Dawkins and PZ Myers on William Lane Craig– That’s It?

by Max Andrews

I was quite surprised as I checked my Twitter feed this morning to find out that Richard Dawkins released another statement declaring his obstinate refusal to debate Christian philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig.  To much disappointment, the only excuses were based in mockery, arrogance, and hypocrisy.

Dawkins’ arrogant mockery of Craig. Dawkins minimizes Craig for who he is in academia by suggesting that “maybe he is a ‘theologian.'” I can see the Oxford professor doing the air quotes and saying with his germane English accent.  He acts as if no one in academia has ever heard of Craig and that he’s the equivalent of a community college professor trying to make it big.  Craig doesn’t need anything added to his CV, it’s already quite extensive and accomplished (as well as his publications).  I’m not sure how he can honestly say that he has not heard of Craig (being that he shared a stage with him at Ciudad de las Ideas).  Obviously, he knows who he is now (at least some aspects of him) but he needs to stop playing the tune of not knowing who he is and this CV jargon.  All Dawkins mentions on his schedule is that he is promoting a film “No Dinosaurs in Heaven” for October 25 when Craig is to debate Dawkins (leaving an empty chair with dire hopes of Dawkins showing up).  Oh, by the way, don’t pay attention to William Lane Craig’s events listed on Dawkins’ schedule.  Evidently, Dawkins doesn’t manage his own schedule because, as you’ll recall, he doesn’t know who Craig is…

Dawkins’ hypocrisy.  Dawkins caricatures Craig’s position with his megalomaniac-of-a-God argument by suggesting Craig argues for a God of genocide.  Okay, make the claim that this is what Craig believes, which isn’t true, but he goes on to construct an argument against Craig in this press release.  Wait a second, is he engaging in Craig’s thought here?  If yes, then why not commit to a substantive dialogue focused on, say, divine command theory?  If not, then it’s quite hypocritical.  Additionally, the hypocrisy shines when he will debate Alister McGrath and John Lennox (who both believe in inerrancy and would [I believe] defend divine command theory) but not Craig.  Surely, atheists have to be seeing this.

PZ Myers’ tomfoolery.  Myers posted an article on his blog this morning titled “Standing up to William Lane Craig.”  Most people in the scientific and philosophical blogosphere familiar with this arena of thought understand that Myers is admittedly outspoken, rude, and angry.  Sure, that’s not my preference but okay, he can be that way.  I don’t care too much about that.  What I find interesting is that he supports Dawkins’ refusal to debate Craig and considers it a “terrific put-down.”  He goes on to say,

I was pleased to see that one of Dawkins’ points was one that is not made often enough:William Lane Craig is a nasty, amoral excuse for a human being.

My only reaction to this is simply laugh.  No serious academic or inquirer for the truth can take these comments seriously.  I think it’s an amazing demonstration of lack of substantive retort and refusal to dialogue.  Dawkins and Myers simply want to monologue and when someone wants to engage, shame on that fool for thinking differently.  So much for free thought, right?

The thing is, Craig has already taken on the leading atheists and to top Dawkins would be too much of a blow for the atheist camp. He is their last hope for saving face in the public sphere.  Now, I’m not going to suggest that atheism has been dismantled in academia, because it hasn’t.  The purpose of debating is to bring the issues to a public forum and let the premises and arguments, which underlie these competing worldviews, be heard, examined, matched against peers, and argued against (which helps prevent strawmen).  Debating isn’t an academic double-blind – journal and no one ever said it was.  I suspect Dawkins isn’t the most adept debater and that’s okay.  I would be content with him saying that he isn’t sufficient in a formal oral debate and would prefer more of an academic review/written debate (and leave formal oral debates to those who can).  That’s fine with me.

Paradoxically, I believe Dawkins’ lack of debate is a bigger defeat for new atheism then if he did debate Craig.  It says so much more than if they were to engage in substantive dialogue because it demonstrates the new atheists’ desire of monologue.  They want to shout on their blogs and books that there is no God (or on busses that there probably isn’t a God).  If you stand up to question them they have nothing to respond with but strawmen arguments.  So much for standing up to William Lane Craig, this is more of a stepping-to-the-side and getting out of his way.


59 Responses to “Dawkins and PZ Myers on William Lane Craig– That’s It?”

  1. hahah perfect.

    by the way, i hope you’re ready for the hordes of atheists who are probably gonna be hating on you :)

    • Yeah, I suspect they’ll be coming in. I wouldn’t be surprised if I became a target of Myersian ridicule. Oh well, if only I could transfer the dialogue to Craig lol.

