Another post from my first attempt at blogging, going back to late 2013. I still find Craig’s work intellectually stimulating, and spiritually encouraging today. I think my faith is even more “reasonable” now than it was 4 years ago despite, or perhaps because of, what I have been through over that time.
These days “faith” seems to be most often talked about as a polar opposite to “reason”, “logic” or “rational thought”, and increasingly, “science”. If you have faith in something then that means you believe it, but without having any objective evidence to support it. Sometimes, the insinuation by others is that you believe it even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. As Mark Twain would say “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”
I have been a Christian and a scientist for more or less the same period of time, about 18 years, and I think this mutually exclusive view does a disservice to both faith and science. It’s not as though I am living two separate lives, turning my science/medical brain on during the week and then switching it off on Sunday so I can go to Church with my faith brain on. It is possible to allow them to complement each other, and I actually find that my experience of each has been made richer by the other.
Over the years, I’ve looked at both sides of this issue quite a bit, and in recent times I’ve found a lot of the work done by William Lane Craig very helpful in showing that having a Christian faith as outlined in the Bible can be a “reasonable” or logically valid position to hold. He has produced a massive body of work over the years ranging from quite short articles targeted at the general population, to detailed philosophical and theological papers published in peer-reviewed journals, as well as numerous books and podcasts, and a quick Youtube search reveals a large number of debates he has had with prominent atheists, philospophers and scientists. The topics are many and varied including the existence of God, the problem of suffering and evil, creation, and the historicity of Jesus. His website and his app (iPhone & Android) collate a lot of this stuff in one place, and I highly recommend them if you are investigating these sorts of issues or are looking to develop your understanding of them.
Now that is not to say that I completely agree with everything he says (and there are of course plenty of other very good Christian apologists out there), and I hold the Bible (read and understood as an integrated collection of 66 different books, written over many centuries, by many inspired authors, in many genres but telling one great story revealed over time) to be the ultimate authority, but he does at least provide some well thought out arguments for his viewpoints, as well as highlighting issues with atheist and non-christian view points, that show that at the end of the day, holding onto a Christian faith is a more than reasonable thing to do, especially when compared to a lot of other world views out there, which can sometimes look rather shaky when held up to proper scrutiny.
I don’t really expect anyone to be convinced of the truth of Christianity solely on the basis of Craig’s arguments, but I do hope some might come to see that a “Reasonable Faith” is not the oxymoron some believe it to be.