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Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics

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Perfect as a textbook yet excellent for lay readers, this updated edition builds a positive case for Christianity by applying the latest thought to core theological themes. J. Gresham Machen once said, False ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the gospel-which makes apologetics that much more important. Wanting to engage not just academics and pastors but C Perfect as a textbook yet excellent for lay readers, this updated edition builds a positive case for Christianity by applying the latest thought to core theological themes. J. Gresham Machen once said, False ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the gospel-which makes apologetics that much more important. Wanting to engage not just academics and pastors but Christian laypeople and seekers, William Lane Craig has revised and updated key sections in this third edition of his classic text to reflect the latest work in astrophysics, philosophy, probability calculus, the arguments for the existence of God, and Reformed epistemology. His approach-that of positive apologetics-gives careful attention to crucial questions and concerns, including: the relationship of faith and reason, the existence of God, the problems of historical knowledge and miracles, the personal claims of Christ, and the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. He shows that there is good reason to think Christianity is true. As Craig says, If you have a sound and persuasive case for Christianity, you don't have to become an expert in comparative religions and Christian cults. A positive justification of the Christian faith automatically overwhelms all competing world views lacking an equally strong case.


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Perfect as a textbook yet excellent for lay readers, this updated edition builds a positive case for Christianity by applying the latest thought to core theological themes. J. Gresham Machen once said, False ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the gospel-which makes apologetics that much more important. Wanting to engage not just academics and pastors but C Perfect as a textbook yet excellent for lay readers, this updated edition builds a positive case for Christianity by applying the latest thought to core theological themes. J. Gresham Machen once said, False ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the gospel-which makes apologetics that much more important. Wanting to engage not just academics and pastors but Christian laypeople and seekers, William Lane Craig has revised and updated key sections in this third edition of his classic text to reflect the latest work in astrophysics, philosophy, probability calculus, the arguments for the existence of God, and Reformed epistemology. His approach-that of positive apologetics-gives careful attention to crucial questions and concerns, including: the relationship of faith and reason, the existence of God, the problems of historical knowledge and miracles, the personal claims of Christ, and the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. He shows that there is good reason to think Christianity is true. As Craig says, If you have a sound and persuasive case for Christianity, you don't have to become an expert in comparative religions and Christian cults. A positive justification of the Christian faith automatically overwhelms all competing world views lacking an equally strong case.

30 review for Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    Considering how many books the 'New Atheists' sell, I think it's an absolute crime how few Christians even know about this guy, let alone his work My first experience with the author's work was watching a youtube video of his debate with Frank Zindler on 'Does God Exist?' After hearing WLC's opening speech in the debate where he laid out his five main arguments for the existence of God (all covered in this book), my jaw actually dropped. His case sounded too solid, too full-proof to be valid. I w Considering how many books the 'New Atheists' sell, I think it's an absolute crime how few Christians even know about this guy, let alone his work My first experience with the author's work was watching a youtube video of his debate with Frank Zindler on 'Does God Exist?' After hearing WLC's opening speech in the debate where he laid out his five main arguments for the existence of God (all covered in this book), my jaw actually dropped. His case sounded too solid, too full-proof to be valid. I was certain his opponent had counter arguments to put everything he just said into question. To my surprise though, Mr Zindler could offer nothing in rebuttal. He avoided addressing any of the points Dr. Craig brought up, he offered no reason to believe God doesn't exist, and resorted to a feeble attack on Biblical passages that showed his understanding of the Bible to be equivalent to a toddler's understanding of M-Theory. I then found myself watching numerous other debates (including Hitchens and Harris), I wanted to find Atheists' answer to Dr. William Lane Craig. The short answer is: they don't have one. He just annihilates his opponents every time. I've heard some people argue "he's just a professional debater". Well this book has been out for 17 years and includes all his major arguments for God and Christianity in detail. It's not like his attack plan in these debates are a secret now are they? That would have to mean that either his opponents are ALL ignorant laymen on the given topic (which they aren't), or that his apologetics really are that strong. So what then can a reader get out of this book? Well as I said it includes all of the major arguments he brings up in debates involving the existence of God and the truth of Christianity by successfully arguing the validity of the gospels and Christ's resurrection. Each chapter starts by going over the history of the issue, trends in philosophy that shaped and developed the argument, where the debate on the issue stands right now, his professional exploration on the matter, objections that have been raised and their refutation, and then of course his conclusions. Now some might classify this as a 'popular book' rather than say a 'textbook', but I think that's a little misleading. First, WLC has two PHDs (Philosophy and Theology), which means he knows the subject exceptionally well and is within his educational right to be considered an authority on the matter. Second, the book contains far more concrete information per paragraph than plenty of textbooks I had in college, I actually had to give my brain a rest when I read too much in a sitting. Third, the book's fluidness and consistency (a trait I wouldn't attach to most textbooks) is a testament not to his 'elegant prose' but to his solid understanding of the subject matter. In other words this is an exceptional Christian Apologetics 101 textbook that won't put you to sleep. Who should read this book? Well obviously anyone interested in Christian Apologetics. I strongly recommend this to Christians who are at a point where they're questioning their faith, wondering if it's a blind one. Though, to be sure, every Christian should be familiar with this material, you may not need it for assurance, but it equips you with answering some very tough questions like the historical reliability of the gospels to a skeptic. I would also recommend it to an agnostic, someone who is legitimately inquiring as to what each side of the argument has to say and is able to read the material objectively without rolling their eyes at the mere mention of 'God' - a lot of the material presented here is available on the reasonablefaith.org website in the Q&A section, he also covers a LOT in podcasts. I would not simply hand this to a 'devout atheist' friend and tell them to read it in the hopes they'll somehow drop to their knees and convert. The old saying "no one gets argued into the kingdom of God" is still true. You're better off studying this book and having an intelligent discussion with them on the issues which will lead them hopefully to the conclusion that your faith isn't irrational but rather, it's 'reasonable'. Friends at work were surprised the other day when they found out I was Christian (in my defense, I thought they knew) They both assumed I was an atheist because "well you're like...smart...not uptight" There's this misconception today that ALL Christians subscribe to a 'blind faith' mentality and are judgmental prudes. Well to the latter I say that lies on a believer practicing scripture rather than just reading it. To the former I would say "Reasonable Faith" as the title entails is an excellent place to start in dispelling that perception of 'blind' faith in Christianity today.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Winston Jen