  2. You flatter only yourself and LU colleagues here. Dawkins knows it is not productive to debate with those who subscribe to superstition and make assertions that cannot be tested in the natural world. Rather, as Thomas Jefferson said of the idea of the Trinity, ridicule is the only weapon to use against unintelligible propositions.

    • Yeah, that’s about as substantive of a response I was expecting. I was hoping for more.

    • The assertions of Christianity CAN be tested in the real world as much as the speculative pretensions of materialists. As with any experimental science, the appropriate conditions must be established.

      Oh … and I suppose we should prepare to receive the ridicule of the arthropoda. :)

    • James – What about those “assertions that can be tested in the natural world”? How many of you out there have tested the existence of quarks? Or the Higgs boson? Who CAN conduct such a test? Not even the average professional scientist. Such “science” is epistemologically even less accessible than God.

    • As mentioned above, Dawkins actually *has* engaged Christian thinkers in the past, including McGrath (a theologian) and Lennox (a mathematician). Dawkins has even conversed with Ted Haggard, who is far from an academic equal. Interestingly enough, these events were all “productive” enough for him then, so why not now? Craig’s CV is impressive by anyone’s standards, and Craig deserves the respect that McGrath and Lennox both received.

      Therefore, the “not productive” excuse is completely unfounded and does not adequately explain Dawkins’ refusal to debate Craig.

      Hypocritically, Dawkins found the conversation “productive” enough to write an entire book on the philosophy of God, and yet he cannot find the time to defend his sophomoric arguments against the barrage of critiques they have received. It is not Craig’s fault that Dawkins jumped feet first into an arena in which he has no education, no peer-reviewed papers, and no credentials whatsoever.

      One would expect more contributions to the field from such a famous biologist. But excepting his explanations of evolutionary theory (in which no discoveries were made), Dawkins has not progressed the field in any way. I know biology professors with more credibility than Dawkins.

    • So is this something Dawkins has learned, and hence we should not expect any more debates from Dawkins? When did he learn this? Also, it’s noteworthy that your statement cannot be tested in the natural world, and hence qualifies as “unintelligible” by your own standard. Good luck my friend. :)

  3. I agree with your analysis Max! This shift towards blatantly endorsing the ad hominem fallacy speaks so much louder than words.

  4. Dawkins’ message is an ad hominem attack. Instead of saying “Craig is wrong because premises X, Y, and Z are incorrect”, he says, “I’m not attracted to Craig’s answers — they make me uncomfortable” and then of course goes on to ridicule him.

    Craig clearly makes efforts to explain his beliefs with clear deductive or inductive reasoning. Dawkins frequently uses rhetoric — not reason — to sway his followers.

    So I must ask: who’s on the side of reason?

  5. I’m an atheist, but I have no intention on ‘hating’ on you.

    I would be curious if you happen to think Craig is the greatest Christian mind in the world? If not, then this constant promotion of him to debate Dawkins seems misplaced.

    And I agree with Dawkins. I wouldn’t want to debate someone who tried to justify genocide either.

    • Well, to begin, the genocidal thing is a caricature of divine command theory, but nonetheless.

      I think Craig is one of the greatest Christian minds but not the best. I don’t know if I have the scope of knowledge to make such an assessment. With what I do know I would suggest that Alvin Plantinga is the greatest living Christian mind given his contributions to metaphysics and epistemology. His method of philosophy is brilliant. Craig, I believe, I certainly the best at arguing for Christian theism.

      Thanks for commenting and contributing :-)

  6. Dawkins and Myers, psh, never mind those insects, they’re unimportant. Have a look at this:

    http://s818.photobucket.com/albums/zz106/DMNN/?action=view&current=666.gif&newest=1

    If correct then this is clear evidence of God. Alleluia. There is more information at my blog:

    http://idominion.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/apocalypse-2/

    This is just the tip of the iceberg; there is still much to write on the subject, and it could mean the end of atheism once and for all. Maybe you’d like to help?

  7. I’d agree with Max and state William Lane Craig is the best defender of Christianity in modern times, but not the best mind.

    I’d pick Richard Swinburne “slightly” over Alvin Plantinga, but I think Alexander Pruss will be at the top within due time.

  8. Dominion.

    Thanks for the chuckle. I think atheism will survive those two links you kindly provided. Gee, after 2,000 years evidence of erm, something or other!

