Monday, December 13, 2010

Well-prepared arguments for christian truth

This book (Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig) is the best I have read on the arguments for the truth of the existence of God and the truth of the christian faith.

The arguments between believers and non-believers have hotted up in the last decade, and the internet is full of arguments, good, bad and ugly. Public debates between intellectuals and apologists on all sides are now commonplace, and you can find dozens of them on YouTube. Probably the most successful and impressive christian debater is US philosopher William Lane Craig. So much so that Luke over at the "Commonsense Atheism" website argues that atheists should be wary of debating with him because they'll lose. (Not that he thinks Craig's arguments are right, just that Craig knows the arguments so well, and so skilled in public presentation, that atheists need to greatly improve their own presentations before they face him.)

This book contains Craig's detailed analysis of the same arguments he uses in debate, and they are indeed well researched and carefully argued, so they are very convincing. The arguments he covers include:

  • the Cosmological argument (that the best explanation for the universe is that God created it) in its several forms and in great detail (he is recognised in the academic world as a specialist in these arguments), including a sound grasp of the latest science;
  • the Teleological argument, based on the amazing coincidences in universal laws and numbers that are necessary for our universe to exist;
  • the moral argument that questions whether we can have any objective ethics without God;
  • the Ontological argument, a somewhat arcane philosophical argument about the idea of God;
  • the argument that Jesus was divine based on the best historical explanations of what he said and did; and
  • a further argument for the divinity of Jesus based on the historical evidence for the resurrection.

Supporting these arguments are discussions of how we can know christianity is true, the absurdity of life without God, the nature of historical knowledge and whether one can rationally believe in miracles - all very useful background philosophical ideas.

The book is aimed at a university textbook level, so it is solid reading, but enjoyable, readable, thorough and well worth the effort. I used to think that this sort of arguing was not very helpful for most people, but I now agree with Craig that it is important that more christians are equipped to address these matters.

So I agree with Luke that Craig is a good arguer with good arguments - and I think that is because his arguments lead to truth. I strongly recommend this book to believers and unbelievers alike.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, that is interesting. Maybe I'll get this book after I have finished the ones I still have to read.


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