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The Passionate Rationalist
James Morrow's Weblog
May. 24th, 2011 @ 03:52 pm
Volume 3, Number 4
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February 22nd, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
Re: What if...
Dear D, I applaud your temperate contribution to the discourse. For now, let me offer a clarification of the “agnostic” versus the “atheist” stance.
From my perspective, it is the agnostic, not the atheist, who more readily falls prey to intellectual rigidity. Consonant with the meaning of the term, the agnostic claims to have “no knowledge” concerning the possible existence of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent Supreme Being (tacitly congratulating himself or herself for not succumbing to any ideology). But that is not an epistemologically tenable position. As an atheist, I can aver that I most emphatically do have knowledge concerning the possible existence of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent Supreme Being. To be sure, nearly all of that knowledge—most especially the problem of evil—tells against the God hypothesis, but it is knowledge all the same.
If you’re interested, I wrote an entire novel, "Blameless in Abaddon," about what I regard as the manifest fact of unmerited pain. It attempts to give all the great theodicies their due, most especially the ontological defense and the free-will defense.
So in my experience, it is the atheist who’s likely to be the open-minded critter (with grotesque exceptions, of course), while my agnostic brethren tend to be either sick of the whole subject (for which I can’t blame them) or have lost their nerve (for which I can).
A point of clarification. I never said I was cynical about Burpo's memoir. Rather, I said that it's a cynical book (that is, carefully calculated, telling people only what they want to hear). What I am is skeptical.
2012-04-23 04:26 pm (UTC)