William Lane Craig
The anthropic principle or the associated anthropic coincidences have been used by philosophers such as John Leslie (1989), William Lane Craig (1988) and Richard Swinburne (1990) to support the thesis that God exists. In this paper I shall examine Swinburne’s argument from the anthropic coincidences. I will show that Swinburne’s premises, coupled with his principle of credulity and the failure of his theodicy in The Existence of God, disconfirms theism and confirms instead the hypothesis that there exists a malevolent creator of the universe.
One of the more dramatic debating maneuver used by Christian apologists against atheists is to argue that atheists can provide no objective reason for not raping people. This startling claim follows from the apologists’ wider claim that atheists can provide no objective moral reasons for anything. In this paper I will examine both claims in context of the debate between atheism and theism.
Vuletic examines and attempts to refute two different moral arguments for the existence of God: the metaphysical moral argument and the epistemological moral argument. (This paper replaces Vuletic’s 1997 paper “Against the Moral Argument.)
The book is composed mainly of previously published pieces. […] Given the cost of the book and the accessibility of the prior publications, it seems to me that this is not exactly value for money.
A critical response to Craig’s historical arguments for the Resurrection.
Contra Craig by Mark Smith. (Off Site)
A site devoted to dissecting & disemboweling the arguments of Christianity’s #1 living apologist: Dr. William Lane Craig.
In Reasonable Faith, William Lane Craig makes a sharp distinction between knowing that God exists and being able to show this. He maintains that one knows that Christianity is true ‘by the self-authenticating witness of God’s Holy Spirit.’ … I will argue that Craig fails to make clear what an experience of the Holy Spirit is and does not justify his thesis that this experience is universal, veridical, and unmistakable. I will further maintain that, even if one grants his position, his claim that nonbelievers are without excuse for nonbelieving must be rejected unless one assumes that all beliefs are actions, and that he gives no reason to accept this assumption.
Wanchick evaluates a sampling of Michael Martin’s Internet publications, particularly his “Problems with Heaven” and “Craig’s Holy Spirit Epistemology.” On the former, Wanchick contends that Martin’s arguments “are aimed largely at conceptions of Heaven that the vast majority of the Christian community would reject” and that his relevant arguments are “less than impressive.” In his analysis of the latter, Wanchick critiques five objections Martin offers to the sort of Holy Spirit epistemology offered by William Lane Craig, concluding that “Dr. Martin’s objections to this kind of Christian epistemology are largely mistaken.”
Martin contends not only that there are serious problems with the Christian concept of Heaven, but also that although belief in Heaven may sometimes be liberating, it has more often been politically and socially repressive, hindering social change and making people complacent about poverty, political oppression, and injustice. Wanchick’s assertion that everyone has had an experience of some God or other has no empirical support, and “conflicts with the apparently sincere claim of many atheists that they have had no religious experience…. Given conflicting religious experiences there is no reason to suppose that they have any validity at all.”
Craig’s Empty Tomb (Review of In Defense of Miracles) (1999, 2005) by Richard Carrier
In this paper Arnold T. Guminski examines the modal ontological argument based upon possible worlds semantics expounded by Alvin Plantinga and further developed and defended by William Lane Craig. In section A Guminski discloses the flawed underlying assumptions of this Plantinga modal ontological argument (PMOA). In section B he defends the “anti – Plantinga modal ontological argument – argument” (or anti-PMOA-argument) by showing that a maximally great being is not broadly logically possible. In section C Guminski shows that the anti-PMOA-argument is amply confirmed since the procedure used to construct the PMOA plausibly allows the construction of arguments relevantly similar to the PMOA, but inconsistent with it. Section D explains why that which is broadly logically possible/necessary ought to be distinguished from that which is metaphysically possible/necessary. Section E considers the plausibility of premise 1 of the PMOA according to the writings of other scholars.
In a popular article about general arguments from evil against the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly good God, William Lane Craig raises objections to such arguments that are consistent with those he earlier raised against Paul Draper’s evidential pain-and-pleasure argument from evil in an oral debate with Draper in 1998. In this article Jeffrey Jay Lowder considers whether Craig’s points have any force in rebutting Draper’s writings on his pain-and-pleasure argument, ultimately concluding that they leave Draper’s argument unscathed.
William Lane Craig has argued for the historicity of Jesus’ empty tomb on the basis of ten lines of evidence. In response, Jeffery Jay Lowder argued that Craig had not yet shown that any of his ten items of evidence make the empty tomb more probable than not. Anne A. Kim has attempted to defend some of Craig’s arguments against Lowder’s objections, but as Lowder shows in this response to Kim, Kim has repeatedly misunderstood his points and attacked caricatures of his arguments rather than his actual arguments.