    What do they assert, again?

    He he.

    • Well, Richard, that is the sort of vacuous and uninspired response one can expect from the average ugly Dawkling. Consistency may be propitious, but I was hoping for something a little more substantial. Perhaps I should connect the dots for you…

      As you can see in the document at the first link I posted there is a solution to the riddle of the number of the beast. If this is the correct answer to the riddle, and I have no doubt that it is, then John of Patmos really did have the power of prophecy. John indicated that his visions of the future were given to him by God. The inescapable conclusion is, therefore, that God exists and the Bible is true.

      Now, at least, you understand what it is you are attempting to dismiss…or else I am talking to a potted plant.

      • Dominion, anyone can make any numbers say anything they’d like. My birthday could have predicted my wedding day if I specifically shape the equations.

        Harold Camping has previously attempted numerological predictions on the end times and has been utterly mistaken each time, forced to redefine his predictions or recalculate. And he’ll be wrong about tomorrow, October 21st, as well. His equations are not based in scripture and his numerical derivations are not based in scripture. His predictions are based on the English translation of the Bible, which is simply arrogant ethno-centrism. The Bible does not support numerology.

        Your calculations support Germany as “The Beast”? Well, then how would one explain the lack of detailed sequential events as outlined in the Book of Revelations? Surely one cannot subscribe to numerology and toss out the significance of a predicted timeline?

        I don’t blame Mr. Sanderson for assuming a sarcastic tone; I rather hoped you weren’t being serious myself.

  9. Amazing!! and sad…. Thanks for writing, Max!

  10. I think Craig would agree over Alvin Plantinga being either one of the greatest minds or the greatest living mind right now. I heard some podcasts Craig did on what influenced him the most, and Plantinga’s works and ideas were at the top. But definitely WLC is high up there.

    Dawkins accuses others of being what he himself is – nasty, cowardly, self-seeking, and vain.

  11. I actually disagree with you Max, specifically this portion “Paradoxically, I believe Dawkins’ lack of debate is a bigger defeat for new atheism then if he did debate Craig.” I think the refusal to debate Craig is a brilliant move, one Harris should have followed after. Who has the bigger platform by themselves, Craig, or Dawkins? Dawkins. Who wants a bigger platform to demonstrate that their ideas are reasonable and defensible. Craig. Craig gains the visibility he needs to show that Christianity is reasonable and defensible when he lands debates with big atheist names. The less atheists engage Craig in public debate, the fewer opportunities he has to defend his view and show that it’s stronger than the atheists’ critique’s and caricatures purport it to be. Thus, when atheists refuse to debate Craig, they maintain their soapbox without competition, and Craig and his defenses are left sequestered to his own site and books like “God is Great..”, where very few ppl beyond Christians will read them. You might say Dawkins avoids Craig for the same reason Mayweather avoids Pacquiao, because as long as they never face each other one can keep the illusion that he can’t be beat in eyes of those that don’t know any better.

  12. There are other great “Christian minds” out there but few with Craig’s debating skill – and Dawkins darn well knows it – hence his absence.

  13. Don’t be too hard on Richard. He’s got his new children’s book to promote. Whilst debating Craig would look bad on Richard’s CV, pushing his brand of atheism to children clearly looks just fine. Perhaps he’s concentrating on his intellectual peers. (Why is it that responding to the likes of PZ and Dick feels increaslingly like shooting fish in a barrel).

  14. NotAScientist
    October 20, 2011 at 14:46

    I’m an atheist, but I have no intention on ‘hating’ on you.

    I would be curious if you happen to think Craig is the greatest Christian mind in the world? If not, then this constant promotion of him to debate Dawkins seems misplaced.

    And I agree with Dawkins. I wouldn’t want to debate someone who tried to justify genocide either.

    Why do atheist defend abortion then ?

  15. Great insight, Mr Andrews. I haven’t followed many of Dr Craig’s debates and I’m still playing catch up (any resource suggestions would be welcome!). Still, I find Prof Dawkins way out of his reach when he gives into his amusing delusions of philosophy. As a scientist myself (cell biologist), I’d suggest he sticks to what he does best: digesting science for mass consumption. And maybe leave bigger questions to people who actually know what they’re talking about.

  16. Yes, BH, that’s better. Thin, but I’ll take it. I’m not really a writer so it is advantageous to have a dialogue with someone else who can ask questions and then I can answer them. Otherwise, I don’t really know where to start; there is a great deal of material to cover.

