It's rather humorous to hear him say things like:
If the text is errant, then it gets its authority from matching and providing new insight into a present experience of "god" or life or experience, however you define the ineffable quality of being in the middle of here. And to me it does not "downgrade" the Bible, but rather "upgrades" the rest of life and its resources as means to spiritual truth.
The birth narratives have contradictions...Great stories though - seriously, I think they are beautiful.So, the falser they are, the more beautiful? I think this man needs to rethink some things. But if you read his comments, he clearly treats the Bible differently than any other writing he encounters, so this is just one more way he does so.
I didn't devote a ton of time to the harmonisation, but it wasn't really all that hard. Here we see yet another way skeptics like him don't bother trying to get to the bottom of the story; they just see a post in the Skeptic's Antiquated Drivel and assume he's got a silver bullet in his gun. It's a shame, really.
Lk 1:21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
So they didn't go on the 40th, they went on the 8th.
39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.
Back to Naz they go. Doesn't say how long. Doesn't say they never went back to Bethlehem. Doesn't say they never left Naz again their whole life long. Doesn't say whether they left on vacation or back to live there.
Matt 2:1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magia from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the eastb and have come to worship him.”
This is about 2 yrs after Jesus' birth.
7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the easte went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
Looks like they're in Bethlehem at this point, 2 years later.
Did they go back to live there after they'd returned to Naz? Did they decide to move?
The text doesn't say.
Then they flee to Egypt, when Jesus is ~2 yrs old.
Still in Matt 2 - 19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 21So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
So then they go back to Nazareth.
Where's the contradiction?
There is no compelling reason to harmonize them, unless one has an interest in doing so.
Spoken like a true skeptic, with the intention to be unfair to the text.
You harmonise EVERYTHING ELSE, but you're not interested in even trying to harmonise the Bible. Your bias is showing.