William Lane Craig

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What are your thoughts regarding his works?
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer

I am quite a follower of him on youtube, I also enjoy reading the number of articles he has.
 

FormerReformer

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Sorry, didn't get any further than the opening page, with it's accompanying images.  Teeth just a little too white, hair's just a little too perfectly manufactured, his ties are just a little too patterned (though well-tied.  I respect a nice full windsor).  The whole thing screamed pre-packaged evangelical.
 

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I can't judge him in comparison to other scholars in his same area of expertise, but he is a good source for the Christian who wants to get a basic understanding of some of the more popular arguments for Christianity.
 

Asteriktos

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CRCulver said:
As a philosopher of religion, I don't think he's on the level of a Swinburne or Plantinga. Quite a few weaknesses have been found in his arguments, but instead of re-examining his arguments and making a stronger case, he just repeats the same old thing again and again.
Are his arguments for Christianity closer to a popular level than that of Swinburne? I tried reading Swinburne and did fine with most of it, but then he goes into that funky logic stuff and I have no clue what he's talking about.
 

Achronos

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It kind of surprises me Swinburne is an EO Christian.

I think the reason he keeps repeating himself is because Ive yet to see one debate tear down his opening statement and replace it with a better one. The Peter Atkins one was fantastic, the man didn't even try to attempt it.
 
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I sometimes think Bill is exactly what many college-level/college educated people need to read. When it comes to apologetics, I tend to be far more pragmatic than dogmatic.

For instance, in the philosophy or religion I will always prefer Swinburne, Plantinga, or even MacIntyre (I know he's in Ethics, but much of what he says can easily cross over into religion) over Bill. At the same time, I can't hand Plantinga's "God and Other Minds" to a sophomore in college who is doubting his faith or questioning Christianity; I can, however, give him "A Reasonable Faith" and guide him through it.

I still think we're missing too many Continental philosophers of Religion who are Christians (I purposefully exclude Gianni Vattimo, John Caputo, Peter Rollins, or others). I'm not necessarily referring to those in the neo-Marxist or post-Marxist tradition, but simply someone who can write in an existential format and is easy for the public to understand. The philosophy of religion is almost exclusively analytical (if one seeks to be orthodox that is), and I think that's a shame since Christianity is an existential religion.

Anyway, I digress. I think Bill's works are fantastic for college students. He doesn't offer a lot of original thoughts and he's not a philosophic innovator (though he tries to be). But that's not a bad thing. Rather, he's a synthesizer and takes from different philosophies to paint a bigger picture. This means that his explanations will be less technical and a bit more sloppy, which is fine and affords him the chance to not clean it up (in certain situations) because it would force him to get bogged down in the details. I myself am a synthesizer when it comes to philosophy (though I do have two theories that I want to develop at some point that would be innovative, even though they're ancient), so I'm certainly not putting him down by labeling him a synthesizer. Few people can be innovators like Plantinga (who's concept of warrant was almost entirely new) or MacIntyre (who's virtue ethics helped found a revolution, though in all fairness Philippa Foot really worked on it prior to MacIntyre).

The three issues I have with Bill's philosophy are as follows:

1) His attitude and demeanor when debating atheists, especially hostile ones
2) His over-reliance on the Kalaam argument, to the exclusion of other cosmological arguments (likewise, I just don't think the Kalaam is that strong as it has to consistently be unpacked)
3) He's too Aristotelean and doesn't allow for mystery as a legitimate answer, leading to some questionable beliefs concerning God and time. In fairness, he would say that he does allow for mystery, but it really doesn't come across in his writings or debates
 

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CRCulver said:
As a philosopher of religion, I don't think he's on the level of a Swinburne or Plantinga. Quite a few weaknesses have been found in his arguments, but instead of re-examining his arguments and making a stronger case, he just repeats the same old thing again and again.
agreed.
 

