CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

On his blog Reasonable faith Craig answers questions. I made a post to him about the rancor and hostility on message boards these days. Be sure and read the whole thing because he answers an atheist letter too. Here is part of mine:

I have been doing Christian apologetics on the net for ten years. I have a Masters degree from Perkins School of Theology, and I was a doctoral candidate in history of ideas for ten years, but was forced to give my studies due to family tragedies.

I also host several message boards and have done so since 1999. I have grown increasingly frustrated and angry over the nature of the atheist mentality on message boards. It was nothing like it is now when I first discovered boards. It used to be fun. I used to get the better of them all the time. I used be liked and appreciated for my learning and my knowledge.

It's not about me, I'm not doing it to win arguments. But that is a measure of how things have changed. Because I am now regarded as a total fool over the net. This not becasue my arguments suddenly got bad, it's becasue atheists realized that they could stop debating the issues and start debating me. Now the whole process of posting on boards is shut down for me. I can't go on a single board but that atheists don't starting ridiculing, they refuse to listen to the arguments. They try to find any sort of knit picking fault with every single thing I say.

As a member of the apologetics community on the net I am very alarmed by this. Essentially the message boards is gone as a tool of apologetics or evangelism. Atheists demonstrate more and more hatred all the time. On your very board just today an atheist ridiculed everything thing I said, although he didn't understand one word of it, and then announced that Christians are not worthy of respect.

I believe that the community of internet apologists must band together if we are going to change the atmosphere. We have to start banning people for insulting Christianity. Like any bully, they always back down if you stand up to them. They become more abusive if you try to be nice to them.

I believe we must start vigorously enforcing rules that forbid them from slandering Christians and Christianity. Almost all boards have rules that forbid abuse but no one enforces them against the little snide attitude of the atheist. We must begin doing this. We are not losing anything if we drive some away because they are turning the Gospel into a laughing stock anyway.

I hope you will consider what I've said. I am also open to other suggestions about what to do.

Sincerely, in Christ

Joe


Here is part of his answer:


I agree with you, Arash, that atheism is not an implausible worldview and that therefore the poverty of atheist argumentation cannot be written off to the bankruptcy of atheism itself. In my experience it seems rather to be due to simple ignorance of the literature.

Academics are narrowly focused in their respective areas of specialization and remain largely ignorant on subjects—especially subjects in which they have little interest—outside their chosen fields. When it comes to topics outside their areas of expertise, the opinions of great scientists, philosophers, and other academics carry no more weight than the pronouncements of a layman—indeed, on these subjects they are laymen. In scores of debates with non-theistic professors over the years, I've been astonished at the incredible ignorance of admittedly brilliant scholars when it comes to matters of theology and philosophy of religion.


that was speaking to the atheist. What get's is he says

Let me give some examples. My friend Quentin Smith, whom you mention, several years ago unceremoniously crowned Stephen Hawking's argument against God in A Brief History of Time as "the worst atheistic argument in the history of Western thought."1 With the publication of Richard Dawkins' "central argument" of his The God Delusion, which I have criticized elsewhere, the time has come, I think, to relieve Hawking of this weighty crown and to recognize Dawkins' accession to the throne. A number of years ago I heard the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg lecture at the conference "The Nature of Nature" at Baylor University. I was shocked to hear little more than the angry rant of a village atheist. Even philosophers who do not specialize in philosophy of religion can trip up when speaking outside their area of specialization in philosophy. Since you mention Dennett, take a look at the exchange I had with him at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary at their Greer-Heard conference in 2007 on atheism ("In Defense of Theistic Arguments," in The Future of Atheism: Alister McGrath and Daniel Dennett in Dialogue, ed. Robert Stewart [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, forthcoming]. His objections to the traditional theistic arguments were like those you'd confront in an undergraduate paper. When I finished my critique, he rose to the podium, paused, and then exclaimed, "That was a tour de force!" (In truth it was elementary.) So what was his response? He said basically, "I guess that shows that if you can infer an implausible conclusion from a set of plausible premises, then you just have to go back and deny some of those premises!"

Now if fine academics like these are out of their depth when it comes to philosophy of religion, how much more adrift are popularizers like Harris, Hitchens, and the like! The same goes, Joe, for the atheists you encounter on the message boards. You've got to keep in mind that many of these folks are just angry teenagers who have no academic training in the subject areas on which they confidently pronounce. Lacking the intellectual wherewithal to debate the issues, their only recourse is ridicule and sarcasm.

What these popularizers don't understand is that if you read the work of non-theistic scholars who are working in philosophy of religion, they don't treat theism with disrespect, neither do they greet Christians with derision. If you read a book like Graham Oppy's brilliant Arguing about Gods, for example, in which he hurls every conceivable objection against the theistic arguments, what you might miss is that at the end of the day Oppy is arguing that there are no rationally coercive arguments for God's existence (a thesis with which most Christian philosophers would probably agree!), but by the same token that neither are there any rationally coercive arguments against God's existence, so that theists can be perfectly rational in believing as they do. Very few people in the know would think that the disdain and condescension of these popularizers toward theists in general and Christians in particular is justified.

