Posts Tagged ‘William Lane Craig’


When I began my foray into religion and philosophy, I was concerned with one thing and one thing only: truth.  There was never a point at which I sat down and selected atheism from the menu of favorable options. In fact, I don’t necessarily favor atheism. I’d like to think that a guiding and benevolent father figure looks out for me from above. That one day I’ll get to parade around in my underwear for all eternity with Phil Hartman and Chris Farley.


We’ll be here, Derreck. Just as soon as you die from cirrhosis.

But, at the end of the day, it’s not about what I desire or find palatable. It’s about what strikes me as being true. What worldview seems to best comport with reality? Atheism, for me, is not even a choice, but a conclusion, however tentative, based on an honest appraisal of the world around me. In light of that, I prefer to follow the Buddhist wisdom of accepting things just as they are, rather than attempting to skew reality so that it conforms to my innermost wishes. Carl Sagan said it best: “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”

I’ve got a fistful of science to go with that butthurt, Jesus.

The approach that I just described, the honest seeking for truth, seems to be the furthest thing from the Christian mindset. Let’s face it: anyone who’s a Christian either inherited their faith without ever rigorously questioning it, or came to believe as a result of some emotional incentive. I have yet to meet a single Christian who says, “I was a nonbeliever, until I investigated the truth claims of the Bible. And whad’ya know: logic, reason, evidence, science, history, and philosophy all bore it out!”

Look, here's Noah's Ark!

Look, here’s Noah’s Ark!

But, here’s the thing. I am perfectly fine with that. Really. Truly. What somebody else believes is none of my business, so long as they don’t impose it upon me. If it makes them happy and provides them a sense of comfort, who am I to interfere with that? I say, to each his own.

Good. Because this basketball is mine. This is MY basketball.

Good. Because this basketball is mine. This is MY basketball.

Now, of course there are things about the highly political, religious right that irritate me, e.g., their stance on gay rights, women’s reproductive rights, the attempts to inject creationist pseudoscience into the classroom, etc. But, as someone with an academic interest in religious studies, what really grinds my gears are Christian apologists–those who attempt to defend the faith on “intellectual” grounds. As an institution hellbent on defending the indefensible, theirs is the practice of shameless shell games, spin-doctoring, convoluted thinking, far-fetched rationalizing, baseless presumptions, careless conjecture, and all manner of fallacious argumentation. Basically, bullshit artistry masquerading as scholarship. 100%. Complete. Bullshit.

On the Origins of Apologetics.

On the Origin of Feces

That they have the gall to insist that we atheists are unjustified in our disbelief, because we’re somehow oblivious to their oh-so-cogent “evidence,” is disgustingly disingenuous and insulting. Peddle your nonsense to the credulous if you must, but don’t pretend as though we ought to be equally gullible.

Molecules in the shape of a cross, you say? Oh, Praise Him!

Molecules in the shape of a cross, you say? Oh, Praise Him!

But, are their arguments really that bad, you might ask? YES. Yes, they are. One need look no further than the grand poobah of Christian apologists, William Lane Craig. Dr. Craig’s defenses of Christian belief are so bad that even Norm Macdonald is more convincing as Burt Reynolds in SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy. And he’s not even trying. Craig basically relies on sleight-of-hand trickery, as do most Christian apologists. But anyone with a modicum of critical thinking skills can see exactly how he pulls the proverbial rabbit out of the hat.


Among his other tricks.

Craig’s misrepresentation of the physics behind cosmic origins has been noted here, where he flagrantly lies about the universe being created ex nihilo (out of nothing). In addition to that, I will discuss three other arguments of his that stink to high heaven so severely, even Jesus chokes on the fumes.

Where's the goddamn Hawaiian Breeze & Fuji Apple Glade?!!

Goddammit, Peter, where’s that Hawaiian Fuji Apple Glade?!!

Beginning with Craig’s defense of the resurrection. In addition to appealing to the empty tomb, Joseph of Arimathea, and visions of the resurrected Jesus in order to prove the resurrection of Jesus–in effect, using the Bible to prove the Bible–Craig made this stunning statement during a debate with New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman:

Dr. Ehrman just assumes that the probability of the resurrection on our background knowledge [Pr(R/B)] is very low. But here, I think, he’s confused. What, after all, is the resurrection hypothesis? It’s the hypothesis that Jesus rose supernaturally from the dead. It is not the hypothesis that Jesus rose naturally from the dead. That Jesus rose naturally from the dead is fantastically improbable. But I see no reason whatsoever to think that it is improbable that God raised Jesus from the dead.

