This is the weekly Q & A blog post by our Research Professor in Philosophy, Dr. William Lane Craig.
Hello Dr. Craig, thank you for your work. On numerous occasions you've argued that we are currently experiencing a renaissance in fields like Philosophy with respect to the intellectual credibility of belief in God and Christianity in particular. You've also stated that in light of the scientific advancements of the 20th and 21st centuries, we are living in a time were the scientific justification for belief in God is perhaps greater than it's ever been.
My frustration, and my question to you is, if in fact we really are living in such a conducive environment for theistic and Christian belief, why does it still feel like you are the only (or one of the only) people who consistently and proactively delivers philosophically, historically, and scientifically informed apologetic content? Where are all of these Christian philosophers that you've been referring to? Where are their reasonablefaith websites? Where are their books? Please tell me because I want to learn from them and support them. As much as I am greatly indebted to you for all the contributions you've made to Christian thought, we have to face the reality that you, like all of us, will not always be around forever. While you've had an enormous impact with your work, the truth is that given all of the artillery that's being rolled out against us today, it feels more like we need 50 William Lane Craigs contributing in these areas to turn the tide in our favor. In the absence of any recognizable up and coming defenders of the faith, I find myself pessimistic about the future of the Church and the impact it will have on the intelligentsia and culture of our day. Is my concern well placed, or am I overlooking something?
Dr. William Lane Craig's Response
You flatter me, Matt! You don’t really think that I came up with all this stuff on my own, do you? I learn from, borrow from, and am inspired by other Christian philosophers, scientists, and biblical historians in my work. What your letter reveals is the tragic disconnect, of which I’ve complained before, between the church at large and that part of the body of Christ which is the church’s academic thinkers. The church doesn’t even realize that these people exist and so is left defenseless against the onslaughts of a secular culture, especially at our universities.
By reading my published work, like Reasonable Faith, you can see from the footnotes and bibliographies the names and works of colleagues who have stimulated my thinking. Have you looked at the Blackwell Companion of Natural Theology? The contributors to that volume are first-rate Christian philosophers.
I thought of just listing some people’s names here, but such a list would be nearly meaningless for anyone not familiar with their work. So instead let me give a bibliography of works by contemporary Christian philosophers on the arguments for God’s existence that I’ve defended.
Kalām Cosmological Argument
Hackett, Stuart. The Resurrection of Theism. Rep. ed. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982.
Oderberg, David. “Traversal of the Infinite, the ‘Big Bang,’ and the Kalam Cosmological Argument.” Philosophia Christi 4 (2002): 303-34.
Pruss, Alexander R. Infinity, Causation, and Paradox. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.
Leibnizian Cosmological Argument
Davis, Stephen T. God, Reason, and Theistic Proofs. Reason and Religion. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1997.
Koons, Robert. “A New Look at the Cosmological Argument.” American Philosophical Quarterly 34 (1997): 193-211.
O’Connor, Timothy. Theism and Ultimate Explanation: The Necessary Shape of Contingency. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.
Pruss, Alexander. The Principle of Sufficient Reason: A Reassessment. Cambridge Studies in Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Swinburne, Richard. The Existence of God. Rev. ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 2004.
Barnes, Luke and Lewis, Geraint F. A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
Collins, Robin. “The Teleological Argument: An Exploration of the Fine-tuning of the Universe.” Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, pp. 202-281. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
Adams, Robert. Finite and Infinite Goods. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Alston, William. “What Euthyphro Should Have Said.” In Philosophy of Religion: a Reader and Guide, pp. 283-98. Ed. Wm. L. Craig. New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers University Press, 2002.
Baggett, David and Walls, Jerry. Good God. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Copan, Paul. “God, Naturalism, and the Foundations of Morality.” In The Future of Atheism: Alister McGrath and Daniel Dennett in Dialogue. Ed. R. Stewart. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008.
Evans, C. Stephen. Kierkegaard’s Ethic of Love: Divine Commands and Moral Obligations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Hare, John. “Is Moral Goodness without Belief in God Rationally Stable?” In God and Ethics: A Contemporary Debate. Ed. Nathan King and Robert Garcia. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.
Leftow, Brian. “The Ontological Argument.” In The Oxford Handbook for Philosophy of Religion, pp. 80-115. Ed. Wm. J. Wainwright. Oxford University Press, 2005.
Maydole, Robert. “A Modal Model for Proving the Existence of God.” American Philosophical Quarterly 17 (1980): 135-42.
Plantinga, Alvin. The Nature of Necessity. Oxford: Clarendon, 1974.
Keep in mind that these are just some of the Christian philosophers who have defended theistic arguments I’m familiar with. The list takes no account of the many brilliant philosophers who have contributed to other areas, such as Molinism and middle knowledge, the coherence of theism, philosophy of mind, the problem of evil, religious epistemology, not to mention areas of philosophy like political philosophy or ethics with which I have little acquaintance.
Where are their websites? They’re lucky if the educational institution at which they teach gives them a page. It costs tens of thousands of dollars to establish a website like www.ReasonableFaith.org. Most scholars don’t have any way of raising that kind of money. So you can’t expect them to have even the limited visibility that we do.
There is no shortage of Christian philosophers today (though we can always use more!), rather the real problem is the church’s unfamiliarity with them. That is why we must do what we can in our local churches to teach people about this overlooked treasure.
This Q&A and other resources are available on Dr. William Lane Craig's website.