Do Apologists Simply Parrot William Lane Craig?

Probably.

I’ve heard some skeptics and even some Christians complain that Christian apologists more or less just parrot William Lane Craig.

I don’t know what that is supposed to prove. That you get bored easily?

Nonetheless, I think there is something to be learned here.

So What?

First of all, so what? Down here in Texas we like to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Trying to be cute, or “original,” often lands you in idiosyncrasy and error. Standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before you is extremely wise.

Secondly, Dr. Craig’s well known arguments succeed, so why would you not parrot them? Likewise, they are syllogistic and easy for an audience to follow. One would be wise to “copy” him.

Lastly, Solomon got it right when he said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” If you are to argue for God’s existence, or Jesus’ resurrection, at some point you are going to “copy” someone else. Just be sure to cite them!

New” Horizons

At any rate, not all apologists are “copying” William Lane Craig. Well known apologist, Braxton Hunter, uses his “Free Will Argument” as the basis of his argumentation for God’s existence. And he has added a new element to the Resurrection argument that he calls “Recalibrated Plausibility.”

Probably my personal favorite apologist, Edward Feser, uses the Thomistic and Aristotelian arguments to prove God’s existence.

So, there is plenty going on in apologetics other than William Lane Craig and his arguments, although, rightly, Dr. Craig’s ministry casts a large shadow over the apologetics universe.

If someone called me a William Lane Craig copycat, I would take it as a compliment.

Published by Haden Clark

Haden lives in North Texas with his wife and two dogs. He holds degrees in theology and philosophy.

23 thoughts on “Do Apologists Simply Parrot William Lane Craig?

  1. With God our Savior
    It was never about knowledge. Case in point Adam and Eve and the eating of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.
    It has always been about relationship.
    Do we wan to Know of Him ? Or do we want to know Him and the Power of His resurrection within us living and breathing?
    Amen

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Risky thinking if you as me.
        The Angels had knowledge of God yet still chose to rebel. Knowledge does not save us, However it is Love that overcomes all adversity and saves us. Jesus Loves and Jesus saves that’s all we need to know. Anything more than Jesus is nothing.
        Jesus plus nothing is everything we need.
        Amen

        Liked by 1 person

      2. How could you be saved without knowing Jesus? And everything you just mentioned are things that you know. Love is necessary, but so is knowledge. Its not one without the other, its both. God bless.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Knowing someone is different than knowing of Someone.
        Many know of Jesus yet they don’t know him.
        You may see this as me splitting hairs but the fact remains that this is about relationship not knowledge.
        Take for instance children or people who can not read yet the know the Lord better than most scholars. ie; the young Jesus sitting at the temple talking of thing about his Father that even the learned were baffled at listening too. It’s always about relationship and the intimacy that we are willing to have with him. Everything else is secondary.

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      4. The first centuries of the Christian relationship did not have scripture but they had the Holy Spirit within and without each member of the family of God. Their relationship which without bibles exceeded anything that most of us have have today. The heart of God is that He May make his dwelling place to be inside us, protecting us, teaching us, loving us, and loving each other now and forever more.
        Paul called it the Fellowship of the Mystery

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      5. I like what your saying and agree. First we learn who Jesus is. Then comes the choice. After which the one hears of believes of and receives of the Lord we begin the process. The Apostle Paul who wrote the epistles, emphatically said that he knew nothing save the fact the Jesus died on the cross for us and even greater that he was raised to life for us. It is the Love of God that surpasses all knowledge that is essential in our knowing. And to be used by the Holy Spirit to express this fact that God is Love, Grace and reconciliation to a people’s of a dying world is essential in the service of being used for the Lords Kingdom not by or for our own kingdom or power. To know the Lord in a truly tangible and personal way exceeds knowledge and it is in this knowing that we can supplant in newly turned ground the hopes that are in discipleship with the Holy Spirit that is our goal as disciples.
        The Lord says now Go make disciples of the Nations to follow the Lord. Amen

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  2. There are two main reasons that people like myself often lament that Christian apologists have a tendency to parrot WLC.

    The first reason is that these apologists quite often do so without actually understanding Dr. Craig’s arguments. For example, they might regurgitate Dr. Craig’s formulation of the Kalam without understanding that Dr. Craig employs a rather complex and peculiar definition of the phrase “begins to exist.” The definition which Dr. Craig uses does NOT conform to the common understanding of the phrase.

