This is a Q & A blog post by our Visiting Scholar in Philosophy, William Lane Craig.


Dr. Craig, 

I would like to ask you a general question about your KCA [kalām cosmological argument]. If I understand right, you were a believing Christian prior to doing your Ph.D. on the topic in England.

If that's the case, then it seems you believed the conclusion of the argument before revising it in your academic work. This means, the KCA didn't convince you of the existence of God, but rather supported a conclusion you already held.

So my question is, given all of the scientific and philosophical objections to the argument, and the fact that it didn't even serve to convince you, why do you feel it should be convincing to others?

Thank you for your work and for reading my question. Best wishes from Europe,



William Lane Craig’s Response

Your question, Eóin, confuses being converted with being convinced. Since I was a Christian theist when I commenced my doctoral studies in England, my study of the kalām cosmological argument did not convert me; but the argument did convince me. You see, I went to England with an open mind about the argument. Ever since first learning about the argument from Stuart Hackett’s The Resurrection of Theism following graduation from college and about the history of the argument from Frederick Copleston’s magisterial A History of Philosophy, I was so gripped by the argument that I just had to settle my mind about whether it was a sound and convincing argument. So I made it the focus of my study in my doctoral work under John Hick at the University of Birmingham.

My studies convinced me more than ever that the argument is sound and persuasive. Not only did the philosophical arguments hold up, but I became aware of the truly extraordinary astrophysical evidence in support of the premise that the universe began to exist. So the argument did convince me.

The answer to your question, “why do you feel it should be convincing to others?” is pretty obvious! (i) It is logically valid; (ii) its premises are true; and (iii) its premises are better supported by the evidence than their contradictories. As for “all of the scientific and philosophical objections to the argument,” I have tried to do my philosophical duty by responding to every scholarly criticism of the argument I’m aware of (as well as to some truly ridiculous objections on the Internet) to show why they fail to be convincing. I’ve even gone to the extraordinary length of debating the argument with the top objectors in live public debates before university audiences. Have you seen my debate, for example, with Prof. Dr. Ansgar Beckermann at the Universität München? Watch it and tell me who you think made the more convincing case.

So don’t be cowed by the mere volume of objections, Eóin — of course, atheists and agnostics will object to the argument! Think of what’s at stake for them. I can be truly open-minded about the argument, while they cannot.

- William Lane Craig

This Q & A and other resources are available on William Lane Craig’s website.