    Craig's own quotes demonstrate his dearth of reason. He has claimed, repeatedly, that the internal witness of the holy spirit is enough to quench any evidence that opposes his religious views. How is that reasonable in the slightest?! If that wasn't enough, he insults all non-Christians by accusing them of loving darkness rather than light. And all this IN THE INTRODUCTION! According to Craig, nothing has any meaning unless it lasts forever. Besides being patently condescending and just plain wro Craig's own quotes demonstrate his dearth of reason. He has claimed, repeatedly, that the internal witness of the holy spirit is enough to quench any evidence that opposes his religious views. How is that reasonable in the slightest?! If that wasn't enough, he insults all non-Christians by accusing them of loving darkness rather than light. And all this IN THE INTRODUCTION! According to Craig, nothing has any meaning unless it lasts forever. Besides being patently condescending and just plain wrong, it implies that an eternity of repetitive and wearisome kowtowing would somehow be enjoyable. "When they say that Christian beliefs about Jesus are derived from pagan mythology, I think you should laugh. Then look at them wide-eyed and with a big grin, and exclaim, 'Do you really believe that?' Act as though you've just met a flat earther or Roswell conspirator. William Lane Craig, "Question 90: Jesus and Pagan Mythology", Reasonable Faith, 2009" How ignorant does one have to be to spew such drivel!? 1. But the argument is still unsound, because the first premise is false: there are other unmentioned alternatives, for example, that Jesus as described in the gospels is a legendary figure, so that the trilemma is false as it stands. [William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), p. 39.] 2. What, then, should be our approach in apologetics? It should be something like this: 'My friend, I know Christianity is true because God's Spirit lives in me and assures me that it is true. And you can know it is true, too, because God is knocking at the door of your heart, telling you the same thing. If you are sincerely seeking God, then God will give you assurance that the gospel is true. Now, to try to show you it's true, I'll share with you some arguments and evidence that I really find convincing. But should my arguments seem weak and unconvincing to you, that's my fault, not God's. It only shows that I'm a poor apologist, not that the gospel is untrue. Whatever you think of my arguments, God still loves you and holds you accountable. I'll do my best to present good arguments to you. But ultimately you have to deal, not with arguments, but with God himself.' [William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), p. 48.] 3. Therefore, when a person refuses to come to Christ it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God's Spirit on his heart. No one in the final analysis really fails to become a Christian because of lack of arguments; he fails to become a Christian because he loves darkness rather than light and wants nothing to do with God. [William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), pp. 35-36.] 4. Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa. [William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), p. 36.] 5. The Bible says all men are without excuse. Even those who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse, because the ultimate reason they do not believe is that they have deliberately rejected God's Holy Spirit. [William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), p. 37.] Pure disingenuous drivel. The man is a professional liar. And to add insult to injury, Christianity has caused his compassion to implode on himself. He has defended genocide in the bible on his website: [...] "So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    It is easy to see why William Lane Craig is heralded as one of the major champions of current apologetics. His handling of the apologetic process is not unique in any way but it is entirely direct. It is a sad fact that most apologists (both current and past) have problems with keeping their focus on the issue at hand. It is important to focus on a step-by-step procedure to take the reader from square one towards the truth of the gospel. While a lot of apologists tend to only present and dispute It is easy to see why William Lane Craig is heralded as one of the major champions of current apologetics. His handling of the apologetic process is not unique in any way but it is entirely direct. It is a sad fact that most apologists (both current and past) have problems with keeping their focus on the issue at hand. It is important to focus on a step-by-step procedure to take the reader from square one towards the truth of the gospel. While a lot of apologists tend to only present and dispute the obvious objections it is nice to see a thinker who will approach the grey areas of uncertainty (i.e. If the universe is infinitely old how could God create it?). Not only does WLC incorporate the classic apologies from authors such as Anselm and Augustine and Aquinas but he is very thorough in his explanations and examples that help the readers comprehend some of the more abstract theories. My qualm with this book is my qualm with any apologetic treatise: Who cares? I believe that there are some answers in rational thinking and in accurate philosophy but 'reason' is not the sole method of evangelism and philosophy (no matter how accurate) is not the sole arbiter of truth. Doubters gonna doubt. Skeptics gonna... skep?? The answers in apologetics are powerful but they are not pertinent until the seeker is seeking truth rather than seeking a fallacy in Christian logic. The 'good news of the gospel' is entirely irrelevant until one realizes the bad news of the human condition: namely the hopelessness of life without salvation, the absurdity of life without God, and the tragedy of eternity without Christ.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

