Friday, October 02, 2009

Bill Craig's debates

A redated post. 

This is a summary and assessment of William Lane Craig's debate with Douglas Jesseph at Arizona State University in 1997. It was written by Jeffrey Lowder, of Internet Infidels.

And this is a source for a number of Craig's debates with various people, including the debate with Jesseph at NC State in 1996.

15 comments:

Edward T. Babinski said...

John Loftus (a graduate student who studied under Christian apologist William Lane Craig) has written a book titled, From Minister To Honest Doubter.

To quote Mr. Loftus:

I am a former student of Dr. William Lane Craig's when he taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). In 1985 I earned my Th.M. degree in the "Philosophy of Religion" with him as my major professor. Before I attended TEDS I had attended Lincoln Christian Seminary with Dr. James D. Strauss as my major professor. Under Dr. Strauss I earned M.A and M.Div. degrees in "Theology/Philosophy." Here's what Dr. Craig said a few years after I graduated from TEDS: "In my former capacity as a professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, I enjoyed the privilege of having graduates of Lincoln Christian Seminary in my classes. I was amazed as one after another distinguished himself as among my brightest and most capable students. What was it about this little Christian school in mid-state Illinois, I thought, that it should be such an academic powerhouse generating good philosophers? The answer was always the same: Dr. Strauss!" Below is the picture of them together with me in the middle at my 1985 TEDS graduation.

Now I simply cannot bring myself to continue believing in Christianity. It doesn't make sense. My book shares why I changed my mind. I changed as a result of a crisis, plus information, minus a sense of a loving, caring Christian community. With my changed perspective I now turn my intellectual muscle into questioning the things I had formerly been prepared to defend. I welcome your discussion.
John Loftus
http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2005/05/from-minister-to-honest-doubter-why-i.php?show_id=111720198561859740#bk_111720198561859740

Loftus can also be reached at http://www.theologyweb.com
where his moniker is "Doubting John"

Victor Reppert said...

So, is this going to be WLC's next debate opponent?

Jarrod Cochran said...

Do we now see the outcome when we share the Gospel of Christ without the love of Christ? John Loftus stated that one of the reasons he has moved away from Christianity is the lack of a "sense of a loving, caring Christian community". When we leave out the key ingredient of love, all that is left is a huge book of "do's" and "do not's".

John W. Loftus said...

I actually contacted Bill Craig and asked if he would like to publish a book together, as a professor/former student discussion on the issues I cover in my book. But he declined. He said, "John that would give me no joy."

bossmanham said...

So, using your connection to WLC as a springboard to draw people to your blog. That's not sleazy at all. "Look at me! I happened to be one of WLC's students and then became an atheist!" Not impressive, sorry.

What doesn't make sense to me is why you atheists care so much what people of faith believe.

Anonymous said...

It's because your beliefs reliably cash out in terms of horrible practical consequences that affect the welfare of other people who don't share your beliefs.

Anonymous said...

What a load of caca. It's as if the 20th century never happened for some people.

Victor Reppert said...

Is this another example of the fallacy of chronological snobbery?

bossmanham said...

It's because your beliefs reliably cash out in terms of horrible practical consequences that affect the welfare of other people who don't share your beliefs.

Funny how, if there is no God, it doesn't matter. We all end up the same anyway--dead. There is no purpose, so why do you care? There is no objective morality, so your abhorrence of oppression of others has no rational basis.

unkle e said...

bossmanham said...
"So, using your connection to WLC as a springboard to draw people to your blog."

I do not agree with John, and I am sorry he abandoned what he once believed and what I still believe is the truth, but this comment is unfair to him. It was Ed who gave the link, not John. Or are you suggesting they are the same person? : )

bossmanham said...
"Funny how, if there is no God, it doesn't matter. We all end up the same anyway--dead. There is no purpose, so why do you care?"

I am not an atheist, as I said before, but I know how many answer this. They believe this is the only life they have, so for many of them, what they do with it matters more than it matters for some christians. I agree with you that atheist "abhorrence of oppression of others" struggles to find a rational basis, but that need not make it any the less real. Who can doubt that many atheists feel the horror of pedophile holidays to southeast Asia just as much as I do? Indeed, for some it is feelings of repugnance are a strong basis for their ethics. You and I find that basis inadequate, but it is still effective for some.

bossmanham said...

