Monday, June 28, 2010

Debunking Christianity: Dr. Craig: All Other Religious Claims to the Witness of the Spirit are False

It is interesting that the post by John Loftus focused so much on methods of doing Apologetics given that James White spent a lot of time on it last Thursday. (Look at the video I linked to my blog here.) Largely, Dr. White disagrees with the approach William Lane Craig, Habermas, and others are using. His is more prepositional. It is my opinion that we need both approaches because people are so different. The Holy Spirit uses all these approaches and others to call people to repentance.

The post from Loftus brings up a question to William Lane Craig about how do we know we are right and other faiths (ie Mormonism) is wrong. Why can't they make the same claims we can? I liked this post because it considers the question from an atheist's perspective. The atheist says "convince me". Therefore evidential Apologetics does just that - providing evidence that the truth claims of Christianity is true - largely without assuming the Bible is infallible or inspired. As a matter of fact they don't even really address attacks on the miracles and incredible things that the Bible says that are problematic for many people to believe. Men like them don't deny the Bible is true or inspired but they don't focus on it in their debates with atheists.

James White's approach is more like say what the Bible says, defend it, express it and let the chips fall where they may because it is the Holy Spirit that convicts and changes hearts and minds not the evidence or arguments that we present. I think Dr. white is correct. Both approaches agree that there are good evidences and that you are rational and reasonable to trust the Bible, they disagree on where to start. Dr. White's approach does not seem to work as satisfactory in the venue of Loftus' blog because many of the people reject the Bible out of hand without even considering the possibility that it might be true. But White is right, that isn't a Christian's job to to change their mind, only to tell and show them the truth. At the end of the day, Loftus and many of the commentators did not like Dr. Craig's statement:

My knowledge of Christianity’s truth, while supported by strong arguments, is not ultimately based on those arguments but on the witness of God Himself. If, therefore, I find myself confronted with a well-prepared and articulate Mormon who blows away my arguments and presents a case for Mormonism that I can’t answer, I should not apostatize, since I have the witness of the Holy Spirit to Christianity’s truth and so realize that although I’ve lost the argument, Christianity is nonetheless the truth (and I need to be better prepared next time!)...he [the Mormon] can’t justifiably remain Mormon by appealing to his experience, since he doesn’t really have a genuine witness of the Holy Spirit, but only a counterfeit experience.

Reasonable Faith: Q & A with Dr. William Lane Craig

Craig appeals to the witness of the Holy Spirit as his ultimate proof that his faith is not misplaced. On this i think all Christians agree. It wasn't an Apoloigetics argument that convince me of my sin and need for repentance. It helped later to help me articulate and understand what God did for me. The Holy Spirit that worked in me is the same that worked in Dr. Craig that allows me to understand what he means. He is not saying that if he lost a debate with a Mormon that it was proof that Christianity is true. Let's face it: hell would freeze over first before William Lane Craig would loose a debate regarding Mormonism. While I think Loftus would loose such a debate. But for the sake of argument, let's say he did, he would still know Christianity was true because God reached into his life and changed it. I know what that's like. I have never heard a Mormon testify to the same thing.

This is where Apologetics comes in handy. I'm not saying that Dr. Craig would win because he is smarter or a better debater. He would win because the evidence is on the side of Biblical Christianity and not Mormonism. It's not enough to just say one is right and one is wrong. You ought to be able to demonstrate why you have come to the conclusions you hold. They both can't be true. For starters, not a single event or geographic location can be corroborated with the Mormon Scriptures and reality - no evidence at all. Either we can confirm what the Bible says happened and where and when or we can't outright disprove it. i know that is a bold statement, but that is what I have been led to conclude given the information I have. And there is more thatr could be said - much more.

Lofuts ended his post this way:

I liked what Martin said below:
What Craig essentially argued was: "We can't distinguish the water from the poison without evidence or arguments, but *I have* the pure water because it says so right on the bottle (even though all the other bottles say the same thing, and I just happened to pick this one up as a child), so I know this is the water, no matter what evidence you have that it is poison."
The problem is while I did get this gift as a child, William Lane Craig was not raised a Christian. So how does his point matter? It doesn't.

Debunking Christianity: Dr. Craig: All Other Religious Claims to the Witness of the Spirit are False

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