Audio: William Lane Craig and Stephen Law Debate the Existence of God

The Reasonable Faith UK tour kicked off yesterday with its first event as William Lane Craig and Stephen Law debated the existence of God. The audio of the debate is now available, courtesy of Premier Christian Radio:

[pk_icon_link icon=”download” icon_type=”dark”]Does God Exist? WL Craig v Stephen Law[/pk_icon_link]

The exchange was hosted by Justin Brierley and took place at Westminster Central Hall in London. Be sure to let us know what you thought of the debate in the comments below.

2 replies
  1. Sam Hight
    Sam Hight says:

    Very fascinating Jason, thanks for providing this!

    A couple of observations for discussion:

    I think many people would mistake Dr. Law’s quietly spoken voice as meaning he is a gracious opponent. His words were quite cutting at times though, and not because of any truth content! I think this goes hand in hand with his repeated appeals to “the majority of scholars” when responding to logical arguments, which should stand or fall on the validity of the premises instead.

    Dr. Craig could have pressed Dr. Law in these situations a little more, but he may have made tactical decisions to do otherwise. I was pleased to see this raised in the discussion near the end. Once again, Dr. Law avoided dealing with the premise fairly.

    I wonder if both Christians and Atheists who argue in this way are not aware of their actions to some extent. I guess it takes a lot of practice to know when your own intuition is fooling you, to have one’s eyes opened so to speak. If so, it must also take a lot of practice to train one’s intuition to be so misleading so often…

    Despite a strong impression that Dr. Law was thoroughly outclassed, some good ideas were raised from both sides. I look forward to listening to this again with my wife!

    Thanks again,

    Sam

  2. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    Laws was totally inadequate to the task, I thought. Here are some of the reason I think that.

    1) He only gave the briefest and most perfunctory of treatment to the cosmological argument and the historical case for the resurrection, focusing almost exclusively on the moral argument and his own evidential argument from evil for the probability of atheism.

    2) He didn’t understand what a cumulative is or how it works. Its simple to understand really. Argument 1 gives reason to there is a being with properties A B and C. Argument two gives reason to think there is a being with properties C, D and E. Argument three gives reason to thing there is a being with properties C, F, and G. That argument 2 doesn’t give any reason to think that the being in question has property B is not an indictment of that argument, nor a weakness of the whole case.

    3) These two failures combined with the way he proceeded meant he was really not on the atheistic side of the debate. The totality of arguments allow room for a type of theism, such as Deism.

    4) His strategy of comparing the problem of evil for a good God with the problem of good for a ‘malevolent God’ (a ‘square circle’ makes equal sense – say rather ‘a malevolent creator’) relies on Manichaeism, which is false if Christianity is true. Thus the Christian has no reason to entertain Law’s counterargument.

    On the Christian view, there is no such THING as evil. Evil is rather a privation – an absence of a good that should be there. Evil is ontologically posterior to goodness, thus for there to be evil, there must be a good. Christians don’t only believe that God does good, but that God’s very nature is goodness itself. He IS the standard. But when evil and goodness is understood this way (and not as a Manichean would conceive of good and evil: as two forces opposing one another), you can see that there cannot be a evil being comparable to a good God. Such a being would have no being.

    5) He was totally inconsistent with the use of mystery, allowing it to feature particularly in his own inability to answer the problem of the origin of the universe, (but also or to provide an account for the objective moral values he affirms and to explain away the resurrection as the best explanation for the historical facts about Jesus and his disciples), but not allowing Craig to ostensibly have it in his answer to the problem of evil.

    6) But indeed Craig was not using mystery to answer the problem of evil. He was saying that we can expect, from the very nature of the case which involves a transcendent God and human beings with cognitive limitations in time and space, that we should not expect to be able to percieve God’s sufficient reasons for allowing evil. The atheist therefore is in no position to assess the probability of a good God allowing the evil he sees in the world. Thus, it was Laws that failed to carry his argument.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *