Tag Archives: Nicholas Kristof

Dr. William Lane Craig answers questions about Jesus in the New York Times

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

Nicholas Kristof, a secular leftist writer for the New York Times, is interested in Jesus, but he doesn’t want a Jesus who can perform miracles. He decided to ask the best living philosphical theologian, Dr. William Lane Craig, some questions. As you’ll see, Dr. Craig’s answers to his questions are perfect for the secular left audience of the New York Times.

Before we start looking at the questions and answers, I want to mention one important point. When discussing Christianity, it’s very important that Christians not allow the atheist to nitpick about minor details of Christian history or Christian theology. The Christian needs to ALWAYS redirect the discussion to the question of God’s existence. There, we are strongly supported by mainstream science. Only when the skeptic accepts a Creator and Designer can we allow ourselves to be moved on to specific points of theology or history.

Like this:

  • Skeptic: was Jesus born of a virgin?
  • Christian: do you accept a Creator and Designer of the universe?
  • Skeptic: no
  • Christian: then let’s discuss the scientific evidence for that first

And again:

  • Skeptic: am I going to Hell?
  • Christian: do you accept a Creator and Designer of the universe?
  • Skeptic: no
  • Christian: then let’s discuss the scientific evidence for that first

Why is this important? It’s important because most skeptics are fundamentalists. They think that if they can refute Christianity on an edge case issue, then the core crumbles. It’s very important to frame the discussion so that the skeptic understands that there are core claims of Christianity which are important and strongly evidenced, and there are less important claims, and also claims that are not well evidenced. The goal of any discussion with a skeptic is to get them to accept the important core claims which are strongly evidenced. If they accept the core, that’s enough to get them out of atheism, and into a relationship with God, where they can continue to grow.

I wrote a whole post about this that you can read later, but let’s get to the interview with Dr. Craig.

Let’s start with the first question and answer:

Kristof: Merry Christmas, Dr. Craig! I must confess that for all my admiration for Jesus, I’m skeptical about some of the narrative we’ve inherited. Are you actually confident that Jesus was born to a virgin?

Craig: Merry Christmas to you, too, Nick! I’m reasonably confident. When I was a non-Christian, I used to struggle with this, too. But then it occurred to me that for a God who could create the entire universe, making a woman pregnant wasn’t that big a deal! Given the existence of a Creator and Designer of the universe (for which we have good evidence), an occasional miracle is child’s play. Historically speaking, the story of Jesus’ virginal conception is independently attested by Matthew and Luke and is utterly unlike anything in pagan mythology or Judaism. So what’s the problem?

Did you notice what Dr. Craig did there? Regarding the evidence from science, Dr. Craig has defended that in two separate academic books, both with Oxford University Press. (Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology and God? A Debate Between A Christian and An Atheist)

Here it is again:

Kristof: How do you account for the many contradictions within the New Testament? For example, Matthew says Judas hanged himself, while Acts says that he “burst open.” They can’t both be right, so why insist on inerrancy of Scripture?

Craig: I don’t insist on the inerrancy of Scripture. Rather, what I insist on is what C.S. Lewis called “mere Christianity,” that is to say, the core doctrines of Christianity. Harmonizing perceived contradictions in the Bible is a matter of in-house discussion amongst Christians. What really matters are questions like: Does God exist? Are there objective moral values? Was Jesus truly God and truly man? How did his death on a Roman cross serve to overcome our moral wrongdoing and estrangement from God? These are, as one philosopher puts it, the “questions that matter,” not how Judas died.

For those who are concerned by this answer, you should know Dr. Craig is the former president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, and they do indeed sign a statement of faith that includes inerrancy. But again, an interview in the New York Times is not the place to focus on defending inerrancy. This is the place to have secular left elites contend with the core claims of Christianity.

In the next question and answer, notice how Dr. Craig refuses to yield that the skeptic is rational and evidence-driven. You should never let atheists assume that atheism is the “default” view of people who are reasonable and evidence-driven. Atheism is NOT the default view for reasonable people who are evidence-driven. Atheism is a furious retreat away from reason and evidence. In particular, it’s a refusal to bound your worldview with science and history.

More Dr. Craig:

Kristof: Over time, people have had faith in Zeus, in Shiva and Krishna, in the Chinese kitchen god, in countless other deities. We’re skeptical of all those faith traditions, so should we suspend our emphasis on science and rationality when we encounter miracles in our own tradition?

Craig: I don’t follow. Why should we suspend our emphasis on science and rationality just because of weakly evidenced, false claims in other religions? I champion a “reasonable faith” that seeks to provide a comprehensive worldview that takes into account the best evidence of the sciences, history, philosophy, logic and mathematics. Some of the arguments for God’s existence that I’ve defended, such as the arguments from the origin of the universe and the fine-tuning of the universe, appeal to the best evidence of contemporary science. I get the impression, Nick, that you think science is somehow incompatible with belief in miracles. If so, you need to give an argument for that conclusion. David Hume’s famous argument against miracles is today recognized, in the words of philosopher of science John Earman, as “an abject failure.” No one has been able to do any better.

This is the book he’s alluding to, there. Oxford University Press.

Please read the whole interview.

If you have non-Christian friends who think that all the “smart people” reject Christianity, and you don’t now how to talk to them, why not send them this article from the New York Times? There are also resources that you can use to train yourself to answer questions like he did.

Some people reading may not like Dr. Craig’s approach. That might be because you’re only able to talk about Christianity to people by quoting the Bible to them. Maybe you think that quoting the Bible to a non-Christian will cause them to become a Christian. This approach, (I call it the “magic words” approach), is popular in many churches. It will work on people who are already Christians, but it won’t work on non-Christians, since they don’t accept the Bible. It’s also not how anyone in the New Testament talked about spiritual things. (See Acts 17 for an example, or read what Jesus does to prove his claims to skeptics in the gospel of John). If you want to discuss Christianity outside the church, then I recommend Dr. Craig’s approach.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a pot-smoker who supported Obama

The Daily Caller reports.

Excerpt:

Chris Barry, who attended the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with Tsarnaev, described him as normal teenager who loved to smoke pot and cigarettes every day.

“He was a pot head, a normal pot head,” said Barry in an interview with Politico. “I couldn’t even imagine him being mad at someone let alone hurting someone.”

Tsarnaev, a Muslim, did not come across as strongly religious, said Barry.

“He never brought it up. It seemed like he could care less,” he said.

Tsarneav’s Twitter account provided clues about the suspected bomber’s political views. On November 6th, he retweeted several statements suggesting a preference for President Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

He retweeted a statement from President Obama’s Organizing for Action account that said: “This happened because of you. Thank you,” in reference to Obama’s victory.

He also retweeted a statement and a picture making fun of Romney. The Tweet said: “WTF Romney is winning ??” and linked to this image.

Not all left-wing people are crazy, but all crazy people are left-wing.

Related posts

Surprise, liberal media! Boston bombing suspects are Muslim foreigners

The secular leftist media was really hoping that those responsible for the Boston marathon bombing would be their political opponents.  “This time, Republicans for sure!” they said. “If a person is for lower taxes, less government spending, the right to life, and natural marriage, then they are hateful racist violent bigoted crazies!”

The Daily Caller explains:

The liberal online magazine Salon published an opinion piece Tuesday evening by columnist David Sirota entitled, “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American.”

Sirota argued that if the perpetrator of Monday’s bombing attack, which left at least three people dead, is identified as a Muslim, then conservative Republicans will use the tragedy to block Obama administration policy goals like immigration reform.

[…]Sirota is not the only liberal media commentator to attempt to politicize Monday’s tragedy. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer speculated on a link between Patriots Day and the motive behind the bombings, while NBC News reporter Luke Russert speculated that the 1993 Waco siege, which occurred on Patriots Day, might have inspired a right-wing terrorist in Boston.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof used the tragedy to attack Republican politicians, tweeting Monday, “Explosion is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment.” Kristof later apologized for the tweet.

Sirota has employed attention-grabbing, race-baiting rhetoric in the past.

Sirota said in December, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, that a new profiling system should be established to monitor mentally-ill individuals, but that Republicans would not support that effort because it would mean profiling white men.

Now you might think that’s racism and bigotry, but it’s not, because the mainstream media tells me that racism can never be committed by leftists.

And now let’s see what reality has to say about the speculations and wishing of the radical lefttists in the mainstream media.

Reuters / Yahoo News reports:

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev posted links to Islamic websites and others calling for Chechen independence on what appears to be his page on a Russian language social networking site.

Abusive comments in Russian and English were flooding onto Tsarnaev’s page on VK, a Russian-language social media site, on Friday after he was identified as a suspect in the bombing of the Boston marathon.

[…]On the site, the younger Tsarnaev identifies himself as a 2011 graduate of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, a public school in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

[…]His “World view” is listed as “Islam” and his “Personal priority” is “career and money”.

He has posted links to videos of fighters in the Syrian civil war and to Islamic web pages with titles like “Salamworld, my religion is Islam” and “There is no God but Allah, let that ring out in our hearts”.

He also has links to pages calling for independence for Chechnya, a region of Russia that lost its bid for secession after two wars in the 1990s.

It seems to me that the liberal media is trying to have it both ways. They want to agree with Kermit Gosnell on abortion, they want to agree with Floyd Lee Corkins III on gay marriage, they want to agree with Hugo Chavez on economics, and they want to sympathize with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on foreign policy. Then they want to believe that pro-family, pro-life, pro-child, free market capitalists are all radical terrorists. Sorry mainstream media, but you are the nutters. You are the crazies. You are the radicals.

See the related posts below for more leftist violence. The reality, which the mainstream media doesn’t want you to know, is that it is far more likely that violence is caused by the radical left. The radical right is too busy getting married, making babies, starting businesses, waking up to go to work, paying our taxes, helping our neighbors and listening to sermons in church. The radical right doesn’t have time for violence, we’re trying to live well and we are good at it.

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