God's Quarterback: A Critique of Theologian and Debate Professional William Lane Craig

By Grubbs, Kenneth | Skeptic (Altadena, CA), Summer 2011 | Go to article overview

God's Quarterback: A Critique of Theologian and Debate Professional William Lane Craig


Grubbs, Kenneth, Skeptic (Altadena, CA)


AMONG THE BRIGHTEST LIGHTS ON THE GOD-DEBATE circuit shines the Christian philosopher and apologist, Dr. William Lane Craig. At 61 years, his credentials and accomplishments are staggering. Craig holds Ph.D.s in philosophy and theology. He has authored dozens of scholarly texts as well as popular books and essays on subjects across a wide philosophical spectrum, including theology, religion, church history, time, cosmology, philosophy, Jesus, and evolution. He is a Research Professor of Philosophy at the Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, CA. He is a Fellow of the Discovery Institute Center as well as The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design. For more than two decades he has been recognized as an accomplished debater, and in his spare time he heads a successful ministry and web site: ReasonableFaith.org.

Dr. Craig's 2010 book is entitled, On Guard, Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision. Fellow author and Christian apologist, Lee Strobel, writes in the Foreword, "William Lane Craig is, in my opinion, among the very best defenders of Christianity in this generation" On Guard is a comprehensive and carefully crafted "training manual" intended to "equip you to fulfill the command of 1 Peter 3:15," which orders "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (KJV).

More than a quarter century ago Craig wrote Reasonable Faith, Christian Truth and Apologetics (1984), which the author explained is "intended primarily to serve as a textbook for seminary level courses on Christian apologetics." With little exception, On Guard is the lay Christian's variant of Reasonable Faith. Twenty-six years later, surprisingly little has changed. In this article I will closely examine the claims made in these and other works of one of today's most prominent Christian apologists.

No Easy Answers

William Lane Craig is a philosopher, so naturally he devotes comparatively fewer publications to day-today Christian affairs. Atypically then, in 2003 Craig wrote the less cerebral Hard Questions, Real Answers (a reanimated version of his 1990 essay collection entitled, No Easy Answers), explicitly to address what he refers to as "the nagging questions" i.e., unanswered prayers, suffering in the world, abortion, homosexuality, and more. I was tempted to skip this book and focus on his more intellectual publications. However the book fuses Craig's intellectual apologetics with the banalities of modern culture. It is revealing in its own way.

Why aren't all prayers answered? Surely abducted children and their parents pray, surely amputees pray, etc. Does God hear but not respond? Craig's answer is as banal as it is short: "God knows better than we do what ought to be done" Does he now?

For Professor Craig, abortion is the sum problem of "Thou shalt not kill" and "human life begins not at birth but in the womb." Rephrased more deliberately, he writes, "If you choose abortion, you are killing your son or your daughter" As for any thought to a woman's right to choose and control her own body, Craig explains, "Abortion is not a gender issue; it's an ethical issue" (as though the right to the control of one's own body was a gender issue in the first place).

On homosexuality, Craig defers to the directive in Leviticus 20:13 that the death penalty should be prescribed for such acts. He notes, "What the Bible condemns is homosexual actions and behavior, not having a homosexual orientation." In other words, it is acceptable to be homosexual, however behaving homosexually is, at least according to Leviticus, an abomination whose participants, "shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (KJV). Nice.

The Resurrection

Once a religious philosopher has established the existence of a god, the next step is to connect the dots to a specific god, and by extension a specific religion. …

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