The key premise of the fine-tuning argument for the existence of God is the alleged improbability of the physical constants taking on values that fall within the narrow life-friendly range. In this paper Aron Lucas examines whether this improbability alone is enough to ground a successful theistic argument from design. He concludes that the fine-tuning proponent is impaled on the horns of a trilemma: he can either reject the argument for having a false premise, reject it for being circular, or accept it at the cost of rejecting the moral argument for the existence of God.
Narveson refutes the ontological, cosmological, teleological, and moral arguments. Narveson points out that if we are going to use theism as an explanation for the alleged fine-tuning of the universe, then we must know what God’s plan was and how he did it. It may be that God’s plan is beyond human comprehension, but in that case theism cannot be considered an explanation.
Where did evil in the world come from? In this article Edouard Tahmizian considers God’s causal influence on the origin of evil. He aims to show that, if biblical hard determinism is true, God would be the efficient cause of Adam and Eve’s transgression—the original sin that the rest of humanity inherited when the first humans, Adam and Eve, purportedly ate fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil according to the Book of Genesis. Moreover, he argues, even if biblical hard determinism is not true and all events could have turned out differently, God would still be the final cause of Adam and Eve’s sin, making him at least somewhat causally responsible for the sin of Adam and Eve that we all purportedly inherited. In the end, Tahmizian’s analysis implies that God is ultimately the source of all evil.
In these slides for his opening statement in his debate with Michael Licona on July 1, 2012 at Antioch Temecula Church in Temecula, California, Robert Greg Cavin presents one of the strongest cases against the resurrection of Jesus ever presented, decisively refuting arguments for the Resurrection by prominent Christian apologists Timothy McGrew, Lydia McGrew, Richard Swinburne, William Lane Craig, Stephen T. Davis, Gary Habermas, Michael Licona, Norman Geisler, Josh McDowell, and Lee Strobel. Cavin makes three main contentions: (1) the prior probability of a supernatural resurrection of Jesus by God is so astronomically low that it has virtually no plausibility; (2) theorizing such a resurrection to explain the empty tomb and postmortem appearances of Jesus is ad hoc and devoid of nearly any explanatory power and scope; and (3) a far superior alternative theory can account for the empty tomb and postmortem appearances. In defending these three contentions, Cavin refutes sixteen myths perpetuated by Christians apologists about critics’ objections to the Resurrection.
Lowder provides a point-by-point rebuttal to Craig’s case for the empty tomb. Along the way, Lowder defends a naturalistic explanation of the empty tomb. He concludes that historians should be agnostic about the empty tomb story.
Kirby presents the arguments both for and against the historicity of the empty tomb. “Sum of Points Against the Empty Tomb: 24 Points. Sum of Points For the Empty Tomb: 10 Points.”
Why is there so much human suffering in the world if God is all good and all powerful? According to Craig, God aims for the maximal number of people as possible to know God and His salvation. Yet if this truly were God’s goal, there are many things which God could have done (but did not) and which do not involve suffering. Also, it is empirically false that suffering leads to knowledge of God. Moreover, if Craig’s theodicy were true, then God should actually increase the amount of suffering in the world.
In Hume’s Abject Failure, philosopher John Earman argues that David Hume’s famous maxim that no testimony is sufficient to establish that a miracle has occurred unless its falsehood would be more miraculous than the miracle itself is just a trivial tautology, namely that we should not believe a miracle claim unless the evidence makes it more probable than not. But even if this interpretation is correct, contemporary Christian apologists fail to satisfy Hume’s purportedly obvious condition that it must be more probable that a miracle occurred than that it did not occur when they argue that the miraculous resurrection of Jesus probably occurred.
In a recent article, William Lane Craig claims that critics of his kalam argument have failed to address what he perceives as his “strongest arguments in favour of the impossibility of the existence of an actual infinite, those based on inverse operations performed with transfinite numbers.” Oppy considers those arguments and concludes they do “nothing to advance his [Craig’s] attempts to defend the claim that kalam cosmological arguments are probative.”
According to a form of the kalam cosmological argument expounded by William Lane Craig, there cannot be a beginningless temporal world because the application of Cantorian set theory of transfinite arithmetic to the real world generates counterintuitive absurdities, thereby disclosing that an infinite set of real entities is metaphysically impossible. This article shows how this is not the case by pursuing a novel approach wherein it is understood that an infinite set of real entities is not a set, considered as a technical term of art, within the meaning of Cantorian theory. Upon accepting the original version for publication, Quentin Smith, then editor of Philo, wrote: “Your paper has been studied thoroughly for some time and there is agreement that it is at least an undercutting defeater of [William Lane] Craig’s beliefs about real infinites, probably even an overriding defeater. More importantly, it introduces a novel metaphysical theory of the relation of transfinite arithmetic to concrete reality.” Guminski’s persuasive challenge to Craig’s account of why Cantorian transfinite arithmetic should not be deemed to apply to the world of concrete entities has yet to be answered by Craig. The world wonders.
