Tag Archives: Belief in God

William Lane Craig talks about the book “Contending With Christianity’s Critics”

William Lane Craig lecturing to university students
William Lane Craig lecturing to students and faculty at Purdue University

Note: This book is currently on sale for only 99 cents (Kindle edition). Get it! Sorry if the price has changed by the time you read this post.

A series of three interviews from the “Reasonable Faith” podcast about the essay collection “Contending with Christianity’s Critics: Answering New Atheists and Other Objectors“.

Here is the first MP3 file.

Topics:

  • About the editor Paul Copan, (the nicest Christian apologist)
  • 1: Responding to Dawkins’ argument “Who designed the designer?”
  • 2: Responding to the multiverse counter to the fine-tuning argument
  • 3: The argument that rationality and consciouness require theism
  • 4: The evidence for humans being hard-wired for belief in God
  • 5: Responding to naturalism’s claim to rationally ground morality
  • 6: Responding to Dawkins’ idea that the universe looks undesigned

Here is the second MP3 file.

Topics:

  • 7: The criteria that historians use to establish historical reliability
  • 8: Did Jesus think that he was the Son of Man in Daniel
  • 9: A time line for the resurrection of Jesus from the early sources
  • 10: Responding to scholarly distortions of the historical Jesus
  • 11: Responding to Bart Ehrman’s claim that the NT text is corrupted
  • 12: The evidence for Jesus divine self-understanding

Here is the third MP3 file.

Topics:

  • 13: The logical coherence of the concept of God
  • 14: The logical coherence of the doctrine of the Trinity
  • 15: The logical coherence of the doctrine of the Incarnation
  • 16: The logical coherence of the doctrine of the Atonement
  • 17: The logical coherence of the doctrine of the Hell
  • 18: Responding to objections to God’s knowledge of the future

My favorite chapters in this book are the ones by Mark Linville on evolution and morality, and the chapter by Robert H. Stein on historical criteria and methodology. This is not an introductory book, this book is an intermediate-level book. You want to read the two Jim Wallace books and the Lee Strobel “Case For” books before you tackle this one.

Much of the book is philosophy and philosophy of religion and philosophical theology. Well, I guess everyone knows that I hate non-STEM disciplines, and I only read philosophy because it’s useful for Christian apologetics. If you are like me, and think that only STEM disciplines have value, then this book is for you. You will be able to make use of it in your case-making adventures. It. Works. This is the stuff that gets William Lane Craig invited to all the best universities to debate against all the best atheists. And he beats them all up with it, too.

William Lane Craig talks about the book “Contending With Christianity’s Critics”

A series of three interviews from the “Reasonable Faith” podcast about the essay collection “Contending with Christianity’s Critics: Answering New Atheists and Other Objectors”.

Here is the first MP3 file.

Topics:

  • About the editor Paul Copan, (the nicest Christian apologist)
  • 1: Responding to Dawkins’ argument “Who designed the designer?”
  • 2: Responding to the multiverse counter to the fine-tuning argument
  • 3: The argument that rationality and consciouness require theism
  • 4: The evidence for humans being hard-wired for belief in God
  • 5: Responding to naturalism’s claim to rationally ground morality
  • 6: Responding to Dawkins’ idea that the universe looks undesigned

Here is the second MP3 file.

Topics:

  • 7: The criteria that historians use to establish historical reliability
  • 8: Did Jesus think that he was the Son of Man in Daniel
  • 9: A time line for the resurrection of Jesus from the early sources
  • 10: Responding to scholarly distortions of the historical Jesus
  • 11: Responding to Bart Ehrman’s claim that the NT text is corrupted
  • 12: The evidence for Jesus divine self-understanding

Here is the third MP3 file.

Topics:

  • 13: The logical coherence of the concept of God
  • 14: The logical coherence of the doctrine of the Trinity
  • 15: The logical coherence of the doctrine of the Incarnation
  • 16: The logical coherence of the doctrine of the Atonement
  • 17: The logical coherence of the doctrine of the Hell
  • 18: Responding to objections to God’s knowledge of the future

I have this book, and I highly recommend this book and “Passionate Conviction: Contemporary Discourses on Christian Apologetics”, along with Lee Strobel’s “Case for…” books, as the basic building blocks of an amateur apologists’s arsenal.

You may also be interested in a new book offering a detailed response to the New Atheists, called “God Is Great, God Is Good: Why Believing in God Is Reasonable & Responsible”.

Is belief in God explained by chemicals in the brain?

Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason explains. (H/T Melissa)

As Greg often says, before you can show WHY a belief is false, you know to show THAT a belief is false.

For those of us who are stuck behind a firewall, you can read this article by Paul Copan instead.

