Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

The return of William Lane Craig videos to Youtube

A while back, the channel that hosted many of Dr. Craig’s debates was shut down. But nothing to fear, it’s back up now, and being managed by Reasonable Faith.

The full list of 900 videos is here, and there is also a list of 97 playlists for longer videos. You can find even more videos on ChristianJR4′s Youtube channel.

One of the nice things about the channel’s new management is that they do not allow comments on Youtube. I think that is a wise decision, and I hope they stick with it. You won’t hear the same quality of argument at the lay-level of atheism that you hear at the lay-level of Christianity. Lay atheists typically don’t try to make formal arguments against God’s existence based on evidence, whereas more of the Christian rank and file have read basic stuff like Lee Strobel books and they sound pretty much like a William Lane Craig clone, if given the opportunity to debate. Unless you go to the level of a Peter Millican or a Walter Sinnott-Armstrong or a Paul Draper, you’re not going to hear anything compelling from most atheists.

Here’s a new lecture on the moral argument that I found, which I had not seen before.

Details:

Is morality objective? Or is it subjective and relative? Is there such things as moral absolutes? Dr. William Lane Craig answers these questions and argues that if objective morals exists, then God exists.

The lecture was given at the First Baptist Church of Colleyville, Texas in their “Faith and Reason” class. Churches seem to be getting more and more into this sort of thing these days, and that’s a good thing. If you just watch the first video, and see the church leader charge his flock to get ready to think carefully about apologetics, it’s a good thing. I feel encouraged by it, but it’s becoming more common for churches to take the intellectual approach, even as thinking is dying in the secular world.

The play list is here.

Here are the 5 parts:

Part 1 of 5:

Part 2 of 5:

Part 3 of 5:

Part 4 of 5:

Part 5 of 5:

The total time is one hour and 7 minutes, and there is Q&A at the end.

By the way, now may be a good time to mention that in the last year, the two leading atheistic web sites on the web, Common Sense Atheism (#1) and Debunking Christianity (#2) have both ceased operations, except as archives of past activity. My take on this? I think that atheism as a worldview is dying out because it is just too difficult for them to defend a worldview that is contradicted by cosmology and astrophysics. At the very least, the good scientific evidence we have from the origin of the universe, the fine-tuning, the origin of life, the galactic habitability, the stellar habitability, the Cambrian era fossils, etc., show that there is at least a deistic God.

There are still fair-minded agnostics and open-minded atheists who haven’t heard anyone make the case for theism to them out there. And that’s something for Christians to address with their evangelistic efforts. But for atheist activists who know about the scientific evidence from William Lane Craig debates and elsewhere, atheism is no longer a viable worldview. I think it remains as a non-rational personal preference, but it’s not something you can really argue rationally with anyone who follows the progress of science. The only question to decide now is which version of monotheism is true: deism, Christianity, Judaism or Islam. Since Islam is extremely easy to disprove on historical grounds, there are only three live options: deism, Christianity and Judaism.

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23 Responses

  1. ogtracy says:

    Debunking Christianity is under new management because John Loftus is tired of engaging Christians, but it is still running. Not that it makes much difference; the new bloggers are pretty much like him.

    I would say that I hope his new life is everything he dreams, but that would be rather pointless.

    About lay Christians, I don’t really think they sound like Craig. Perhaps you’ve been working too many extra hours and need to get out.

    Sorry, WK. I feel like I only comment here when I have something to criticize. You are doing a very good job.

  2. Now I know what Kevin Harris looks like! I thought I recognized the voice.

    I think many Christians do like to have things addressed in a rigorous, intellectual way. At my church, I’ve taught the moral argument the past two weeks, and now we’re on to the problem of evil. The attendees tell me it stretches their mind in a good way, and that they appreciate it.

    • See, and that’s how I feel. My church has classes in this stuff, too. So to me, it’s everywhere!

