Wednesday, July 2, 2008

William Craig Interview, Part 3

Part three--the final part--of my interview with Dr. William Lane Craig ...

RV. Why should we continue to offer arguments for God and Christianity?

WLC. We mustn't ever forget that the Holy Spirit uses means. The use of argumentation is no more working against or apart from the Holy Spirit than the use of preaching is. The Holy Spirit uses means and he can use argument in the same way that he can use preaching. We see in the experience of the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts exactly how that does take place.

RV. Sinnott-Armstrong believes he is justified in being moral apart from God. For example, he says that rape is wrong because of the terrible harm it does to the person raped (33-34). Why is morality within an atheistic framework an inadequate explanation?

WLC. Because it is not objective. On the atheistic or naturalistic view we are just animals-relatively advanced primates. And animals don't have morality. Rape is something that goes on all the time in the animal kingdom. If a male of a species is prepared to force a female into submission and copulate with her, he'll be more apt to spread his genes so that such action has survival value. On the atheistic view we're no different than animals, so it's hard to see why this action would be wrong for Homo sapiens. Atheists and naturalists-and Sinnott-Armstrong's the same way-affirm the existence of objective moral values, they just don't have any grounding for them.

RV. How is the theistic solution better?

WLC. The theistic solution is better because it provides a foundation for the objectivity of moral values and duties in the nature and commands of a transcendent God. God's own moral character is the absolute standard of good and evil and his commands flow necessarily out of that moral nature and constitute for us our moral duties. Thus, we have an objective foundation for the existence of values.

RV. Sinnott-Armstrong accuses you of coming to "bloated conclusions" (32) on the basis of your five arguments. What is your response?

WLC. My response is when you look at the arguments as a cumulative case, the conclusion is not at all bloated. As I explained earlier, the arguments build on each other so that by the time you get to the end it makes it plausible to believe that the God of Israel proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth exists and can be experienced. One mustn't take the arguments just in isolation; they reinforce and complement each other.

RV. You have participated in a number of debates on topics such as the existence of God, the resurrection of Christ, and so forth. Based on my study of some of your debates, including the one with Sinnott-Armstrong, it is clear that you are academically and intellectually prepared. I've also heard recordings of some of your debates and you come across as being calm and collected. Spiritually, how do you prepare for debates and what advice can you give to apologists regarding the cultivation of the spiritual life in relation to defending Christianity?

WLC. I think it's absolutely crucial that we speak the truth in love. If some young aspiring apologist cannot share these arguments with genuine love for the unbeliever--finds himself getting angry or irritable or arrogant--then I would ask him not to do apologetics. He needs to retreat from public view until his character is so molded by the spirit of God that he can engage in these sorts of disputes in a loving and charitable way that honors Christ. We have to always remember when we stand up in a public place and debate or speak that we're doing so as representatives of Christ. Therefore, we need to be engaged in activities that will produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us: devotional Bible reading, prayer, corporate worship, personal witnessing, stewardship in giving to the Lord's work, being mindful of one's marriage relationship, etc. All of these sorts of things go into building the kind of character that a Christian apologist needs to have. Often we see the unbeliever as the enemy and that's not right-the enemy is Satan. The unbeliever is that person whom we are trying to win who's been misled.

Someone who is going to be involved in apologetics needs to cultivate an appropriate humility. When we reflect on how little we know, and how many much more brighter people there are than us, and what little grasp we have of the truth, this can be a constant reminder not to become proud or puffed up, but to have a proper attitude of humility.


Steven Carr said...

Why does Craig write articles claiming the killing of children and babies was justified if his alleged god orders it?

There are no absolute morals given to us by an alleged god.

And is Craig denying that Homo sapiens are members of the animal kingdom?

Robert Velarde said...

Thanks for your post, Steven. As to why Dr. Craig does what he does, that is a question for Dr. Craig.

However, my guess is that such articles are written by Christians in response to critics, thus staying true to 1 Peter 3:15, which calls Christians to offer answers and reasons for belief.

About the articles you mention by Craig, do you have references or links to these articles you could post? Do you consider the behavior you describe--"killing of children and babies"--as morally wrong? If so, what is your basis for making such a judgment?

For a general, popular-level response to the apparent criticism/objection you raise, see The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel, Objection #4: God Isn't Worthy of Worship If He Kills Innocent Children.

Regarding your statement, "There are no absolute morals given to us by an alleged god," you offer no supporting arguments for your position. What are some?

Your last question is, again, one that Craig would have to answer. But for the sake of discussion, is there a more direct point you are wanting to make with the last question? I'd prefer not to grasp here at what I think you are trying to say by this statement.