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How Do We Know What “Most Scholars” Think?

I have received a particularly interesting question that has led to a bit of back and forth between me and a person on the blog.  This person pointed out that in my writings I often indicate that a view that I have (e.g., that the Gospel of John was not written by John the son of Zebedee; that the book of Ephesians was not really written by Paul even though the author claims to be Paul; or that the Gospels are all 40-65 years after the death of Jesus, etc.) is held by the majority of scholars.  But fundamentalist and conservative evangelical scholars say just the opposite, that their views (e.g., that John the son of Zebedee did write the Gospel of John, or that the Gospels date to before the destruction of the Jerusalem in the year 70) are the views of the majority of scholars.  So who is right?  And how can a person know?

In my initial response to this person, I told him that what I always try to say (maybe I slip up sometimes?  I don’t know, but I try to say this every time) is what the majority of “critical” scholars think about this, that, or the other thing.   What I mean by that is that apart from scholars who have a firm commitment to the infallibility of the Bible (so that there cannot be a book, such as Ephesians, that claims to be written by someone who did not write it, because that would be a “lie” and would be impossible for an author of Scripture) and to the established traditions of Christianity (so that John the son of Zebedee really did write the Gospel of John since that is what Christians have always claimed) – apart from those people, the majority of scholars who leave such questions open to investigation and do their best to know the truth rather than to confirm what it is they have always been taught to think — the majority of those “critical” scholars think x, y, or z.

The questioner then came back with this more detailed response / query:

Not to be persnickety, but how do you even come to “that” conclusion? How do you decide who is a “critical” scholar, and who isn’t? I ask in utmost seriousness. Dr. Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary told me, to my face, at an apologetics conference in Dallas, last year, that “most scholars” thought that Luke was written by Luke and John by John. He pointed me to Craig Keener’s huge work on Luke/Acts as the exhaustive guide to everyone’s opinion, on the matter. I presume he would consider himself and his aforementioned scholars “critical” scholars, in the sense that they do want to at least see themselves as thinking critically about the question, and not just assuming inerrancy (even if they believe in innerrancy, in the end). I would assume, if I took your prior response back to Bock, he would brush it off as an attempt to dismiss conservative/evangelical scholarship. Now I’m not saying that many evangelicals don’t deserve to be dismissed (because I think they probably do – just from my own prior experience), but I’m sure you see my dilemma. How do you determine who is a “critical” scholar? How do you determine whose opinion “counts”? How do you do this without just simply unfairly brushing off conservative and evangelical scholarship?

So I have a number of responses to this very good and fair question.   The first is that I do not at all discount what conservative evangelical scholars such as Bock and Keener have to say.  (They are smart people and they know a lot about biblical studies.)  As a critical scholar myself, I believe in listening to all sides and weighing the evidence to reach a decision – whatever that decision happens to be – i.e. whether it supports a traditional Christian view (about Ephesians, or John, or the dats of NT writings) or not.  That is what the word “critical” means.  The word comes from the Greek word KRISIS, which means “judgment” – not “judgment” in the sense of condemnation but in the sense of listening to both sides of an issue and rendering a decision/a judgment based on the fair evaluation of the evidence.

Some scholars are not critical even if they say they are.  They end up simply concluding – even based on a survey of all the evidence – precisely what they thought prior to conducting the investigation.  They presuppose their conclusion.  They may tell you they’re not doing that, but if time after time after time after time after time after time they end up arguing precisely for the view that fits their theological and ideological views, views they had prior to the investigation, views that coincide perfectly with those of the communities of faith that they belong to and serve, then there is precisely no evidence at all that they are engaged in krisis – judgement.  That is, they are not being critical scholars.

Why would conservative evangelical and fundamentalists scholars think, then, that their views are the majority views among all scholars, not just evangelicals and fundamentalists?  On one level I suppose for the same reason that most hobbits who have never left the Shire tend to think that everyone in the world is about three feet tall.  They don’t have a wider experience of the world, for example by taking a trip to Gondor or Mordor.   They teach at conservative evangelical schools.  Their faculty colleagues are all conservative evangelicals that hold basically the same views they do.  Their students are all conservative evangelicals.  Their administrators are all conservative evangelicals.  The conferences they attend (such as an Apologetics conference) are for conservative evangelicals.  When they go to other, broader based conferences, they tend to associate there with the conservative evangelicals, even if they go to other parts of the conference to hear what other scholars have to say.  The views they have are reinforced by the majority of people they come in contact with.