Background knowledge, of course, refers to our everyday experience of the world. And Craig really nails it. We don’t tend to witness people naturally rising from the dead. But, supernaturally? Oh, well, yeah. You can barely walk your dog or stroll through the supermarket without encountering a reanimated corpse these days. But it’s hardly any surprise in the face of magic. What the fuck was Dr. Ehrman thinking?

Is this the produce section?

Is this the produce section?

With respect to the Problem of Evil, Craig argues that evil is actually proof of God’s existence. Because, you see, evil denotes “a departure from the way things ought to be.” And, if there’s “a way things ought to be,” then there must be a design plan set forth by a Creator. QED. Everything is the result of God’s design.
Oh grow up, God.

Oh grow up, God.

Problem is, Craig’s definition of evil is ad hoc, designed expressly for the sake of arriving at his desired conclusion. If there is no God, then there is no “way things ought to be.” There is only the way things are. Gratuitous and pervasive suffering only “ought to be” absent from the world if there is an all-powerful and loving God–an entity with both the ability and desire to prevent it. It is precisely because the world is not so that we atheists disbelieve in God.

Evil, therefore, would not be a departure from any divine plan, but a value judgment set forth by human beings, best described as “that which causes harm, misfortune, or destruction.” But the best part is this: By Craig’s rationale, Christian Bale’s character in American Psycho is a shining example of God’s glorious existence.



Lastly, we come to Craig’s defense of biblical genocide. Accordingly, all those Canaanites whom the Israelite soldiers slaughtered had it coming. They were steeped in impurity, so what’s an all-powerful and loving God to do but have them exterminated? It’s not like, in his infinite power and wisdom, he could conjure up a civil, non-violent solution. He’s not fucking Gandhi or Jesu… wait, whaaa?

I see what you did there.

I see what you did there.

But what about the children, Professor Craig? Why the innocent children?

If [you] believe, as I do, that God’s grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy.  Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.

Those lucky little fucks! Now, excuse me while I go on an infanticidal killing spree, so that more of God’s precious children can “quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy.” I’m sure the parents won’t mind. After all, I’m just expediting their salvation!

Time to blow you little shits to Kingdom Come.

30-round bursts of salvation comin’ at ya!

Oh, but it gets better.

So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgment. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

By extension, I feel the sudden urge to give Hitler a hug. In fact, we should dedicate a memorial to the Nazi regime (those poor souls), with William Lane Craig hosting the opening ceremony. What could be more fitting for Christianity’s leading apologist than to be dressed in regalia that reads “God With Us.”


That special gift for the guy who kills everything.

So there you have it, folks. Among defenders of the faith, that’s the best Christianity has to offer. I’d sure hate to see the worst. In all their works, whether written or spoken, there is no regard for the truth. There is no attempt whatsoever at objectivity. They seek only to defend what they already blindly believe, no matter how grotesque or outlandish. And they’ll lie, cheat, contrive, and deceive every step of the way. But, hey. At least they love Jesus. You can be forgiven for anything as long as you believe the right shit.

There-there, now. Just promise you won't lace Gerber products with arsenic again.

There-there, now. Freebasing cocaine from a hooker’s severed head is a mild offense, anyway.




Upon rejecting Christianity, I did not automatically jump to an atheistic conclusion. I still held to some fundamental idea of God, however ambiguous it might have been. A benign father figure or creator of sorts. It just wasn’t time to throw the baby out with the bath water. Which, by the way, is something I’ve always wanted to do. A baby is a fragile and vulnerable thing, a precious and joyous gift of life. I still want to try a “Hail Mary” pass with one. You simply haven’t lived til you’ve seen a baby hurtling at 70 mph.

Eat your drywall, Toby.

Eat your drywall, Toby.

Though it wouldn’t be long before I realized that an all-powerful and loving God could ill be squared with the Problem of Evil. As Epicurus wisely put it: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

BaZing! Now, who's dick do I have to suck to get some pupils?

BaZing! Now, whose dick do I have to suck to get some pupils?

Of course, the Problem of Evil can seemingly be defused by appealing to Free Will. However, many sources of suffering are due to entirely natural causes. Among them: hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, disease, famine, butt worms, etc. With the possible exception of butt worms, the others cannot be so easily dismissed. Unless one wishes to argue that tectonic plates have desire.

Oh, just rub my crust right into yours.

Yeah, just rub your crust right against mine. Ahhh…

Oh, but how quickly I forget: “God works in mysterious ways.” Why, of course he does. Funny how those “mysterious ways” are completely indistinguishable from God sitting around with his thumb in his butt.

