

    So, let’s see here… what happens to the Creationist who was invited to the event on the FVASH Facebook page. Kevin Francis: “SHE NEEDS TO BE MADE AN EXAMPLE OF!” Interesting. And, of course, NO ONE has said “Hey, this isn’t why we invited her.” or “Let’s not act like a bunch of arrogant bullies.:

    I think we’re getting down to why she was actually invited. Most creationists in town wouldn’t give this debate the time of day. You invited one. She attended. And now this is playing out like the plot of some 80s teen movie.

    How about this comment: “if you’re already telling yourself that any evidence presented contrary to your views will be wrong BEFORE YOU EVEN TAKE YOUR SEAT. You shouldn’t be going to debates” (FVASH Facebook group). Naturally, no one informed this person that she was invited, either.

    Truthfully, FVASH is coming across as two-faced. This is disgusting behaviour that should have been nipped in the bud in middle school.

    And now Jeff, who claims to be ruled by rationality… the great debater… resorts to personal attacks with me. Sorry I actually knew the quote, Jeff. I learned it when I was out of the house! At school!

    • Kevin Francis says:

      Sorry Meg but I’m not recanting this previous comments. Facts are yes FVASH did invite her, it was open to all. But to read her belittling comments spouted out of ignorance is a bit much. Gerda threw her hat in politics, it’s a public arena and we should scrutinize her actions and words because she could end up being elected. I for one am quite concerned that abbotsford could be represented by someone who thinks the earth is 6000 yrs old and a carpenter will return soon to judge us all. People are owed respect, opinions aren’t! She does need to be made an example of and all of us should voice our concerns when someone in potential of being in power would rather listen to the big book of Jewish fables and openly criticizes the best minds in the scientific community. If she does have better factual info, let her step up, present it and receive her Nobel prize. She can put up or shut up. Enough with the bullying of uninformed opinions. Would you be quick to defend a jihadist with the same view? Probably not.

  • meghanncoughlan says:

    But Kevin, the only bullying I am seeing is coming from FVASH. I don’t see any bullying in her post. Just opinion.

    I’m an atheist. I don’t agree that Jesus existed, but I would never invite someone who did to an event only to try to make an example of them. I am confident in my position and (lack of) beliefs and don’t need to play two sides to argue my point.

    Sadly, I’ve already received a personal email with sexist, insulting comments from someone who is a member of both Abby Dignitarian Society and FVASH.

    You guys want Gerda to use rationality, then practice what you preach. That rejoice thing was ridiculous. The emails I received were ridiculous.
    Religion plays an important role in culture. Belittling others does not…. and it goes against everything Humanist.

    • Kevin Francis says:

      I’m sorry Meg but I have to disagree and call out what you are doing here. I applaud that you want to protect your friend but I’m afraid she’s in the wrong and you are as well.
      I fail to see where this bullying is. FVASH set up and paid out of their pocket for being able to bring academic talent to Abbotsford for little to no cost to the public. Many of us donated much $ to be able to share in the latest science has to offer and opened the event to all. Did you contribute time or money for this endeavor?
      We knew it was a risk to invite Gerda and other conservatives Christians and I’m sure some would say it was in the spirit of bringing reason to their view of the world. If FVASH hadn’t, they would have been accused of elitism or being afraid to take on Christians.
      A good debate ensued, good times by most except some wild interruptions by Christians which were dealt with tact. Jeff went way overboard in accommodating these people and showed the patience of a saint, no pun intended.
      Come this article, where Gerda, a vocal creationist with political aspirations enters the public arena of debate with belittling comments of our guests and threats of eternal damnation for atheists lest they fear the flames of hell!
      I did what every comedian would have done, I replied with satire. I showed the ridiculousness of her position and her being an aspiring politician means she’s fair game. Many are concerned that Abbotsford could elect a person who thinks evolution is just a hypothesis and Jesus is just around the corner waiting to save us from ourselves. Not sure I want to bet the future of Abbotsford on her religious feeling, even if she’s one of many.
      Then you come in. You accuse FVASH of being two face (even though you didn’t hesitate to take Correspondance from a CLOSED group and exposed it for all to see.) Can we say IRONY?! Did you expect you wouldn’t get some irate emails after this kinda of stunt?
      My dear, you played right into their hand.
      It’s gonna be hard to rebut the unfair angry atheist stereotype after this.
      The only belittling in this succession of replies came from you.
      Thanks for nothing

  • Gerda Peachey says:

    Hello Kevin Francis: Glad you made reference to the Eugenie Scott lecture. I heard your heroine say a few things that warranted a response, so asked Jeff and Nancy a few times for an audio of that lecture at UFV. They said you had it, but you seem reluctant to allow a critique to be done. So anytime you wish to produce that unedited tape, I’d be glad to get it from you.

  • The Editor says:

    Editor’s note: We were asked to post this comment on behalf of Sharyn Sigurdur.