    Your first objection is probably the most common one, and, of course, feeble, because one cannot make anything mean just anything. There are rules to be followed, as with a crossword or any puzzle, and they are quite specific. More than that, what you suggest will not work. We are after the correct answer, after all.

    I am not Harold Camping. His errors have nothing to do with me and are not my problem. You seem to have confused the arithmetic principle of gemmatria with the pagan practice of numerology. I agree, the Bible does not support it, but then that is not what John is using or endorsing. In John’s day the number of a man was a novelty, mere trivia, but still a specific detail which John could not possibly have known except for divine revelation. He was not using numerology to predict the future since he could already do that. He is using only gemmatria to calculate the number of the name and birthdate of the beast, which is a country, but could also be characterized as a world war. It is extremely unlikely that anyone could control any of those factors, indeed, inconceivable, considering that no one on earth at the time even understood the real nature of the riddle.

    I don’t know what you understand regarding the timeline presented in the book of Revelation. Chapter 13 may be the easiest to understand. Verses 1-9 are about Imperial Germany and World War I, and 10-17 are about Nazi Germany and World War II. You have already seen verse 18, and I might point out that Germany’s official name did not change even during the Weimar Republic but remained, until 1945, Deutsches Reich: ‘German Empire'; the very name indicates conquest and in that era, necessarily, aggressive war. Another thing to consider is that the various sections describing seven seals, trumpets, bowls of plagues, etc. should be viewed as happening concurrently, not consecutively.

    And there is much, much more, but it will take time to write it all down. Have patience.

    You have been somewhat helpful BH. Thank you for your attention.

    • First, gematria is the superstitious valuing of words or phrases based on their letter content in order to identify similarities between like-numbered words or phrases. It is not an “arithmetic principle” because its results are always controversial. There are no mathematical or spiritual (clearly revealed by God) reasons why any letter should receive any numerical value and therefore no justification for a word’s final score or its relation to other words or phrases. The “rules” are as arbitrary as I demonstrated above; there are no natural laws or divine instructions that reveal these “rules” to us, so any equation is either coincidental or conspiracy.

      John is neither using nor endorsing numerology OR gematria. The “name” and “birthday” of the beast have been derived by you and others by mere happenstance. Scripture does not ever mention “name” or “birthday” in calculating the number or value of a person – the value of a person is their identity in Christ. Unless you can show me the scripture where Jesus clearly and intentionally reveals gematria as his method to discern the value of words and/or phrases, it is clear that it is a superstitious practice that distracts from the Gospel. This lack of scriptural defense demonstrates the disconnect between faith in Jesus and faith in the significance of coincidental equations.

      Camping’s errors most likely began with yours – scouring the Bible so intently for numerical coincidences that you miss the authentic Truths revealed to us.

  17. Your last paragraph was the most perceptive comment you made. Dawkins is, laughably and publicly scurrying away from the idea of debating Craig. It’s gotten to the point where he’d actually be better off committing to some kind of public discussion with Craig rather than attacking him on a major news website with flimsy excuses that everyone can see through.

  18. I am starting to believe in evolution. Dawkins is living proof of how a man can turn into a chicken!

  19. Craig clearly makes efforts to explain his beliefs with clear deductive or inductive reasoning. Dawkins frequently uses rhetoric — not reason — to sway his followers.

    So I must ask: who’s on the side of reason?

    Craig is obviously on the side reason,but it is “reason” completely detached from any objective moral standard or human intuition(including his own) which would condemn breaking into some house to kill a terrified mother and her children.

    “So the problem isn’t that God ended the Canaanites’ lives. The problem is that He commanded the Israeli soldiers to end them. Isn’t that like commanding someone to commit murder? No, it’s not. Rather, since our moral duties are determined by God’s commands, it is commanding someone to do something which, in the absence of a divine
    command, WOULD HAVE BEEN MURDER. The act was morally obligatory for the Israeli soldiers in virtue of God’s command, even though, had they undertaken it on their on initiative, it would have been wrong”

    What Craig is describing and defending fits the classical definition of murder,his own definition of murder,as well as yours and mine.But,according to Craig’s line of moral reasoning,murder is only wrong for someone acting on his own initiative,but would actually be obligatory if done in obedience to God’s commands.

    • So what’s your objection again, T Charles? It seems you just quote Craig and stop arguing. The objection can’t be your statement that it “violates our moral intuitions,” because we don’t have moral intuitions (at least most people don’t) that it is OK to violate a divine command. Further, in order for this to get off the ground, you have to reject the very plausible assertion that God has no moral obligation to extend anyone’s lives. I’d love to see some justification for the negation of that claim that didn’t beg the question against God. Your moral intuition is that murder is wrong. That is a good one. However, whether or not what God did constitutes murder you cannot, by definition of intuition, know a priori. Hence, once again, we need some kind of argument.

  20. The failure to debate Craig or even enter into rational encounter with his ideas I think Dawkins would put down to ‘the selfish gene’

  21. Until you provide an objective basis that killing mothers and children in the name of God is morally permissible, I’ll continue to defend an absolutist position that it’s wrong.I need no argument to oppose it,anymore than I need to construct an argument that herding masses of people into gas chambers is wrong.

    Some things are self-evidently immoral.

    No matter how hard you try,neither you nor Craig can ever establish an objective basis that killing innocent or defenseless people is morally right just because “God” says so.

    How can one objectively assess the truth of such an arbitrary and subjective claim?

    When I say that killing mothers and children is absolutely wrong I’m basing that judgment on the fact that what Mr Craig is describing and defending not only fits the classical definition of murder,but Mr Craig’s definition of murder as well.

    “So the problem isn’t that God ended the Canaanites’ lives. The problem is that He commanded the Israeli soldiers to end them. Isn’t that like commanding someone to commit murder? No, it’s not. Rather, since our moral duties are determined by God’s commands, it is commanding someone to do something which, in the absence of a divine command, would have been murder. The act was morally obligatory for the Israeli soldiers in virtue of God’s command, even though, had they undertaken it on their on initiative, it would have been wrong”

    What Craig is essentially saying is that killing people in the name of God is morally permissible and obligatory,even in the absence of facts which would justify it.

    By the same logic,one can argue that flying planes into skyscrapers to punish America for its sins isn’t murder to the adherents of radical Islam, because Allah commanded it,or that herding masses of people into gas chambers wasn’t murder to the Nazis, because the will of Providence acting through Hitler commanded it.

    “However, whether or not what God did constitutes murder you cannot, by definition of intuition, know a priori. Hence, once again, we need some kind of argument.”

    No where in the Bible is it written that God took the lives of the Canaanites.The Bible says that God ordered the destruction of the Canaanites,meaning it wasn’t God who exterminated them,but that the Israelites
    did,claiming that God ordered them to do so.

  22. @ T. Charles:

    Nice comment. To christians here, I am genuinely interested in how you answer T. Charles’ argument against Craigs position. Please answer it properly if you may.

  23. @Randy Everist,

    You said: “So what’s your objection again, T Charles? It seems you just quote Craig and stop arguing. The objection can’t be your statement that it “violates our moral intuitions,” because we don’t have moral intuitions (at least most people don’t) that it is OK to violate a divine command. Further, in order for this to get off the ground, you have to reject the very plausible assertion that God has no moral obligation to extend anyone’s lives. I’d love to see some justification for the negation of that claim that didn’t beg the question against God. Your moral intuition is that murder is wrong. That is a good one. However, whether or not what God did constitutes murder you cannot, by definition of intuition, know a priori. Hence, once again, we need some kind of argument.”

    First, I respectfully reject the idea that God has no moral obligation to extend anyone’s lives – it is not plausible. If there is any understandable meaning to the idea that “God is good,” then God’s obligation is to be good. Is God good when he kills people albeit this God allegedly created humans? Nope, if God wants to be consistent with His respect for human’s life and free will. Those Canaanites were people with life and free will and as such have their own right to their life if they opt not to die. If God kills them despite their desire to live then He violates their free will and disrespect their life. Also, what we humans know and have experience is that anything that we created having lfe and ability of choice, we cannot destroy or end its life unilaterally because it violates them and thus immoral. So the only interpretation that we can can be validated by our experience is the conclusion that ending a life with ability of choice is immoral thus by the same principle God is immoral in ordering genocide of the Canaanites. If you will argue that God’s has His own set of morality or justified reason beyng human comprehension which makes his order of genocide moral – then I say don’t forget you are human too, if God’s reason and moral standard is beyond us to understand to judge His actions as immoral then it goes the same for you too which it means you cannot tell if his ways are moral too. At best, you don’t know if God is moral or immoral He can possibly be moral if you have enough imagination but if that is the case then keep it at that, God is just possibly moral and as such we cannot bet our life on his chracteristics of being moral or good.

