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August 05, 2008

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Stephen: You were right about the assertion I made: I didn't know what I was talking about. I should have done my homework and expected a debate. My mistake. I apologize.

Keith:
Thank you for exhibiting the personal integrity to explain your assertions in greater detail, and assume responsibility for them. You have my forgiveness, my respect, and even my admiration. I am impressed!

I agree with Martin's analysis, but wanted to add that the existence of some 3,000 denominations of Christianity - all of which claim to draw from the Bible, but none of which agree with each other on all points of doctrine - seems to undermine the notion that universal knowledge, meaning or morality can be drawn from the Bible. From my current perspective, it appears that religious individuals and groups develop meaning and morality in the same context-dependent ways atheists do, but then take the additional step of seeking to justify their conclusions through selective interpretation and emphasis of certain scriptures over others. This process partially alleviates the burden of assuming personal responsibility for one's convictions by redirecting attention to an external source which is widely presumed to be authoritative. The downside is, this habitual reliance upon diversion and distraction seems to lead to sloppy reasoning. I find careful reasoning about independently verifiable evidence to be a more reliable, more accountable method for discovering truth.

Of course, you may disagree, and you are free to do so. Maybe the Bible has some epistemological advantage over hard evidence and cold logic that I have not previously considered. I look forward to any additional thoughts or questions you may have.

For the record, I've responded to this and two other posts in a three-part reply at:
http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2009/02/kazims-compiled-responses-to-chuck.html

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