What do you do when Goliath kills David? William Lane Craig v Lawrence Krauss

Tonight was the long awaited first instalment of three public debates between Christian apologist Dr William Lane Craig and scientist-come-new-atheist Prof. Lawrence Krauss.

It confirmed most things that I thought about adversarial public debates between the religious and the irreligious – they aren’t very useful. Nuance is lost. People talk past one another. And everybody goes home more entrenched in their own position.

Except.

This time, unlike other debates I’ve watched, I felt like the atheist, Prof. Krauss, got the better of the Christian.

In the story of David and Goliath – an unlikely champion goes up against a big and powerful enemy and scores an unlikely win. He slays the powerful enemy.

In the gospel story an unlikely figure – a Jewish carpenter-come-Messianic figure – Jesus – goes up against the religious and political establishment and secures an unlikely win through the mechanism of a likely loss. The powerful enemy slays him. Only he is victorious in death. That’s the sublime paradox of the Gospel.

Tonight – William Lane Craig was trying to imitate David. He wanted to slay the giant. He brought some pretty impressive stones – his well-oiled set of philosophical axioms (though he certainly tried not to engage in the snark that Krauss brought to the table from the opening bell) – but he was the David you’d expect to see in most mismatches of this size. He was crushed. Blitzkriegged. Beaten from pillar to post.

The debate titled “Has Science Buried God” became, very quickly, “Krauss Buries Lane Craig.” Krauss barely touched on the debate topic, and when he did, it was to offer inane and debunked comparative cliches about Christianity in comparison with other ancient religions, or to over reach on science’s behalf – inconsistently attempting to suggest science is just a tool, but also suggesting that it is synonymous with rationality, rather than a tool for the rational. He was patronising, he treated the audience like children, he read his slides – word for word – he barely touched on his field of expertise. He also pretty constantly talked over the top of Lane Craig, relied on crass one liners like “forcing religion onto children is child abuse,” and was generally cantankerous. Despite a 10 minute opening plea from the moderator for a civil conversation between humans who held different opinions, Krauss was on the attack from beginning to end.

Where Krauss scored points, and where he took the argument away from Lane Craig, was on the unrelated question of Lane Craig’s moral theology, his account of the Canaanite genocide employing a Divine Command Theory argument – that God is always right to kill children, in judgment, on the basis that he also necessarily saves them in order to be a loving God.

Now. I’m not going to expand on why this argument is poor, theologically – except to say that both William Lane Craig and Lawrence Krauss need to reconsider what it means to read a passage in context, with a bit of literary and historical sensitivity. Why was the text written? What rhetorical purpose did it serve? Does it match the account of history found in subsequent parts of the narrative? Why did the text remain the way it did, not get edited, after the fact – when the Canaanite children (and adults) were intermingling with Israel and causing all sorts of domestic destabilisation? These are questions neither of these guys answers.

I’d suggest the violence in Canaan requires a fair amount of historical sensitivity, an understanding of where Israel was coming from – if they are fleeing slavery, a slavery where the king of Egypt slaughtered their male children on a cruel whim, if they were a people without a land in the Ancient Near East, and if they did believe, and had marked out previously, their own land that had since become occupied – then they were confronted with a bit of a dilemma. Then you’ve got to consider that similar commands to kill all the Canaanites are coupled with commands not to marry the Canaanites. Something complicated is going on.

Unpacking that sort of complication is probably out of the question in a format like this. Impossible even. That it took up so much of a debate that, by title, had nothing to do with the topic, is a failing of the debate – and especially a failing of William Lane Craig, who like a punch drunk boxer, decided to hang out on the ropes and let Krauss pummel him.

But William Lane Craig’s bigger failing. In my mind. Was that he didn’t ever really go beyond providing a philosophically cogent case for theism. Here he was as Christianity’s champion (it possibly didn’t help that the moderator kept including Islam and Judaism in the discussion – which was odd given the event was sponsored by the City Bible Forum). And instead of championing Christianity, a robust Christianity centred on the historical person of Jesus, he was championing abstract concepts of a loving God who can carry out genocide.

I’m not going to pretend the genocide question is easy. It’s not.

