William Lane Craig brought his robust defence of the Christian faith across the Atlantic to London last night for the first stop on his Reasonable Faith tour across the UK.
Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot Theological College, California, and has built up a solid reputation as one of the most formidable opponents in debates on the existence of God and the Christian faith.
He certainly didn’t disappoint the thousands of people who turned out last night to hear him debate prominent philosopher Stephen Law at the Methodist Central Hall, in Westminster.
Law, an atheist, seemed less intent on answering the question ‘Does God exist?’ and more taken with arguing that the Christian belief in a good God was “absurd” given the amount of suffering in the world.
He concluded that just as there was sufficient observational evidence to rule out that an evil god had created the universe, there was likewise enough observational evidence to rule out that a good God had created the universe.
“One hypothesis is fatal to the other,” Law said.
Craig built his defence of the existence of God around the idea of a creator of the universe and the notion that “from nothing, comes nothing”; the existence of objective moral values and duties in the world; and reliable historical records and eye witness accounts concerning the resurrection of Jesus.
Whilst Law came to the conclusion that evil proves there is no God, Craig said the existence of suffering and evil proves the existence of God.
“Evil is the greatest emotional obstacle to God,” he said. “But it is extraordinarily difficult on the basis of evil in the world to prove that God doesn’t exist … Bad things don’t disprove the existence of God.”
Whilst suffering may be “pointless” in the eyes of humans, he argued that it was not necessarily pointless in the eyes of God.
Law claimed his opponent’s arguments were “remarkably weak” and relied too heavily on playing the “mystery card” instead of offering solid evidence.
To Craig’s bemusement and the evident frustration of the 2,000-strong audience, Law repeatedly refused to respond to his first point about a god, good or bad, as the starting point for all created things.
Law said it was “not relevant” to the debate, to which Craig replied that his was a “very strange form of atheism”.
Craig will be arguing the case for God around the UK until Wednesday 26 October on the Reasonable Faith tour, sponsored by UCCF, Premier Christian Radio and Damaris.
To find out more, visit www.premier.org.uk/craig
William Lane Craig touring Britain
Published 18 October 2011