Aren’t I guilty of the same thing?  Don’t I principally associate with non-conservative-evangelicals.?  Yes indeed – even though my background precisely is conservative evangelical so that I know something of their world.  But the reality is that there are lots and lots of kinds of Christian and lots and lots of kinds of scholar, and I pretty much associate with all of them, not just one brand.  (Let me stress something since I do not want to be misread: I am NOT saying that Darrell Bock and Craig Keener do not know or talk to non-evangelicals.  That’s not true at all.  But most evangelical scholars like them had their education and formative training at conservative evangelical places and their closest associates are evangelical students and colleagues.)

So here is the key question: How do I know that the majority of critical scholars say one thing or another (e.g., that John did not write the Gospel of John; that Paul did not write 1 Timothy; that the Gospels are all 40-65 years after the death of Jesus; and so forth).  I know this because I know the people who teach New Testament throughout all of North America.

There are two ways to look at this.  First, what is taught about the New Testament to undergraduates at the colleges and universities that are NOT evangelical?  You can pick any type of school you want, and I (and virtually every other scholar in the field) can tell you the answer, simply because I (and they) know (either personally or through reputation) virtually every senior (and many junior) scholar at those places.  These scholars pretty much all toe the line that I indicate: about John, 1 Timothy, the dating of the Gospels, and most other critical issues.  Take the Ivy League schools, for example Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown.  The professors at all these schools pretty much agree on these issues.  Take major state universities in the East: Florida State, North Carolina State, Virginia, Rutgers; in the Midwest: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Michigan State; in the West: Washington, Oregon, UCLA, Berkeley.  Take top-level liberal arts colleges: Mount Holyoke, Oberliin, Barnard, Holy Cross.     At all of these schools – and they can be multiplied at will – very similar things are taught, and they are not the conservative views held by Professors at conservative evangelical schools, whether Dallas Theological Seminary, Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, Trinity, Westmont, or wherever.  Outside those evangelical schools, most scholars think John did not write John, Paul did not write 1 Timothy, and the Gospels all date 40-65 years after the events they narrate.

Second, you can look at what is taught at the major PhD granting institutions in the country in the field of New Testament.  These would include many of the same places, for example Princeton University, Princeton Theological Seminary, Harvard, Yale, Emory, Virginia, Florida State, Chicago, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and so on.   All of these programs teach positions on key critical issues that are different from what is taught in the PhD programs at Dallas Theological Seminary, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and so on.

So when I say that “most critical scholars” hold one view or another, I am referring to the views held by the research scholars who teach at these schools.

Then what does it mean to say that “most” scholars hold one view or another?  It always depends.  If you mean “most scholars total” then you would have to include fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals.  And I frankly don’t know the proportion of evangelical to non-evangelical scholars in the country.  That’s why I do not say (or at least try not to say) that “most” scholars think x, y, or z, unless I’m sure that even evangelicals agree on the point (for example, whether the woman taken in adultery was originally in the Gospel of John).  What I do say is what most “critical” scholars think, and when I say that, I’m usually pretty sure what I’m talking about.  I might make a mistake about that on occasion.  But then again, no one would ever claim that I am inerrant or infallible!

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Problems with the Language of the King James Version
Leading up to the King James Translation

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Comments

  1. clipper9422@yahoo.com  January 20, 2017

    You are clear that there is a big difference between what is taught in evangelical and non-evangelical colleges and universities. What’s less clear is the difference between critical and evangelical methodology–other than evangelicals have a strong tendency to not be open-minded. What I find compelling is that the critical scholars use the methods of scientific history, eg, multiple attestation. Also, critical scholars seem to do a much better job resolving contradictions and inconsistencies within and between the books of the Bible.

    • Bart
      Bart  January 22, 2017

      Some evangelical scholars will use precisely the same methods. But they always conclude with whatever fits their theological views in advacne.

  2. clipper9422@yahoo.com  January 20, 2017

    Forgive me but I’m wondering if you know what is being taught at non-evangelical colleges and universities in part because many of them use your textbooks!!!

