No, Dr. Craig; I will not and I cannot.

Today I was shown the first part of the William Lane Craig versus Christopher Hitchens debate. Before Craig begins to present his case, he mentions that he welcomes those who “check their view at the door”. This allegedly allows for an “objective” position from which to evaluate argument and evidence.

Unfortunately for Craig, no such position exists. He is only entitled to disagree with this claim if he rejects what is set forth in the Christian worldview with respect to the issue. This is God’s world and we are made in the image of God. Christian teaching is that Christ is Lord of all, including even our thought.

If the Christian worldview is true then Christ is Lord of all.
According to Craig, Christ is not Lord of all.
Therefore according to Craig, the Christian worldview is not true.

Now obviously Craig holds that the Christian worldview is true and he seeks to prove portions of it. The point here is not that Craig is actually an unbeliever, but rather that even before Craig begins his arguments he undercuts them all and concedes the debate with his methodology.

No Dr. Craig, I will not cease submitting to Christ as Lord in my thought.
No Dr. Craig, I cannot do so even if I willed to, as all wisdom and knowledge is found in our Lord Jesus Christ.


7 Comments

Mitchell LeBlanc

I think J.P Moreland said it fairly well:

“Take as an example the illustration of a map to Atlanta. In the order of being, there would have to be the city of Atlanta before there could be a map showing one how to get to Atlanta. Thus, in the order of being, Atlanta is first. However, in order to find one’s way to Atlanta, one might need a map. Thus, in the order of knowing, the map is first. In the theistic argument debate, the theist certainly sees that in the order of being God is first, since, if God is the creator of all things besides Himself, then, if there was not a God, there would be nothing else at all, not even an argument for God. But in the order of knowing, it might be the case that one would need a “map” to God, i.e., a theistic argument. Just as using a map to find Atlanta says nothing amiss about the metaphysical priority of Atlanta to the map, likewise, to use a theistic argument to find God says nothing amiss about the metaphysical priority of God to the argument. The presuppositionalist is wrong to think that if an argument leads on to a belief in the existence of God, this God could not be the God of Christianity… It does not imply that somehow the being of God is secondary. Presuppositionalists mistakenly assume that to have the argument first in the order of knowing is to tacitly deny that God is first in the order of being, it does not.”

I’m sorry for pasting the long quotation, but it might be beneficial to work with the responses formulated in response to presuppositionalist criticisms of classical apologetics.

Also stated:

“Even if one granted that human beings are estranged from god by virtue of man’s rebellion, it does not follow that human beings are estranged from reality itself. Surely even the most extreme Calvinist would admit that gravity affects the sinner as much as the saint. It is from this common ground of reality that the Classical tradition has built its natural theology.”

Thoughts?

C.L. Bolt

Thanks to JM at http://hereiblog.com for bringing the article to my attention that Mitch is quoting from. It may be found here –

http://www.richardghowe.com/Presuppositionalism.pdf

The last quoted paragraph above is not Moreland’s.

I have responded to this comment from Mitch here –

http://www.choosinghats.org/?p=528

C.L. Bolt

Sorry, that is not necessarily what Mitch quoted from, but part of the quote may be found there.

Jason Dulle

Do you think Craig is speaking to Christians here? I highly doubt it. Surely he is saying this for the sake of atheists in the audience. I’ve never heard him make such a claim when speaking to a purely Christian audience.

C.L. Bolt

“Do you think Craig is speaking to Christians here?”

I do not just think so, I know so. The debate was at Biola and the audience was overwhelmingly of the Christian persuasion. If you are asking whether or not Craig was directing his comments toward Christians in the audience, I would say yes, so far as I remember he was.

“I highly doubt it.”

Okay but why? You may always get the DVD and find out for yourself.

“Surely he is saying this for the sake of atheists in the audience.”

Do you not think that it would sound more than a little suspicious if Craig encouraged the atheists at the debate to check their view at the door while not offering the same encouragement to the Christians at the debate? How would this fit the context, given that he next spoke of objectivity?

“I’ve never heard him make such a claim when speaking to a purely Christian audience.”

This is irrelevant to whether or not he did so in this instance, unless you have viewed the portion of the debate which allegedly contains such a claim. Also, might it not be true that you have in fact heard him make such a claim but either paid it no attention or forgot about it?

Further, have you never heard such a claim as the one in question from any other apologist before?

Jason Dulle

Craig’s goal is to persuade non-Christians to become Christians, not for Christians to be open to the possibility of God’s non-existence. In fact, in Craig’s written works you’ll hear him say such things that even if the evidence was against Christian theism, we are still justified in believing it because of the witness of the Spirit. So unless Craig explicitly says, “Christians, I want you to be open to the evidence for atheism,” there is no way I would believe that he is encouraging Christians to be open to atheism. He wants the atheists in the audience to approach the question from a more objective standpoint, not Christians. He wants them not only to bring their viewpoint in with them to the debate, but keep it throughout, and leave with it as well.

C.L. Bolt

It is a pretty incredible testimony to the power of presuppositions that you have posted here! 😉 Even though you have not seen the debate in question you would presume to state what Craig did and did not say during his opening statement.

Craig’s method always allows for the possibility and even a probability that God does not exist, so if Christians are to be faithful to his method then they must be open to the possibility of God’s non-existence. The alleged objectivity of Christians is implicit in the method itself. You concede my point even if you argue that he is only calling atheists to be objective, for such objectivity would, if it were to actually exist, suppose that Christ is not Lord of all.


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