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  1. (Note from Collie: This comment is reprinted from the original posting, with my replies in blockquotes)

    The section on integrity reminded me of J.F.K’s book “Profiles in Courage”. That book was all about people who acted with integrity, even if history ultimately decided that they were on the wrong side of the specific issue. Thus, while I greatly admire people with integrity, and who are therefore willing to sacrifice for their beliefs, I find that integrity, by itself, is not an indicator of a person with a righteous argument.

    Quite true. However, to me it also contains an element of honesty. If you’re lying to yourself, for example, can you truly be said to have integrity? The dictionary defines integrity as: “Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code,” and I’m not sure how one can consider dishonesty either moral or ethical. Of course, I suppose I could be being unimaginative here? ;)

    I’m just saying that there are people who have personal integrity, but I find their arguments unpersuasive. Someone can be completely internal consistent, and display great integrity in their argument and their actions, but still come to conclusions that I disagree with. This often happens when there are competing “rights” involved.

    Different people can view the same argument, identify the same rights, and yet balance the competing rights differently and come to different conclusions. Thus, two people who are arguing and acting with integrity can still strongly disagree. Thus integrity by itself is not enough to make an argument convincing.

    Ah, I understand. Sorry, I wasn’t clear — I don’t consider integrity to be a persuasive part of an argument. I consider it a persuasive argument for a good person, and I don’t consider Spong’s integrity to be part of why I really appreciate his arguments on religion.

    For example, a year or so ago I read a book on integrity by a man who thinks very differently than I. He analyzed integrity’s component parts, then gave examples of each. I agreed with all his critical analysis, but his actual examples almost invariably appalled me. However, from his discussions I’d have to say he was probably a man of integrity.

    Thus in his discussion I agreed with the analysis, disagreed with the argument supports, and was pretty sure he was himself, er… integritous? ;)

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