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CRCulver said:
As a philosopher of religion, I don't think he's on the level of a Swinburne or Plantinga. Quite a few weaknesses have been found in his arguments, but instead of re-examining his arguments and making a stronger case, he just repeats the same old thing again and again.
I disagree. You made an assertion, but gave no example, evidence, or argument in support. The philosopher J.P. Moreland said that Dr. Craig is the greatest apologist in the last half century. I would add that William Lane Craig is the best debater I've ever heard. Nobody has a more in-depth knowledge of the Kalam Cosmological argument, the nature of time (as it relates to Christian theism) and the Axiological (moral argument) than William Lane Craig.
 

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WLC has been heavily influenced by Plantiga, and frequently says that he finds him to be the best Christian philosopher we have.

Personally, I think WLC is the tops.  He rarely does speaking engagements, preferring instead to take the fight to where it is needed by debating anti-theists. 

CRCulver said:
As a philosopher of religion, I don't think he's on the level of a Swinburne or Plantinga. Quite a few weaknesses have been found in his arguments, but instead of re-examining his arguments and making a stronger case, he just repeats the same old thing again and again.
I remember him saying that he repeats himself for the sake of the audience, most of whom are not taking notes and would not therefor realize if his opponent failed to respond to one of his points.  Thus, he repeats his case to make it clear that the issue was not dealt with.

For this reason he rarely needs to make his case stronger.
 

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You misunderstand. Some of what he says is BS. He has been shown that it's BS. Christians have shown him that it's BS. And someone who is intellectually honest would admit that it is BS and not continue repeating it. Or at the very least he would see that it is hurting the cause generally and choose to use other arguments and examples.

His being terribly redundant and repeating 90% of the same script each time he debates (what you are referring to) is not about his intellectual cowardice, but rather his intellectual laziness.
 

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Asteriktos said:
You misunderstand. Some of what he says is BS. He has been shown that it's BS. Christians have shown him that it's BS. And someone who is intellectually honest would admit that it is BS and not continue repeating it. Or at the very least he would see that it is hurting the cause generally and choose to use other arguments and examples.

His being terribly redundant and repeating 90% of the same script each time he debates (what you are referring to) is not about his intellectual cowardice, but rather his intellectual laziness.
Examples?
 

john_mo

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john_mo said:
Asteriktos said:
You misunderstand. Some of what he says is BS. He has been shown that it's BS. Christians have shown him that it's BS. And someone who is intellectually honest would admit that it is BS and not continue repeating it. Or at the very least he would see that it is hurting the cause generally and choose to use other arguments and examples.

His being terribly redundant and repeating 90% of the same script each time he debates (what you are referring to) is not about his intellectual cowardice, but rather his intellectual laziness.
Examples?


That was for you, Asteriktos  ;)
 

Fabio Leite

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As said, Prof. Craig is probably the best apologist for the fundaments of theism and Christianity in public debate today.

Being an excellen apologist and debater is not the same as being a philosopher. A very good philosophical argument may well be so arcane for the general public to the point of being useless in public debates.

In public debates your main skill is rethoric and if you are an ethical person it  will be rethoric based on real facts and not in the skill to convince only. Actually, Schopenhauer if I'm not mistaken, says that rethoric is exclusevily the skilfull use of true facts and logic as basis to convince, whereas "eristiscs" would be the flawed or ill-intended use of falacies and psychological tricks to convince without any real reason.

Prof. Craig is clearly a very good and uniquely informed debater and apologist. His properly philosophical work seems to be in the are of the theology of time, and I haven't read anything more substantial to even know what it looks like.
 

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Fabio Leite said:
As said, Prof. Craig is probably the best apologist for the fundaments of theism and Christianity in public debate today.

Being an excellen apologist and debater is not the same as being a philosopher. A very good philosophical argument may well be so arcane for the general public to the point of being useless in public debates.

In public debates your main skill is rethoric and if you are an ethical person it  will be rethoric based on real facts and not in the skill to convince only. Actually, Schopenhauer if I'm not mistaken, says that rethoric is exclusevily the skilfull use of true facts and logic as basis to convince, whereas "eristiscs" would be the flawed or ill-intended use of falacies and psychological tricks to convince without any real reason.

