Atheist Lawrence Krauss offers the best argument against Christianity

Richard Dawkins on atheism, morality, free will and human rights
Richard Dawkins on atheism, morality, free will and human rights

Although there are some pretty smart atheists out there, none is smarter than the venerable Lawrence Krauss. Well, Krauss has been thinking about atheism quite a bit since his debate with William Lane Craig, and he’s come up with an argument that simply can’t be defeated.

Buzzfeed reports on Krauss’ new argument against Christian theism:

When Melody Hensley first met Lawrence Krauss, she was a 29-year-old makeup artist at a department store, and he was one of her intellectual idols. She ran an atheist website in her spare time and had just started volunteering for the Center for Inquiry (CFI), a nonprofit group committed to promoting science and reason above faith. She was hoping to build a career in the burgeoning “skeptics” movement, and Krauss was one of its brightest luminaries.

At a CFI event in November 2006, Krauss asked Hensley for her card, and later, as she was leaving, asked her if she was “of age.” She brushed off the odd question, excited to meet a star skeptic. When he later emailed to invite her to dinner, she accepted.

“I didn’t care if he flirted with me, I just wanted to be around somebody important, and I also wanted to get a job in this field,” Hensley told BuzzFeed News. “I thought I could handle myself.”

They made a plan to eat in the restaurant at the Washington, DC, hotel where Krauss was staying, Hensley recalled. But first he asked her to come up to his room while he wrapped up some work. He seemed in no rush to leave, she said, ordering a cheese plate and later champagne, despite her suggestion that they go down to dinner.

Then, Hensley said, Krauss made a comment about her eye makeup, and got very close to her face. Suddenly, he lifted her by the arms and pushed her onto the bed beneath him, forcibly kissing her and trying to pull down the crotch of her tights. Hensley said she struggled to push him off. When he pulled out a condom, Hensley said, she got out from under him, said “I have to go,” and rushed out of the room.

Krauss told BuzzFeed News that what happened with Hensley in the hotel room was consensual. In that room, “we mutually decided, in a polite discussion in fact, that taking it any further would not be appropriate,” he told BuzzFeed News by email.

But Hensley said that is untrue. “It was definitely predatory,” she said. “I didn’t want that to happen. It wasn’t consensual.”

The argument is supported by many interlocking evidences from different fields of study:

BuzzFeed News has learned that the incident with Hensley is one of many wide-ranging allegations of Krauss’s inappropriate behavior over the last decade — including groping women, ogling and making sexist jokes to undergrads, and telling an employee at Arizona State University, where he is a tenured professor, that he was going to buy her birth control so she didn’t inconvenience him with maternity leave. In response to complaints, two institutions — Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario — have quietly restricted him from their campuses. Our reporting is based on official university documents, emails, and interviews with more than 50 people.

So, here is how the argument goes formally:

Premise 1. If Christianity is true, then sex outside of a natural marriage is wrong.

Premise 2. Sex outside of a natural marriage is not wrong.

Conclusion: Therefore, Christian theism is not true. (MT)

This argument seems to hold a lot of sway with many atheists, like Richard Dawkins, Richard Carrier, Michael Shermer, and so on. Pretty much everyone who makes a career out of disproving Christianity is familiar with this powerful argument.

Although this is an excellent argument (I call it the argument from immorality), it should be noted that it is not a new argument at all. It’s actually discussed in the Bible of all places, in Romans chapter 1.

Romans 1:18-25:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.Amen.

In my experience, atheists reject the evidence for Christianity because they don’t want the moral changes that come with Christianity. Even the atheists I know who claim to be “moral” nevertheless promote immorality through their political actions, voting for a world where moral evils like abortion and pedophilia cannot be judged. They also vote to suppress the disagreement of Christians, and celebrate when the state silences Christian expressions of disapproval for immorality. Actions tell what is going on much more than words.