    William is no stranger to controversy. His rational justification for Christianity has met several critics. And now, I have decided to join with those critics. First, we must understand that William is not any kind of philosopher, he is a philosopher of science that specializes in Physics studying the nature of time and Cosmology. And so, in his introduction, William will try to dismantle what he calls "Fundamentalism". That is to say "anti-intellectualism and second-rate scholarship". This is n William is no stranger to controversy. His rational justification for Christianity has met several critics. And now, I have decided to join with those critics. First, we must understand that William is not any kind of philosopher, he is a philosopher of science that specializes in Physics studying the nature of time and Cosmology. And so, in his introduction, William will try to dismantle what he calls "Fundamentalism". That is to say "anti-intellectualism and second-rate scholarship". This is no surprise, for William's bias is noticeable by having Doctoral degrees and having claimed that he will not debate anyone "who hasn't done the hard work of getting a degree and doing serious scholarship". Is this position biblical? Well, in order for me to say that it is not, we have to take into account William's attempts to appeal to the natural sciences and scientific method. William is subscribed to the rationalist-scientific endeavors of the nineteen century. But he also repudiates the Positivism that permeated that century. William believes that rejecting "logic and evidence" "will be catastrophic" for Christianity. Basically, if we do not subscribe to this rationalism view, Christianity will be lost. The problem starts with William exhorting others by saying "we should be relational, humble, and invitational". This view is inconsistent with the rationalist-objectivistic view that William shares. He goes on to an incredible extreme opinion by saying "if parents are not intellectually (Rationalists-objectivists) engaged with their faith and do not have sound arguments for Christian theism and good answers to their children's questions, then we are in real danger of losing our youth". William's conspiracy theory (that we will somehow lose "our youth" if not subscribe into this Rationalism) doesn't hit the mark, for children shouldn't be indoctrinated into believing anything, much less be given "arguments" to persuade them. We, Christians, know that Children are innocent in the eye of God and they are also free to reject Him. No argument is going to suppress the freedom of anyone. William continues by stating that "pastors need to know something about contemporary science". Why? Contemporary Science is atheistic in nature, so this would be like saying to Israelites that they should've "known something" about pagan religions. Later, William starts making personal claims (that are really under the umbrella of anecdotes) to try to convince us to join him. But at this point in the book, he is yet to give us any reason for subscribing to his Rationalism. William's inconsistencies really show how can we lose track of God's commands, for he then says that "you don't have to be an expert" to subscribe to Rationalism. If that's true, then why study for two doctoral degrees and publish in professional journals? It doesn't make any sense to then demand from atheists that they are in need of "a degree" to be even worthy of debating William."You have to earn that", he says. He then gives a historical account to sustain his Rationalism, but to my surprise, William starts referring to Aquinas and Augustine. Pardon me, but those were Catholics, not Christians, and so we arrive at the core of the problem with William Craig. That is, he constantly changes his perspective to suit his needs, whether that means sharing the views of heretics like Aquinas and Augustine or studying pagan philosophy, such as Plato and Aristotle. All of William's claims begin to tremble when speaking about the "Role of the Holy Spirit". He concedes that "with most people, there's no need to use apologetics at all". And so, why bother using probability calculus (nowhere to be found in the New Testament) to manipulate anyone to join Christianity? "God is not the conclusion of a syllogism..." So then why is William leading his arguments by Aristotle's syllogisms? If "if it weren't for the work of the Holy Spirit, no one would ever become a Christian", then why do we need to memorize arguments and evidence? I agree with William when he says that "it is the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit that gives the fundamental knowledge of Christianity's truth". The problem with that statement is that we do not need arguments, syllogisms, or scientific evidence to become a Christian. I didn't need them with my own conversion. I became a Christian without having studied any degree at that time, I didn't memorize any of Craig's arguments, and I will go as far as to say that, at that time, I didn't read any of William's books. I just barely look at his debate with Hitchens because someone post it on Youtube and translated the debate with subtitles in Spanish. That debate didn't make me a Christian, but at least it reinforced my convictions. Someone that constantly presents contradictory beliefs and then presses others to join him is going to have a hard time convincing me to abandon Scripture, and instead join the Scientific-intellectual-rationalist view of presenting arguments and evidence for my beliefs. Apparently, now I must give convincing arguments to everyone who demands them from me because the work of the Holy Spirit is not enough anymore. Even though I appreciated the chapter on the Absurdity of life without God, William then proceeded to argue for Objectivist-Rationalist views on Historical facts, which are followed, not by syllogism or with scientific models, but with a personal interpretation of Scripture, which William himself concedes by saying that the objectivist approach is aimed at specifying the conditions (author's intent) in historical statements (this is what William believes he is defending), but the subjectivist approach is concerned with the interpretation of texts under literary and aesthetic criteria (this is what William actually practice). In conclusion, one last example is the Historical Adam, in which William was (and will continue to be) criticized for showing inconsistent and ambivalent views on this. William states that "postmodernists take historical writing to be inherently metaphorical and non-literal". Well, it turns out that William Craig now claims this to be the case with Genesis 1-11 by reclaiming the word "mythos-history". This demonstrates that a purely Objectivistic view must be abandoned, especially with concerns over historical facts and scientific evidence. For over vasts tracks of human history, people didn't have any access to education, much less, pieces of evidence and arguments. Poverty, violence, slavery, and illiteracy, among other issues, have historically prevented high amounts of people to have access to information. Only when the Enlightenment came, this started to change. "But even in societies where literacy is widespread and where a considerable body of professional historians is at work, it may still be the case that a majority of the population form their views of the past on the basis of inherited mythlike traditions", that's according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    I read this book as part of a book study amongst friends at my university. As a student of philosophy and apologetics I was not disappointed. This book was everything I thought it would be and more. In its third edition, this is without a doubt the best popular level survey of natural theology out there. As an undergraduate philosophy student, I've read many scholarly articles on natural theology. And trust me, they can get very very technical at times. Often I'll just have to put the paper down I read this book as part of a book study amongst friends at my university. As a student of philosophy and apologetics I was not disappointed. This book was everything I thought it would be and more. In its third edition, this is without a doubt the best popular level survey of natural theology out there. As an undergraduate philosophy student, I've read many scholarly articles on natural theology. And trust me, they can get very very technical at times. Often I'll just have to put the paper down and ask my professor about it next class because I'm just not able to comprehend what's being said. But Craig is able to present said arguments in a way that is lucid and concise. If you have ever seen any of Craig's debates on God's existence then you will be very familiar with the format of the book. The first half of the book is taken up with his philosophical arguments for God's existence, with Craig's famous kalam cosmological argument being the most thoroughly explained. But in this edition, Craig includes defenses of reformed epistemology and the ontological argument for God's existence. Both of which I found to be very edifying. Especially the defense of the ontological argument, which can get really technical in formal logic in the scholarly papers I've read. The last half of the book is taken up by the historical arguments for God's existence (i.e. Jesus's resurrection). I did not really study this section of the book that well since I am not interested in such works, but I have been told by friends who are students of history that Craig has one of the best defenses of the resurrection out there. Craig also includes a nice bit of application for his arguments, which is very needed and very helpful. He gives multiple testimonies of how he and his wife were able to use arguments with people in personal evangelism, both with scholars and non-scholars. This really helped me see how I was not really wasting my time studying the arguments and revealed how I could use these arguments to help lead someone to Christ. All in all I would recommend this book to anyone who would like a survey of the top philosophical and historical arguments for Christianity. It is intellectually stimulating and moderately edifying.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Young

    well. all i can say is that the divide between a 'faithful' person and a 'reasonable' person has never been wider for me. i can see that anyone with a bias toward a supernatural worldview would eat this stuff up. but those of us who demand extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims will remain unmoved by the 'evidence presented herein. every single one of lane's arguments for christianity also work just as well for islam, mormonism, and pastafarianism. he readily admits that none of his argumen well. all i can say is that the divide between a 'faithful' person and a 'reasonable' person has never been wider for me. i can see that anyone with a bias toward a supernatural worldview would eat this stuff up. but those of us who demand extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims will remain unmoved by the 'evidence presented herein. every single one of lane's arguments for christianity also work just as well for islam, mormonism, and pastafarianism. he readily admits that none of his arguments would really work, only an intervention by the holy spirit can actually make a person know god and jesus are real. i guess the ol' spirit isn't interested in dwelling in this bag of meat.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    This is likely going to be one of the most in-depth apologetics books you'll ever read. I wouldn't recommend this book to a lay-person who is beginning their quest at becoming a better Christian apologist. If you're a beginner, you may become frustrated because of the "information overload" that this book will undoubtedly bring to the table. While the information is excellent, there are many technical qualities about it that require patience. It is best to take this book slow and fully absorb th This is likely going to be one of the most in-depth apologetics books you'll ever read. I wouldn't recommend this book to a lay-person who is beginning their quest at becoming a better Christian apologist. If you're a beginner, you may become frustrated because of the "information overload" that this book will undoubtedly bring to the table. While the information is excellent, there are many technical qualities about it that require patience. It is best to take this book slow and fully absorb the information in order to get the most out of it. Overall, it is likely one of the most carefully articulated and substantive books on Christian apologetics ever written in my opinion.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Sancho