Prof. Craig is clearly a very good and uniquely informed debater and apologist. His properly philosophical work seems to be in the are of the theology of time, and I haven't read anything more substantial to even know what it looks like.
But WLC is a philosopher.  I must agree with you somewhat, in that I think he is a populariser of the key points of many scientists and fellow philosophers.  I don't know of any raw-intellectual material that he's generated personally, but he has honed the works of others and presented them in concise groups of premises.  Still, I've noticed that people (usually his non-believing detractors) label him as merely as "Christian apologist" while his opponents have their full titles given to them.
 

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john_mo said:
Fabio Leite said:
As said, Prof. Craig is probably the best apologist for the fundaments of theism and Christianity in public debate today.

Being an excellen apologist and debater is not the same as being a philosopher. A very good philosophical argument may well be so arcane for the general public to the point of being useless in public debates.

In public debates your main skill is rethoric and if you are an ethical person it  will be rethoric based on real facts and not in the skill to convince only. Actually, Schopenhauer if I'm not mistaken, says that rethoric is exclusevily the skilfull use of true facts and logic as basis to convince, whereas "eristiscs" would be the flawed or ill-intended use of falacies and psychological tricks to convince without any real reason.

Prof. Craig is clearly a very good and uniquely informed debater and apologist. His properly philosophical work seems to be in the are of the theology of time, and I haven't read anything more substantial to even know what it looks like.
But WLC is a philosopher.  I must agree with you somewhat, in that I think he is a populariser of the key points of many scientists and fellow philosophers.  I don't know of any raw-intellectual material that he's generated personally, but he has honed the works of others and presented them in concise groups of premises.  Still, I've noticed that people (usually his non-believing detractors) label him as merely as "Christian apologist" while his opponents have their full titles given to them.
Well, for one, I don't think there is nothing "mere" about being an apologist, and one at his level. I wish I could defend the faith like that. From the debates I've watched on Youtube, many of his opponents titles are absolutely irrelevant for the issues they wanted to pontificate on.  The very fact their titles are mentioned is an eristic tool itself, trying to gain people by an appeal to authority.
 

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Fabio Leite said:
john_mo said:
Fabio Leite said:
As said, Prof. Craig is probably the best apologist for the fundaments of theism and Christianity in public debate today.

Being an excellen apologist and debater is not the same as being a philosopher. A very good philosophical argument may well be so arcane for the general public to the point of being useless in public debates.

In public debates your main skill is rethoric and if you are an ethical person it  will be rethoric based on real facts and not in the skill to convince only. Actually, Schopenhauer if I'm not mistaken, says that rethoric is exclusevily the skilfull use of true facts and logic as basis to convince, whereas "eristiscs" would be the flawed or ill-intended use of falacies and psychological tricks to convince without any real reason.


Prof. Craig is clearly a very good and uniquely informed debater and apologist. His properly philosophical work seems to be in the are of the theology of time, and I haven't read anything more substantial to even know what it looks like.
But WLC is a philosopher.  I must agree with you somewhat, in that I think he is a populariser of the key points of many scientists and fellow philosophers.  I don't know of any raw-intellectual material that he's generated personally, but he has honed the works of others and presented them in concise groups of premises.  Still, I've noticed that people (usually his non-believing detractors) label him as merely as "Christian apologist" while his opponents have their full titles given to them.
Well, for one, I don't think there is nothing "mere" about being an apologist, and one at his level. I wish I could defend the faith like that. From the debates I've watched on Youtube, many of his opponents titles are absolutely irrelevant for the issues they wanted to pontificate on.  The very fact their titles are mentioned is an eristic tool itself, trying to gain people by an appeal to authority.
I believe that some appeal to authority is helpful, but yeah, it can be over-stated.  This is particularly so when it comes to scientists.  I've seen some of the scientists debated say some of the most tunnel-visioned, illogical trash only to have atheists say "He's a scientist! He knows what he's talking about!".  The debates with Dr Lawrence Krauss comes to mind.
 

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William Lane Craig is often superior to his secular interlocutors, but I can think of several Christian Philosophers better at what they do, such as:

David Bentley Hart
Alvin Plantinga
Edward Feser
 
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