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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Empty Chair

Mention the name William Lane Craig, and only a few people have heard of him. Philosopher, Theologian, professional debater. Recently he came to England to give a series of talks, which passed under the radar of almost everybody. Yet he is regarded as the planet's primary apologist for the Christian faith.
He seems a nice enough guy. Very skilled rhetorician. Of late however he appears to have developed something of an obsession. He has become, or so it would seem, fixated with staging a debate with
the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who also happens to be author of The God Delusion.
Dawkins has ruffled feathers, you see. He has the temerity to suggest that it's actually ok not to have faith. So what, I hear you say? Old news in Western Europe. Not so the other side of the pond, however, where books penned by not only Dawkins but other prominent free thinkers have played a large part in freeing a great many from the manacles of religious indoctrination. You can tell that cages are rattled because you cannot visit a Christian website without hearing his name mentioned.
Why so? He offers only his thoughts, which one is free to accept or reject accordingly. Yet the obsession amongst the faithful is a very strange phenomena. Unless I'm mistaken they want to see this debate rather urgently, as if this somehow would settle the matter of whether or not we're alone in the universe. So then, what exactly is the issue?
I expect its a mixture of things. To be sure, Dawkins has stirred the hornets nest and has been a player in helping America break free of religious fixation. And those who have faith tend to get quesy when pressed.  Equally troubling must be the statistic that the fastest growing demographic is those professing no belief, so the ship appears to be a bit leaky. But anyway, Dawkins has consistently refused to debate with Craig, and recently articulated clearly his reasons why. You see, Dr Craig has some rather odd views on genocide. Simply put, if God should command the death of children, mothers, or anything else its automatically ok because apparently he will have morally sufficient reasons for doing so. So as long as God commands something it must be for the best and most perfect reason, and we can never hope to understand because we're all yucky and human and small.
Ok, I know the majority reading this recognise the absurdity and indeed the obscenity of that perspective. We're all innately able to know why genocide is a bad idea. And on that no more needs to be said. However, it is because of this that Dawkins refuses to share a stage with Craig. It would give Craig a platform, the oxygen of publicity. And the thing is, Dawkins is already oxygen rich in this department. So it really comes down to the simple fact that for one, Dawkins finds the views of his
opponent deeply unpleasant, alongside the brute fact that nobody outside evangelical circles cares what the good Dr Craig has to say. So for those who continue to clamour, I fear that you do so in vain. Until such time as William Lane Craig rids himself of his anti human views he deserves only the coldest of shoulders. And frankly he deserves no less.

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