Sunday, May 1, 2011

William Lane Craig - Apologetics that strain out a gnat but swallow a camel

"You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel."
- Jesus according to Matthew 23:24

A Christian Apologist like William Lane Craig does not study Science or philosophy because he wants to understand and know more for the sake of curiosity but instead he uses knowledge as a will to ideological power. A means of intimidation and manipulation. Craig is the Christian Orientalist and Colonialist in the manner of the critique of Edward Said. Edward Said noted that Western Colonial powers studied a culture not to genuinely understand it but rather to dominate and control it. Craig uses science and philosophy when it is convenient to his ideology. Craig uses knowledge instead of truly seeking knowledge. William Lane Craig for that reason is a corrupt philosopher. Knowledge as a will to power not as a will to truth. He seeks to win not to be wise.

There is a high degree of smugness with William Lane Craig. Ernest Becker noted that dogma gives the human the ability to be smug about death and terror. Voltaire stated that doubt is uncomfortable but certainty ridiculous. The Apologist strains at the Scientific theory of evolution but swallows extraordinary Biblical claims.
Craig's ability to be smug when he believes in Biblical miracles is surely a sign the Enlightenment never really took to American Society. William Lane Craig's apologetic presentations may be organized and disciplined in his delivery but it lacks the meat and weight of the burden of the philosopher. Craig is a suppressed philosopher who has never wrestled with despair and never allowed for the release of the Titans in his mind.

Michel de Montaigne said that "Philosophy is Doubt" but for WLC it is his faith. Faith in his credentials even more than his God.
He attacked Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins for being philosophical lightweights compared to his credentials and yet most of the Christian community he swims in are full of people much less educated than Christopher Hitchens or Dawkins. And what about his own weaknesses including his lack of credentials in Biology or Astronomy? Dr. Craig speaks of Richard Dawkins and the New Atheists lack of command of philosophy and theology and yet I wonder if his lack of scientific specialization ever gives him any pause? WLC lacks the education Dawkins has in Biology. Should WLC get a doctorate in Biology before he discusses anything to do with Science?

WLC does not chastise the lack of scholarly knowledge in the faith community that he swims in as long as they agree to his vision of God. For William Lane Craig it is not the pursuit of knowledge that matters but instead that you submit to his ideology. Craig does not want people to study more he wants an Amen from the credulous crowd. For Craig there is no pressing need for Christians to study more just trust in his scholarship and pay him to go up against those troublesome skeptics. If there was a true scholarly revolution in the American Church there would be less faith and more doubts in the fundamentalism that Craig champions. If more Christians were sophisticated Bible Scholars there would be more Crossans, Borgs and Ehrmans and less fundamentalism like Craigs brand. Craig does not give good reasons for faith in Jesus but he gives good reasons for faith in himself! Craig gives believers less educated than Hitchens reasons to feel good about themselves being credulous. If an educated man like Craig is a believer than I am ok. Craig shows contempt for the layman and yet he expects the layman to follow him without question. Again this points to his desire for the layman to submit more to his scholarship not to study more for themselves.

WLC lacks humility and imagination. Wisdom requires some humility. Knowledge requires curiosity and compassionate people need imagination to be empathetic. Craig lacks on all three fronts except in knowledge as a will to power. In his debate with Victor Stenger the topic of Christianity coming late in evolution and human history was brought up. Craig actually got into the numbers game of how many humans suffered and died before Jesus showed up in human history. Something Adolf Eichmann would surely appreciate. Millions are just statistics to the theological technician. The lack of empathy and imagination is there to see-(it was only millions of Jews who perished in the holocaust not billions?) what empathy! -if this is where Christian Apologists want to make their stand there is no amount of shame possible to get them to be people of compassion.

Mary Jo Sharp has a blog called “Confident Christianity” with the type of followers of William Lane Craig it should be called “Arrogant Christianity.” WLC followers are so enamored with his presentation, organization and discipline that they forget what really matters is if he is speaking for the truth or not. What matters to them is that he gets his God concept off on a theological technicality instead of caring for the reality of whether God does exist or whether Jesus is God. What matters to them is that he wins a point or two in debate tactic comparisons versus the unadulterated truth. This insecure juvenile reaction of cocky Christianity lacks the humility of the Nazarene and the faith of the early Christians. It is American Christianity with an emphasis on winning a game instead of sincere faith in the man of sorrow in early Christianity. Christian apologetics as entertainment value not a way to wrestle with knowledge and God. No matter how many philosophical cliffs WLC takes you to he still has no bridge to build to his Christian God. In the end it takes a leap of faith. But the prideful Craig has a hard time admitting that leap.

The Christian message from the Gospel of John is God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish...after listening to WLC you would think it is God so logically and reasonably gave his son to the world that whoever becomes a theological expert shall not perish.

Mark 10:15 (New King James Version)
" Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."

For William Lane Craig it takes a scholar and a scholar who agrees with him completely! Where does reason end and faith begin for Craig? Reasonable Faith is more like faith in Craig's twisted sophistry. If it is not faith is it Christianity? Is it faith in himself? What is the genuine anchor for Craig? What would the New Testament look like if you tear the word faith out of it?

1 Corinthians 1:20-
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
Jeremiah 9: 23
This is what the LORD says:
"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches,but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.

Where is the humility, kindness, justice and genuine faith in William Lane Craig's Christian Apologetics? It lacks these but it has plenty of pride, sophistry, smugness and indifference.
"Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete." -The Apostle Paul
William Lane Craig is a human mortal with all the limitation, baggage and bias that we all carry. His knowledge is incomplete. He needs faith to get to the Christian God. Can he even admit what the Apostle Paul stated? Or is he so invested in protecting his pride and his tribe that he fails to see his own weakness and fragility?

The irony of this argument from Christian apologists who say that there needs to be a higher degree of biblical scholarship before commenting is that most of the Christian beliefs they defend are believed by people who have no such scholarship. IF more Christians studied the Bible at a higher level I think there would be more doubt and less fundamentalism. Is this what christian apologists want? More likely they use it to bully people into silence and obfuscation.

"They muddy the water, to make it seem deep."


mattetho said...

I know Bill Craig and he is neither "smug" nor proud. He is a humble, gentle and wise man. Not to mention that he destroys atheists who take him on. In opposition to this very inaccuate misleading blog, Professor Craig is the most brilliant and knowledable academic in the world. People that write nasty blogs like this one are very jealous, moreover, they have never met Professor Craig.

pangeaprogress said...

You said he "destroys" atheists which goes to my point how Christian Apology is a game of identity politics and a will to dominate the other to defend your own ego not to defend genuine faith. Christian Apologists should tear the word faith out of the Bible because it has become meaningless to their position. This is not about jealousy but a comparative look at Dr. Craig and New Testament Christianity that was about faith not pride.