I just finished a book called Reasonable Faith, written by Dr. William Lane Craig. Dr. Craig is a philosopher, author and Christian apologist who teaches philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and Houston Baptist University. He is also a well known speaker and has had great success in debating atheists throughout the world. Dr. Craig also does a regular podcast which goes in-depth into the orthodox doctrines of Christianity and has written many books, all of which can be found at www.reasonablefaith.org.
The book is basically a masters-level primer on how the Christian faith is, in fact, based in reason and logic. Now, this may seem odd to someone who has always heard that Christians live by “faith,” that we’re to walk by “faith,” etc. While this is true (and a topic deserving its own post), the Bible clearly teaches us that our faith is not blind like some espouse. For instance, 1 Peter 3:15 instructs Christians to give good reasons for our faith that we have, and in Acts 17:16-34 Paul gives us a fantastic example of how he argued the case for Christ with the philosophers of Greece. Yes, Christians are to live by faith, but as I’ve learned, we have so many great reasons to believe that God exists, a man named Jesus claimed to be Him, and rose from the dead to prove it!
Anyway, it took me two (three? I dunno…) years to work my way through this book. It is dense and fascinating and thorough, and I highly recommend it for the philosophically- or scientifically-minded. (He also has some more popular publications like On Guard or his 1999 book God, Are You There?.) It may surprise many to know that there are historical, philosophical and scientific answers to questions like:
- How can anyone know Christianity is true?
- What if there is no God?
- Does God exist?
- Can we know things really happened in the past?
- Are miracles possible?
- Did Jesus really exist?
- Did Jesus actually say he was God?
- Did Jesus actually rise from the dead?
I personally have found that the answers to all of these questions are quite satisfying and employ many convincing arguments to sustain them. However, it’s not just because I am a Christian with confirmation bias. I actually love digging into arguments against what I believe. I have a weird habit of watching debates between Christians and non-Christians on various aspects of my faith and have enjoyed learning about other people’s beliefs and their reasoning behind them. Yet even after so many years of doing this and trying to find reasons not to believe in God and Jesus, I am still satisfied that I gave my life over to the right guy way back in high school.
Dr. Craig, in debates, tends to be very successful arguing for the Christian faith against atheists, as this atheist blogger gracefully acknowledges back in February of 2009, and even acknowledges that the reason for his success just might be that “his arguments are sound, and God does exist.” The author remained unconvinced at that time and promises a later post to explain why, but I could not find it.
Some of Dr. Craig’s debates really challenged me, prompting further research and reading. I thought I’d share them with you because I think that these do a good job of laying out the best arguments for and against the existence of God.
- WLC vs. Alex Rosenberg, Is Faith in God Reasonable? – 2013
- WLC vs. Arif Ahmed, Is Belief More Reasonable Than Disbelief? – 2009
- WLC vs. Lawrence Krauss, Has Science Buried God? – 2013
- WLC vs. Sean Carroll, God and Cosmology – 2014
The Rosenberg one in particular is quite poignant, since it deals with the Problem of Evil, which I believe is the single best argument against the existence of an all-powerful, all-loving God. Also, I chose the Ahmed and Carroll debates in particular because I’ve there is no clear winner in these (though I don’t believe that’s the main aim for these debates). This is my favorite type of debate. I like a debate that makes me really wonder and investigate if I am still convinced of the beliefs that I hold or not. I invite you all to do the same.
So, with all this being said, I will occasionally be doing blog posts concerning things that I’ve learned from this book and learned via the resources that are found on Dr. Craig’s website. The cool thing about this for you atheists or agnostics out there is that he doesn’t hide his arguments… he uses the same five or six points in every debate, and every debater knows he’ll use them! Yet after decades of debates and hundreds of PhD and expert opponents, he is still frustrating many atheists the world over, so much so that the likes of Richard Dawkins refuse to debate him and the vitriol is evident, as discussed in this episode of Frank Turek’s Cross Examined podcast.
So, embrace your inner nerd! Consider the arguments that I explore in future posts, watch some debates featuring the best minds in the world, and come to your own conclusions.