Is William Lane Craig Dishonest With the Facts? I've Drawn a Line in the Sand.

Most people know that I defend William Lane Craig against the charge that he is dishonest as an apologist. Among skeptics I am his biggest defender, perhaps the only one. But I have just asked him three questions about the inner witness of the Holy Spirit that if he refuses to answer I can only conclude he is not being honest with the facts, and will defend him no more. He might have other reasons for not answering them, but I can only conclude he can't do so reasonably. Here they are:

Do you agree that objective evidence is external to the knower and can be verified by a third party at least in principle? Yes or no? How then can any third party verify a claim such as someone else's inner witness of the Spirit? At least someone's claim to be abducted by aliens is able to be verified in principle by a third party. Anyone in any religion or sect within one can claim to have had a veridical religious experience. These claims are a dime a dozen when they cannot be verified even in principle by a third party. What then do you say to the argument that these claims are subject to the charge of delusion, and as such, no evidence at all even to someone who claims to have had one?
Dr. Craig, here is a follow-up question given the inherent subjectivity of the inner witness of the Spirit. How is it possible for a reasonable faith to be based upon a subjective experience? Furthermore and more importantly, how is it possible for a reasonable man like yourself to claim such a subjective experience defeats all objective evidence? Now it's one thing to say a subjective experience is to be considered objective evidence. It's another thing entirely to say a subjective experience carries more weight than all objective evidence.
One last question my friend. Put all three of them together and answer them all at one time if you wish.

Would you please specify the propositional content of the inner witness of the Holy Spirit? Plantinga calls the content "the great things of the gospel", and includes the idea that "God exists", "God has forgiven and accepted me", or "God is the author of the Bible." You claim this content assures Christians that they are children of God. But such a notion echoes the poet whom Paul quoted who said, "we are his offspring." (Acts 17:28) You are surely arguing that the inner witness of the third person of the trinity contains more propositional content than that. Shouldn't this witness be more specific about what is meant to be a "child" of the kind of "God" one believes in, how one becomes a child of this God, where one can learn additional information about this God, what he must think of the authority of that source of information, and how he can best interpret it? For instance, to say "God exists" does not say anything about the attributes of this God, and might even be consistent with panentheism. To say "God is the author of the Bible" doesn't say what a believer should think about the specific nature of the Bible, or how to best interpret it.


I have repeatedly asked you this last question and have posted it on my blog several times. Again, these types of arguments are swaying the faithful. You need to answer them if you want to be perceived as being honest with the facts. Many skeptics are saying you are not honest and I have been defending you.

If you refuse to answer these questions about the inner witness of the Spirit then I can no longer defend you from the charge of being dishonest with the facts. I hope you do respond, I really do.

Sorry, but it's your choice now. Nothing personal.
If Bill answers my questions I think I know how he might answer the first two. He will put his fingers in his ears, close his eyes and say: "My experience is objectively real regardless of the fact that others claim one too." Remember, this supposed inner witness of his is the basis for his faith. He cannot punt to any objective evidence apart from this witness to substantiate his faith. So all he can do is put his fingers in his ears, close his eyes and say: "My experience is objectively real regardless of the fact that others claim one too." This is quite obviously a delusional response that everyone who claims to have had a religious experience would do and say. No wonder Kel quipped: "Self-authenticating private evidence is useless, because it is indistinguishable from the illusion of it."

My third question is even more problematic, although I have an idea how he'll weasel out of it. He'll simply have to deny this inner witness contains that much propositional content. So without much propositional content to this inner witness every believer claiming to have it could reasonably conclude that their own particular theology is correct. A scientific study has shown us that believers already think God agrees with them anyway, so there is nothing new about such a claim. But it's no more to be considered objective propositional content either. So Craig's so-called inner witness can only confirm the particular theology of what believers already think is the case. There are even believers who claim to have the inner witness whom Craig would deny are saved because of important theological disputes. For instance, how can this inner witness give different believers the assurance of being saved when they dispute the salvation of each other? This would be objective evidence that such a subjective inner witness is pure delusionary. But then, I don't expect deluded people to come to their senses very easily at all.

In any case it does not matter if Bill dresses this up philosophically, for a delusion is a delusion is a delusion.

To see these so-called religious experiences for what they truly are, neurology offers us a naturalistic explanation leaving no room for a God hypothesis. Just check out BBC's Phantoms in the Brain hosted by neurologist V.S. Ramachandran.

For two books explaining the phenomena of religious experiences I recommend Pascal Boyer's Religion Explained.I also recommend Michael Shermer's The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths.

For my readers I appreciate any help you can give me as I basically toil alone without any institutional support.