Here is an account of a new debate by Bill Craig in Canada. One thing to notice about this debate, however, is that Craig is defending a proposition here about which he and Richard Dawkins profoundly agree. Both of them, emphatically, think the question of God is enormously important!! While the idea that the question of God doesn't matter is popular in the general public, there is something a bit strange in an atheist arguing the negative side of that issue.
Craig says: But I noticed that in the debate I was watching, he actually said exactly what I was going to argue that evening, namely, that if there is no God, then “the universe is devoid of any absolute meaning or moral sense.” I decided to camp on that point and added his quotation to the end of my opening speech.
A couple of points. First, while I think the question of God is profoundly important, and I do think that the type of meaning we might find in life is going to differ whether we are theists or atheists, I question whether these sorts of considerations are as devastating to atheism as Craig makes them sound. Keith Parsons, in his debate with Craig and in his essay on misconceptions of atheism, suggests a line of defense against this "meaning of life apologetics" that I have yet to see answered effectively.
The first point is that many atheists lead what they consider to be meaningful lives. They have friendships and other close personal relationship, they pursue the truth, they watch football games and eat pizza, etc. The meaning of life apologist then answers that this isn't "absolute" or "ultimate" meaning. The second point in the Keith Parsons rebuttal is to point out that this need for "absolute" or "ultimate" meaning is one that is imposed by a theistic or especially Christian world-view, and need not be accepted by an atheist. We can, to use C. S. Lewis's phrase "rub along quite well" without it. The typical next step in meaning of life apologetics is to bring out various nonbelievers who bewail the lack of meaning in life without God. Russell's "firm foundation of unyielding despair" is a typical one that Craig actually quoted in his debate with Parsons; a few quotes from existentialists like Sartre and Camus (the most important philosophical problem is the question of suicide) will do the trick also. But here Parsons can (and did) point out that the Russell quote is taken out of context if viewed from the perspective of the philosopher's total life, and the emotional reactions of people like Camus are surely not logically necessary for atheists, in fact, as Eric Koski suggested to me in correspondence, these reactions may be temper tantrums on the part of people who long for a lost faith, but hardly normative for atheists in general.
OK, so where does the Meaning of Life Apologetic go from here, in response to the Keith Parsons rebuttal? Maybe something like the Lewis-style argument from desire might be tried at this point. But I am claiming that, so far as I can tell, the Meaning of Life Apologetic as developed by Craig doesn't seem to me to have a good answer to the Keith Parsons rebuttal. Unless there is something I missed in Craig.