    In Michael Horner’s defense – one can only make points if there are
    points to be made. As demonstrated by Horner’s defense of a historical
    “jesus” – the pickings are slim to none. Mr. Horner’s attempt was more
    than admirable.

    For those who missed the debate – and contrary Ms. Peachey’s false
    assertion that “Mr. Carrier… assures us that Jesus did not exist”-
    Richard Carrier at no time stated that a “historical jesus” did not
    exist. What Carrier did do was lay out a convincing and founded case
    that the probability is extremely low if not non-existent.

    Specializing in sound historical methods of telling fact from fiction,
    Carrier provided and pointed to all tools necessary and encouraged
    People to do the research before drawing a conclusion.

    Surely if the debate did nothing else for Ms. Peachey, it should have
    helped her recognize the difference between justified belief and just a
    belief. Our beliefs inform our actions, so I much prefer to believe
    things for good *reason*. And not simply because it’s what one was
    raised to believe and/or because it makes them feel good.

    Returning Ms. Peachey’s thoughtfulness – while her and hers “pray for
    this man, and pray also for the Abbotsford atheist and sceptics” – the
    Abbotsford atheist and sceptics will think for them.

    • Kevin Francis says:

      Well said Sharyn
      @Gerda, I’m sorry we don’t have the q/a for Eugenie Scott, we recorded this event on a hand held device and had limited space. But I’m sure you could correspond with her. Hey you never know, you could reverse all the thinking of academia and get a Nobel prize in the process by illuminating our heathen, but evidence based, ways. Good luck

  • The Editor says:

    Editor’s note: We were asked to post this comment on behalf of A Murphy.

    I would have to agree with Mrs Peachey that Mr Horner’s defense of the affirmative was “weak, gutless, and dull”. Yes it was “worse than full” it was dead. Mr Horner was so far out of his depth he was drowning and it was painful to watch. I believe that Dr Carrier interpreted it as “hand waving” – a distress call from a drowning man.

    However I beg to differ with Mrs Peachey that Dr Carrier was “high on himself” and putting his “own puffery on display”. Dr Carrier succinctly and respectfully provided the evidence, yes evidence, against the affirmative. Even at one point jumping to Mr Horner’s defense. That is the sign of a gentleman debater and not the arrogant academic you sought to describe him as.

    You say, “Praise God for the work of people like Henry Morris and Ken Ham” and yet neither of these gentleman are experts in the fields of physics, biology, astronomy, astrophysics, geology, etc which are necessary if one wants to debate the questions of our universe and the earth upon which we live.
    Dr Morris has a PhD in engineering (with specialization in hydraulic engineering) and Mr Ham is a school teacher whose own colleagues have called his opinions “unnecessary, ungodly, and mean-spirited…that are divisive at best and defamatory at worst.”

    “So Mr. Carrier, who is already a legend in his own mind, assures us that Jesus did not exist, 2000 years ago”. At no time during the debate did Dr Carrier state that “Jesus did not exist”. He did in fact state that it was possible and probably that Jesus did not exist and based his expert opinion on concrete mathematical methods. By misquoting Dr Carrier you are misleading those who were not there to hear the arguments for themselves. That is deceitful, lying, and we know who the church believes is the father of lies.

    “Maybe that is what drives Richard Carrier to run around saying silly things, so he will be noticed, so lots of people will take note of him…”
    Maybe this is what drives Mrs Peachey to run around writing silly things, so she will be noticed, so lots of people will take note of her…

    Mrs Peachey you were invited to attend the debate by the FVASH and I think your initial discussion of the debate, it’s strengths and weakness, were fair. However you soon allowed the emotion and passion for your faith to cloud your opinion of a community event. You fell into a trap so many before you did. Yes they really did exist too.

    • Jeff says:

      Excellent response. Gerda is certainly welcome and encouraged to give her opinion. The reason so many criticized was because of her dishonesty. Dishonesty and misrepresentation that A Murphy points out very clearly.

      It is unfortunate that there can’t be a repectful and evidenced based discussion on this forum like Richard and Michael both demonstrated was possible on Saturday at UFV.

      For anyone interested we will soon be posting the full debate at FVASH.com.

  • The Editor says:

    Sharyn Sigurdur Says:
    I’m not completely convinced Ms. Peachey is intentionly misrepresenting Mr. Carrier but rather
    attributing what she thinks she heard to the wrong source. Ms. Peachey seems convinced she heard the
    words “Jesus did not exist” – when in fact Dr. Carrier said nothing remotely close – so it may speak
    more to the validity and soundness of the facts and argument Carrier presented.

    Ms. Peachey may want to ask herself if what she heard was Dr. Carrier say “Jesus did not exist” or if it
    was the mounds of evidence he presented ‘speaking’ to her and told her “Jesus did not exist”. We all
    make mistakes and often believe things for bad reasons. There’s no shame in admitting to them or
    changing position when better information comes along. I think the shame is in not doing so.

    via email

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