A few characters (or one type of character posting as many tokens) asked me how I knew that God existed, that the Bible was his word, and that he had certain attributes.
I didn't think that they jumbled and confused proofs and arguments with knowledge, so I didn't try to answer in that way. (Of course the above confusion had problems since it invokes an infinite regress.) Anyway, out of the many possible ways I could have answered (rather than the immediate knowledge all men have, cf. Romans 1, or some experiential knowledge, cf. Alston's Perceiving God), I told them that I knew it based on God's - another person - testimony. I assumed that knowledge by testimony was a relatively unproblematic notion. Thus I take it that an acceptable way one could know:
 My wife had eggs for breakfast
 My wife told me so.
I also assume that most of what we non-specialists know about science, philosophy, architecture, cars, ects., is based on the testimony of another. I highly doubt that our atheistic friends seek to personally verify all the thousands of experiments, calibrate the hundreds of tools, and interview the hundreds of scientists whose findings were used by other scientists to tell us about a new theory (or, even, an old one, like evolution). Thus I take it as an unproblematic assumption that people don't have a problem with knowledge by testimony.
So, when asked how I knew that the biblical God existed, that the Bible was his word, or had certain attributes, I answered with:
 My God told me so, I take it on his own testimony (another way this can be expressed is, "I take it on faith." But, this type of answer shows that faith is not contrary to positive epistemic status).
Now, I was not asked how the atheists, say, Bert and Ernie (since they post anonymously I'll assume they don't mind), could know that God exists, the Bible was his word, or had certain attributes. That would, at least in cases where they wanted to be persuaded, require a different answer (and this would depend on what their presuppositions were). But, as I said, I wasn't asked to answer how they could know (not savingly, of course; this is only brought about by God's instigation and regenerating work in the heart of the sinner) that God existed, or that the Bible was his word.
Okay, so apparently they didn't appreciate , for some reason! They came back with something like these rejoinders:
 Allah told the Muslim that he existed.
 Kali (or one of the billion of so other Hindu gods) told the Hindu that she existed.
 My god (some nebulous formal principle without material, I guess) told me that your God was a liar.
And so  -  was supposed to be taken as defeaters for my belief in , I guess.
But, I don't appreciate the force of  -  at all persuasive, for some reason!
I find it an odd argument that essentially can be expressed thusly:
[*] People cannot know any proposition P based on the testimony of testifier(1) if another testifiee has another testifier(2) who have testified some other proposition P1 inconsistent with P.
[*] seems prima facie ridiculous. Here's a couple reasons why. Take what I told my son when he was two. I told him:
 Santa Clause does not exist.
As a two year old he couldn't fly to the North Pole and empirically verify my statement (and, even if he could, perhaps Santa was buried far below the icy surface. I don't suppose he could have received funding for a major dig into the Polar ice caps). So, either he knew, or did not know, . Say he believed me. Say his belief was true. Was his belief warranted? Well, not by propositional evidence in favor of , after all, he was two! Many would say he knew  based on:
 His father told him so.
Now, if knowledge by testimony is a valid way to obtain knowledge, and above we agreed that it was, then my son knew that Santa was not real. If philosophers of testimony are correct, they assigning knowledge to testifiees whose testifiers know what they have testified. I knew that Santa Clause was not real, and this knowledge was transferred to my son. Knowledge is transitive in these cases.
This could be multiplied. It seems like our two year olds know many claims that they do not have empirical evidence for, well-thought-out arguments for, self-consciously aware of the reasons for and against, etc. They know claims like this:
 Our pet Rusty is a dog.
 Drinking bleach under the sink will cause a boo-boo.
 That ugly man (in my case) and that pretty woman (in my wife's case) are mommy and daddy.
It would appear that they know claims like those expressed in  -  based on the testimony of another; in many cases, the parents. I suppose it's relatively unproblematic to assume that the attitude our 2 year olds should take to the above testimonials is not one of skepticism. What reason should skepticism and disbelief be the automatic select? "I believed by instinct whatever my parents and tutors told me, long before I had the idea of a lie, or a thought of the possibility of their deceiving me. Afterwards, upon reflection, I found that they had acted like fair and honest people, who wished me well. I found that, if I had not believed what they told me, before I could give a reason for my belief, I had to this day been little better than a changeling," says Thomas Reid.
But look at how [*] affects something we would all count as knowledge in the case of  based on  in this situation: My 2 year old plays in the McDonald Play Palace one December day with Jessica, another two year old. Jessica's father has told her that Santa Clause is not real. As they're in the Hamburgler's jail house, they begin to discuss the fast approaching Christmas morning. After some discussion, Jessica then says, "My daddy told me that Santa was going to bring me a bunny rabbit." My son, disobeying his father's instruction to keep quiet about what I've told him, blurts out, "There is no such thing as Santa Clause!" After some hostile words about cookies and milk disappearing, presents not being under the tree on Christmas Eve, and then "magically" appearing on Christmas morning, and even hearing Santa's "Ho ho ho," Christmas Eve night, Jessica asks my son, "Oh yeah, how do you know that Santa Clause is not real?" My son replies with . Then, Nicole, a notorious pushy preschooler chimes in with:
 "Well, then you can't know that Santa isn't real because Jessica's dad has told here that he is, in fact, real."
Now, from what we've learned, we know that Jessica does not know . She has been mislead. She is, in fact, justified in her belief (but not warranted since her epistemic environment was not conducive to supporting true-belief formation), though; but that's another matter. What concerns us for our purposes is if, based on [*],  takes away my son's knowledge that  based on ? It is hard to see how. Thus [*] seems to imply that my son could not know that , which seems absurd. This could be extrapolated into far more weighty areas as well. Surely there are scientific beliefs that we hold based on the testimony of some scientists. Say that someone learns some theory:
 Certain combinations of chemicals of this and that sort, according to this or that physical principle, based on such and such biological principles, can bring about speciation.
Surely there is much in  that most people who hold to evolution take on the testimony of so and so scientists. There are measurements, rules, formulae, laws, calculations, etc., that most of those who hold  have not personally verified for themselves. They have not read all the journals, verified all the tests that stand as givens for other tests, etc. Some of what goes into  is taken on the testimony of, so they say, the brilliant scientists whose profession it is to know these things.
Now, let's look at another claim about science. Let's pick that fundy creationist every evolutionist loves to hate, Ken Ham, as saying:
 Certain combinations of chemicals of this and that sort, according to this or that physical principle, based on such and such biological principles, cannot bring about speciation.
Now, I suspect the evolutionist wouldn't bat any eye lash at the claim that he cannot know some things assumed by  merely because Ken Ham as testified to the contrary. The evolutionist would hardly say that the fundy creationist knows  just because a "scientist" (so as not to beg any questions) has told them otherwise.
Examples like the above could be multiplied greatly.
I thus take it that (*) fails as a defeater for .
Now, certainly  isn’t going to be very persuasive of a reason for the atheist to know that God exists, that the Bible is his word, or that he has certain attributes; but the question was how could I, a Christian, know that he exists, etc. And, certainly if God doesn’t exist then I couldn’t know that he did based on . But, from my perspective, I don’t need to prove his existence to myself, and so that rejoinder wouldn’t count as a defeater for . This objection also shows that the de jure question cannot be easily separated from the de facto question. Now, perhaps the atheist has a defeater for my belief in God? If so, he needs to present it. But as it stands, with the information contained in the question, I take it that I have answered it. The response given to my answer has, I believe, been shown to be unsuccessful.