But Christian morality isn’t based on Divine Commands from Deuteronomy or a “developing morality through the New Testament and over the next thousand years” as moderator Scott Stephens put it. Christian morality and ethics are based on Divine Example. The life and death of Jesus Christ, historically, on behalf of his enemies. As an act of love.

And here’s where I think Lane Craig’s biggest failing came – and I think it’s the big failing most Christians fall into when we’re thrust into adversarial positions.

He tried to imitate David. Not Jesus. He set out to slay the giant. And he didn’t even do that right… In the story of David and Goliath, David rejects the conventional weapons of warfare and uses a sling. So ultimately David’s bizarre method of ancient near eastern giant slaying has more in common with Jesus taking it to the Roman establishment by being crucified than it has with playing a power game.

This might be a little simplistic – but giant slaying in improbable situations is nice in theory. But it’s not, I would argue, paradigmatic for Christ shaped interactions with the world, nor is it particularly conducive to presenting a gospel of weakness – the story of a king killed on a cross.

While I reckon God is capable of using small and inadequate people to win great victories – David didn’t beat Goliath by wearing armour and taking the fight to him. I don’t think we win people over by engaging in this sort of debate where you’re using the verbal equivalent of the Queensberry Rules and talking past one another, not to one another.

Lane Craig was gracious under fire. Don’t get me wrong. But didn’t really try to reach across the divide to Krauss in a particularly winsome way. He didn’t simply turn the other cheek and cop the flogging that Krauss dished out. And he certainly didn’t get to the cross – even when he was specifically asked about an ethic that cares for the vulnerable he went to Jesus’ words, not his actions at the cross.

I understand that I’m essentially advocating that Christians go into these situations to essentially deliberately lose the fight but win the war. With dignity. But that’s the only way to, I think, faithfully embody the gospel in an adversarial situation. You don’t imitate Jesus by landing the most telling blows on your opponent. You imitate Jesus by how you take the blows, while pointing people to the gospel.

It would be cliched and anti-intellectual for me to just run to 1 Corinthians 1 at this point…

“18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

I think philosophical thinking, and being prepared to give an account for the hope that you have, is important. I’m not suggesting we abandon the field of apologetics – there just has to be a way to shape the way we do apologetics through the example of the cross, and with the message of the cross. I guess I am suggesting that in some sense, our philosophy, for it to be properly Christian, not simply defending theism, monotheism even, we do need to take the rest of 1 Corinthians 1 seriously…

27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

It’s hard to do this in a debate. But Paul managed in similar setting throughout Acts – and he paid the penalty for his refusal to play Corinthian debate/oratory games – we see that in the way he defends his approach to public speaking in 2 Corinthians. It’d be nice for those engaging in discussions with the New Atheists, or even just with run of the mill atheists, to be trying to present God’s wisdom. Not man’s.

33 Comments What do you do when Goliath kills David? William Lane Craig v Lawrence Krauss

  1. TMD

    I find it hard to believe that it’s possible that both:

    1. Krauss barely even touched on the topic of the debate
    AND
    2. Krauss won the debate.

    Having one-liners is irrelevant to winning the debate. For example: Frank Turek once asked Christopher Hitchens where evil comes from, and Hitchens responded: “Religion.” The crowd cheered, but such a response would score no points with a professional debate judge.

    Also, points made outside the debate topic are also irrelevant. If I were to debate a rabbi and give the most ironclad argument that the rabbi’s religion contradicts the teachings of Moses, it would not help me one bit if the topic was: “Is Jesus Messiah?”

    I would also ask if this is a debate or a dialogue. If it’s the latter, then it’s not some sort of contest where someone wins. That’s sort of like winning a conversation with your friends. People who think of conversations like that have missed the point.

    1. Benny

      I agree. Pretty disappointing performance by Krauss, though what do you expect? Like many in the New Atheist camp, he’s a Verificationist.

  2. Charles

    Thanks for your blog to let those of us not there know what happened. I’ve become increasing frustrated by both atheist apologetics and Christian apologetics. Neither seem particularly genuine. I’m not sure what can be done.

    1. Josh B

      The current flavour of apologetics lacks relationship. Why is it that Christians try and argue for a relational God in any other context than relationship? Christians certainly need clever and well-constructed arguments but they are a drop in the ocean without a relationship as a foundation… What do you think?