    junk read it if you hate yourself

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    I've been listening to Dr. Craig's podcasts for a couple of weeks now and I've found his answers to (most) questions of faith and Christianity to be solid. So, when my Bible study group decided to do a short introductory course on apologetics, I decided to delve into the topic a little deeper and found this book. I'm glad I did because this has been one of the most fascinating books I have read in a long time. Dr. Craig build his case for traditional Christian theology slowly, but surely as he s I've been listening to Dr. Craig's podcasts for a couple of weeks now and I've found his answers to (most) questions of faith and Christianity to be solid. So, when my Bible study group decided to do a short introductory course on apologetics, I decided to delve into the topic a little deeper and found this book. I'm glad I did because this has been one of the most fascinating books I have read in a long time. Dr. Craig build his case for traditional Christian theology slowly, but surely as he starts with the philosophical evidence that points towards the existence of God, that God is the creator of the universe, and the evidence for miracles. He ends it with two chapters regarding Jesus Christ's self-awareness and his resurrection. This is not a beginner's apologetics book like Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ. The text is very philosophical and scientific (at least in the chapter regard the evidence in favor of creationism) in its outlook, so if you haven't read other beginner's apologetics books or have a grounding in philosophy or science, you may very well get lost. Having said that, this book is not too difficult as Dr. Craig takes the time to show where certain criticisms came from historically and why they fail to upset traditional Christian theology. He also ends each chapter with a section on the practical application of these arguments, even admitting when a favored argument of his is less useful as in a real world debate of Christian philosophy. Whether you are a skeptic or a believer, if you've read some beginner's apologetics and want to move to the next level, I highly recommend this book to you.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    A very fine book, but very detailed. He tirelessly goes through arguments against Christianity and proves that they don’t stand up. He uses physics and logic and mathematics and physiology and many other areas to prove the reality of Christianity. Very detailed and at times, especially when sub points to arguments, I was somewhat lost. He points out how absolutely absurd it would be to have the world created out of nothing, and for somehow life to come out of nothing. And he lays out the argumen A very fine book, but very detailed. He tirelessly goes through arguments against Christianity and proves that they don’t stand up. He uses physics and logic and mathematics and physiology and many other areas to prove the reality of Christianity. Very detailed and at times, especially when sub points to arguments, I was somewhat lost. He points out how absolutely absurd it would be to have the world created out of nothing, and for somehow life to come out of nothing. And he lays out the arguments claims against Jesus including his resurrection and shows that the resurrection is the only options that stands up. Craig has another book, On Guard, that I thing is a little less detailed and I may look at it. In the end, the best apologetic for the reality of Jesus and God is the life of a Christian.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    Reasonable Faith is essential reading for most every Christian and is excellent for the honest agnostic. Christians are often accused of being intellectually shallow & totally dependent on blind faith. However, in this book, William Lane Craig presents a very convincing philosophical & rational offensive apologetic for the existence of God & the truth of Christianity. Reasonable Faith is deep & technical but is still very readable & the information attainable for the average person. Lane goes be Reasonable Faith is essential reading for most every Christian and is excellent for the honest agnostic. Christians are often accused of being intellectually shallow & totally dependent on blind faith. However, in this book, William Lane Craig presents a very convincing philosophical & rational offensive apologetic for the existence of God & the truth of Christianity. Reasonable Faith is deep & technical but is still very readable & the information attainable for the average person. Lane goes beyond other more basic apologetic books such as "The Case for Christ" & "Evidence That Demands a Verdict." Most have never been presented w/the arguments in this book; & many non-believers would probably rethink their beliefs if they considered these arguments w/an open mind. For Christians, this book will strengthen your faith & give you confidence. The author states in the introduction that "Contemporary Christian worship tends to focus on fostering emotional intimacy w/God. While this is a good thing, emotions will carry a person only so far, & then he's going to need something more substantive. Apologetics can help to provide some of that substance.” In our culture of quick pleasure & easy emotion, it is refreshing to see a serious argument for something beyond physical satisfaction. This book contains strong arguments for the faith that I believe are unmatched in this day & age. By the way, William Lane Craig is one of the premier evangelical apologists around. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Univ. of Birmingham, & a doctorate in theology from the Univ. of Munich. He also earned twin Master's degrees in Philosophy of Religion & Church History & the History of Christian Thought. He is clearly qualified & adept at both theology & philosophy. Finally, it must be noted that parts of this book are a little thick. For example, the chapter on miracles contains fairly complex & detailed philosophical reasoning (just skip this chapter & come back to it when you really want to tackle this issue), he also spends a great deal of time refuting historical relativism (you can skip that one too, come back to it when you are confronted w/a non-believer who seems to buy into that) Each chapter concludes w/a practical application section, which is really helpful. Craig at heart is an evangelist & this book is designed to help believers to not only deal w/intellectual objections to the Christian faith, but to point people to Jesus Christ. A very profitable read. So I highly recommend reading & having this on hand.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    An excellent defense of basic Christian doctrine. The book was written for survey courses in Apologetics at Christian seminaries and has just been released in its third edition. It introduces you to the current "state of the argument" in each subject it covers, but also walks you through the history of the debate and the key players. The chapters progress from "How do I know Christianity is True?" through the self-understanding and resurrection of Christ, with chapters in between on the absurdit An excellent defense of basic Christian doctrine. The book was written for survey courses in Apologetics at Christian seminaries and has just been released in its third edition. It introduces you to the current "state of the argument" in each subject it covers, but also walks you through the history of the debate and the key players. The chapters progress from "How do I know Christianity is True?" through the self-understanding and resurrection of Christ, with chapters in between on the absurdity of life without God, the existence of God, and the problems of historical knowledge and miracles. Craig is obviously biased, but he's honest about it and his academic rigor and clarity of argument stand by themselves (he holds both a PhD and DTheol, and is a professor at the Talbot School of Theology in Southern California). Regardless of who you are, this is a great place to turn for an intelligent defense of Christianity. For the non-believers among you that feel obligated to reject Christianity on rational or intellectual grounds, I challenge you to pick up this book before writing it off completely. Don't make that kind of decision without confronting the best evidence.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    William Lane Craig seems like someone who has spent a lot of time looking into philosophical and scientific reasons for the existence of God. Unfortunately, he readily states early on that science can never provide evidence against God, because faith is more important than the knowledge provided from scientific discovery. Craig's habit of twisting any evidence to support his stance shows a bias which he has no desire to overcome. There are some interesting arguments mentioned in the book, but hi William Lane Craig seems like someone who has spent a lot of time looking into philosophical and scientific reasons for the existence of God. Unfortunately, he readily states early on that science can never provide evidence against God, because faith is more important than the knowledge provided from scientific discovery. Craig's habit of twisting any evidence to support his stance shows a bias which he has no desire to overcome. There are some interesting arguments mentioned in the book, but his method of twisting each one to suit the underlying foundation in faith was too frustrating for me to actually take him seriously and finish the whole book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Excellent. This is like a textbook and heavy on scholarship. Not a popular level read exactly. But pure fire for melting away skepticism. I have the strange complaint of wishing I could more thoroughly absorb and recall on command its every insight. It's frustrating in that regard. Rarely is something so dense and rich that I've felt frustrated by my memory's capacity for retaining it. I wish I'd read it the day it was published. If a book like this doesn't work for you, it's okay. Reasonablefai Excellent. This is like a textbook and heavy on scholarship. Not a popular level read exactly. But pure fire for melting away skepticism. I have the strange complaint of wishing I could more thoroughly absorb and recall on command its every insight. It's frustrating in that regard. Rarely is something so dense and rich that I've felt frustrated by my memory's capacity for retaining it. I wish I'd read it the day it was published. If a book like this doesn't work for you, it's okay. Reasonablefaith.org presents all of this information and more via essays, q&a's, podcast chats, debate videos, animated videos, etc etc. A truly great apologetics resource.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hunter Perdue