    • Bart
      Bart  January 22, 2017

      Ha! Well, yes, that’s part of it. It has been the most widely used textbook in the field for nearly twenty years….

  3. clipper9422@yahoo.com  January 20, 2017

    Can you recommend any books or authors that mainly use the critical method (say, for the NT) but that allow for the possibility of miracles. I am looking for people who would be quite skeptical of miracles but would not automatically rule them out. For example, they might give serious consideration to the possible historicity of recorded miracles that have multiple, independent attestation.

    • Bart
      Bart  January 22, 2017

      I suppose most books on the NT would be like that. You might look at John Meier’s volumes on A Marginal Jew (his volume on Jesus’ miracles). Or Dale Allison’s books.

  4. talmoore
    talmoore  January 20, 2017

    Dr. Ehrman, one of the ironies that has emerged for me, after several years now of researching the historical Jesus for my Jesus novel, is that even “critical” NT scholars appear to be not critical enough. Now, of course, I’m not a NT scholar who inhabits your world and the world of your colleagues. I’m simply someone who has read and absorbed the work of critical NT scholars such as yourself, and the conclusion I have arrived at is that, for the most part, even “critical” NT scholars appear to be giving Christian tradition and the faithful the benefit of the doubt.

    Here’s an example that illustrates what I mean. I’ve just recently finished reading the 5th volume in Meier’s enormous A Marginal Jew, a series I have tackled primarily because of its wealth of resources by “critical” scholars of the historical Jesus. Surprisingly, in his 5th book, which concerns the historicity of Jesus’ purported parables, Meier concludes that only four of Jesus’ purported parables can confidentally be demonstrated to go back to the historical Jesus — all the other two dozen parables were more likely to be products of the early Church or the Evangelists themselves. That’s an especially stunning admission considering that John Meier is also a Roman Catholic priest! (Talk about an intellectually honest “critical” scholar.)

    However, upon perusing Meier’s evidence in support of the historicity of the remaining four parables, I was schocked to realize that even the “critical” Meier appears to have missed the forest for the trees. I suddenly realized something that I had long been suspecting, but thought fanciful. Namely: the parables themselves don’t even go back to Jesus. It’s the proverbs and aphorisms attached to the parables that go back to the historical Jesus! For instance, Meier concludes that a core of the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30||Luke 19:11-27) goes back to Jesus, and that the short — seemingly ill-fitting — expression: “For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” (Matt. 25:29||Luke 19:26) was merely appended by later redactors. But, no! That short, ambiguous expression is what ACTUALLY goes back to Jesus, and the parable — added by later redactors — is what has been appended in an attempt to expound on or interpret the aphorism!

    Now, I’m sure my hypothesis is probably a minority opinion, but I could not help arriving at that conclusion based on the actual research and writings of critical scholars such as yourself.

    • Bart
      Bart  January 22, 2017

      Ah, yes! I would never say that all critical scholars are equally critical or … internally consistent!

    • fcp  January 26, 2017

      That aphorism, plus a fair bit of the Gospel of Thomas, is clearly “mystical” in the original sense that one has to be an initiate to make much sense of it. Often, I see things like this that not only “smell” like Zen, but read like it also. There’s a traditional koan (I can look up the citation if needed; I probably would have known it offhand 20 years ago) that reads, “If you have a staff, I will give you one; if you have none, I will take it away from you.”

      I still don’t know what to think about the idea of someone who is an apocalypticist but also spouts genuine pearls of wisdom. Maybe I’m projecting modern thought onto Late Antiquity again?

  5. mjt  January 20, 2017

    The difficulty I have with saying that certain Pauline epistles are not really Pauline has to do with motive. I don’t understand why anyone would write a completely fake letter, pretending to be Paul. For example, if 1 and 2 Timothy are forgeries, and written well after Paul’s death, then Timothy is not a real person. If he is, and he really got a letter from a guy pretending to be Paul, he would have to be pretty stupid to believe it was really from Paul, who would have been long dead.

    So, someone wrote a letter pretending to be Paul…so he could make it look like the real Paul thought that women were inferior to men? Or so that he thought that he could make it into ‘the New Testament’, which didn’t exist at the time?

