Beta testing a book: Chapter 8: William Lane Craig exposed

The footnotes aren’t done and I’m not satisfied with how the material on the resurrection is organized, but I’ve got other things to do than agonize over this, so: I give you what is now chapter 8 of the book, “William Lane Craig exposed.” I decided to limit myself to 3 arguments (Kalam, moral argument, Jesus’ resurrection), so the chapter’s no longer so bloated.

  • Tony Debono

    I’m glad that you’re dedicating an entire chapter to WLC. It looks great so far! I hope that you do the same (or at least give some close attention) for N.T. Wright (or similar liberal apologists), in order to cover more than one aspect of the theological spectrum. I saw that you mentioned Wright in this chapter, which reminded me of the intellectual hell I went through while reading his book “Surprised By Hope” (a condensed version of his tome “The Resurrection of the Son of God”). My Faith was paper-thin at that point and waning, but I desperately wanted to believe (for personal reasons). After finding flaws in most of his analyses and conclusions it became clear to me that that was it for my quest for Faith. Another reason why I hope that you’ll cover liberal apologists like Wright is that I’ve found that many liberal theists have no problem dismissing the likes of WLC out-of-hand, but they find Wright’s apologetics compelling. I don’t know, maybe I’m just missing the point with Wright. Maybe there’s some very specific Tillich-like double-speak there that I’m not privy to. If there is, my liberal theist friends didn’t clue me in on it, even when objected loudly to Wright’s rationalizations and their defenses of him.

    • Chris Hallquist

      Wright (as far as his writings on the resurrection go, at least) strikes me as someone who’s writing not to convince anyone, but to make academics feel obligated to ooh and ah about his sophistication while remaining completely unconvinced. His argument really boils down to, “I don’t see how those early Christians could have come up with a belief in the resurrection if it didn’t happen,” which is stupid. Massive failure of the Outsider Test.

      He’s also written some awful, confused stuff on the problem of evil, which I think I mentioned in chapter 5.

      • Tony Debono

        Cool, man! I just thought I’d throw it out there. You summed his stance up pretty well there. I’ll check out what you have to say about Wright in Ch 5. Keep up the thoughtful work!

  • MNb

    “Why, then, am I devoting a post series to him?”
    Yeah, wouldn’t it be more sensible to devote a chapter to him?
    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    OK, I think you should update your chapter by giving a link to the thorough rebuttal of the cosmological argument provided by Counterapologist, starting here:

    You quote the Craig-Harris debate twice.
    Also the beginning of the Jesus’ resurrection bit needs to be revised thoroughly. You mention the majority of Biblical scholars doubting the historical reliability of the Resurrection twice. The first time when you quote Ehrmann:

    “he majority of critical scholars studying the historical Jesus today disagree with his conclusion that a historian can show that the body of Jesus emerged physically from the tomb.”

    The second time: “many Biblical scholars, including many liberal Christians, do not think the accounts of Jesus’ life are historically reliable.”

    That’s not a nice read imo.
    The rest is excellent and the structure is crystal clear as usual.

    • Chris Hallquist

      Ah, fixed some of the most glaring problems.

      Note that the claim I’m quoting Ehrman on, and the point I make, are subtly different.

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  • andyman409

    The Resurrection is a tricky subject. For one thing, even conservative christians cannot agree on precisely which experiences actually occurred. Was it just the list in 1 cor 15, or were there any other experiences from the gospels? And for that matter, do any of the stories in the gospel even reflect 1 cor 15 list, or are they all too far removed from the earliest tradition? Than you have the matter of the body. Even if the disciples claimed that Jesus was physically resurrected, it doesn’t mean that they experienced a physically resurrected jesus. This is a point that NT Wright has difficulty understanding. In the end, it is hard to refute the resurrection, because there is nothing to refute.

  • Mike Blyth

    This is a very informative article, and very useful to me since I recently read *Reasonable Faith,* but I think it falls a little short of substantiating the level of accusations made against WLC at the top of the article. From that introduction, I expected much more in the way of evidence of actual lying and the like. I’m not saying that you haven’t shown some of that, but the whole chapter seems better described as showing why Craig is wrong than why he is intentionally deceptive. There are some examples where you do bring his integrity into question, but for me they don’t seem to be strong enough to warrant the opening accusations.

    • Chris Hallquist

      Well, I tried to focus on why Craig is wrong about big stuff. I could have spent a lot of time on example after example of petty distortions that don’t really affect anything but which, because they’re part of a pattern, strengthen the case that the distortions are not accidental. I avoided doing that because I thought it would be tedious. If you haven’t already, do check out the blog post by Stephen Law I mention in the chapter. A couple of the points are very similar to the thing with Ehrman: continuing to misrepresent Law’s views even after Law corrected Craig to his face.

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