Thursday, June 14, 2012

Craig's Holy Spirit Epistemology

I'm not a defender of Craig's epistemology. I'm against using Craig's Holy Spirit Epistemology against him when he's presenting an unrelated argument. But, if if he had a sufficiently direct experience of God at some time t1, he can't guarantee that he will have that same experience if he were to come to think his theistic arguments have been refuted at time t2. So I don't see how he can say how he would react if he were to discover that his arguments were bad.

6 comments:

Phil Lost said...

If one's belief in God is based on one's experience of God, then the belief is not based on arguments, per se, but on the truth found in the experience. Most Christians can't formulate arguments for their belief and only have their testimony, which is maybe a sort of argument from religious experience but I don't think so. Craig says that his belief in God is not based on argumentation, but on his experience of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in his life, building his house not on sand but on rock, and while he cannot, with 100% certainty, guarantee his reaction to his arguments all found to be wanting, he can however express with confidence the foundation which his arguments stand on.

Do you think then that one's testimony is an argument? That seems to be the question. Is an experience an argument?

I have Planting's books on warranted Christian belief in front of me, but have not read them yet. I don't think he would equate experience to argumentation.

unkleE said...

Yes, while I wouldn't have the same confidence in my experience than Craig has (because my experience is not very impressive) it has to be a valid reason to believe.

If God indeed exists, then it must be possible for him to reveal himself to someone in a way that is totally convincing. The fact that it's also possible for people to think this erroneously doesn't alter the fact that it is possible.

Rational naturalists will always emphasise the possibility (in their view it is likelihood or certainty) that the experience is illusory, even delusional, but logically their conclusion is wrong, and we have to stand on that, even if we don't share such an experience.

cl said...

Victor,

The thing that annoys me is how most atheists mischaracterize Craig's epistemology. They take it to mean that it's not about evidence, at all, but that's a disingenuous mischaracterization. The way I read him, he's just saying that when direct revelation contradicts one or more data points, he accepts the revelation. This is NOT AT ALL tantamount to saying evidence doesn't matter. I mean, I don't agree with everything he says, but who can deny that Craig is quite fond of evidence and argumentation?

I've yet to see this scenario play out WRT to an actual issue. Is anybody aware of an instance where somebody presented Craig with "evidence" and Craig said, "Well, I deny that evidence on account of prior revelation?"

UnkleE,

"If God indeed exists, then it must be possible for him to reveal himself to someone in a way that is totally convincing. The fact that it's also possible for people to think this erroneously doesn't alter the fact that it is possible."

Well said, I agree.

Phil Lost said...

cl,

"They take it to mean that it's not about evidence, at all, but that's a disingenuous mischaracterization"

Yes, they seem to feel that objective evidence is the only kind of evidence, failing to take subjective evidence into consideration. Subjective evidence is evidence.

Don Jindra said...

"Subjective evidence is evidence."

That "evidence" has no power of persuasion outside that one person. It's conveniently tucked away where I can't verify it. So my first thought is that Craig is lying to himself and/or me.

Phil Lost said...

"That "evidence" has no power of persuasion outside that one person. It's conveniently tucked away where I can't verify it."

Really? For starters, you don't know my story, it is not "conveniently tucked away", it is on my body and something that anyone can see. Two, for you to say that someone's testimony has no power of persuasion is just asinine. The church is spread by the sharing of the Gospel through our testimony which we not only share with people, but show them in the way we live our lives. Just because it doesn't have any persuasive power on you isn't to say that it doesn't have any persuasive power at all.

Not to mention the homeless man (for example), who for his entire life couldn't get it together who after coming to Christ not only gets it together, but becomes a productive member of society. Do you think their testimony was "convenient"? Is it hidden? OR can you see the transforming power in his life through his belief? That's where the subjective turns into the objective and something you can clearly see. But I guess he's just lying to you or to himself huh?

"So my first thought is that Craig is lying to himself and/or me."

The first thing that comes to your mind is to question another person's character or that he is deluding himself? That is disgusting and says a lot about you.