    • Bart
      Bart  January 22, 2017

      There are real reasons someone would do this. for a full analysis, check out my book Forgery and Counterforgery. That is what hte entire book is about.

    • talmoore
      talmoore  January 22, 2017

      “I don’t understand why anyone would write a completely fake letter, pretending to be Paul.”

      As someone who has read a LOT of ancient scripture from many disparate religious schools (Abrahamic, Indian, Chinese, etc.), I encounter so much pseudepigrapha (i.e. forgeries) that it almost seems to be the norm rather than the exception. For example, three works I’m face deep in right now are: A) A Daoist text called the Zhuangzi, which was purportedly written in its entirety by the Daoist sage Zhuangzi; B) The Mahabharata, which was supposedly written by the Hindu sage Vyasa; and C) The Testaments of the Twelve Patriachs, which were supposedly written by the twelve sons of Jacob.

      All the internal evidence from each document shows that: A) The Zhuangzi was almost certainly NOT written by one person, let alone all by Zhuangzi; as much as three-quarters of it appears to have been written by disciples in the name of their teacher; B) Anyone who has ever looked at the mammoth Mahabharata (ca. 5000 pages in length) can surmise right away that it is not the product of one man; besides, there’s no evidence that Vyasa himself even lived, especially considering that he supposedly lived during the same period as the events surrounding the Mahabharata, and those events supposedly occured almost 5000 years ago, so, you know where that puts things; C) Anyone with a modicum of commonsense can tell that the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs could not have possibly been written by the actual sons of Jacob.

      And this is just a drop in the bucket. I come across falsely attributed ancient literature on such a regular basis that, at this point, I assume everything is a forgery unless convinced otherwise.

      • jhanna2  January 27, 2017

        Paul may have used an amanuensis in writing the Pastorals, Ephesians, etc. That can account for some of the differences between the undisputed letters.

  6. mjt  January 20, 2017

    I realize it’s difficult to say how many critical scholars there are vs conservative…

    Let me ask a similar question, but in a different way. I don’t know off hand how many stars there are in the universe. But if someone told me that there were literally hundreds, I know that that’s not even close. So I do have some general idea of how many stars there are.

    So, if you were to have a conversation with Dr Brock, for example, and he told you that conservative scholars outnumber liberal scholars 10 to 1 (or if a critical scholar told you the exact opposite)…would you feel confident in saying “I don’t know the ratio, but that seems way off the mark”?

    • Bart
      Bart  January 22, 2017

      Yes I would. But there are ways of calculating (both stars and scholars). E.g. for scholars you could simply count the number of teaching positions at research universities and secular liberal arts colleges vs. evangelical seminaries and colleges; or count the numbers of grad students at one kind of program or another. It wouldn’t be hard to do, but I’m not sure anyone has ever done it.

  7. Christopher
    Christopher  January 20, 2017

    Great answer! I’ve been eagerly awaiting it and you didn’t disappoint! Thanks! Bart, you’re the best!

  8. dankoh  January 20, 2017

    The basic problem I have with the fundamentalists (which does not mean all evangelicals) is that they engage in circular reasoning: They assume the conclusion and look for premises to support it. (This isn’t just a Christian problem; I’ve dealt with Jewish groups such as Aish, and I’m currently plowing through Islamic Awareness, which can be very polemical in its insistence on conclusion first, argument afterwards.)

    This is not scholarship. Which then leads to question whether these people should be counted as scholars at all, no matter how much they know (or “know”). So perhaps the first question really should be: How do we define scholar? And is it really credible to call someone a scholar who is not willing to be critical?

  9. RonaldTaska  January 20, 2017

    Actually, this is a good question and your answer is a good answer. I have spent a lot, way too much., of time on the Apologetics Press website and it is pretty amazing how historical discrepancies and contradictions get explained on that website. Sort of like seeing KellyAnne Conway explain Trump’s many contradictions. Oh, the power of “confirmation bias,” but trying to decide who is the biased one in an argument can be an interesting challenge. If one has never changed one’s mind to a new position, despite numerous arguments, that is a bad sign.

  10. Tony  January 20, 2017

    I could pretty well make the same observation from the other side of the spectrum. The side that says; there never was a Jesus of Nazareth.

