I knew Huntington Beach Christian Toastmasters and Backyard Skeptics–a group of Orange County atheists, humanists and assorted non-believers–had debated before but who knew these education events have been a regular deal over the past year? Gathering No. 12 is Thursday night in a Surf City church, and it's free to attend even if you're a damn dirty heathen!
"The Historicity of Jesus" is this week's debate topic, with the goal being to get at whether he was a real man or a figure conjured up by Paul (or St. Paul to you Catholics). In this corner is secular biblical scholar Richard Carrier and JCnot4me.com's Mark Smith, an ex-Christian. In the other corner is Doug Hamp, formerly of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, and biblical literalist Dave Leaman.
They are scheduled to square off at 7 p.m. Thursday at Huntington Beach Community Church, 8101 Slater Ave., Huntington Beach. It also streams live (and for free) at backyardskeptics.com. Click on the "streaming" tab, select "debates" and peace be with you.