Dawkins: "the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists."

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TylerR's picture

Editor

He certainly appears to have put the fear of God into Dawkins, who has been too cowardly to debate Craig.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

Thought this was funny. It is true, too . . .

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Daniel.Viezbicke's picture

... Sam Harris did. Read the article again. Title of this posting is incorrect.

Easton's picture

Sam Harris made the statement -- the article is improperly titled here on SI.

Plus, the emphasis seems to be who is the better debater, who has the winning technique, rather than ultimately proving anything.

christian cerna's picture

Do these debates really accomplish anything? Or are they merely two men trying to prove who has the bigger brain?

I think most of the people who attend one of these debates is already either a believer who wishes to root for Craig, or an Atheist who will support the Atheist speaker. In the end, no matter who wins, I doubt it will win many over to the other side. The perceived loser will just go back and work on some other argument to prove his position.

 

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

They have value far beyond their immediate audience. I am not a Wesleyan like Craig, so while I appreciate much of what he has to say, I don't use it much. However, I have used many apologetic debates from other men in Youth Group, Sunday School and our theology class at my church. It puts two positions on the record in an engaging format, aside from reading a textbook. I recently showed clips from a debate James White did on whether homosexuality is compatible with authentic Christianity at my church's theology class. It went over very well.

These debates are apologetic tools that have immense value. Craig himself has said that he has no delusions of converting any of his opponents; they are likely not listening anyway. He is doing it to reach the 19-yr old students in the audience. He views the debates as an evangelistic tool to reach young adults in their university years.

 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Andrew K.'s picture

TylerR wrote:

They have value far beyond their immediate audience. I am not a Wesleyan like Craig, so while I appreciate much of what he has to say, I don't use it much. However, I have used many apologetic debates from other men in Youth Group, Sunday School and our theology class at my church. It puts two positions on the record in an engaging format, aside from reading a textbook. I recently showed clips from a debate James White did on whether homosexuality is compatible with authentic Christianity at my church's theology class. It went over very well.

These debates are apologetic tools that have immense value. Craig himself has said that he has no delusions of converting any of his opponents; they are likely not listening anyway. He is doing it to reach the 19-yr old students in the audience. He views the debates as an evangelistic tool to reach young adults in their university years.

 

Exactly. As a persuasive tool, debate is limited in value.

But as a teaching tool, demonstrating how differing positions interact with each other and--ideally, I admit--bringing forward the best each position has to offer in a respectful manner, I find debates helpful, fascinating, and mentally stimulating.

I enjoy James White's debates myself, agreeing more with his theological assumptions, but I've learned a lot about science and philosophy from William Lane Craig's debates.

I think a lot of the negativity with regard to debate is the result of people missing this educational function.

神是爱

Marsilius's picture

Thanks very much for posting this. I am impressed with what Craig has been doing, and learned more through it. Though I do not agree with everything Craig says, he is a real ally to all Bible believers. For nearly a century, evolutionists were successful at making those who believed Genesis 1 look silly,  until people like Henry Morris and John Whitcomb began countering them with scientific and biblical arguments. Now there are hundreds of Ph.Ds in scientific fields in the US who are creationists or ID proponents (all opponents of evolution). What is more, the trailblazers of the first generation and those in generations after them (like Answers in Genesis) have helped Christians to speak about their Bibles with confidence.

William Lane Craig has simply taken this same apologetic into the philosophical field. He has mastered arguments against atheists and secularists, so that they have a much harder time using slight of hand to convince young people not to believe in the God of the Bible. And this is also precisely what the church fathers in the first four centuries of Christianity did. Either Christians can take the path of the early church fathers on this issue, or they can pull back into their enclaves and make pronouncements about foolish educated unbelievers. The latter will not be very effective in the long run. All of us who share the Gospel with others use reasoned arguments (even if you declare that all you use is Scripture). Craig is simply doing the same thing on an expert level.

If it had not been for Morris and Whitcomb, I would have remained a theistic evolutionist. They gave me good reasons to reject evolution, and not to re-interpret the Bible. The impact of your life for Christ is directly related to your trust in the Scriptures. If you cannot fully trust the Bible because scholars contradict it, then you need help in understanding how those scholars are wrong-headed. In the years of my ministry, I have met lots of other people who have gone through the same experience. Some of them became pastors. Some of them became missionaries. I have also personally seen people come to Christ after the skeptical roadblocks were removed. Just because Craig's ministry isn't necessary for everyone doesn't mean it isn't necessary. Thank God for William Lane Craig.

Finally, the most interesting person in the article, to me, was the unnamed high school girl who witnessed to Craig. Would that every Christian young person were like her.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I do not like Craig's evidential apologetic approach and I really disagree with him on his un-Biblical theology. He is also way off with his Molinism. I've listened to perhaps 15 of Craig's debates. Craig is probably the best debater I have ever heard. He is machine-like in his precision. The article is spot-on with that point.

He has done much for the cause of Christ.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?