    Just like the evangelicals, “critical scholars”, equally suffer from massive group think. They too are the product of academic schools of thought. Most critical scholars did enter their studies and careers from strong faith based backgrounds. Very few, if any, entered an academic path in theology or religious studies from an atheist environment and total religious skepticism.

    There are limits on how far even critical scholars in NT studies can go before suffering serious academic career limitations. Publicly declaring that the evidence shows that there likely never was a Jesus of Nazareth would be a step too far in most American Universities.

  11. rburos  January 20, 2017

    Thank whoever wrote that question!

  12. godspell  January 20, 2017

    A more interesting question would be, “If you need everyone to agree with your faith-based understanding of something, can you really be said to have any faith at all?”

    People keep confusing faith with received dogma, an entirely different and in many ways diametrically opposed thing. It’s annoying.

  13. wostraub  January 20, 2017

    It’s sad that in science and mathematics many things can be proven outright to be absolutely true, while in something as universal and important as religious belief there are no real metrics or gauges available to determine what’s correct. Scholarship, regardless of how objective, defensible and logical, can be overturned at once by just about anyone with the gall to say “No, that’s simply not true.”

    I forget who said “For every PhD there’s an equal and opposite PhD.” That’s not strictly true in science and math, but it appears to be abundantly true in religious scholarship.

    Another great post, Dr. Ehrman!

  14. Hank_Z  January 20, 2017

    Bart, what proof do you have that you are NOT infallible? 🙂

  15. joelkeats  January 20, 2017

    BART
    Your cogent and entertaining argument reminds of that yesteryear when congressman Earl Landgrebe listened intently to Sam Ervin’s litany of President Nixon’s misdeeds during the impeachment proceedings. With eyes locked on Sam as he recited each misdeed, Earl’s lips pursed and his face turned to crimson. Before Sam could finish, Earl pounded the desk, leapt up, and shouted “Don’t confuse me with the facts!”

    Earl’s cohort seems alive and busy in many disciplines these days, perhaps outnumbering the John Adams (“Facts are stubborn things) and Joe Friday (Just the facts, ma’am) contingents.
    JB

  16. living42day  January 20, 2017

    What most critical scholars say is what most critical scholars learned, which in turn is what was taught in most of the schools that are not committed to an evangelical stance. Fair enough. But how many of these scholars have themselves actually done careful research on the specific point in question?

    Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Almost all scholars (including evangelical scholars in this case) agree that John baptized Jesus. The rationale for this judgment rests in large part on the criterion of embarrassment. As Dominic Crossan has explained, “The Christian tradition is clearly uneasy with the idea of John baptizing Jesus, because that seems to make John superior and Jesus sinful” (Jesus: Revolutionary Biography, 44). That has led scholars to argue that the event must have happened; otherwise, how can we account for the story?

    However, Rafael Rodriguez has answered that question by showing how a different argument can be made: “The association of the lesser-known Jesus with the prestigious prophetic figure, John, enhanced the former’s reputation, at least until it didn’t anymore” (“The Embarrassing Truth about Jesus,” Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity, 143). Perhaps Rodriguez’ alternative explanation deserves further consideration.

    How many scholars (of whatever persuasion) were exposed to some form of Rodriguez’ argument when they were doing graduate work, and how many were simply taught to be content with some form of Crossan’s argument? And after receiving their PhD, how many scholars have gone back and done further research on the topic? (Please don’t misunderstand my point: I’m not blaming them for not having done so; I’m simply pointing out that most folks don’t have time to delve deeply into every such topic.) My point is that “most critical scholars” haven’t looked into a lot of topics since they passed their qualifying exams.

    Whatever the specific question may be, most critical scholars are to a large degree simply repeating what they’ve been taught (albeit, no doubt, by other reputable scholars).

    Years ago, during my first year in seminary, one of our professors gave us some good advice. He told us that, whenever we found an important idea for whatever paper we were researching, we should take the time and make the effort to find out who first came up with it and not bother quoting all the others who came along at some later point and said, “Me, too.”

    Maybe you should re-phrase your standard boiler-plate comment by saying something like, “Most critical scholars who have actually done serious work on this issue agree….”

