I have some questions about Craig's "Holy Spirit Epistemology," which may not be quite the typical ones.
The picture that we often have of Craig's position is that while he is prepared to argue for Christian theism, he thinks even if he were to re-evaluate all the arguments negatively, he would still continue to believe, because of the inner witness of the spirit. When he says this we are inclined to picture an "inner voice in the head" that is going to continue to convince him that Christianity even though all the evidence points the other way.
If this is the picture, then I have a few problems with it. Although I believe myself to have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, I don't find a clear voice in my head that I can always identify as the Holy Spirit, as it were, by feel. Consider an inner voice that told me to commit adultery. However, much it might feel like the Holy Spirit, I am sure Bill Craig would tell me that it can't possibly be the Holy Spirit, but probably has to come either from the flesh or the devil. He would direct me, no doubt, to the Bible's prohibition against adultery and argue that, no matter how strongly I felt that I should commit adultery, and no matter how much the feel of this prompting resembled the feel of other promptings to, say, help my neighbor, or go to church on Sunday, it cannot come from the same source. People who think the inner witness of the Holy Spirit tells them to commit mass murder, or violate any other of the Ten Commandments, have to be mistaken. Something external to the inner voice, in this case Scripture,
I think it's a mistake to think of the witness of the Holy Spirit as an inner voice that some how goes on speaking within one's head regardless of what is outside of it. Rather, it has to operate, in large part, by calling our attention to things outside ourselves.
Is it reasonable to suppose that God might allow me, by honest reflection on the arguments about belief in God, come to believe that insofar as reason is concerned, none of the theistic arguments are good, and that some atheological arguments, such as the argument from evil, are good, but then enable me to continue believing because of an inner voice? I don't see the Holy Spirit doing that.
Craig does says this on his website.
Now it might be said, that God would, indeed, not permit a person to fall into circumstances where the rational thing for him to do is to apostatize and turn his back on God, but what God would do is provide sufficient evidence to such an individual so that he is able to defeat through argument and evidence the alleged defeater. I grant that such a view is possible (how could anyone who believes in middle knowledge think differently?). But as I look at the world in which we actually live, such a view strikes me as naïve.
The vast majority of people in the world have neither the time, training, nor resources to develop a full-blown Christian apologetic as the basis of their faith or to defeat the sundry defeaters which they encounter. I have been deeply moved by the plight of Christians as I have traveled abroad and seen the sometimes desperate circumstances in which they find themselves. In Europe, for example, the university culture is overwhelmingly secular and even atheistic. I met many theological students when we lived in Germany whose professors had exposed them to nothing but radical biblical criticism and anti-Christian scholarship. These students held on to Christian faith in spite of the evidence. It was far, far worse in Eastern Europe and Russia. I wish I could convey to you the spiritual darkness and oppression that existed behind the Iron Curtain during the days of the Soviet Union. I remember asking one Russian believer, "Have you no resources to help you in your Christian life?" He replied, "Well, there is an encyclopedia of atheism published by the state, and by reading what is attacked there, you can learn something. But that's about all." These bothers and sisters endured horrible oppression and atheistic indoctrination by the Marxist regime and yet did not abandon Christ. As I emphasized in my answer to Question #13, evidence varies from generation to generation and from place to place and is accessible only to those privileged few who have the education, leisure time, and resources to explore it. God has provided a more secure basis for our faith than the shifting sands of evidence and argument, namely, the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Now, admittedly different people have different intellectual needs which might be met differently. When I was in my teens and early twenties I used to get frustrated with many Christians who didn't seem to need to think critically about their faith as intensely as I did, but as I have gotten older I realize people have other fish to fry, and not everyone is cut out to be a philosopher. However, some of us, like Dr. Craig and myself, have been exposed to arguments for and against theism. Could a Christian decide, yeah, the cosmological argument is bad, the design argument in all its forms is bad, the AFR is bad, the historical evidence for the resurrection is poor, the problem of evil looks like a strong case against God, but I have this inner voice that tells me Christianity is true nevertheless. Or maybe a warm fuzzy feeling? Does the Holy Spirit work like that? Remember I said that even those of us who believe we have the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit can't introspectively determine whether a voice inside our own head is the Holy Spirit of indeed from a less sanctified source.
So I wonder if this picture of Craig's position is really what he thinks, or is it a straw man?