This message is part of a continuing discussion with Chuck Colson. For my initial email to him, see this post. For Chuck’s replies:
To Chuck Colson:
It has taken me a while, but I’ve replied to the major points in the three letters you sent to me regarding my review of The Faith. Please visit the following links to see this three part reply.
Part 1: Faith and certainty
“To return to the original theme that I touched upon when I discussed your book, the main difference between your position and mine appears to be that you have chosen to take a position of unwavering certainty, and then you describe that as knowledge. But it’s a highly subjective kind of knowledge, for your central point is that knowledge begins with something that (you acknowledge) you have arbitrarily decided to believe without reason.”
Part 2: Prison Ministry statistics revisited
“It’s not the soundness of your methodology that I’ve questioned here; it’s the results. The study looked fine to me, and I certainly can’t go back and try to reproduce the results myself. But I don’t need to. The study you referenced already demonstrates that the program was counter-productive. In fact, if you look at page 18, it’s stated explicitly: ‘Simply stated, participation in the program is not related to recidivism reduction.'”
Part 3: Slavery and Christianity
“While I would agree that you could not fault Christianity for a misapplication of the teachings in the Bible, we are not talking here about people who read clear injunctions against slavery and rebelled against them. We are talking precisely about what it says in the Bible that clearly supports slavery. For better or worse, Stringfellow seems to me to have been a sincere Christian who genuinely believed that he was acting in accordance with the clear commands of the Bible. The Bible said to hold slaves, and he preached that Christians should hold slaves.”
Although I waited longer than I intended to get back to you, I want to say that I did appreciate your response, and continue to enjoy the opportunity to explore our differences. I’ll make no promises that my next response will be speedier than this one, so feel free to take as much time as you need if you would like to get back to me.