This article by atheist Daniel Came about Richard Dawkins’ refusal to debate William Lane Craig was published today in the UK Guardian. (H/T Mary)
In his latest undignified rant, Dawkins claims that it is because Craig is “an apologist for genocide” that he won’t share a platform with him. Dawkins is referring to Craig’s defence of God’s commandment in Deuteronomy 20: 15-17 to wipe out the Canannites. Here is Craig’s offending passage:
“[If] God’s grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of [the Canannite] 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 am disinclined to defend the God of the Old Testament’s infanticide policy. But as a matter of logic, Craig is probably right: if an infinite good is made possible by a finite evil, then it might reasonably be said that that evil has been offset. However, I doubt whether Craig would be guided by logic himself in this regard and conduct infanticide. I doubt, that is, that he would wish it to be adopted as a general moral principle that we should massacre children because they will receive immediate salvation.
But whatever you make of Craig’s view on this issue, it is irrelevant to the question of whether or not God exists. Hence it is quite obvious that Dawkins is opportunistically using these remarks as a smokescreen to hide the real reasons for his refusal to debate with Craig – which has a history that long predates Craig’s comments on the Canaanites.
There is a lot more in the article that is worth reading, including a quick review of Dawkin’s “The God Delusion” that echoes Craig’s own comments. I don’t mind that atheists think atheism is true, and that theism is irrational. That’s their view, and they are entitled to hold it and speak it and teach it. But I think that Came is right to say that they should also be willing to defend it in public. Dawkins is clearly not willing to defend his views, and that tells me that he has no reasons to believe them.
Please read my earlier post about Dawkins’ editorial in the UK Guardian. It contains a response to Dawkins’ attack on Craig, an analysis of Craig’s qualifications, an assessment of Dawkins’ ability to debate, and a previous debate between Craig and prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens.