A redated post.
William Lane Craig has been criticized for using the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit in a way that parallels what I have been criticizing as the "misuse" of the Mormon "burning in the bosom" appeal. I say misuse in deference to Mormons like Clark who say that there are legitimate limits on its use and that it cannot be used to simply dismiss any and all evidence that might amount to falsification of Mormon claims. In other words, what I am talking about is the use of it as what Steve Cannon calls a "Don't confuse me with facts" strategy. But this is what many Christians think happens to them when they give what they think are good arguments against Mormon claims. But is Craig caught up in the same strategy? Mark Smith, of the Contra Craig website, writes:
MS: In my twenty minute discussion with Craig, in the process of getting his signature, I asked him about his views on evidence (which to me seem very close to self-induced insanity). In short, I set up the following scenario:
Dr. Craig, for the sake of argument let's pretend that a time machine gets built. You and I hop in it, and travel back to the day before Easter, 33 AD. We park it outside the tomb of Jesus. We wait. Easter morning rolls around, and nothing happens. We continue to wait. After several weeks of waiting, still nothing happens. There is no resurrection- Jesus is quietly rotting away in the tomb.
I asked him, given this scenario, would he then give up his Christianity? Having seen with his own eyes that there was no resurrection of Jesus, having been an eyewitness to the fact that Christianity has been based upon a fraud and a lie, would he NOW renounce Christianity? His answer was shocking, and quite unexpected.
He told me, face to face, that he would STILL believe in Jesus, he would STILL believe in the resurrection, and he would STILL remain a Christian. When asked, in light of his being a personal eyewitness to the fact that there WAS no resurrection, he replied that due to the witness of the "holy spirit" within him, he would assume a trick of some sort had been played on him while watching Jesus' tomb. This self-induced blindness astounded me.
VR: I think it would depend on the context. If someone were to walk up to me and say they had invented a wayback machine, and I wasn't at all sure that it worked properly, and we got out and saw some hillside that looked like a Jewish graveyard from the 1st Century, and no one left the grave or rolled the stone away, then that woudn't be convincing. If there were reliable time travel technology, and we got some supporting evidence, the challenge might be more severe. Generally fundamental changes of belief occur because of a wide range of considerations, so it is hard to point to one thing that would alone do the trick. But I can imagine overwhelming contrary evidence against Christianity.