      • Melissa W. says:

        Wow, I wish my church, or any church I’ve ever been to, had classes in apologetics. Most of the Christians I know have never even heard of apologetics, and the wishy washy, emotion-based “it’s about the relationship” churches that they go to aren’t going to change that anytime soon. Also, if asked to “prove” God’s existence, they’d probably give anecdotal examples of “miracles” or “God put XYZ on my heart”, or other such nonsense that would never hold up in any serious debate. That’s a big part of the reason so many young people leave the church in droves. The stifling anti-intellectualism doesn’t help.

  3. Theo Warner says:

    William Lane Craig should not prosper from the illegal activities of another.

    • Well, Theo, as an atheist, you are not capable of making judgments about right and wrong, since your worldview reduces morality to arbitrary opinions that vary by time and place. What you really mean is “I don’t like X, but the converse view of liking X is just fine with me”. That’s atheist morality. Everything is an opinion, and every opinion about what ought to be is as warranted as the opposite opinion.

      • Theo Warner says:

        I’m not an atheist, but were I, I could still make moral judgments.

        • But they would just be conventions, like “it’s wrong to drive on the left side of the road… unless you are in the UK, where it’s fine”. There’s nothing out there to ground statements of morality on atheism – it’s not about anything real, it’s just opinions that vary by time and place. Arbitrary conventions. The opinion “slavery is wrong” on atheism is as warranted as “slavery is right”, depending on where and when it is being uttered.

          • Theo Warner says:

            What’s wrong with a convention?

            You’re example is a great one because although you mean it to be about the arbitrary nature of convention, I see it as a clear example of how conventions saves lives.

          • But on atheism, there is no way to rationally affirm the goodness of saving lives, so you can’t even prefer a convention that saves lives vs one that doesn’t, objectively speaking. Your preference for conventions that saves lives, on atheism, is as rational and valid as someone else’s preference for conventions that do not save lives.

            And this is not just theoretical. Richard Dawkins thinks that infanticide is OK. So does PZ Myers. These are atheists who agree that it is ok to kill a born baby, perhaps because it is the wrong sex. They are not fully human. On atheism, there is no objective right to life. How could an atheist ground human rights, on atheism? It’s not possible. In an accidental universe, there is no way the universe ought to be, and no way we ought to be, either. Not only is there no objective morality, or objective moral values, but there are no objective human rights, either. And that’s why atheists are largely pro-abortion – why limit your own pursuit of happiness because you have to care for a weaker being? Just kill it and keep going with your own life. Morality is just conventions, after all.

          • Theo Warner says:

            I wouldn’t be too hard for an atheist to affirm the goodness of saving lives. He would just have to say: “I think it’s good to save lives.”

          • Yes, he could say anything he wants, and on his worldview, it would just be a subjective opinion that was the result of biological and cultural evolution. There is no design for the universe or humans that makes it real. And because there is nothing external and objective that is being referred to by his statement, but only his subjective opinion, it follows that the opposite opinion is just as valid. One person can say that they like broccoli and another can say that they hate broccoli, and there is nothing out there to say that broccoli is objectively good or bad. It’s just a convention that some people or groups of people hold – one way or the other – at different times, and in different places.

            Here are some atheists who explain that morality is just subjectivity on atheism: (sorry about the length of these citations)

            “Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either. “
            – Cornell University evolutionist William Provine, in a debate with Phillip E. Johnson
            Source: http://www.arn.org/docs/orpages/or161/161ma

            The idea of political or legal obligation is clear enough… Similarly, the idea of an obligation higher than this, referred to as moral obligation, is clear enough, provided reference to some lawgiver higher…than those of the state is understood. In other words, our moral obligations can…be understood as those that are imposed by God…. But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of moral obligation…still make sense? …The concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain but their meaning is gone. (Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith, and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1985), p. 83-84)

            The position of the modern evolutionist is that humans have an awareness of morality because such an awareness of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate when someone says, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory. (Michael Ruse, “Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 262-269).

            In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference… DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. (Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995))

            By the way, I do appreciate your views. I do not mean to attack you personally at all.

