Ben Shapiro has a video hilariously titled William Lane Craig Debunks the Top Atheist Arguments. Craig does nothing of the kind. See my previous video, Sophistry for God: William Lane Craig. Here’s my rebuttal.
Shapiro: How does a good god rule over a world in which children die of of natural causes in which kids are born with Tay-Sachs [syndrome]?
Craig: Intellectually, considered dispassionately as a philosophical problem, it’s extraordinarily difficult to show that there’s either any inconsistency or improbability between the existence of an all-loving, all-powerful god and the evil and suffering in the world. The atheist would have to show that it is either impossible or improbable that God has morally sufficient reasons for permitting the natural and moral evil in the world. How could he possibly show that? We’re simply not in a position to make those kind of probability judgments with any confidence. The problem of evil lays a burden of proof on the shoulders of the atheist.
Absolute nonsense. There is no burden of proof to show that God has no moral reason for the evils of the world. The burden of proof is on those making the extraordinary claim of an omnibenvolent, omnipotent invisible being. See my post The Problem of Evil.
Shapiro: The other argument that is brought up an enormous amount is the supposed backwardness of the bible itself and biblical morality,… largely with regard to… homosexual marriage.
Craig: we need to remember the first premise of the moral argument if there is no god then there are no objective moral values and duties everything is socio-culturally relative.
Again, absolute rubbish. The golden rule has been restated over and over again by innumerable cultures. This is pure sophistry on Craig’s part.
Craig: Who’s to say that the moral values of a society that discriminates against people and oppresses people is worse than one which is liberal and tolerant.
Jesus said “Just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them” (Luke 6:31). Since no one want’s to be discriminated against, Jesus was saying that the discriminating against people is worse than being tolerant. Craig is actually arguing that “evil is good” here.
Craig: We cannot escape this question when thinking of moral right and wrong: what does god think of this and if god proscribes something it seems to me that’s entirely within his right if god were to say thou shalt not eat beans or thou shalt not eat pork that would be our moral duty and we should obey it that is his prerogative as the moral law giver and the supreme good and so If god says my plan for human sexuality is heterosexual marriage that’s his prerogative.
But no one knows the mind of God. The bible was written by men, who codified their cultural practices in it. In the words, quoted by Jesus, of the prophet Isaiah (29:13):
The Lord said, “This people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.
Who is Craig to say that the injunctions in Leviticus and Romans are not such “traditions learned by rote”?
Shapiro: The bible permits slavery. It talks about wiping peoples from the earth. Some things that we would certainly consider moral evils today are contemplated by the bible.
Jesus would consider them evil. Genocide surely violates the commandment against murder. These are cultural practices written down by the priesthood as the word of God.
Craig: In ancient Israel there was no social safety net sponsored by the state. If a man got himself into a situation where he couldn’t pay his debts he could keep his family together and retain his self-respect by selling himself as an indentured servant to his creditor until he could work off his debts and then he would have to be set free after seven years… This was actually an anti-poverty program and in some respects I think it’s better than what we have.
In current system, should you get so far in debt that you can’t pay, you can declare bankruptcy and, though you will lose most of your possessions, you will, after a time, be given another chance, though you will find it much more difficult to borrow. Craig is claiming that seven years of indentured servitude is superior to this? He is a lunatic.
Shapiro: Enslavement of … war captives is … not banned … in the bible… Over time the west … eliminated slavery altogether, specifically citing the sections of the bible that talk about human freedom and the innate value of every human being. Is that an evolution of morality, or is that a realization of a fundamental principle that was originally given to people who couldn’t necessarily understand the full extent of the principle?
Craig: Jesus said something very much like this with respect to old testament regulations on divorce they asked him whether or not it was lawful to divorce a woman for any reason. Jesus said Moses allowed you to write a certificate of of divorce but it was not so from the beginning, cited the creation story of Genesis of Adam and Eve, and said what God has put together let not man put asunder. So what Jesus was saying there was that the law of Moses was a temporary prescription accommodating the hardness of heart of the people at the time but it didn’t represent the perfect will of God.
Craig seems to be claiming that God allowed the Jewish people to enslave prisoners they captured in war because they were hard hearted at the time. A god who would allow his chosen people to do this, even though it was not his “perfect will”, seems to be far from omnibenevolent.
Shapiro: When it comes to same-sex marriage, the argument is now being made by people in liberal churches that Jesus was seeking equal respect for everyone and the prescriptions on homosexuality were really not eternal precepts but were attempting to crack down on the the promiscuity of the time or they were temporary expedients.
And this is the same argument Craig made to justify the bible’s endorsement of divorce. Checkmate, Craig.
Craig: I think that’s clearly false. When you look at these uh regulations both in the old testament and then they’re repeated in the new testament in the strongest terms in Romans chapter one 1. There’s no doubt that Paul is thinking of this as a moral law. This is a law that god has given us for our good so i do not think that this is capable of simply being relativized to time and culture.
Paul was a Pharisee (a group who strictly followed the laws of the old testament) before he converted to Christianity, and never met Jesus, so you can take his moralizing with a big grain of salt. You can’t say that divorce and slavery were OK then and not now, but then say that homosexuality is absolutely immoral. You cannot discriminate against homosexuals without violating one of Jesus’s two commandments: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. William Lane Craig is a sophist.