    • Bart
      Bart  January 22, 2017

      Most scholars who work on the historical Jesus have indeed thought through such issues and concluded that Jesus really was baptized, despite the possibilities that the story was made up. You can’t weigh the probabilities unless you know that there is *some* kind of counterweight on the other side. I suppose NT scholars who have not worked specifically on the hisotrical Jesus may not have thought as much about it. So yes, critical scholars are not equally critical on every position they affirm, absolutely right.

    • HawksJ  January 27, 2017

      Living42day,
      When you use the phrase, ‘schools that are not committed to an evangelical stance’, you are acknowledging that the commitment is to a ‘stance’, not necessarily to the truth. I know that you believe that stance to be the truth, but such a position is counter to critical thinking.

      If you start with a conclusion, then you aren’t ‘critical’ in the sense that Bart uses it.

  17. RonaldTaska  January 21, 2017

    I guess one tries to solve which expert is right by examining their arguments and weighing the evidence of these arguments. This, of course, can be quite difficult for us non-experts to determine. Many times I have heard arguments immediately discounted on the grounds that they come from ” biased Harvard liberals.” This anti-intellectualism is a big problem.

  18. Pattycake1974
    Pattycake1974  January 21, 2017

    I understand that critical scholarship should lead to some kind of consensus, like for the topics that are mentioned in this post. But, then, I also wonder if there’s internal pressure to go along with the consensus even though a scholar may feel that his/her scholarship is leading elsewhere. Does a “group think” mentality exist among critical scholars?

    Something else I’d like to know: What are the differences between and ivy league education and a state university education? Is there a difference in rigor? I graduated from a branch of Ohio University for my undergraduate, and I can’t tell you how many times I had to hear someone telling me that my classes weren’t nearly as rigorous as what was taught at the main campus. I did take a few classes from the main campus either through satellite or by a professor from Athens who would fill in for a semester. In my case, I really didn’t see much of a difference between the two.

    • Pattycake1974
      Pattycake1974  January 21, 2017

      I want to add that there may not have been much of a difference in my case, but I definitely recognize that there are differences in rigor among colleges. If my daughter was offered the opportunity to go to an ivy league school, I would want her to take it.

    • Bart
      Bart  January 22, 2017

      Yes, critical scholars can be as lazy as anyone else and engage simply in group think! Absolutely!

  19. Hormiga  January 21, 2017

    This is quite an interesting question. My own modest education is in physics and astronomy, and the question does come up there too. There’s a lot of disagreement about matters both great and small, and the line between “serious” and “kook” sometimes becomes a little blurry. Not often, I hasten to say, but sometimes.

    Of course, in the natural sciences it helps that appeals to observation/experiment can be done; I wonder if modern methods such as computerized text analysis and what I’ll call forensic archaeology have helped to distinguish between critical and not-so-critical biblical scholars.

    • clipper9422@yahoo.com  January 24, 2017

      What’s interesting to me is that most people don’t get nearly so worked up emotionally about disagreements in the natural sciences. That’s probably because those scientists seem to have a methodology that leads to resolution of many disagreements, that leads to a much higher degree of consensus than in religion, and that, in general, results in real progress. But it also has to do with the subject matter. Being right or wrong about religion is thought to result in everlasting happiness or torture. No wonder people get worked up.

      Nevertheless, in the absence of a broad religious consensus, it seems to me the most reasonable thing to do would be to treat religious disagreements with the same degree of emotion as disagreements in the natural sciences — rather than as matters of life and death. People with ideas different from one’s own are not immoral. There’s just no solid foundation right now for the truth of the matter.

      But when people don’t have a solid foundation for the truth of the matter, what is really going on with them when they get so emotionally worked up? What do their religious beliefs say about them and their values and hopes and ideals? I suppose that at bottom people are trying deal with the fear of death and fear of what might happen after death.

      It would be nice if we could come to a broad consensus, similar to the natural sciences, about what, if anything, is true religiously. In the meantime we should try to simply deal with religious questions as matters of truth or falsity rather than as matters of good and evil.

  20. SidDhartha1953  January 22, 2017

    Thank you for making this one of your public posts! I try to share these on my social media so people who read them will consider subscribing to your blog; all the more now that we have an administration that will not want to do anything to help the poorest of the poor. Thank you again and again for all the good work you do.

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