Friday, 11 May 2012

Craig: reason leads to atheism or agnosticism

"The person who follows the pursuit of reason unflinchingly toward its end will be atheistic or, at best, agnostic." William Lane Craig.

Yes, Craig really did say that. The source is here. A very interesting article. Thanks to this forum.

But does Craig really mean what he appears to mean? You should make your own mind up about that. These other quotes from Reasonable Faith re. the role of reason may be relevant:

"Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa."

[William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), p. 36.]

"Therefore, when a person refuses to come to Christ it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God's Spirit on his heart. No one in the final analysis really fails to become a Christian because of lack of arguments; he fails to become a Christian because he loves darkness rather than light and wants nothing to do with God." 

[William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), pp. 35-36.]

Craig's view seems to be that reason is a useful apologetic tool, but faith is not dependent on reason, nor should it be. Indeed, when faith and reason come into conflict, it is reason that must give way (though I wonder, then, exactly why he rejects Young Earth creationism).

Craig's view that unbelievers such as myself know in our hearts that God exists (and, apparently, even that Christianity is true) is linked interestingly to his view of hell, and why unbelievers really do deserve to go there. Of course, no one deserves to burn in hell for not embracing God if they don't know that God exists. However, according to Craig, I do know God exists. Which is why hell is indeed an appropriate punishment for me - why a loving God really will send me there to receive infinite torment.

On Craig's view, when I, as an atheist, say I don't believe God exists, I'm lying. I am freely and knowingly sending myself to hell to receive infinite punishment, when I could be going to heaven if I would only admit what I know to be true and embrace God (and that's really quite an incentive to do so, isn't it? Though - surely somewhat bafflingly from Craig's point of view - not incentive enough.)

I find Craig's view genuinely fascinating, if rather disturbing.What must it be like like to look at the world from a perspective like that? How must I look to Craig? I find it hard to imagine.

Follow up post here (in response to Craig's comment about this). Also here.

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