Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The beam in thine eye and dogmatic projection

So Chris Bolt accuses me of dogmatism. Whether I am actually dogmatic, however, cannot be deduced from the blogpost of mine that Chris references. My blogpost is 116 words long, not counting the link to the Unbelievable? audio stream, so Chris must really, really want to believe it contains dogmatism. What I actually wrote about Hell was that I could think of an alternative explanation for believing it was real — alternative, that is, to its actual existence. I did not claim — dogmatically or otherwise — to know that Hell doesn't exist. Chris, on the other hand, does claim to know that Hell exists. He writes:
Hell is incomprehensibly awful. I am deeply troubled by the thought of people going there, but they will, and they do. However, it is the wicked who go to hell, and they deserve the punishment they receive there.
This isn't a suggestion of a possible alternative view, nor is it speculation on different interpretations. It's a claim of knowledge based on nothing but scripture — otherwise known as dogmatism. Go read his piece, then see if this slightly altered version of one of his eight paragraphs (of nearly a thousand words — that's a response ratio approaching ten to one) wouldn't be nearer the truth:
One might question how Chris is so dogmatically certain that hell exists. Of course it does not matter how certain Chris feels he is with regard to the alleged existence of hell if hell doesn't in fact exist. It does not matter how strongly opposed one is to the existence of terminal cancer if one has it. One’s beliefs do not affect such states of affairs. The cancer is going to win out in the end. So also Chris’s opinions about hell do not matter in the end if hell is indeed a fantasy. It would serve Chris well to give more critical thought to how he knows that hell exists.
In short, Chris dogmatically claims that Hell exists, while accusing me of dogmatism for merely suggesting an alternative explanation for belief in it.
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