The Nativity – a talk, and a debate with apologist Randal Rauser
On Thursday night I gave another talk on the Nativity to the Portsmouth Skeptics in the Pub. The talk was a great success. I was able to establish the case in some good detail as I set out in my last book The Nativity: A Critical Examination. There was a good turnout for the relaunching of PSITP and it was a nice touch that I gave the lats talk to PSITP 1.0 and the first to PSITP 2.0! However, there was a Winchester Skeptics in the Pub event on the same night which was a shame and attracted away a few key members.
Nonetheless, I think I aimed it about right, and people seemed to enjoy themselves as well as learning new things. It is difficult to gauge these things when you have had your head in biblical exegesis for so many years – you just assume people know even the basics about the Bible, and so often they do not (for understandable reasons, and the same that I do not know the Qu’ran etc). Of course, with the sea narratives there is a lots of his story to discuss and there is always the worry that you can make such a talk to dry and an interesting. However, as I have said, people seemed to find it enjoyable and informative.
As well as having several speaking engagements this festive period, I have also just completed a pre-recorded debate with apologist Randal Rauser for the Reasonable Doubts podcast about the reliability of the infancy narratives in the Gospels. I really enjoyed doing the debate. We had 20 minute opening statements, with a 15 minute first rebuttal, 7 minute second and 5 minute third rebuttal with a 2 minute closing statement. Even though this sounds plenty of time, it was not, and I found I wanted to say so much more than time allowed for. It felt we were getting to the nitty gritty in the final stages, and though Justin at Reasonable Doubts offered us the ability to continue in a second follow on, and I was up for it, Randal declined, stating he had debated the Nativity enough. This, to me, spoke volumes of the position he was arguing from.
So, seasonally speaking, I have been busy. Both my talk and the debate will be available as podcasts soon, with the debate most certainly being available this side of Christmas, I will keep you posted. In the meantime, there is always my book to get the appetite whetted, available both in paperback and in Kindle. Check the sidebar over there to the right. Buying it through the sidebar Amazon widget earns me a few blogging pennies too, which is nice.