  24. Mr. Charles ~

    You said, <>

    Response >>>> That is not accurate. “Killing in the name of God” doesn’t necessarily (or even usually) carry actual divine endorsement. The claim of the Divine Command Theory advocates, of which Craig appears to be, is that obedience to the command of God is obligatory, even when it countermands a standing command. If God is the ground of morality, this is perfectly logical.

    The more logical claim is that God, being God, has the knowledge and wisdom and the right to decide what is best for his creatures. And the theist would argue that we should assume, based on God’s character, that there ARE facts to justify God’s action, even if they are not accessible to us. That is part of the test of faith.

    The real problem is adjudicating whether or not we are dealing with an authentic message from God.

    The other question is ‘who is going to judge those who wrongly claim to kill in the name of God?’ On theism, they will not escape justice. Those people are originating evil on their own, by acting contrary to God’s law. And those who act on the belief (true or false) that God has commanded them cannot expect the state to absolve them of their crimes against the state.

    • Missing quote – “What Craig is essentially saying is that killing people in the name of God is morally permissible and obligatory, even in the absence of facts which would justify it.”

  25. “The claim of the Divine Command Theory advocates, of which Craig appears to be, is that obedience to the command of God is obligatory, even when it countermands a standing command. If God is the ground of morality, this is perfectly logical.”

    God is the ground of morality,yet He commands what he expressly condemns? That is neither moral nor logical,but perfectly subversive to all morality.

    “The more logical claim is that God, being God, has the knowledge and wisdom and the right to decide what is best for his creatures.”

    Even if it entails a defiance of reason morality and conscience?

    And what about the victims killed by those who believe they are the agents of divine retribution?

    Do they have any say in the matter?

    “And the theist would argue that we should assume, based on God’s character, that there ARE facts to justify God’s action, even if they are not accessible to us. That is part of the test of faith.”

    To be consistent,the theist should assume,based on God’s character,that there are no facts in any possible universe to justify violating an absolute command against murder.

    • It only defies reason when the intellect in service to the will deliberately bars God as ultimate authority.

      Your final statement is clearly a non sequitur. The final authority for any command, including murder rests in God, period. You cannot conclusively say there are no such justifying facts, and God’s goodness strongly implies they do exist, whether you know about them or not.

  26. It only defies reason when the intellect in service to the will deliberately bars God as ultimate authority.

    What about an intellect “in service” to the recognition of objective reality?

    “Your final statement is clearly a non sequitur. ”

    Assuming a good God won’t command what He forbids as evil is a non sequitur?

    “The final authority for any command, including murder rests in God, period. You cannot conclusively say there are no such justifying facts, and God’s goodness strongly implies they do exist, whether you know about them or not.
    You cannot conclusively say there are no such justifying facts, and God’s goodness strongly implies they do exist, whether you know about them or not.”

    I just did in my last post.

    Again, there is no justification for murder.

    I’m sure those who take the immoral position that murder is right sometimes would immediately change their minds if they or one of their loved ones ever became the intended victims.

    Why is that?

    I often hear conservative Christians decry how popular culture depicts them as either fanatical or sociopathic.From what I’ve read here,I would say the popular depiction of them is quite accurate.

  27. @ Kevin Ross:

    If you say God is justified to order genocide because it is his nature to be good is contradictory if it would make any sense to us. The only meaning that we humans know of “good” is that it is exclusive of genocide. If you say that God’s version of “good” is beyond us therefore we cannot access the justification for genocide being “good” in God’s perspective then the only conclusion that we have is we -including you – cannot tell if this God is good. You are invoking a the goodness of God out of ingnorance thus no basis since by your statement God’s reason is beyond the access of us humans – that includes you.

    The problem with your faith is that you assume your God is good while ordering homicide because He said He is good in His book written by His followers. So what prevents you from following an evil entity ordering you to commit genocide in His name and you need not worry because He tells you He is godd and it is written in His book made by His followers? Would you know if you are being deceived? Don’t tell me you would just trust this entity because he said so? Please don’t forget, you assumed your God is good based on His own claim not because you have undeniable evidence for Him being good.

    • Hi Max ~ I hope you don’t mind … & Mr. Charles ~ This also responds to your comment

      2 Derek ~ You said, “If you say God is justified to order genocide because it is his nature to be good is contradictory if it would make any sense to us. The only meaning that we humans know of “good” is that it is exclusive of genocide.”