    • I’m not sure how it’s illegal. WLC actually thanked the previous owner of DrCraigVideos, so he had permission. And then, when youtube shut the account down, he promptly appealed the suspension of the account. And now, he has reinstated all the videos.

      So he liked what the previous owner did, and he promptly reinstalled all the videos. So it can’t be that the videos are illegal to have, since they are back up. Perhaps it’s that someone beside WLC administered the account?

      In any case, I’m glad they are back. The Wit of Dr. Craig series of videos is one of my favorites. Here’s a playlist:

  4. Neil Shenvi says:

    Theo, you wrote:
    “You’re example is a great one because although you mean it to be about the arbitrary nature of convention, I see it as a clear example of how conventions saves lives.”

    So we have two man-made conventions: “Slavery is permissible” and “Slavery is impermissible.” Is either of these conventions objectively good?

    • Theo Warner says:

      Well, it would depend on what ‘objectively’ means. If you mean that ‘objectively’ requires some sort of God, then it’s entirely possible that slavery is permissible or impermissible. You would have to take that up with the God in question.

      If you think that ‘objectively’ refers to something like ‘goodness’ as determined by the nature of things, I would say that the nature of a society is that ought not include slavery as slavery is always bad for a society.

      • bob says:

        I think you would first have to define what you mean by bad. Because slavery (be it chattel, indentured or whatever) has been the bedrock of many of the most successful and dominant societies humanity has known.

        On another note, Wintery Kinght, I think you are perhaps over egging the pudding when you say “I think that atheism as a worldview is dying out because it is just too difficult for them to defend a worldview that is contradicted by cosmology and astrophysics”

        I gather that both of the bloggers you mentioned continue to fervently passionate about their atheism. Moreover, for every Loftus that hangs up his gloves (and no doubt he will be back) a young kid is becoming enamoured with his writings.

        • Theo Warner says:

          We can, I’m sure, get into a debate over the history of slavery. I will maintain that slavery has always been bad for societies in part because the slaves, themselves, must be counted as part of the society. So, while one person may enslave another and together produce more than had there been no enslavement, we can’t forget that the actual enslavement is a moral wrong regardless of material productions. Your assessment that the most successful societies have used slaves, therefore, I suspect presupposes a calculus which does not value human suffering — which I think must be rejected on its merits as a flawed understanding of what makes a society good.

          As for defining ‘bad,’ I will say that I don’t feel that any one perfect definition will every be offered because ‘badness’ is a complex and dynamic concept, like ‘health,’ for example. We know a great about it but to image that we can just type a few words that will get the point across is naive.

          We can say that ‘to be enslaved’ is ‘bad’ without collapsing into language games.

  5. Austin G. says:

    Theo, an atheist can affirm the goodness of saving lives but what, given atheism, allows for this to be truly meaningful? All it would do is prolong someone’s short life for a little longer before he returns to nothing.

    • Theo Warner says:

      Well, if someone saved my life, I would say that that action was meaningful in so far as I can go on with what I was doing before. Most gestures that saves lives are ‘meaningful’ in so far as the people whose lives are saved are glad to be alive and so on. So, you were looking for a ‘what.’ The ‘what’ would be something like… the subjective opinions of people.

  6. Theo Warner says:

    I don’t find that very convincing. It seems to me that all you’re saying is:

    If there is a God, moral judgments have something to do with God.
    If there is no God, moral judgments don’t have anything to do with God.

    I agree. If there is no God, God does not provide a foundation for moral judgments.

  7. Theo Warner says:

    “By the way, I do appreciate your views. I do not mean to attack you personally at all.”

    These aren’t my views, just so you know. I am not, as I’ve already said, an atheist. But, it’s worth understanding atheism, I think.

  8. Wow, Meueueueuehlheiser (or whatever he spells his name)’s done with Common Sense Atheism. Interesting. I note he’s now the so-called Executive Director of something called the Singularity Institute. Guffaw.

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