Years ago, when I was doing research at the UDub, I stopped by the HUB. There I happened to notice a side room with a makeshift sign: “Student Humanist Association”–or something like that. The group was just breaking up. There were some students, along with an older guy. He looked to be 70ish. I’m guessing he was a retired science prof. who moderating the meetings.
Some weeks or months later, as I was going for a walk where I used to live, I saw the old guy out for a walk. Unlike meetings of the Student Humanist Association, where he’d be the ringmaster, here he was alone. Isolated. Without an audience. A sad, solitary, lonely-looking figure. I wonder why he was walking by himself. Was he divorced? Was he a widower?
In any case, time had passed him by. He was on the way out, while the students were on the way in. An aging warrior in the cause of atheism. He probably died several years ago, unless he’s wasting away in a nursing home somewhere.
Like Japanese MIAs who were left behind in the jungle. Rediscovered 50 years later. Who didn’t know the war was over. Didn’t know their side lost.
Right now, Richard Carrier is a 40-something. Still energetic and mentally vigorous. A big frog in the small pond of mythicists and internet atheists. At the center of his miniature universe.
But just add another 30 years to Carrier. Imagine him in 30-40 years, when he’s an old duffer in failing health. A shuffling has-been. Maybe a bit senile. Marginalized by time and age. At the fringes of a fringe movement. Forgotten before he was gone. A washed-up performer reciting old gags to empty seats in the abandoned music hall.
It’s all so ephemeral. Infidels are so disposable. So unimportant in the grand scheme of things. They come and go like Mayflies.
Compare this to an aging pastor or missionary who ministered faithfully in his prime. Maybe he’s been sidelined by geriatric illness. He did all he could do when he able-bodied. Now he’s fading from the scene. Others take his place.
Yet his ministry has an eternal impact. And look at what awaits him in the world to come.