Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fictional dialogues with a sceptic

This is for an assignment, and I am having fun with it. Carl is a reference to the great Carl F H Henry. Madeline is a reference to Madeline Murray O'Hare.

Morality of Knowledge (Epistemology)

Carl: I will hold that unless you maintain biblical revelation, you have no foundation for knowledge or ethics.
Madeline: I have problems with that statement.
Carl: I gathered as much. Go on.
Madeline: For one, you begged the question. Two, unbelievers do have knowledge and live ethically, and three, you Christians don’t live up to that statement.
Carl: I agree with you on all three points.
Madeline: What?
Carl: Your objections just proved my point.
Madeline: How?
Carl: Our time tonight is short. Can I just focus on the knowledge statement?
Madeline: Sure.

Carl: I will open tonight with a discussion on epistemology: the theory of knowledge.
Madeline: That sounds rather abstract.
Carl: Stay with me—whatever we say later on will be determined by what we establish or fail to establish at this point.
Madeline: Ok, fine. What are you getting at?
Carl: In short—and I know you will have objections to this—I believe in God and his word based on a higher authority than myself.
Madeline: Oh, let me guess—you believe in the Bible because God says so?
Carl: It’s a bit more than that. Before I answer your question—and I will give you an opportunity to cross-examine me, can I ask you a few questions as well?
Madeline: Ok, I’ll bite.
Carl: We all have ultimate authorities—
Madeline: Wait, you mean absolutes! I don’—
Carl: Just let me finish. That’s not what I am getting at, although we will discuss that later. I will ask you a question: What is your authority?
Madeline: I don’t have any authorities. I am free, independent.
Carl: What do you believe in, then? If not God, then what?
Madeline: I believe in reason; I believe that people should be free to live how they want as long as it doesn’t hurt others.
Carl: That’s a good, clear answer. Your answer actually demonstrated your worldview.
Madeline: There goes that religious jargon again.
Carl: No, I was giving you a compliment. Few people can state their worldview so clearly and succinctly.
Madeline: So you think I am right?
Carl: No, you have a naïve epistemology and your ethical system avoids the hard questions.
Madeline: So now you will engage in name-calling?
Carl: No, that’s not my point.
Madeline: Can we get back to your original discussion? You were going to tell me how “I believe the bible because the bible tells me so” isn’t question-begging.


Heidi said...

Go on....

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