UPDATE:

New York Times: Arizona State Suspends Lawrence Krauss During Inquiry Over Sexual Misconduct Accusations

Gizmodo: Science Organizations Cancel Lawrence Krauss Events After Sexual Harassment Allegations

Positive arguments for Christian theism

32 thoughts on “Atheist Lawrence Krauss offers the best argument against Christianity”

    1. Yes. But there is no cognitive substance to atheism in a world where science has discovered an origin of the universe, cosmic fine-tuning, etc. It’s all “I don’t want to be unpopular” and “i want to have a good time”.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. In my experience, atheists reject the evidence for Christianity because they don’t want the moral changes that come with Christianity.

    This may be true for some atheists but it is certainly not true for all atheists. To use myself as an example, I was a devout Christian who was deeply committed to Christian morality when I lost my faith. That loss of faith had nothing to do with morality and was, rather, a purely intellectual series of events.

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      1. It’s been a number of years since I lost my faith, and my moral outlook has certainly changed in that time (though not as much as one might think).

        That said, this has been a consequence of my leaving Christianity. It was not, in any way, a motivating force for my loss of faith.

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        1. Did you know that killing innocent defenseless babies – inside or outside of the womb – was wrong when you were a Christian?

          Has that changed since you became an unbeliever?

          If this is too personal, please forgive me.

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          1. This is one of the things which most certainly has not changed for me. I remain opposed to wanton destruction of human life, whether that human is still in the womb or not.

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          2. Yay – awesome!

            OK, so let’s hear the intellectual arguments against Christianity. I’m not impressed with Krauss, snark notwithstanding, but Sinnott-Armstrong is not half bad.

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          3. I’ve never been impressed with Krauss, either, in terms of his commentary on religion and atheism. He’s a fantastic physicist but he’s fairly awful when it comes to philosophy.

            That said, my loss of faith wasn’t due to any arguments against Christianity. Rather, it was due to a realization that none of the arguments for God’s existence which I knew at the time were logically sound– some weren’t even valid. I found that I couldn’t believe God existed, anymore, despite the fact that I wanted to believe it. Since that time, I haven’t been able to find any sound arguments despite a fairly ardent search. As such, I remain unconvinced that any deity exists and this rather precludes me from believing the rest of Christianity.

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          4. Yes, I think Krauss is personable, but that he rather erred on his something from nothing concept, where he smuggled in something into his “nothing.”

            “But that’s just not right. Relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical vacuum states — no less than giraffes or refrigerators or solar systems — are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff. The true relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical equivalent to there not being any physical stuff at all isn’t this or that particular arrangement of the fields — what it is (obviously, and ineluctably, and on the contrary) is the simple absence of the fields! The fact that some arrangements of fields happen to correspond to the existence of particles and some don’t is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that some of the possible arrangements of my fingers happen to correspond to the existence of a fist and some don’t. And the fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings — if you look at them aright — amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing.” — David Albert

            That is fascinating to me that it was a lack of arguments that caused you to leave Christianity. I’m sort of a mirror image to you. I found both Leibniz Contingency Argument and the Moral Argument to be compelling to me as an atheist, although now I am fascinated by Kalam, and additionally the Argument from Unconditioned Reality, which appeals to my engineering background in a sort of way.

            Were you raised Christian?

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          5. With regard to Krauss, I very much agree. As I said, his grasp of philosophy leaves me thoroughly unimpressed.

            With regard to particular arguments, I’ve often said that the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument is probably the strongest argument I’ve encountered; I simply question the premise that the universe is contingent. I find Kalam to be a particularly bad argument, and have spent a great deal of time explaining why I think that way on my own blog.

            But, yes, I was raised Christian. More than that, I was a thoroughly committed, Church-attending, Bible-believing Christian with an interest in apologetics.

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          6. Positively fascinating!

            I had never heard of Kalam when I was an atheist.