Now, as a Christian philosopher, I am in one sense tickled at this turn of events. Back in the thirties and forties during the dark days of the fundamentalist retreat from academia, the free-thought crowd was perhaps justified in looking down their noses at the Christian subculture. They could posture themselves as the champions of rationality and treat Christians as intellectually second-rate. Now, by contrast, the free-thought subculture finds itself on the losing end of the intellectual contest. It is out of date with regard to philosophical work on arguments for God's existence, out of touch with the flourishing dialogue between science and religion going on today, stuck in the old warfare metaphor of Andrew Dickson White, and mired in nineteenth century biblical criticism and mythological interpretive frameworks for understanding the historical Jesus. I am positively exultant about how the landscape has changed!

Of course, as you complain, Joe, it can be galling to have to put up with the arrogance and condescension of people who are sometimes so invincibly ignorant. But then what do you expect? Take some time to meditate on the opening chapters of I Corinthians. Look how many times Paul uses the words "foolish" or "fool." Paul says that the message of the Gospel is folly to the unbelieving world, that the natural man without the Spirit of God regards spiritual things as foolish, that "If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise" (I Cor. 3.18). To his detractors who belittled him Paul wrote, "We are fools for Christ's sake" (I Cor. 4.10). I am convinced that until a person is ready to swallow his pride and be thought a fool for Christ's sake, he is not ready to be fully used by God.

Of course, it should go without saying that we should not in fact be foolish or second-rate in our scholarship. We should pursue excellence and take up Charles Malik's call to challenge secular scholars on their own terms of scholarship. We should be intellectually humble and ready to learn from our critics and open to their criticism. We may find that we have made mistakes and need to revise or abandon our argument. But in the end we need to be prepared to be ridiculed as fools for Christ's sake.

Sure, it hurts when people don't appreciate you or your work. But here we can draw encouragement from Jesus' words, "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matt. 5.11-12). Do you really believe that, Joe? Then rejoice! Let's not indulge in feeling sorry for ourselves but be glad that we have the honor of bearing the same opprobrium that fell upon our Lord.

Rather than be angry with those who ridicule us, we need to consider the source and feel compassion for such lost souls. I'm reminded of a saying I once heard: "I could no more be angry with him than if a blind man had stepped on my foot."

Your point about the evangelistic ineffectiveness of message boards is a practical concern that those who spend time on such boards need to weigh seriously. Our Open Forum at Reasonable Faith is not intended primarily to serve an evangelistic purpose but to promote discussion of important issues among anyone who cares to participate. It is my hope that Christians will be deepened in their grasp of Christian truth through such discussion.

Keep in mind, too, that hundreds of people are reading your exchange with some recalcitrant atheist and watching how you respond. As in my public debates, the object of such an exchange may not be to convince the person with whom you are engaged but to convince the open-minded seekers in your audience. The nastiness and closed-mindedness of your interlocutor in contrast to your charitable spirit can actually be a benefit to your case.

I do completely concur with you on the need for civility. That's why I insisted on describing our Forum as "substantive, irenic discussion of issues." But I'm not going to ban people who lack the maturity to be civil. I would simply agree with Chris Weaver when he advised, just don't respond to such people. Let their posts sink into oblivion until they learn how to treat those with whom they disagree with charity and respect.


Smith is the major atheist philosopher, yet Craig calls him "my friend." These guys are gentlemen as well as scholars. They are not calling each other names. They don't see argument opponents as personal enemies.

21 comments:

is this the same William Lane Craig who thinks children should be killed if they would grow up to interfere with his alleged god's plans?

I quote :-



God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. The killing of the Canaanite children not only served to prevent assimilation to Canaanite identity but also served as a shattering, tangible illustration of Israel’s being set exclusively apart for God.

Moreover, if we 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.


So Craig thinks there is 'no wrong' in god telling people to kill children because they are the wrong religion and could not be 'assimilated'?

Respect!

Other top Christian philosophers . like JP Moreland , openly state that they believe thoughts are being planted in their mind by outside forces.

Respect!

Hi Joe

If it's any encouragement, I really enjoy reading good apologetics, including this site.

...and I agree with Dr Craig, a bile-filled atheist, although initially repulsive, is ultimately just an advertisement for theism.

Joe,

you used to have the atheistwatch blog and you agreed it was full of hate towards atheists. Now you are wondering why atheists "refuse to listen to the arguments" and why some of them think that you as a Christian "are not worthy of respect." Relax a bit, be respectful, ignore all the name callers and soon people start listening you... I don't think forum censorship is the answer, it will just move the problem to somewhere else.

