The answer is NO, Crossan does not believe in God.
And here is the proof from William Lane Craig. (H/T Glenn Peoples)
This exchange with Crossan occurred in their debate entitled “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?”.
Now look over this post about theological liberals, from philosopher Glenn Peoples.
Secondly there’s a palpable dishonesty at work here too. If you’re going to present ideas, it’s helpful to name them. But if you name them, you need to be conscious of the fact that some names are already taken, and already have meaning. Some of these names are covered by copyright (such as Coca Cola), so you wouldn’t be able to use those, but others aren’t. When you identify as a Christian theologian and say “I believe that God exists and that Jesus rose from the dead,” you’re using terminology and also theological phrases and concepts that have recognisable meaning. In a Christian context there’s an existing understanding of what those concepts are and what those terms mean. God is the being who created the Universe, and Jesus rose from the dead by coming back to life and exiting his tomb. That’s what Christians have always meant when they say those things. But how honest is it to say “I’m a Christian, God exists, and Jesus rose from the dead” when what you actually mean is “I have a healthy respect for the teachings of a man who was no saviour, I believe that there is such a thing as goodness, and Jesus’ teachings still have some relevance for today”? Surely the respectable thing to say is “Look, Christianity is false, there’s no God, but we can still gleam a thing or two from what Jesus said.”
I have no doubt that for people who – for whatever reason – have an emotional or wistful connection to chapels, ecclesiastical robes and moving liturgy but who cannot stomach the perceived balderdash about inconvenient things like God, liberal (or “progressive”) Christianity is perceived as more intellectually respectable and credible. But those on the outside are a little more discerning and quite frankly aren’t this easily duped. However wrong they might be, they are not uniformly stupid. The genuinely honest and self respecting thing would be to stop receiving the church salary or pension, stop using its land, buildings and resources, admit that you reject Christianity outright and be done with it. Do something a little less duplicitous with your life. Start your own religion if you must, but face the fact that a more respectable version of religion is not what you have created.
That’s an excellent assessment of theological liberalism.I would have liked it even more if Glenn had talked about Crossan’s other pre-supposition – of religious pluralism – which requires that nothing in Christianity be exclusive such that people in other religions would be mistaken in their view of God and face whatever consequences that entails.
By the way, if you like that kind of frankness, I really recommend getting hold of the Greer-Heard forums with John Dominic Crossan (2005), Bart Ehrman (2008) and Paul F. Knitter (2009) – three apostates who are strongly questioned by the other respondents to the debate. Especially by the philosophers, Paul Copan and Doug Geivett. That is one excellent thing about philosophers. While historians and theologians see to me to often what to cloud things over, philosophers (analytical philosophers anyway), seem to want to clear things up.
I do not yet have the 2010 MP3s yet, but will buy them this weekend. Greer-Heard does a great job on these MP3 recordings – $15 for an entire forum with respondents. You learn a ton, but it is definitely intermediate level material.
Disclaimer: I don’t agree with Glenn on some things – I believe in non-material souls and I believe in Hell, and he seems to be more for material body only and annihilationism. But he keeps writing these amazing posts, so I keep linking.