High Wycombe talk well received

High Wycombe talk well received September 26, 2013

I did my Nativity talk at the Wycombe Skeptics in the Pub (nice boutique beer pub with a menu of beers longer than my arm, both arms).the talk went well, and there were some interesting questions throughout the talk itself. The Q and A was very tangential and went around the philosophical and theological houses. That suits me a treat – I love wide-ranging chats and questions, they get the brain firing in overdrive.

So, all told, a good night and I hope the audience got something out of it.

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  • pauldanon

    I was in the audience and got a lot from it. Thank you. Do you see my point that the Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican/Lutheran traditions principally require their adherents to believe the creeds rather than in the literal inerrancy of scripture? No creed says “I believe in the bible and its literal truth”. This is perhaps where mainstream Christianity differs from Christian fundamentalism and maybe Islam. The book is canonised by the church, not the other way around. Tradition (e.g. the trinity) sits with the book rather than solely deriving from it. One may say that the Christians have thus avoided addressing the problems with scripture, but one can’t say that they ever told us there were no problems.

    Of course, the next question is where did the creeds come from and how are they inerrant, but that’s different from (IMHO mistakenly) assuming that all Christians take the bible as literal history. Many religions have a mythical, allegorical tradition; a poet can convey deep meaning without using conventional narrative techniques; we don’t think Shakespeare is shallow because he uses fictional characters and imagery to make his points about the human condition.

    BTW, the biblical editors could have made it easier for themselves by synthesising just one gospel and this ironing-out all the inconsistencies. The OT might have usefully contained just one account of creation. In fact, we get a diverse collection of writing-styles and content. This is plainly not a book that’s pretending to read like a well-organised novel or a school history-book. The gospels themselves concede that there is much more that could be written about Christ; they show every sign of human penmanship, and are not averse to hyperbole.

    • I was in the audience and got a lot from it. Thank you. Do you see my point that the Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican/Lutheran traditions principally require their adherents to believe the creeds rather than in the literal inerrancy of scripture?

      Thanks for the feedback! I do indeed see the point. However, without SOME kind of ‘literal’ (historical) claims being real, those creeds exist in a vacuum; they are hung on nothing; castles in the air. Let us look at the Apostle’s Creed:

      “2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
      3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
      4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
      5. The third day he rose again from the dead:
      6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:”

      This is full of real historical claims of what happened and who Jesus is claimed to have been. We pull 3) apart and 4) falls too, as possibly 5) and 6). As I said, the rug has been pulled.

      Of course, the next question is where did the creeds come from and how are they inerrant, but that’s different from (IMHO mistakenly) assuming that all Christians take the bible as literal history. Many religions have a mythical, allegorical tradition; a poet can convey deep meaning without using conventional narrative techniques; we don’t think Shakespeare is shallow because he uses fictional characters and imagery to make his points about the human condition.

      This is the crux. Where DO they come from?

      BTW, the biblical editors could have made it easier for themselves by synthesising just one gospel and this ironing-out all the inconsistencies. The OT might have usefully contained just one account of creation. In fact, we get a diverse
      collection of writing-styles and content.

      Are you suggesting the criterion of embarrassment or similar?

      This is plainly not a book that’s pretending to read like a well-organised novel or a school history-book. The gospels themselves concede that there is much more
      that could be written about Christ; they show every sign of human penmanship, and are not averse to hyperbole.

      Sd’s law in that I forgot to mention a very important point, that Paul mentions nothing of the virgin birth narratives, and actually implies that it was a natural birth etc.Thanks for coming to comment! Please keep it up!