    This is a long review, whoops. 4.5 stars. William Lane Craig provides philosophical, moral, historical, and even cosmological arguments for Christianity in one work like I’ve never seen before. He addresses many criticisms and arguments against God and Christianity with patience. He never tires of developing responses. He then uses countless methods and processes to explain why the existence of God and resurrection of Jesus can be trusted in. I was very impressed. However, this book is really har This is a long review, whoops. 4.5 stars. William Lane Craig provides philosophical, moral, historical, and even cosmological arguments for Christianity in one work like I’ve never seen before. He addresses many criticisms and arguments against God and Christianity with patience. He never tires of developing responses. He then uses countless methods and processes to explain why the existence of God and resurrection of Jesus can be trusted in. I was very impressed. However, this book is really hard to read! My biggest complaint is that it really isn’t dumbed down at all. I was hesitant let that influence how I rated this book, though. Bill is a smart man and likely didn’t want to dumb anything down. He warns the reader of the book’s complexity in the introduction and then says this is meant to be a seminary textbook. I didn’t know that beforehand… However, if you are patient with this book and read it little by little, it can be a good encouragement for a Christ follower and provide you with many tools to engage with nonbelievers in. I’ll be honest, though. There were times where I had little to zero idea what was going on. All the info kinda made my stomach hurt. Bill doesn’t hold back. I really appreciated his sections on the insanity of life without God, the concept of infinity (very trippy), the three arguments for God, and ultimately his arguments for the resurrection itself. WLC also is wise to point out two things: Our ultimate assurance of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ comes from the Holy Spirit. The ultimate apologetic we can provide is our life. That is, the way we pursue knowing God and loving the people around us. Quotes: “The point is this: if God does not exist, then life is objectively meaningless; but man cannot live consistently and happily knowing that life is meaningless; so in order to be happy he pretends that life has meaning.” “Thus, although arguments and evidence may be used to support the believer’s faith, they are never properly the basis of that faith.”

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vincent Novellino

    A comprehensive review of the many objections to Christianity today and the arguments for and against. While not exactly an easy read, it is a worth while one to understand why Christianity can be thought to be rational. The main premise of the book is not to give an easy response to difficult questions to convince someone of your belief; rather it is to offer explanations for why one believes in God, the resurrection, etc... The author recognizes belief comes through the working of the Holy Spi A comprehensive review of the many objections to Christianity today and the arguments for and against. While not exactly an easy read, it is a worth while one to understand why Christianity can be thought to be rational. The main premise of the book is not to give an easy response to difficult questions to convince someone of your belief; rather it is to offer explanations for why one believes in God, the resurrection, etc... The author recognizes belief comes through the working of the Holy Spirit in ones life and thus knows his arguments cannot convince someone of the Gospel. However, Apologetics does break down barriers so that someone can hear Gospel, God chooses to use us in His mission, and thus is of value to read a book like this to communicate effectively and lovingly truths that may lead someone to faith.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robert Jacoby

    This book is a textbook treatment on the subject of Christian apologetics. Seriously. It is used as a textbook on the subject. And it shows. Dr. Craig notes in his introduction that this has become his signature book, so that's another reason to pick this up if you're looking for a touchstone or standard in the field. Dr. Craig approaches his subject with an extraordinarily far-ranging and far-reaching grasp of his materials. These are primarily Christian apologetics, theology, and philosophy, of This book is a textbook treatment on the subject of Christian apologetics. Seriously. It is used as a textbook on the subject. And it shows. Dr. Craig notes in his introduction that this has become his signature book, so that's another reason to pick this up if you're looking for a touchstone or standard in the field. Dr. Craig approaches his subject with an extraordinarily far-ranging and far-reaching grasp of his materials. These are primarily Christian apologetics, theology, and philosophy, of course, but he also draws from his knowledge of history, cosmology, theology, ethics, logic, argumentation, and science. You'll be delighted as he writes eloquently about such historical and current thinkers as Thomas Aquinas, John Barrow, Karl Barth, Richard Dawkins, Gary Habermas, Alvin Plantinga, Plato--I'll stop there. The result is a monumental work that is not for the casual reader but for the serious student of Christian apologetics. Dr. Craig hits his topics head-on, without stopping to explain much, so you have to hang on for the ride sometimes. It will help to have your computer/laptop handy to look up names and terms and concepts; it will also help to have some background in any of the topics/authors I've already mentioned. I do, so that helped some. Still, I learned about a wide range of new authors and topics and terms, including kerygmatic, noetic structure, veridical, concertina-like, otiose, revivification--I'll stop there. Be warned: Dr. Craig's approach to his topics is nearly overwhelming in its detail and breadth and depth. He literally seems to leave no stone unturned. The index is very thorough and the recommended readings list he provides at the end of every chapter are among the most exhaustive I have ever seen. This cuts both ways: it's enjoyable to a point and then a bit exhausting beyond that if you stay in the book too long. I found my best experience with this book was when I read a bit--say, a few pages or even a good chunk of a chapter--then set the book down for some days or even weeks to rest from it, then come back to it. Overall, I had just two real nitpicks with the book. First, the chapter on knowing Christianity is true rests too much (for me) on the individual's subjective experience. In future editions, I'd trim that text to its minimum and re-think its presentation. Second, the lengthy section near the end on the resurrection of Jesus and laboriously going through McCullagh's seven criteria for justifying historical hypotheses. This was a real slog, and during reading it felt a bit like I was lost down the rabbit hole of argument and debate. Set those aside, though, because I can't give this book less than 5 stars. Rarely do I use the word "monumental," but it applies here; what Dr. Craig has compiled in Reasonable Faith will likely serve theologians and philosophers (and interested laymen and students) for decades to come. This book is that good. J.P. Moreland calls Dr. Craig "the finest Christian apologist of the last half century" and also states that Craig is "among the top one percent of practicing philosophers in the Western world." After reading this book I don't doubt either claim.

  18. 5 out of 5

    L.T. Getty

    I'm going start by saying I've been following the author's website and listened to him debate and read a lot of his material for probably close to ten years as of this review - so this is very much a book that preaches to the choir. The principle issue I would imagine with a text like this is that it does reach out to a certain type of individual, and the author is honest about it in the introduction that one does not need to reach the truth of Christianity by means logical and rational - that c I'm going start by saying I've been following the author's website and listened to him debate and read a lot of his material for probably close to ten years as of this review - so this is very much a book that preaches to the choir. The principle issue I would imagine with a text like this is that it does reach out to a certain type of individual, and the author is honest about it in the introduction that one does not need to reach the truth of Christianity by means logical and rational - that certain people find the questions interesting and, that this book acts as a response to people who say that there are no good reasons to believe in the Christian faith, that all religions are the same, etc. It doesn't really talk in depth about the human condition and our revulsion to the idea that we are somehow inherently flawed - if I were to offer a criticism, it's that Craig has to assert that we are fundamentally flawed and our sinful nature would inherently reject the gospel. There is relatively little discussion on this subject and it's only really touched upon in the introduction. I don't agree with Craig on everything but he's excellent at boiling away all the fluff and getting to the essence of a given argument. Too often when I'm trying to have an intellectual conversation with people, they hide behind emotional arguments or act inconsistent in their logic, and Craig's other books break down the common arguments for and against the Christian Religion. Studying apologetics I don't think has helped me win over anyone - but it has helped me understand the nature of my own beliefs better, and also helped me be a better listener as I try to discern what other people are saying - and I'd point you to other resources if the nature of the problem is more personal or emotion rather than an intellectual problem. That is to say, through studying a lot of the free online material, I'm able to cut through the filler and better understand what people mean as opposed to what they say, as Craig offers common objections and historical references to scholars who struggled with the same questions we still face today. This book is a resource for someone who wants to learn and be honest about their convictions on an intellectual level - for a lot of people, they don't want to know the history behind something or defend a properly basic belief. I think if you're curious, to check out his website, or if all you want is to learn the apologetics, that En Guarde is your better title. But if you want to think about the how and the why and you want to read a chapter and spend most of the rest of the day trying to digest what you read, this is a good resource for someone above a layperson in terms of philosophy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    If you can only afford one apologetics book get this one. Craig is a brilliant man and has a great passion for the Lord. This is not an academic text but is a bit advanced for those that have never read apologetics or philosophy. All the major arguments are presented briefly but fully. Highly recommended! ps - his free podcasts are wonderful as well.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Brown