      Response >>> What you think is the only thing you know is in fact just an egocentric wish. It is not “knowledge” until the universal intuition to which you refer is correctly understood. The main reason Christians believe in the goodness of God is because it is clearly seen in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, especially his voluntary and sacrificial death for OUR sins.

      You also said, “If you say that God’s version of “good” is beyond us therefore we cannot access the justification for genocide being “good” in God’s perspective then the only conclusion that we have is we -including you – cannot tell if this God is good. You are invoking a the goodness of God out of ingnorance thus no basis since by your statement God’s reason is beyond the access of us humans – that includes you.”

      Response >>> I don’t say that God’s version of good is beyond us. That is why we are guilty. What is beyond us is knowing the full context of God’s judgment of any particular human’s behavior. As I said, my knowledge of God’s goodness is based on Jesus Christ. If you examine him closely, you will know his goodness objectively.

      You also said “The problem with your faith is that you assume your God is good while ordering homicide because He said He is good in His book written by His followers. So what prevents you from following an evil entity ordering you to commit genocide in His name and you need not worry because He tells you He is godd and it is written in His book made by His followers? Would you know if you are being deceived? Don’t tell me you would just trust this entity because he said so? Please don’t forget, you assumed your God is good based on His own claim not because you have undeniable evidence for Him being good.”

      Response >>> First of all, you don’t know what evidence I used to support my belief. If God were giving me a command to murder in the Bible, that would be clear. The opposite is in fact the case. It is objectively clear to any serious reader of scripture that there are no standing commands to commit genocide, or murder. Christianity clearly teaches us to love all men, even our enemies. Second of all, God takes the life of every person. It isn’t called murder when God does it because we are all his, and we all die. Death is terrifying, but it isn’t immoral. Killing is not universally immoral. It is immoral for us, because we are God’s and we don’t have his permission unless he gives it to us. There is no contradiction.

  28. Fascinating discussion. I guess my first question for y’all is what exactly is “self-evident” morality? I am assuming you mean God’s moral law written on our heart, correct? If no, then what?

    Next, in the discussion above you are missing one of the main points that WLC argues. He states that since God is the author of life He is justified in taking it since He alone can give it. No one has a “right to life” with God. When it comes to the Canaanites they were given over 400 years to repent and refused. So, according to Craig, when their sin had completely corrupted their society, God used the Israelites to bring about judgment. Since God was the author of life (not humans) He was justified in what He did. It is no different then when God used “fire from heaven” on Sodom/Gomorrah or the Flood to wipe out entire civilizations. I guess the question is does God not have the right to end someones life?

    Also, I am not sure if the objectors here are Christians or not? If you are not a Christian then by what means do you ground your statement that God’s ordering of total war is unjustified? Why is it evil?

    Finally, the idea that William Lane Craig’s position on this issue from 3,500 years ago makes Christians sound crazy is simply an ad hominem. Christians do not use these passages to justify wars, suicide bombings or religious fights. WLC would definitely not. Granted the passages are difficult to understand within the Christian worldview but if you need to borrow Christian morality to condemn Christian morality are you not cutting off the branch you are sitting on? Dawkins condemns Craig for something evil but in Scientific American (November, 1995) he stated, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” Okay? Would this not qualify Dawkins comments then as nothing but a smokescreen?

  29. Next, in the discussion above you are missing one of the main points that WLC argues. He states that since God is the author of life He is justified in taking it since He alone can give it. No one has a “right to life” with God.

    And what about those who “believe” they are carrying out God’s orders?

    Are they justified in taking life,even in the absence of facts which would justify it?

    What WLC is really arguing is that some people have the divine right to take the lives of others.

    If at one time in history God commanded the extermination of entire populations,then what makes you think He won’t do it again?

    Conservative Christian,Brian Fischer,of the American Family Association,apparently believes this.He claims that because of their immorality,Native Americans were “morally disqualified ” from possessing the land,therefore Christian settlers had a right to take it by force,citing the destruction of Canaan in the Bible as a precedent.

    Hitler also truly believed that he was acting in accordance to the will of Divine Providence.He literally believed that he was chosen by Providence(God) to punish not only Jews,but other groups which many Germans believed were responsible for the disintegration of traditional German culture and morality.

    The fanatics who flew jetliners into the WTC also believed that God had chosen them to punish America for its immorality.

    This idea is wholly compatible with the idea that God will often use one nation or leader to punish another nation or people for it’s sins.