    The second reason is that, despite your claims to the contrary, Dr. Craig’s arguments do not work. I’ve dedicated tens of thousands of words on my own blog pointing out the mistakes Dr. Craig has made– and I’m just one of a great many people to do so. As such, it falls rather flat when someone quotes a WLC argument at me– especially one which I have addressed ad nauseam.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dr. Craig has never actually answered my objections to his presentation of the Kalam, or to my critiques of his poor understanding of mathematics, or of my host of other opinions on his work. I’ve followed his blog, podcasts, and published work (both popular and scholarly) in an attempt to see how he addresses objections such as mine. There have been cases where Dr. Craig clarifies a part of his argument in a way which addresses one of my objections, and I strive to acknowledge that whenever it occurs. However, the vast majority of my critiques have never been adequately answered by Dr. Craig.

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  3. Watching YouTube videos of Dr. Craig kept me motivated to finish my philosophy of religion class. That course is brutal. Expects students to demonstrate arguments for God without appeals to theology. (Hint: Aristotle. Don’t do what we surviving undergrads did by forgetting pre-Enlightenment philosophy until end of term!)

    Cake, a cup of chai, and eustress watching Dr. Craig videos (even if our prof wasn’t completely happy with Kalam, we sure appreciated it) spares one from wanting to throttle yourself with textbooks. Even if your brain is so fried that you can’t make out the audio, you’re watching someone not out to sever your spinal cord. Or hand in an assignment about (yet). 😀

    Then find out your prof likes Dr. Craig. A lot. Proceed to review videos, it’s essay time! Don’t forget the cake.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If you’ve read much of Feser, then you know that while he respects Craig, he is highly critical of his arguments. The Kalam does not get you to God. At best, it gets you to a powerful immaterial being or beings. Moreover, Craig’s rejection of divine simplicity places him decidedly on the opposite side of the theological canyon with Thomists.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1. So, what?
      2. “The kalam doesn’t get you to God” sounds like what atheists say. The conceptual analysis of the cause gets you to an immaterial, space-less, time-less, powerful, personal being. If you refuse to call that God, go ahead.
      3. Two people that believe in God, Jesus, the Bible and pretty much every doctrine, but don’t agree on divine simplicity are on opposite ends of the theological spectrum? Nah.

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  5. 1. So what? Their views of the Godhead are markedly different.

    2. Sounds like what atheists say?? You mean atheists like Edward Feser??? You really don’t understand the underlying arguments, do you? By the way, I’m NOT an atheist.

    3. This again demonstrates your woeful ignorance with respect to the major differences between both camps. Feser is Catholic while Craig is an evangelical. That alone sets them far apart on major theological issues. Moreover, Feser himself has written:

    These are the reasons why defenders of divine simplicity sometimes go so far as to argue that to deny the doctrine entails atheism. For if being an uncaused cause and being absolutely unique entail simplicity, then to deny that there is anything that is simple or non-composite is implicitly to deny that there is an absolutely unique uncaused cause. And since to be God just is to be an absolutely unique uncaused cause, to deny divine simplicity is therefore implicitly to deny the existence of God.

    Next time, try to understand the issues before writing about them.

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    1. LOL I understand perfectly well the difference between Feser and Craig, and I side with Feser. Your snarkiness is unwelcome. Putting others down won’t make you look smart in the eyes of your peers.

      My point, obviously, was that there is no conceivable reason that a Christian cannot use the Kalam and also use the Aristotelian or Thomistic arguments. The theological differences between the theologians that employ these arguments is irrelevant and you’ve made a moot point that has absolutely nothing to do with what I was originally talking about. Congratulations, have your trophy and a nice day.

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  6. If you don’t like snark, then perhaps you should avoid it yourself. Answering with “so what,” “sounds like what atheists say,” and attempting to reduce the serious differences with a “nah” sound pretty snarky to me. My first post wasn’t snarky at all; it was simply an observation.

    And if you “understand perfectly well the difference,” I find it difficult at best to match that with your reply to my post. Certainly those of us who agree with Feser do not see the differences as trivial. The Kalam does not get you to God because being an immaterial, powerful being does not make said being God (e.g. an angel). Moreover, it doesn’t tell us how many of these “powerful beings” there are. Nor does it explain why this powerful being is metaphysically absolute. It is wholly inadequate as a theistic proof.

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