    Craig is brilliant and I learned a lot from this book. It is painfully long and most of his scientific sections might have well have been written in French, they’re so sophisticated. His sections on morality, miracles, and the resurrection are most useful. He is an evidentialist so I have some qualms with his methodology and he accepts a little too much critical theory in his work.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    The best contemporary classical/historical-approach apologetics work I've read to date. Craig is a top-notch philosopher and I like his concise and coherent style. I've read the second ed. twice and the third ed. once (the third edition is quite a bit better) The best contemporary classical/historical-approach apologetics work I've read to date. Craig is a top-notch philosopher and I like his concise and coherent style. I've read the second ed. twice and the third ed. once (the third edition is quite a bit better)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brock Pattison

    This book kicked my butt. It is a complicated read, but I was still able to pick up some great nuggets. I recommend to anyone wanting to be challenged by Christian apologetics. Just be warned that most of this stuff is way over the typical layman's head... This book kicked my butt. It is a complicated read, but I was still able to pick up some great nuggets. I recommend to anyone wanting to be challenged by Christian apologetics. Just be warned that most of this stuff is way over the typical layman's head...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Too brainy and philosophical for me. I literally just did not understand many parts of it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    C

    Christian apologist Dr. William Lane Craig defends the rationality of Christianity. He walks through the topics of the relation between faith and reason, the absurdity of life without God, the existence of God, how we can have historical knowledge, miracles, Jesus' claims, and Jesus' resurrection. For each section, he explains the historical background (arguments made in the past), his personal view, and how to apply the topic to evangelism. There's a lot of overlap between this book and his boo Christian apologist Dr. William Lane Craig defends the rationality of Christianity. He walks through the topics of the relation between faith and reason, the absurdity of life without God, the existence of God, how we can have historical knowledge, miracles, Jesus' claims, and Jesus' resurrection. For each section, he explains the historical background (arguments made in the past), his personal view, and how to apply the topic to evangelism. There's a lot of overlap between this book and his book On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision. This one is more scholarly; it's written more for scholars and pastors than laymen. Dr. Craig is a very intelligent theologian and philosopher with many resources at Reasonable Faith. Topics • De fide (faith): relation between faith and reason. • Do homine (man): absurdity of life without God. • De Deo (God): existence of God. • De Creatione (creation): problem of historical knowledge and problem of miracles. • De Cristo (Christ): personal claims of Christ, historicity of Jesus' resurrection. Notes Introduction: What Is Apologetics? This book takes an offensive apologetics approach. Goal of offensive apologetics: show that there's some good reason to believe Christianity is true. Goal of defensive apologetics: Show that no good reason has been given to think that Christianity is false. Part 1: De Fide How Do I Know Christianity is True? Response to claim that we can't trust that Holy Spirit testifies to us of our beliefs, because many people sincerely claim that for contradictory views: 1) non-Christians may experience something true about God, such as His being moral absolute or Father of humanity; 2) non-Christian religious experience is qualitatively different than Christian religious experience; Christians who convert from other religions attest to this. We know Christianity is true primarily by self-authenticating witness of Holy Spirit. We show Christianity is true by showing good arguments for its central tenants. Part 2: De Homine The Absurdity of Life Without God Christianity allows us to live both consistently and happily; atheism doesn't. If God doesn't exist, life is futile. If God of Bible exists, life is meaningful. Show atheists and agnostics logical conclusions of their views; lovingly show them they affirm meaning, value, purpose without an adequate base. Don't attack values themselves; point out that they lack foundation for values. Offer foundation for values they already possess. If person says they don't believe in moral absolutes, ask for their views on Holocaust, ethnic cleansing, child abuse. Part 3: De Deo The Existence of God, Part 1 Kalām cosmological argument 1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. Something can't come from nothing. Otherwise, anything and everything could come from nothing. 2. Universe began to exist. 3. Therefore, universe has a cause. This follows from 1 and 2. Universe can't have caused itself; that would mean universe existed before it came to exist. This cause is an uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, powerful, personal creator. A being which exists eternally, since it never came into being, has no need for a cause. Part 4: De Creatione The Problem of Miracles A proof for God's existence doesn't need to be demonstrably certain. If we could accept only conclusions proved with demonstrable certainty, we could know very little. A proof for God's existence doesn't need to be inferred from natural laws; other arguments, such as ontological and cosmological arguments, provide rational grounds. Religio-historical (doctrinal) context in which miracle occurred is key to knowing whether it's truly from God. Pascal said God has given evidence sufficiently clear for those with an open heart, but sufficiently vague so as not to compel those whose hearts are closed. "Extraordinary events require extraordinary evidence" is only true for events with very low intrinsic probability. Bayes' Theorem shows that rationally believing in a highly improbable event doesn't require an enormous amount of evidence; it only requires that evidence be more probable given that event did occur than given that it didn't. If God created universe, it wouldn't be difficult for Him to perform miracles. Once you understand who God is, "problem" of miracles ceases to be problem. Part 5: De Cristo The Self-Understanding of Jesus Factors that increase probability of a saying or event 1. Historical congruence (fits known historical facts concerning context) 2. Independent, early attestation (event appears in multiple independent sources near time that event allegedly occurred) 3. Embarrassment (event is awkward or counter-productive for sources of info of event) 4. Dissimilarity (event is unlike previous Jewish thought forms and/or subsequent Christian thought forms) 5. Semitisms (narrative contains traces of Aramaic or Hebraic linguistic forms) 6. Coherence (event is consistent with established facts about Jesus) Jesus thought of Himself as Messiah, exclusive Son of God (Matt 21:33-46; Mark 8:27-30; 11:1-11, 27; 12:1-12; Luke 7:22-23; 20:9-19; John 12:12-19). Jesus' calling Himself "Son of Man" is reference to Dan 7:13-14. Jesus used oblique name "Son of Man" to prevent prematurely transparent revelation of His superhuman, messianic dignity. Jesus' saying, "God has said to those of old, but I say to you," and "Truly, I say to you," or "Amen, I say to you," shows that He viewed His authority as above prophets', and equal to God's. When Jesus said God's Kingdom had already arrived, He put Himself in God's place. Jesus' claims to forgive sins shows that He considered Himself God. The Resurrection of Jesus Gospels are authentic (written by apostles) Internal evidence • Style of Gospels fits alleged authors. • Luke was written before Acts, and Acts was written before Paul's death, so Luke had an early date. • Gospels show intimate knowledge of Jerusalem prior to its destruction in AD 70. • Gospels contain names, dates, cultural events, historical events. • Gospels contain Jesus' human weakness and disciples' faults, which lends credibility. • Gospels don't attempt to suppress apparent discrepancies, or to harmonize, which you'd expect from forgery. • Gospels don't contain anachronisms. External evidence • There were many eyewitnesses still alive when Gospels were written. • Extrabiblical testimony attributes Gospels to their traditional authors. • Gospels and Acts are cited by many authors, from time of authors on. • Scriptures were accepted by even heretical groups. Gospels could not have been corrupted without a great outcry from orthodox Christians. No one could have corrupted all manuscripts. There's no time when falsification could have occurred, because church fathers began citing them from time they were written. Miracles of Jesus are mentioned in extrabiblical sources, including Josephus, Barnabas, Clement, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Ignatius, Quadratus, Justin Martyr. There are no ancient manuscripts that tell of Jesus' life without miracles. A conspiracy to fake resurrection would have been of epic proportions, and would have been exposed by enemies of disciples. Gospels were written so close to events they record that they would have been easily falsified. Evidence that God raised Jesus from dead 1. Tomb was found empty by group of Jesus' women followers on 1st day of week after crucifixion. If story was a legend, it would most likely say men were first to tomb. 2. Various groups, in various places, on various occasions, under various circumstances, experienced physical, bodily appearances of Jesus alive. Paul's list of eyewitnesses to Jesus' appearances (1 Cor 15) guarantees they occurred. Most of those witnesses were still available for questioning. 