    If that is true,then what makes you think that they weren’t chosen by God as instruments of divine retribution?

    They may have been telling the truth according to the logic of Craig’s theology.

  30. I hate quoting myself, but here goes …

    Kevin, you said, “The real problem is adjudicating whether or not we are dealing with an authentic message from God.
    The other question is ‘who is going to judge those who wrongly claim to kill in the name of God?’ On theism, they will not escape justice. Those people are originating evil on their own, by acting contrary to God’s law. And those who act on the belief (true or false) that God has commanded them cannot expect the state to absolve them of their crimes against the state.”

    Believing you have such a message from God is not sufficient. And such a deceived person will no doubt have the witness of his conscience against him and the witness of the Holy Spirit. God will not overlook such a sin.

    You said, “What WLC is really arguing is that some people have the divine right to take the lives of others.”

    Of course. If they receive the command, they have an obligation to carry it out. But who has ever received such a command? Only God’s anointed servants. Not the average man on the street. The Scriptures as they are give no such authorization to any man. Any man who makes such a claim is a liar or deceived, and will find justice.

    When God uses one nation to judge another for their sins, he judges them both. He doesn’t authorize the aggressor. The aggression is freely initiated evil, providentially woven into a tapestry of justice.

  31. “Of course. If they receive the command, they have an obligation to carry it out. But who has ever received such a command? Only God’s anointed servants.”

    I see,only God’s servants are above both morality and the law.

    Nietzsche had a strangely similar idea,he just merely secularized it.

    If you can prove all this in a court of law(the court of reason) then I’ll believe you,and I’ll also change my religion as well,or just toss religion out altogether.

    Fortunately,such a belief has no basis in reason or reality.

    • Mr. Charles ~ Your persistence in obfuscation is illuminating.

      So far you haven’t demonstrated incoherence in my position. And your bus is clearly being driven by a zeal for escapism, not a commitment to reality or reason.

      Only God is above HIS law. Such unique commands are analogous to miracles. God established law to govern the normal trajectory of his kingdom. He occasionally steps in when there is a need to redirect. God’s servants are obligated to Him personally, not to absolute mindless letter-of-the-law adherence. I’m probably safe in saying that your parents never let you get away with that pretense of obedience.Neither does God.God ALWAYS reserves the right to redirect in situ.

      Only Jesus qualifies as Ubermensch. And that is precisely because he always does his father’s will.

  32. “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Yes.
    Then he is not omnipotent. Fair enough.
    Is he able, but not willing? Yes.
    Then he is malevolent. If you say so.
    Is he both able and willing? Yes.
    Then whence cometh evil? From man.
    Is he neither able nor willing? Not really.
    Then why call him God?” His name isn’t Fred.

    Epicurus – Greek philosopher, 341-270 BC Never heard of him.

  33. “Mr. Charles ~ Your persistence in obfuscation is illuminating.”

    What am I obfuscating,and what does my alleged obfuscation illuminate?

    “So far you haven’t demonstrated incoherence in my position. And your bus is clearly being driven by a zeal for escapism, not a commitment to reality or reason.”

    Even if your argument were perfectly coherent(which I don’t believe) that wouldn’t make it true.Any argument can be flawlessly logical and consistent,but if its premise is not grounded in fact,then it is nothing but a set of ideas in someone’s mind with no actual referents in objective reality.

    And your bus is clearly being driven by a zeal for escapism, not a commitment to reality or reason.”

    I see nothing wrong with attempting to both refute and “escape” the influence of what I consider erroneous ideas about God and morality.

    “Only God is above HIS law. Such unique commands are analogous to miracles. God established law to govern the normal trajectory of his kingdom. He occasionally steps in when there is a need to redirect. God’s servants are obligated to Him
    personally, not to absolute mindless letter-of-the-law adherence. I’m probably safe in saying that your parents never let you get away with that pretense of obedience.Neither does God.God ALWAYS reserves the right to redirect in situ.”

    God’s “anointed servants” are not above the law. The only people who think that way are tyrants and criminals.Saying that no person has a divine right to violate the rights of others is hardly tantamount to an endorsement of “mindless letter-of-the-law” obedience.

    “I’m probably safe in saying that your parents never let you get away with that pretense of obedience.”

    My parents taught me never to believe in something apart from or against the evidence reason and conscience.

  34. I hope everbody grasped that the more atheists like Dawkins call for an absolute moral standard the more they prove the moral argument for God’s existence…

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