More On William Lane Craig's Personal Testimony

Previously I had examined Bill Craig's personal conversion testimony right here. Well now, in a podcast released on July 18th 2022, he tells us something very important about it. A guy named Kyle is struggling with doubt and asked him this question:
Christianity is not just a set of propositions that one holds, but it's a faith-practice, a way of life. With that in mind, wouldn't the smart thing to do is require very high epistemic standards before one decides they will dedicate their life to Christ? If you're going to live for Christ then wouldn't it be smart to actually meet Jesus Christ in person or even talk to his mother Mary or an angel? I know you often mention the witness of the Holy Spirit as a way that one can have direct access to God but I have done meditative prayer and deep meditation for years upon years and nothing has come up in terms of God speaking to me directly where I know it wasn't just my own imagination. Many of my fellow Christians have had similar concerns on this also. This is perhaps my biggest struggle and I cannot seem to get it out of my head as it is causing me to abandon the Christian life because I cannot have high epistemic confidence that Christianity is true. Kyle, United States.
Craig responded by saying:
When I first heard the message of the Gospel as a non-Christian high school student, that my sins could be forgiven by God, that God loved me, he loved Bill Craig, and that I could come to know him and experience eternal life with God, I thought to myself (and I'm not kidding) I thought if there is just one chance in a million that this is true it's worth believing. So my attitude toward this is just the opposite of Kyle's. Far from raising the bar or the epistemic standard that Christianity must meet to be believed, I lower it. I think that this is a message which is so wonderful, so fantastic, that if there's any evidence that it's true then it's worth believing in, especially when you compare it to the alternatives like naturalism or atheism or other forms of life. If Kyle really knows what it's like to experience the love of God and to have this hope in eternal life and forgiveness of sins then it seems to me that he will gravitate toward that alternative. It will be so attractive and that it would take really, really decisive disproofs to make him give up his Christian faith and abandon it.

Now, when I talk about the witness of the Holy Spirit I don't mean God speaking to me directly in the way Kyle describes. God doesn't speak to me directly either in that sort of way as an inner voice. But I just mean a kind of fundamental assurance that one's faith is true. People often talk about this as the assurance of salvation, and I think that is the privilege of every born-again Christian. I hope that Kyle is more than just a nominal Christian, that he's really come to experience the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit and that he's indwelt and filled with the Holy Spirit because I think then that removes the huge epistemic bar that he thinks you need to get over in order to become a Christian. [Emphasis is mine]
It's pretty clear the young Craig did not know much of anything about any other religion, or Christian communal "cult". The only one he "investigated" was one sect within western protestant Christianity, as I said earlier. Almost every religion provides relief from guilt, a sense of importance in the grand scheme of things, an intimate awareness of the spirit world, a zest for life, and assurance of being saved from the drudgery of a mundane worldly existence. They offer new converts a deep sense of community and love by others including being loved by the spiritual divine world.

Why does the Christian story have anything more going for it than other religious stories? I can imagine a religious story that is much better, which has a god who loves and forgives us unconditionally as a perfect father would, with no punishment for any offenses, and no need for an atonement, so that everyone ends up in heaven after we die. I can also imagine such a god placing us in a much better world than he has allegedly done, for which see my anthology God and Horrendous Suffering. So the kind of religious story has little or nothing to do with whether the story is true or not. Nothing. A story about a horrific god like Whiro: Evil God of Māori Mythology, or Lilith: Female Demon of Jewish Folklore, or Loviatar: Finnish Goddess of Death, Pain, and Disease, or Apophis: Evil God of Chaos in Ancient Egypt might be true if the evidence led us to think so.

Any hint of him using Pascal's Wager is faulty, since other religions can use the blessedness of an afterlife in a heaven, as opposed to an afterlife in a hellish horror, in order to lower the epistemic standard for those religions. If this is how Craig thought when he initially converted he was not thinking correctly. He adopted his faith for faulty reasons and has since that time defended such a faith.

Craig depends on an invisible undetectable supernatural being called the Holy Spirit to remove "the huge epistemic bar" to be a Christian. But the Holy Spirit did not audibly speak to Craig as to his divine activity. Bill read about it in the Bible, the Christian book allegedly produced by the Holy Spirit, and confirmed by the Holy Spirit. We see this when reading the first chapter on faith in Craig's book Reasonable Faith. There he quotes the Bible to learn about the activity of the Holy Spirit. That's like using the book allegedly produced by Allah to inform or educate us about the activity of Allah, who also allegedly confirms it.

There is no sense at which Craig thinks doubt is a virtue. None. Doubt, when directed at his own faith, is not a reasonable option to him. He claims to have the Holy Spirit's assurance that he's right. So he never expresses the fact that doubt is a means to get at the truth. I took a masters class at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with Craig on the work of René Descartes, who saw value in doubting everything to see what he could accept afterwards. Craig did not do this, not by a long shot. He basically accepted the first story he heard as he was becoming an adult. He was introduced to the "correct" religion at an early vulnerable period in his life. He didn't know much about any other religion. He never researched into them. But his religion is the one true one. *Cough* I think of him when I consider the title of my first anthology. He is a deluded person. It's quite pathetic, although I know what that's like myself.


John W. Loftus is a philosopher and counter-apologist credited with 12 critically acclaimed books, including The Case against Miracles, God and Horrendous Suffering, and Varieties of Jesus Mythicism. Please support DC by sharing our posts, or by subscribing, donating, or buying our books at Amazon. Thank you so much!