The Blaze …(no not the Glenn Beck one, the other one) … did an interview with William lane Craig in which Mr Craig claims …
… the New Atheism movement lacks much of the ideological chops that its Christian counterpart has built …
And yet I cannot find even one argument presented by “Christian philosophy” that has not been utterly refuted. If I’m wrong about that, please do drop a comment with the argument you feel has yet to be addressed.
… Over the last 50 years or so — since the late 1960s — there has been literally a renaissance of Christian philosophy in my field of expertise, which is philosophy,…
And the evidence for this claim is ….
There have always been philosophers who also happen to be Christian, and so the use of philosophy as a platform to promote beliefs as “truth” is not at all new. It may indeed be true that there has been an increase in the deployment of philosophy as an apologetic tool, but as for the claim of a “renaissance” since the 1960s, I would challenge that claim. In an age in which secularism is rapidly increasing along with a rising tide of non-belief, it strikes me as a rather odd form of reality-denial to claim that there has been a “renaissance of Christian philosophy”
… Christian scholarship will have a more profound impact than the ideas being posited by the New Atheists. He said that he’s seeing events and movements on college campuses that corroborate his beliefs on the matter …
Except if you look, you will find the exact opposite. In 2001 the secular students alliance was founded and has rapidly expanded at an astonishing rate since then.
In the end, Mr Craig’s arguments are simply an “Appeal to Authority“, an implicit “I’m a philosopher and I have a Ph.D, therefore everything I say just must be pure gold”, and yet there is also the rather inconvenient observation that no actual facts are quoted to verify anything that is being claimed, it is all wishful thinking at best.
So is he actually lying? In the rather strict sense of the word, yes he is because none of what is asserted is wholly true, but it is not deliberate deception, he really does believe all this.
In some ways I do get it – when you live inside a Christian bubble and are surrounded by students who just adore you and almost worship the very ground you walk upon, then his conclusions and future predictions might indeed appear to be both credible and viable. Also, if you do just happen to embrace religious fiction as both ultimate truth and reality – the stuff that has exactly zero evidence – well, why not add a few more additional claims that paint a rather rosy future and so help motivate those inside to stick with it.
There is of course a rather glaring question that any good philosopher should be asking himself, namely “How does he ‘know’ that any of this ‘Christian’ Philosophy is actually true?”. There is perhaps attempt by him in the past to ask and answer this, but when you start with the answer and work backwards, then you will find reasons to justify any answer you wish for. So yes, he truly does believe that he is right, but not because he has any actual objective evidence, but rather because he is so heavily invested emotionally, culturally and socially in the answer he adheres to, that any alternative is simply unthinkable.
I do in many ways understand, not just in theory, but also from the very practical experience of having once been a believer myself and so I do grasp how emotionally enticing such ideas can be, and how tricky it can be to think your way out of the psychological traps that beliefs can ensnare you with.
Where does this leave us? Well, what you will not discover from Mr Craig are the things that are actually true, but instead you will learn how smart people can successfully rationalise completely crazy religious beliefs to such a degree that they can convince themselves that the things that they are invested in emotionally are true … even when faced with a complete lack of any real evidence.
So how should you address claims like this?
Like this … Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
In other words, when something is asserted without evidence, then it can be dismissed without evidence.
(Hat tip to Mr Hitchens for that last thought)