3. 1st disciples came to sincerely believe in Jesus' resurrection without antecedent historical influences from Judaism or pagan religions. Some were unbelievers prior to Jesus' appearance to them (Jesus' brother James, Saul/Paul of Tarsus). Jews believed their resurrections would occur after end of history, not in history (see John 11:23-24). Mark's resurrection story is simple, not legendary; it's not embellished by theological or apologetic motifs. 1 Cor 15:3-7 shows that belief in death, burial, resurrection, appearances of Jesus goes back to beginning of Christian Church in Jerusalem. Those beliefs weren't invented later. Pagan myths of dying and rising gods were different than story of Jesus' death and resurrection. Pagan gods were linked to seasonal changes; Jesus' resurrection was a one-time event. Conclusion: The Ultimate Apologetic "More often than not, it is who you are, rather than what you say, that will bring an unbeliever to Christ. This, then, is the ultimate apologetic. For the ultimate apologetic is your life."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    There is nothing unreasonable about faith. So says William Lane Craig in his seminal book "Reasonable Faith," which at 352 pages doesn’t slow down in its exegesis of some of the most difficult problems in theoretical physics and the philosophy of religion. Not that there isn't the usual black-and-white dogmatism here. But Craig isn't a laymen or a lazy or dishonest scholar building up straw men. He delves full-bore into modern theoretical physics and cosmology, grapples with tough philosophical ob There is nothing unreasonable about faith. So says William Lane Craig in his seminal book "Reasonable Faith," which at 352 pages doesn’t slow down in its exegesis of some of the most difficult problems in theoretical physics and the philosophy of religion. Not that there isn't the usual black-and-white dogmatism here. But Craig isn't a laymen or a lazy or dishonest scholar building up straw men. He delves full-bore into modern theoretical physics and cosmology, grapples with tough philosophical objections to theism (principally Hume’s objections to miracles), and marshals something of a case for the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection. His aim is to show that contrary to the claims of atheists, science, philosophy and biblical scholarship strengthen the case for Christianity. Toward this end, he builds a case for a creator by defending the traditional arguments for God’s existence – ontological, cosmological, teleological, moral – with answers to modern objections. Of all the arguments, the cosmological one probably packs the biggest punch to atheism. The Big Bang model of the universe, a theory ironically derided by creationists as an offshoot of atheism, serves as Craig's starting point. Essentially, Craig argues that from nothing, nothing comes. The cosmological argument relies heavily on the widely accepted Standard Big Bang Model, which shows the universe is not eternal in the past and that matter, energy, space and time apparently came into being. There are theories about how the universe could be a part of a multiverse. Craig argues one by one that these theories break down, primarily because they aren’t nearly as widely supported as their proponents suggest, and because most models still require a beginning. Physicists can argue that the universe may not have started with the Big Bang, but when they advance multi-verse solution, they still face the ontological problem of applying infinity to the universe. (Though I find it telling that Craig has no problem describing matter at the singularity as infinite.) Craig surveys other theories that fail to escape the beginning. Here I’ll note that I breezed through the nitty-gritty science precisely because I did not understand much of it. The problem for those without a background in cosmology arises especially when they encounter relatively brief discussions of long, exhaustive theorems. Readers who are layman should consider Craig’s discussion of, say, the Hartle-Hawking Quantum Gravity Model the way they’d consider an atheist’s discussion of said theory. But to his credit, Craig does quote people at length, and as far as I can tell, he hasn’t been taken to task for misrepresenting modern cosmology. So with the cosmological argument well grounded, how does Craig avoid the common question “What caused God?” I have never thought this was a trenchant objection. Craig defines God as timeless without creation and in time subsequent to creation. This may sound absurd, but if we agree that the Standard Model’s prediction of an absolute beginning begs for a coherent answer, we must decide whether it is more reasonable to believe that a greater mind willed the universe into existence than to believe the universe apparently popped into existence ex nihilo. Craig advances other arguments for God: the teleological argument, mainly in the form of cosmic fine tuning, and the moral argument, which contends that objective morality proves God's existence. The second is easy to dismiss. Craig takes it for granted that there is no good evidence that morality exists as something beyond the human realm. The cosmic fine-tuning argument is not so easily dismissed. Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss recently debated Craig, and, to my surprise, kept on resorting to ‘the universe is not logical’ defense, which is not any kind of objection to the teleological argument. The arguments Craig defends may not be air-tight, but I haven’t heard any substantial rebuttals. Craig also ruminates about the absurdity of life without God. Putting it this way is problematic since Craig loathes arguments or terms that beg the question. I think life is relatively meaningless without God, but I don’t think it is objectively absurd. Our subjective experience shapes how we view the external world, and I have no good reason to doubt the plenty of atheists and even theists who don’t show any personal and perennial desire for “ultimate significance.” Craig would say that non-theists who live happy lives are deluded. But how can you say someone is wrong because they don’t *feel* the way you do about life? To do this, you must approximate subjective experience, en exercise in futility. Of course, Craig’s purpose in bringing up the absurdity of life without God is to nudge people off the fence toward theism. If the evidence for atheism and theism is equal, the rational decision would be to choose theism. But if an atheist does not feel the way Craig does, then this question is unpersuasive. All in all, as a skeptic I concede without reserve that Craig presented *good reasons* to think there is a higher intelligence beyond the universe. This is all well and good until Craig attempts to make the case specifically for Christian theism, because as he moves his case toward Jesus, his structure begins to look a little topsy-turvy. Strengthening the arguments for a creator doesn’t make the case for Jesus any more persuasive than the case for Allah as described in the Quran. And Craig relies heavily on the Bible as an accurate historical document and the Holy Spirit to bridge the distance between deism and Christian theism. There’s nothing wrong with this per say. Except that Craig in part takes a William James approach to belief when he writes that the subjective experience of God’s Spirit is first-hand evidence that trumps any other sort of evidence that would undermine that truth. But we’re repeatedly told that faith is strengthened when we have good reasons to believe. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. Some thinkers, like Aquinas, worried that an obsession with reason would undermine faith – a mentality that has a strong tradition in Christianity that continues to the present. But without reason, a person of one faith has no better reason to think his spiritual experience is truer than other experiences. Here is where I’ll touch on style. Craig is at turns scholarly and preachy. His style, in short, isn’t his strong suit. He doesn’t have the gifts of analogy and rhetorical persuasion that C.S. Lewis possessed. But where he lacks there he makes up for in disciplined argument. There are times when Craig is snooty at his detractors for their seeming irrationality but then he tries to straddle the evidentialist and non-evidentialist divide by appealing to subjective experience and assuming free will – a topic that will probably never be resolved in the fields of philosophy and science. Incidentally, I don’t think Craig understands the implications of neuroscience. If in fact the brain can be stimulated to simulate a religious experience, then there is good reason to think religious experience is a byproduct of the brain. This isn’t a deductive proof against God. It’s just a reason to be skeptical. It seems to me that there does come to a point where one does have to take that Kierkegaardian leap of faith from belief in a God(s) to the claims of the Gospels. But to stress reason while telling people they shouldn’t doubt their beliefs is off-putting. That assumes that reason is OK but only within the boundaries of religious belief… But perhaps I find absolute faith off-putting because I don’t understand how anyone can, with a reasonable mind, sustain it indefinitely. There are some atheists who say they know God doesn’t exist. But I’d ask why he is equally convinced that science can explain away God, or that it can explain the strange fact that material objects developed consciousness and self-awareness, or how on earth, no pun intended, the natural world lends itself to a morality that exists independently of humans. It is easy to sneer at believers while proclaiming atheism, but as agnostic novelist Martin Amis brilliantly said (right next to Christopher Hitchens, no less): “We're about eight Einsteins away from getting any kind of handle on the universe.”