$10 bucks says I find that goddamn TiVo remote.

$10 bucks says I find that goddamn TiVo remote.

So, with a personal God out of the question, what was left? Well, the very existence of the universe still needed some explaining. If nothing else, it seemed to me that there had to be a creator, something or someone who set all this in motion. And so I arrived at Deism: belief in a supreme being who created the world but does not intervene in it. Somewhat akin to what a few of our Founding Fathers believed, e.g., Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. As Paine once famously wrote, “It is the duty of every true Deist to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible.” And here you thought they were all fundamentalist Christians.

Pfft. Fuck Jesus.

Pfft. Fuck Jesus.

After all, I had enough familiarity with science to know that our universe began some 13.8 billion years ago at the Big Bang. But, what caused it? How does this much something come from nothing? It almost had to be the divine act of a supreme being.


Let there be light! …and Maury Povich reruns.

As it turns out, this is exactly the type of thing that Christian philosopher William Lane Craig argues, i.e., The Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God. How ’bout them apples? Not only does it have a cool sounding name, but, heck, if you can’t trust a Christian philosopher, who can ya trust? They’re all so goddamn genuine! Couldn’t fake a smile if they had to!

Everything about me screams "Genuine!"

Yep. Just shit my pants. Must. Keep. Smiling.

So, that pretty well settles it. When you arrive at the limits of your knowledge, when there just doesn’t seem to be an explanation in sight, simply invoke God, and, presto! Tis explained! YeeeahNO. This is what philosophers call the God of the Gaps Fallacy–the theological version of the old Argument from Ignorance. By settling for an answer that is essentially steeped in magic, you haven’t really answered anything. In fact, you’ve only kicked the can down the road, explaining one mystery by invoking another: God.

I know the answer to X! It's XX!

I know the answer to X! It’s XX!

Okay, so back to the drawing board. Philosophical faux pas or not, how could the universe have emerged from nothing? There almost had to be something from which everything else came. Nothing couldn’t possibly produce anything! That would be a logical absurdity!

Like voting Republican when you're poor white trash!

Like voting Republican when you’re poor white trash!

Unless the nothing of physics is actually… wait for it… wait for it some more… oh, God, this is so close to happening… unless the nothing of physics is actually still… something.

Yep. This guy again.

Cleanup on aisle 7.

Here’s the lowdown on “nothing,” according to Dr. Sten Odenwald of NASA:

When physicists say ‘nothing’ they are being playful with the English language, because we often think of the vacuum as being ’empty’ or ‘nothing’ when in fact physicists know full well that the vacuum is far from empty. The primordial ‘state’ at the Big Bang was far from being the kind of ‘nothingness’ you might have in mind. We don’t have a full mathematical theory for describing this ‘state’ yet, but it was probably ‘multidimensional’, it was probably a superposition of many different ‘fields’, and these fields, or whatever they were, were undergoing ‘quantum fluctuations’. Space and time were not the things we know them to be today because our world is a lot colder than the way it started out. Nothingness was not nothing, but it was not anything like the kinds of ‘somethings’ we know about today.


Now, how ’bout you drop them panties?

And there you have it. Our universe was indeed spawned from a strange and curious void. An underlying field of existence, or substratum, that has probably always been, and forever will be. This is scientifically supported by the First Law of Thermodynamics (mass-energy is neither created nor destroyed), which itself is confirmed by the net energy of the universe as a whole (all positive, material energy minus all negative, gravitational energy equals zero). Thus, there was no violation of conservation laws between the zero-state energy of the primordial void and now. Follow me?

It is so totally okay if you need to read that again.

It is so totally okay if you need to read that again.

What’s more, according to recent findings in quantum physics, our universe may cycle through an endless series of Big Bangs, essentially rebirthing itself from within every so many billion years. Precise measurements of what is known as the Higgs boson have revealed an inherent vacuum instability, suggesting that the universe is eternally in flux. Bottom line: The universe was never in need of a creator. In one form or another, it has probably always existed.

Oh, yeah... that's... that's more poop.

Oh, yeah… just squeezed a little more out, there.

All in all, a personal God seems wildly improbable, given the Problem of Evil. And science renders the God of Deism without any explanatory utility. So much for attempting to find God at the ass end of space. But don’t hold your breath waiting for Christian apologists to fairly and accurately represent science before their flock. They come from a long line of deception and delusion. One that’s lasted at least 2,000 years.

Man. Judas didn't fuck me that hard.

My Dad, I’ve inspired generations of assholes.