BTW, there are fools and name callers on all sides of religious issues...

Joe,

you used to have the atheistwatch blog and you agreed it was full of hate towards atheists. Now you are wondering why atheists "refuse to listen to the arguments" and why some of them think that you as a Christian "are not worthy of respect." Relax a bit, be respectful, ignore all the name callers and soon people start listening you... I don't think forum censorship is the answer, it will just move the problem to somewhere else.

BTW, there are fools and name callers on all sides of religious issues...


that litlte bs game is growing pretty thin.

(1) I started the blog because you and your fellow Dawkies (Dawkamentalists) were spewing hatred everywhere I went. So Obviously I had a reason for it to begin with.

(2) I did not it was full of hate. you liars and you game playing fools who can't think never honestly faced the message like men. you steadfastly refused from post one on to ever see what I was saying.

I had many many caveats and statements that this pertain to all atheists and attempts to treat it as a clinical subject rather than a pissing contest, not one single atheist ever took any of that seriously. they set about defining it to their own advantage from day one.

(3) of course none of liars ever took the examples seriously or did anything about it. I had thousands of example of atheist using burning churches as metaphors and figurative speech, and that can't mean that's its just a metaphor when you keep repeating the same violent image, it's a wish its not a metaphor. always denied like the little liars you are.

(4) again, not all atheists, just the Dawkamentalists


(5) I did not say I was full of hate. I said finding examples of your hate caused me to focus on hate. you liars are so stupid you can't make a critical distinction.

that's why you are Dawkies. Dawkie are people who can't think.

Hi Joe

If it's any encouragement, I really enjoy reading good apologetics, including this site.

...and I agree with Dr Craig, a bile-filled atheist, although initially repulsive, is ultimately just an advertisement for theism.


hey thanks man.

is this the same William Lane Craig who thinks children should be killed if they would grow up to interfere with his alleged god's plans?

I quote :-





God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. The killing of the Canaanite children not only served to prevent assimilation to Canaanite identity but also served as a shattering, tangible illustration of Israel’s being set exclusively apart for God.

Is that he same thing as saying anyone anyone who doesn't fit God's plan should be killed? I think not. He's saying they were an extreme case.

besides I want proof that he said that. document the site.


Moreover, if we 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.


I quoted Craig answer to me because of what he said about having atheist freinds and being gentlemen and how the actual real thinkers don't confuse ridicule with argument. That does not commit me to defending everything Craig ever said. I think he makes mistakes on many things. I think the answer on this topic is not even close to sufficient and I would never use it. but that is neither here nor there. That does not invalidate everything he says.

You, like the like the Dawkamentalist you are, are confusing ridicule with argument.



So Craig thinks there is 'no wrong' in god telling people to kill children because they are the wrong religion and could not be 'assimilated'?

Respect!


I don't know what he thinks and I don't care.

Other top Christian philosophers . like JP Moreland , openly state that they believe thoughts are being planted in their mind by outside forces.

Respect!


Of course since you are afarid to read real theology, you will die think these guys are the be all end of Christian thought. the fact is you are coward and a bully and you are afiard to read the rea thinkers.

Read Kasemann, he was Craig's teacher but a very very diffeernt kind of thinker. He is a liberal, he studied with :Baultmann (wow that puts Loftus in the linage of Bautlmann).

try to stop being a coward and think like a man.

9/04/2008 10:33:00 PM

Loftus in the linage of Bautlmann: Lofuts, Craig, Kassemann, Bultmann.

I am in the Linage of John Rawls, Stphen Toolmann, and Heidegger.

HINMAN
I did not it was full of hate. you liars and you game playing fools who can't think never honestly

CARR
This is the sort of abuse that is indistinguishable from Christian love....

HINMAN
the fact is you are coward and a bully

HINMAN
Atheists demonstrate more and more hatred all the time.

HINMAN
I did not it was full of hate. you liars and you game playing fools who can't think never honestly

CARR
This is the sort of abuse that is indistinguishable from Christian love....

HINMAN
the fact is you are coward and a bully

HINMAN
Atheists demonstrate more and more hatred all the time.


now it's blame the victim time! how dare you insult that poor mugger who sent to all that trouble to go out in the middle of the night and hit you over the head. Don't you know how it makes him feel when you call the cops? It's almost as though you don't want him to have your money.

If what Hinman writes is not to be quoted, then he should say so.

I am not complaining because you quoted me. The fact is you dawkies spew hate all over the net and then treat anyone who is upset by ti as through they some kind of pariah.You called it. Your arrogance, your attitude of derision and ridicule and your refusal to think, your inability to think deeply about topics related to God, your hatred of God and of everything decent, these things are obvious. they are a stench stinking the entire web.

anyone who complains about it you treat like a criminal, the criminals hate group Dawkamentlaism truly is.