Arnold T. Guminski’s “The Kalam Cosmological Argument: The Question of the Metaphysical Possibility of an Infinite Set of Real Entities” showed that the argument by William Lane Craig and others that real infinites are metaphysically impossible presupposes the standard version (SV) of how Cantorian set theory presumably applies to the real world. This is the case because it is the application of SV to the real world which generates counterintuitive absurdities. However, there Guminski also showed that there is an alternative version (AV) of applying Cantorian set theory to the real world, the application of which does not generate counterintuitive absurdities. In the present paper he shows that given AV, an infinite temporal series is metaphysically possible, producing a result that should be equally satisfying to both theists and nontheists who are loath to believe that a beginningless temporal world is metaphysically impossible. However much theists and nontheists may disagree about other issues, they are at least able to agree upon one important thing: the kalam cosmological argument fails insofar as it is grounded upon the alleged metaphysical impossibility of an infinite temporal series.
William Lane Craig’s kalam cosmological argument maintains that the universe had a beginning. One of his arguments for this premise aims to show that a beginningless universe is metaphysically impossible, either because an actual infinite cannot exist because it would result in counterintuitive absurdities, or because time consists of a temporal series of events formed by successive addition, and that it’s not possible for any such series to be an actual infinite. In the first of two previous papers, Arnold T. Guminski presents his solution to the problem of counterintuitive absurdities, which he believes results from applying Cantorian theory to the real world. However, his alternative version of the application of Cantorian theory to the real world attempts to achieve by a priori methods what can only be accomplished a posteriori, raises the question of whether a set theory can be fully developed that is consistent with it, and addresses “counterintuitive absurdities” that are not absurdities at all. In his second paper, Guminski correctly argues that it’s possible for time to have no beginning by showing that the totality of all time need not be formed by successive addition, but this argument succeeds independently of his alternative version of the application of Cantorian theory to the real world, rendering it unnecessary.
In this third paper about the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA), Guminski shows how William Lane Craig has developed a mutated form of the argument such that it presupposes the metaphysical possibility of an infinite temporal series of finite duration. The Kalam Cosmological Argument As Amended (KCAAA) thus contradicts a key component of the KCA: that any infinite temporal series is metaphysically impossible. The KCAAA relies upon the Standard Big Bang Model as providing the supposed factual basis for concluding that the universe has a finite but indefinite past, thus involving an infinite temporal series of finite duration. Guminski argues why there is good reason to hold that any infinite temporal series of finite duration is metaphysically impossible given the A-theory of time, absolute simultaneity, and some complementary doctrines–assumptions that Craig accepts. Given these assumptions, however, the KCAAA fails.
Some Christian philosophers and apologists have vigorously mounted a moral argument for God’s existence made apart from the standard nonmoral grounds. The moral argument is based upon the idea of natural moral law (fundamental moral principles and norms apprehended as such by persons of good will as universally binding and not based upon supernatural revelation or divine positive law). In this expanded version of a talk given to the University of Colorado Theology Forum, Arnold T. Guminski aims to show why those naturalists and theists who hold that the natural moral law obtains should conclude that the moral argument for the existence of God is unsound. Particular attention is given to the writings of J. P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, and Paul Copan.
Part of Gerkin’s comprehensive review of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Faith, Strobel’s interview with Craig is analyzed and critiqued.
Objection #2: Since Miracles Contradict Science, They Cannot Be True (5th ed., 2020) by Paul Doland
Part of Doland’s comprehensive review of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Faith, Strobel’s interview with William Lane Craig is analyzed and critiqued.
Kalam cosmological arguments have recently been the subject of criticisms, at least inter alia, by physicists–Paul Davies, Stephen Hawking–and philosophers of science–Adolf Grünbaum. In a series of recent articles, William Craig has attempted to show that these criticisms are “superficial, ill-conceived, and based on misunderstanding”. I argue that, while some of the discussion of Davies and Hakwing is not philosophically sophisticated, the points raised by Davies, Hawking and Grünbaum do suffice to undermine the dialectical efficacy of kalam cosmological arguments.
Smith argues that Craig, along with Plantinga and Markosian, have given no satisfactory answers to Hawking’s famous question, namely, if quantum cosmology is true, ‘what place, then, for a creator?’
Oppy argues that “there is not the slightest reason to think that kalam cosmological arguments should be dialectically effective against reasonable and reflective opponents.”