            I had heard of Leibniz of course, since I used some of his principles in my engineering and math work. One day, about 7 or 8 years before becoming a Christian, I was walking down the halls of our engineering building after teaching a class to Master’s and PhD students, and it struck me “Why is all of this even here?!?” The answer that popped into my head was “Because Carl Sagan said so.” (I’m not kidding!)

            Then, I started chuckling at my response, but in a rather chilling way. I think that might have been one chink in my atheist armor. But, there were many more to come.

            I’m assuming you have seen WLC’s responses to some poor (in his view) attacks on Kalam?

            Did you have an opinion on the Argument from Unconditioned Reality? It is a theistic argument alone, so one of the best links is to a Muslim site:

            https://ismailignosis.com/2014/03/27/he-who-is-above-all-else-the-strongest-argument-for-the-existence-of-god/

            Also, what is your view of one of Godel’s Ontological arguments?

            https://arxiv.org/pdf/1308.4526v4.pdf

            Sorry to overload you, but also what do you think of Plantinga’s work on properly warranted basic beliefs? I have actually used that concept in my pro-life work, i.e., that “don’t kill the babies” is a properly warranted basic belief.

            Thanks for taking the time with me, and thank you, WK, for letting us explore this a bit on your page!

            Liked by 1 person

          7. @WorldGoneCrazy
            I’m very familiar with Dr. Craig’s responses to Kalam challenges. As he is one of the most prolific writers on the subject of Kalam, and probably the most popular, it is his formulation of Kalam to which I usually respond.

            On Unconditioned Reality, I had not heard the specific argument to which you linked, but it is exceedingly similar to Thomistic arguments for God as pure existence (which Thomas Aquinas, in turn, drew from Averroes and Averroes from Aristotle). These arguments depend quite heavily on outmoded Aristotelian notions– particularly regarding the nature of time and the mathematics of infinity, both of which are particular areas of fascination for me. As such, I find them wholly unconvincing.

            On Gödel’s Ontological Argument, I find it has the same failing as every other ontological argument with which I am familiar. It is basically an attempt to define God into existence. One might as well simply say, “God is defined as an entity which exists.” The simple fact that one can define a particular idea does not imply that such an idea can or does actually exist.

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          8. On that last point, how then do you know that objective moral values and duties exist – so that you can condemn abortion?

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          9. I don’t know that objective moral values and duties exist. In fact, I argue that “objective morality” is just as incoherent as “objective deliciousness.” However, I don’t think that morality needs to be objective in order to condemn an action. Condemnation is judged according to subjective moral standards. If I want to convince a person or group of people that my subjective view of morality is worth adopting, then I have to do the legwork in providing a persuasive argument to that end. I can’t simply default to saying “my way is objectively correct whether you believe it or not.”

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          10. OK, so on your view, it Hitler had conquored the world and either killed everyone who disagreed with his Jewish “solution” or brainwashed those who were left into accepting same, then gassing Jews for being Jewish would have been (be) perfectly moral?

            In short, history is written by the winners?

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          11. No, that is not my view, at all. It is, in fact, quite the opposite of my view as it implies that there is such a thing as “perfectly moral” without respect to some standard of morality by which to judge.

            On the moral view to which Hitler subscribed, his actions were moral. On the view to which I subscribe, they were not. This would not change even if the Nazis murdered everyone who disagreed with Hitler’s moral paradigm. It would still be the case that his actions were not moral by the standards through which I judge morality. Even if everyone in existence were to adhere to a given subjective moral standard, it would not be the case that this moral standard then becomes objective truth.

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          12. My apologies for putting words in your mouth.

            What is this (objective?) standard by which to judge morality – and truth – on your view? And how do we know it exists?

            It is clearly not you or me or Hitler.

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          13. My apologies for putting words in your mouth.

            Not to worry! It can be difficult to communicate ideas across the internet.

            Case in point, I must not have been clear. I don’t believe that there is any objective standard by which morality is judged. Each person judges morality according to his own subjective standard, in exactly the same way as each person judges the quality of music or the taste of food or the disgustingness of an attempt at humor, et cetera.

