In the past, I’ve documented William Lane Craig’s repeated lies about Bart Ehrman—namely his attempts to cite Ehrman as a skeptical scholar who accepts the “facts” Craig uses in his argument for the resurrection of Jesus. For years, Craig has been quoting from a 2003 lecture Ehrman gave as if it represented his current views, ignoring the fact that when they debated in 2006, Ehrman said he’d changed his mind. In fact, in their debate Ehrman hammered Craig for his misuse of other scholars’ work.
In the past when I’ve brought this up, I’ve been told, “well, it’s theoretically possible that Craig isn’t lying, because maybe he forgot.” I’ve always found this implausible. Ehrman was pretty damn clear about his views in the debate, making it hard for me to imagine Craig forgetting. But more recently, a reader alerted me to some evidence that Craig didn’t forget. Instead, Craig justifies his continued use of Ehrman as a supporter by claiming that Ehrman is being dishonest about his own views.
In the video below (key bit around the 7 minute mark), Craig spins a theory about “Good Bart,” the scholar who knows Craig is right about the historical reliability of the Gospels, and “Bad Bart,” the dishonest popularizer. According to Craig, “In his Teaching Company lectures, Good Bart admits that these are historical facts, in contrast to Bad Bart, which in his popular works gives the impression that he denies them.”
This kind of rationalization could justify any lie you please about an opponents’ views. Say whatever’s convenient, and when shown contrary evidence, say, “oh, I know they want you to think that’s not they’re view, but what I said really is their view, honest, they’re the one who’s lying.” And if you can convince yourself of that, you’re not technically lying! The fact that such excuses will always be available gives me little patience for the not-technically-lying defense.