I do not agree with John, and I am sorry he abandoned what he once believed and what I still believe is the truth, but this comment is unfair to him. It was Ed who gave the link, not John.

I wasn't commenting on what Edward said, I was commenting on Mr. Loftus' blog itself. He advertizes his connection to WLC in his "about me" section. I think he's trying to discredit theism by stating he was a student of one of the most prolific Christian apologists ever and abandoned his faith, as if that lends more support to atheism. It seems like he's trying to "piggy-back" off of Craig's notoriety instead of using his own merits to advance his career.

They believe this is the only life they have, so for many of them, what they do with it matters more than it matters for some christians

And I'm saying that's an inconsistent position. What they do with their life doesn't amount to a hill of beans if they are to remain consistent, because in the end all that's left is the litter of a dead universe that expands forever. If you are to remain consistent as an atheist, you must admit that your life isn't any more valuable than a dog's or an ameoba's. It just doesn't matter. There is no higher power or ideal to answer to.

I know it sounds harsh, but it's the truth. My point is most atheists are simply inconsistent in this matter.

Anonymous said...

I guess I don't see how it follows from facts about the fate of the universe billions of years after I die that therefore my life now is meaningless, worthless, pointless.

Presumably, no one is imposing a purpose on God's life. Is his life therefore pointless, meaningless?

On the other hand, if life has intrinsic value, then it has it whether or not there is a God. So

bossmanham said...

On the other hand, if life has intrinsic value, then it has it whether or not there is a God

How? There can't be an objective purpose for any of our lives on atheism, because there is nothing that transcends the natural world, which ends in death. There isn't any more value in our life than in a cockroach's life.

exapologist said...

Why does objective value or purpose (are we talking about both value and purpose, or just one of these?) require something that transcends the natural world? What is it about the natural world that makes it unable to ground or explain objective purpose or value? Is it metaphysically impossible for, say, a heart to have the purpose or function of pumping blood if there is nothing beyond the natural world? If it's not, then why can't human life have one or more functions or purposes merely in virtue of facts about the natural world?

philip m said...

exapologist,

I am not totally sure that atheist Phil would buy that I should be depressed and melancholy all the time, or something like that, but I do think there is something of a problem with respect to "grounding" meaning in a materialist universe.

The problem arises because of the priorities associated with each worldview. As Paul Draper said in his address to The Society for the Philosophy of Religion last February, the question comes down to what is the primordial kind of causation in the universe: personal or natural. (And there are lots of different ways of casting this dichotomy, such as natural vs. supernatural, intentional vs. scientific, or whatever.)

I suppose we could say that under naturalism all explanations reduce to the spin, location, and velocity of the universe's most basic physical constituents. On the other hand, in the case God is the ultimate explanation of everything, the act of creation is supposedly partly done for the eventual purpose of creating humans. And the reason for that intention is that it is a good thing to have relationships. Thus, at the very beginning chronologically and center pictorially of the theist's worldview is the Fact of the value of relationships; for the theist, participating in relationshps is something they are supposed to do, because it is recognized by someone who knows everything that there is to know as a very good thing.

In the materialist universe, we are alone in this recognition. I agree that we can recognize that relationships are good things, even as atheists. And yet, we feel out of place; we have our relationships in spite of the universe we're in. So I suppose the question is not really whether we can ground value under naturalism, but merely to what extent we are able to ground value. It seems our ability to recognize the value of relationships is compromised by the fact that we know what the universe really is; it's a purely physical place, where physical constituents and the laws of physics are the ultimate explanans. We can recognize the value of relationships to ourselves, but no such recognition lies at the heart of reality for us to be continually looking up at. In naturalism, we are happy that we could just get off the ground. With theism, we cannot wait to see how high things really go.

Chesterton puts the feeling of out-of-placeness humans seem to have in the naturalist's universe very well:

"[I]f the cosmos of the materialist is the real cosmos, it is not much of a cosmos. The thing has shrunk. The deity is less divine than many men; and (according to Haeckel) the whole of life is something much more grey, narrow, and trivial than many separate aspects of it. The parts seem greater than the whole."

Certainly humans can have a function and value under atheism, but we are in that case running uphill. The theist considers this world as one where he is supposed to learn to fly, and that eventually he will learn to do so.

That's the basic sort of idea I get as I think about the options, anyways.