Here’s the problem:

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins suggests that our “extraordinary predisposition” to “insist on believing in God” is that we, like computers, tend to do what we’re told. Young minds are susceptible to “infection” and mental “viruses” especially when they latch on to the bad or worthless religious ideas of charismatic preachers and other adults.1 Anthropologist Pascal Boyer believes that the latest “scientific” developments reveal that our “central metaphysical urge”—an “irredeemable human propensity toward superstition, myth and faith, or a special emotion that only religion provides”2 stands at the root of all religion. Author Matthew Alper considers humans to be religious animals whose brains are hard-wired for “God,” though no God exists, and maintains that the “spiritual” is really the “scientific.”3

And here’s the solution:

To say God doesn’t exist because people believe for inferior reasons or motivations is to commit the genetic fallacy—to say that a view is true/false based on its origin. God’s existence, however, is logically independent of how people come to believe in Him.

Consider the strong reasons for God’s existence distinct from human hard-wiring and psychology. The existence of valuable, morally responsible, self-aware, reasoning, living human beings who inhabit a finely tuned universe that came to exist a finite time ago is not plausibly explained naturalistically—namely, as the result of disparate valueless, mindless, lifeless physical processes in a universe that came into existence uncaused out of nothing. The better unifying explanation is a supremely valuable, supremely aware, reasoning, truthful, powerful, intelligent, beautiful Being. Such a context robustly explains—and unifies—a wide range of factors where naturalism fails. If God exists and leaves clues of his existence, then CSR’s reductionistic claims about theistic belief lose their force.

There is a LOT more in the Paul Copan essay on cognitive science of religion (CSR).

And Michael Murray published a book with Oxford University Press on his solution to this problem.

Excerpt:

Critics argue that belief in God is unwarranted because it arises from evolved, hard-wired cognitive mechanism. But, if these psychologists are right, so are many (if not all) of our other beliefs.

“Surely the critic doesn’t want to say that any belief that is the output of our mental tools—our cognitive tools—is unwarranted,” Murray notes, because “we can’t reasonably think that all of our beliefs are unreliable.” Further,

most of these critics think that our cognitive tools usually get things just right. To see this, just substitute the following words (or phrases) into the argument [above] and see if the critic would still find the underlying reasoning acceptable: human minds, rocks, rainbow, or science’s ability to discover the truth.

In other words, “Why do they think it’s fair to single out belief in the existence of God as the one thing that turns out to be unreliable or unwarranted?”

Hence, Murray notes, this sweeping argument is self-defeating. For if all brain-dependent beliefs are unwarranted, then the idea that “belief in God is unwarranted” is itself unwarranted.

Dawkins and many of his peers think this argument shows belief in God to be “merely” a “by-product” of human evolutionary development. Theistic intellectuals like Murray conclude that “God instead, designed us so that belief in him is easy and natural. The human mind is naturally constructed in such a way that we have a tendency to form beliefs in God concepts, and even of a somewhat specific sort.”

So if you believe Koukl, the argument commits the genetic fallacy. But even if you allow it to go through, like Michael Murray does, it’s self-refuting. (You can read more about Murray’s views in “Contending With Christianity’s Critics” and “Passionate Conviction” – and don’t worry about chastising him about his moderate views of intelligent design, I already wrote to him and beat him up about that, and he said it was just a bias / preference he had against intervening acts of fine-tuning subsequent to the moment of creation).

You may also be interested on the original “wish-fulfillment” objection, which Greg Koukl demolishes here. And another Greg Koukl article on whether you are your physical brain, or whether you are your non-physical mind and you have a brain.

William Lane Craig talks about the book “Contending With Christianity’s Critics”

A series of three interviews from the “Reasonable Faith” podcast about the essay collection “Contending with Christianity’s Critics: Answering New Atheists and Other Objectors”.

Here is the first MP3 file.

Topics:

  • About the editor Paul Copan, (the nicest Christian apologist)
  • 1: Responding to Dawkins’ argument “Who designed the designer?”
  • 2: Responding to the multiverse counter to the fine-tuning argument
  • 3: The argument that rationality and consciouness require theism
  • 4: The evidence for humans being hard-wired for belief in God
  • 5: Responding to naturalism’s claim to rationally ground morality
  • 6: Responding to Dawkins’ idea that the universe looks undesigned

Here is the second MP3 file.

Topics:

  • 7: The criteria that historians use to establish historical reliability
  • 8: Did Jesus think that he was the Son of Man in Daniel
  • 9: A time line for the resurrection of Jesus from the early sources
  • 10: Responding to scholarly distortions of the historical Jesus
  • 11: Responding to Bart Ehrman’s claim that the NT text is corrupted
  • 12: The evidence for Jesus divine self-understanding

Here is the third MP3 file.

Topics:

  • 13: The logical coherence of the concept of God
  • 14: The logical coherence of the doctrine of the Trinity
  • 15: The logical coherence of the doctrine of the Incarnation
  • 16: The logical coherence of the doctrine of the Atonement
  • 17: The logical coherence of the doctrine of the Hell
  • 18: Responding to objections to God’s knowledge of the future

I have this book, and I highly recommend this book and “Passionate Conviction: Contemporary Discourses on Christian Apologetics”, along with Lee Strobel’s “Case for…” books, as the basic building blocks of an amateur apologists’s arsenal.

You may also be interested in a new book offering a detailed response to the New Atheists, called “God Is Great, God Is Good: Why Believing in God Is Reasonable & Responsible”.