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nick Barrett

    This is a fantastic book for anyone heavily interested in apologetics and/or has knowledge in the realm of science, history, and/or philosophy. This is an extensive apologetic for the Christian faith that goes extremely deep into many arguments for and against the existence of God, the problem of miracles, the person of Jesus Christ, etc. I would not recommend this book for someone who has just began their journey in their faith or apologetics, as I believe it would be much more beneficial to re This is a fantastic book for anyone heavily interested in apologetics and/or has knowledge in the realm of science, history, and/or philosophy. This is an extensive apologetic for the Christian faith that goes extremely deep into many arguments for and against the existence of God, the problem of miracles, the person of Jesus Christ, etc. I would not recommend this book for someone who has just began their journey in their faith or apologetics, as I believe it would be much more beneficial to read something a little less complicated at first and work your way towards this book. However, I enjoyed the book throughly and definitely grew in my faith by reading it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nathanael

    An excellent and thorough presentation of classical apologetics. Craig is very strong on the variations of the cosmological argument with a really detailed analysis of the premises and questions sceptics have raised against them. The section on the historical Jesus was good though with some very minor weak points which do not cause any problems within the context of the entire book. The biggest let downs of the book were in the moral argument and the argument that only Christianity gives a justi An excellent and thorough presentation of classical apologetics. Craig is very strong on the variations of the cosmological argument with a really detailed analysis of the premises and questions sceptics have raised against them. The section on the historical Jesus was good though with some very minor weak points which do not cause any problems within the context of the entire book. The biggest let downs of the book were in the moral argument and the argument that only Christianity gives a justification for a meaningful life as Craig basically ignores rival theories for morality/meaning which could have been addressed without too much difficulty though to read Craig one would think all atheists essentially follow Nietzsche or Dawkins reasoning which is not the case.

  28. 5 out of 5

    George

    Heavy material (took me over a month to read), but an excellent resource. The conclusion was the best I've read in any apologetics book. Heavy material (took me over a month to read), but an excellent resource. The conclusion was the best I've read in any apologetics book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    Read this for school. 3.5. If one holds to an evidential methodology in regards to apologetics, this is one of the best books. However, I do not. Would still recommend.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I really enjoyed reading this book. Craig makes a solid case for the existence of the Christian God. Craig seems to be very knowledgeable about all the topics he discusses. I found this book to be intellectually satisfying. That said, it is not necessarily easy reading. Apologetics remains an important study for our day. Craig acknowledges that many people do not need apologetic arguments to come to Christ. However, it is important to answer questions when they come up. Craig believes that the wi I really enjoyed reading this book. Craig makes a solid case for the existence of the Christian God. Craig seems to be very knowledgeable about all the topics he discusses. I found this book to be intellectually satisfying. That said, it is not necessarily easy reading. Apologetics remains an important study for our day. Craig acknowledges that many people do not need apologetic arguments to come to Christ. However, it is important to answer questions when they come up. Craig believes that the witness of the Holy Spirit is more important than any argument to the believer (Rom. 8:15-16), but apologetics can still strengthen the believer’s faith. In a modernist society, we need to have a defense for our faith rooted in reason and fact. We should learn apologetics to show that blind faith is not required for accepting Christianity. Craig thoroughly explains many arguments for the existence of a personal God: cosmological (from both a scientific and philosophical position), teleological, moral, and ontological. The discussion of the cosmological argument is the longest. This argument has the premises that whatever begins to exist has a cause and that the universe began to exist. Craig is right in accepting the premise that the universe began to exist; before the Big Bang there was nothing, not even space or time. Furthermore, the cause of the universe must be an abstract entity, which is timeless and immaterial. The only abstract entity that can cause things is a personal mind (something that is personal has thoughts and volitions). After defending the objectivity of history, Craig uses Christ’s resurrection to assert Christ’s deity. We know Jesus’s tomb was empty and that the disciples and others experienced resurrection appearances, which led to the expansion of Christianity. As long as one accepts the possibility of miracles (which makes sense with a personal God), the actual resurrection fits the historical records better than any alternatives (disciples stole the body, Jesus didn’t quite die, the body was lost and the disciples hallucinated). It is obvious that the actuality of the resurrection wasn’t added later to the Gospels by the Church. The Gnostic, later Gospel of Peter embellishes the resurrection story, where Jesus is a giant and is followed by talking cross. An edited account would not keep embarrassing details, such as the discovery of the empty tomb by women. There’s a lot of good material in this book. You should read it.

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