Joe said..Smith is the major atheist philosopher, yet Craig calls him "my friend." These guys are gentlemen as well as scholars. They are not calling each other names. They don't see argument opponents as personal enemies.

Neither do I, my friend. But what can get both you and I riled is when our respective opposing sides malign us. Then we fire back because we're humans. We wish we didn't have to deal with this Junior High mentality, don't we? I know I feel this way.

Hinman is one of the great abusers of the Internet, whose postings are full of childish abuse, even on this very thread!

I can quote dozens of passages where he calls people all sorts of vile names eg 'liars' and 'game-playing fools' 'Dawkies are people who can't think'

The irony of it all....

CRAIG
In scores of debates with non-theistic professors over the years, I've been astonished at the incredible ignorance of admittedly brilliant scholars when it comes to matters of theology and philosophy of religion.

CARR
So that is how Craig wins debates?

He picks incredibly ignorant people to debate with...

Steven,

If Craig were to pick incredibly ignorant people to debate with, he would spend more time on Discussion Boards on the Internet where riducule and uneducated comments seem to be the norm.

I certainly know exactly what Professor Craig is saying. I recently tried visiting a so-called rational discussion board at the invite of another person. I noted immediately that the board was dominated by a group of people who were all of one mind. I jumped in and disagreed with a point, and immediately it started -- derision instead of argument. "Oh, we've got a live one here," was one comment -- and the totality of the comment. Note that it isn't an answer to anything -- merely derision.

I think that there is much more argument like that coming from the atheist side than the Christian. Naturally, my observation is anecdotal, but it is an observation that I have made over 11 years of debating Christianity with atheists.

John Loftus, you can often be better than many atheists I have discussed matters with, but there are times when you stoop to derision, too. (For the record, I have done the same thing -- but usually only after someone like Mr. Carr continually posts nonsense as if it is argument.) So, while I appreciate your words, I am hopeful that you will strive to back up your words with action in your discussions.

Joe said..Smith is the major atheist philosopher, yet Craig calls him "my friend." These guys are gentlemen as well as scholars. They are not calling each other names. They don't see argument opponents as personal enemies.

Neither do I, my friend. But what can get both you and I riled is when our respective opposing sides malign us. Then we fire back because we're humans. We wish we didn't have to deal with this Junior High mentality, don't we? I know I feel this way.


right on my friend. Did you see what I said to that guy on that post? It's a few posts down, where someone is going into that crap.I told them what for.

Hinman is one of the great abusers of the Internet, whose postings are full of childish abuse, even on this very thread!

I can quote dozens of passages where he calls people all sorts of vile names eg 'liars' and 'game-playing fools' 'Dawkies are people who can't think'

The irony of it all....


how dare you try to fight back against the mugger? here he goes to all the trouble to take your money and beat you up and you have audacity to try to hurt him back.

CRAIG
In scores of debates with non-theistic professors over the years, I've been astonished at the incredible ignorance of admittedly brilliant scholars when it comes to matters of theology and philosophy of religion.

CARR
So that is how Craig wins debates?

He picks incredibly ignorant people to debate with...


He's arguing with atheists isn't he? who else is he going to argue with?

J.L. Hinman said [to Peter]...
"you and your fellow Dawkies (Dawkamentalists) were spewing hatred"
"you liars and you game playing fools who can't think never honestly faced the message like men"
"you liars are so stupid"
"that's why you are Dawkies. Dawkie are people who can't think."

You seem to be full of anger and on this blog you seem to be the one who is name calling. C'mon, relax a bit, not everyone out there is to get you. Many atheists seem to be there to discuss and debate the issues. If you are always the first one to start unfounded name calling, you will attract name calling responses, and people interested in deep discussions will not bother to talk to you.

J.L. Hinman said [to Peter]...
"you and your fellow Dawkies (Dawkamentalists) were spewing hatred"
"you liars and you game playing fools who can't think never honestly faced the message like men"
"you liars are so stupid"
"that's why you are Dawkies. Dawkie are people who can't think."

You seem to be full of anger and on this blog you seem to be the one who is name calling. C'mon, relax a bit, not everyone out there is to get you. Many atheists seem to be there to discuss and debate the issues. If you are always the first one to start unfounded name calling, you will attract name calling responses, and people interested in deep discussions will not bother to talk to you.

I was put out of sorts by that guy ragging on my article. The one about God arguments are a take on reality. That guy who said it was g of the g, and said a bunch of other stuff with snoty pink unicorn tone of condensation. that's what put me in this frame of mind to answer in a bitter and sarcastic way. But I'm trying to get over it. I had my black berries and oat meal so I'm in a good a mood and I'm trying to be nice.

J.L. Hinman "besides I want proof that he said that. document the site."
Subject: Slaughter of the Canaanites

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