The massive Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology aims to be the standard reference work supplying the best reasons to believe that God exists from the foremost experts on various arguments for the existence of God. It is not recommended for readers without some background knowledge of the philosophy of religion, modal logic, and Bayesian confirmation theory. Nevertheless, it cannot be ignored by anyone who wishes to argue that belief in God is irrational or intellectually bankrupt. In this review, Aron Lucas focuses on its chapters on the kalam cosmological argument, the fine-tuning argument, the moral argument, and the argument from miracles. Despite some valuable novel contributions, the volume focuses too heavily on defending some premises while ignoring others, and is highly technical even for advanced readers, with one argument presented in 87 steps purely using symbolic logic. One can only wonder why God would make the evidence for his existence accessible only to a select handful of professional academics, let alone punish people with eternal torment because they failed to properly apply Bayesian reasoning to little known historical data. The very fact that the volume needs to dig so deep in order to make its case is, in a way, evidence against the existence of God.
William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith is an apologetics textbook ranging over arguments for the existence of God to the alleged evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. It also includes discussions of Craig’s views on faith, the meaning of life, miracles, history, and Jesus’ view of himself, as well as an original chapter on the reliability of the New Testament by evangelical New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg. In this critique Chris Hallquist argues that at best Reasonable Faith provides thoughtful arguments for the existence of some sort of God, but not the Christian God specifically, and that Craig fails to adequately answer arguments that belief in miracles–including belief in the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection–is unwarranted. Moreover, by implication Craig wants his audience to renounce the basic moral notion that no one deserves eternal punishment for picking the wrong religion. In the end, Craig wants us to believe something that all reason is against, though paradoxically every apologetic assumes that we must take reason seriously. This is, ultimately, why Craig’s apologetic fails.
Includes a brief response to the causal principle in Craig’s kalam cosmological argument.
“Appeals to the alleged ‘fine-tuning’ of the cosmos will have to wait until there is a compelling, definite reason to suspect that the existence of our universe really is improbable. Vague analogies with firing squads and arbitrarily selected probabilities may lead to some interesting speculations, but they do not point to any significant evidence for some kind of creator.”
For the teleological argument to have any significance on probabilistic grounds, the proponent of the argument must provide some evidence that the actual number of universes is much less than the number of universes necessary to make the existence of a universe with observers probable. The WAP makes it clear that the mere improbability of our own universe is not evidence for divine design. Without evidence for divine design, there is no rational basis for belief in a designer.
In this explanation of why he is not a Christian, Keith Parsons discusses the role that Christianity has played in perpetuating suffering throughout human history, the bizarre doctrine of inflicting eternal punishment on persons for having the wrong beliefs, the composition, inconsistencies, and absurdities of the New Testament Gospels, William Lane Craig’s flawed case for the resurrection of Jesus, the role of legendary development and hallucinations in early Christianity, and C.S. Lewis’ weak justifications for the Christian prohibition on premarital sex.
This essay addresses William Lane Craig’s argument to the effect that “tests” from Herodotus demonstrate that myths or legends (such as resurrection appearances or an empty tomb) cannot grow within a single generation. By misrepresenting a single source, Craig creates an empty argument out of whole cloth. Moreover, he never addresses (or else dismisses outright) rather basic questions about treating the Gospels as history.
Debates Available in Streaming Audio/Video:
The Craig-Tooley Debate: Does God Exist? (1994) [ Index ] (Off Site)
The Craig-Washington Debate: Does God Exist? (1995) [ Index ]
The Craig-Smith Debate: Does the Universe Have a Divine Cause? (1996) (Off Site)
The Jesseph-Craig Debate: Does God Exist? (1996) [ Index ]
The Craig-Curley Debate (1998) [ Index ] (Off Site)
Debate Summaries and Assessments:
Keith Parson’s summary of his debate with Craig on the topic, “Why I Am/Am Not a Christian.”
A summary of Craig’s debate with Gerd Lüdemann on the Resurrection.
Actually, the title of this article should be called, “A Craig-Smith Debate,” for Craig and Smith have debated more than once. This article contains, in their own words, Craig’s and Smith’s accounts of the debate.
A summary and assessment of the 1997 debate on the existence of God between William Lane Craig and Doug Jesseph. Lowder concludes that the overall debate was a draw (in terms of quality of argument), but that Craig won as far as the effectiveness of presentation was concerned.
A summary of the 2001 debate between Paul Kurtz and William Lane Craig on ethics without God.
“If Craig has confidence in his own arguments, he should not be afraid to subject them to critical (or even hostile) scrutiny.”
William Lane Craig has decided to allow electronic publication of his remarks in the Craig-Washington Debate, on the condition that they be stored on a Christian server.
Craig has allowed the publication of both the Craig-Washington Debate and the Jesseph-Craig Debate, with Craig’s portions residing on his web page at Leadership University and with the atheist portions residing on the Secular Web.