            Imagine, for a moment, if the only people alive believed that chocolate tastes terrible. This doesn’t mean that it is an objective fact that chocolate tastes terrible; it simply means that these people have subjective tastes which align. Similarly, if everyone alive believes a particular action to be moral, it does not become an objective fact that it is therefore moral. It is simply the case that those people’s subjective views of morality align. There is no such thing as objective morality.

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          14. Thanks for the clarification. I do agree that, on atheism, objective moral values and duties do not exist – that subjective moralities are no more meaningful than ice cream flavors, even if they APPEAR to be VERY meaningful to the possessor of same.

            Can you prove that last sentence for me, if not formally, then conversationally? That:

            “There is no such thing as objective morality.”

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          15. Can you prove that last sentence for me, if not formally, then conversationally?

            Whether or not one is a theist, moral standards ultimately fall back on some chosen, arbitrary set of axioms through which they are formed.

            So, for example, a Secular Humanist might axiomatically state that it is good to improve the welfare of humanity. With such an axiom in place, it becomes possible to explore that sentiment in order to create a moral standard.

            A monotheist, on the other hand, might say that it is good to follow the commands of God– or, alternately, that it is good to act in a manner which accords with God’s nature. Once this axiom is in place, it is possible to create a moral standard by its implications.

            The monotheist’s choice of moral axioms is no more objective than that of the Secular Humanist, whether or not any deity exists.

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          16. “Whether or not one is a theist, moral standards ultimately fall back on some chosen, arbitrary set of axioms through which they are formed.”
            Actually, on theism, there is nothing arbitrary about a God Who is the Creator of all time, space, and matter. If such a God is the Moral Standard or Bearer, that would not be arbitrary. Chosen by us or not chosen by us, perhaps, but not arbitrary. In fact, transcendent.
            If Hitler got away with it, assuming no God of Objective Moral Justice exists, then gassing Jews really was just his ice cream flavor. You and I might not care for it, but we cannot really condemn it in any meaningful (transcendent) manner.
            If my Christian God exists, however, Hitler is now reaping in Eternity what he sowed in his lifetime. Presumably, he is experiencing the pains and sufferings of every single Jewish person who ever suffered by him. In that case, what he did to the Jews REALLY matters, not only to him, but to you, me, and the Jewish people especially.

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          17. God, if such a being exists, is not an arbitrary thing. Choosing a moral standard based around God is arbitrary, however.

            I don’t see why transcendence is necessary for meaningful condemnation of a moral act. A statement need not reflect an objective fact in order to be meaningful. Nor is any sort of punishment– whether while alive or after death (if such a thing is possible)– a necessary condition for a moral judgment to have meaning. All that seems necessary for a moral condemnation to be meaningful is a clearly communicated description of the act and why one believes it to be immoral.

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        2. @ Boxing Pythagoras
          Then if not a philosophical argument for God’s existence what about the raw data of evidence? See Lee Strobel’s The Case for Miracles

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          1. @Boneless Pizza
            I haven’t yet read Strobel’s book, but I have heard many claims about the occurrence of miracles. The ones which have presented to me have always been a claim that some miracle occurred, supported only by the premise that there is no known natural explanation (and in some cases, not even supported by this premise). Obviously, I don’t find such arguments very convincing.

            There’s a further issue, though. Even if I were to accept that miracles are possible, such acceptance necessitates the presumption that deity exists as a prerequisite. It’s therefore useless as an argument for God’s existence since it requires one to first presume that God exists.

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  2. Most of the best atheist arguments against Christianity begin in an assumptions that there is no way anything has been discovered in favour of Christianity in thr last few hundred years.
    Then you grab old recycled guesses of things that are wrong on the back of bible that have been refuted by scholars as total garbage.
    Almost like how the far left assumes no one else in the world has any useful though. So you can u can create reality and be assured no research will come up and harm your created worldview

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