  3. Neal

    Hey thanks for the post.

    I can’t wait to see it for myself. I know that watching and reading WLC was the key to my return to faith. With over 30 books published to his name and 100 odd peer review articles in philosophical, scientific and theological journals and successful debates and dialogues with the world’s most prominent atheist academics he is in my opinion one of the great scholars of our time.

    After a quick squizz at most of the objections or criticisms here I would implore those interested to look at his answers to your questions or points over at his website reasonablefaith.org ( check through the couple hundred q&a articles or through the popular and academic articles. I have watched most of his debates and as one of the main atheist website have conceded (common sense atheism I think), he has probably not lost a debate in any of the dozens that he has had with atheisms best).

    If your truly interested and know in your heart that you really open to the idea of a creator or Christ as your saviour then please take a look.

  4. Neal

    Sorry this all off my phone and it will take forever to address all points individually. That’s y I thought it might be just better to direct you to his website :-D blessings!!

  5. Dave

    “I understand that I’m essentially advocating that Christians go into these situations to essentially deliberately lose the fight but win the war. With dignity.”
    Thanks Nathan, this captures what I’ve thought about these debates for a while.

  6. Rajat Denzil Acharya

    TMD gave a good response.

    I attended the event. I enjoyed my seat three rows from the front on the night and I enjoyed listening to my recording of the discussion this morning. On the night, Krauss seemed to have the victory. While listening again this morning, however, I found: all of Craig’s statements to be disciplined, on topic and reasonable; and, most of Krauss’ statements to be undisciplined, off topic and emotional. (As the moderator stated, he was merely trading on a philosophically naive mob, which is barely difficult for a pop icon with no intellectual integrity.) If there was a victor based on the cogent sober address of the topic, it certainly was not Krauss but Craig.

    Anyone who thinks Krauss provided a reasonable position is just intellectually hopeless.

    1. Nathan Campbell

      Hi Rajat,

      I don’t think Krauss provided a reasonable position. I don’t think he technically won the debate – but I think he won the sympathy of the undecided listeners, which is surely the more important battle than being a technically proficient debater who obeys the rules.

  7. Nick

    Dear Nathan

    I don’t agree with your sentiment about losing the battle to win the war. Elijah openly and publicly challenged the followers of Baal at Mt Carmel to demonstrate whose God was the real God. When the priests of Baal’s prayers to call down fire went unanswered, he mocked them by suggesting that Baal was asleep and that they needed to cry and self-mutilate a bit harder. When God answered Elijah’s prayer he destroyed the water soaked altar so that even the stones were consumed, after that it says Elijah slaughtered the priests of Baal on the spot.

    There is such a thing as zeal for God, and sadly it’s something most Christians today are confused about. We would do well to remember that the God we worship is a “consuming fire”, not the meek and mild convenient Jesus that modern Christianity makes him out to be.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with scoring “blows” as you described when it comes to contending for our faith and defending the name of God. David declared Goliath dead to his face before the fight even began. It’s not as if he hadn’t had any experience dispatching “giants” either, given all the lions and bears he killed as a shepherd.

    I echo the previous commenter about reading Lane Craig’s articles on the RF website. Even though you might not find it a satisfying argument (Craig admits that he doesn’t either), you only need to show that it’s NOT logically incompatible for God to allow suffering and evil in the world, and for Him to not only exist but be the morally impeccable being that he claims to be. If you can do this, and if you’ve understood Craig’s articles properly you will see that you can, then the atheist argument from evil can be defeated. I guess it’s a nuanced point for those unfamiliar with philosophical and logical argumentation, but actually it’s a major point and it’s why Lane Craig emphasizes it. Missing it means you haven’t understood him properly, but what a major point to miss Nathan!

    I’m concerned about your viewpoint, it echoes a slight anti-intellectualism that I believe is prevalent in the church today. I didn’t see the debate but I’ve seen many of Lane Craig’s public presentations and have read most of his articles. I suspect you’ve misconstrued him due to a lack of familiarity with philosophy.

    Remember, philosophy is not the preserve of secular minds. Philosophy is just thinking hard about something, and we are to love the Lord with all our hearts, our souls, and our minds. Therefore engaging in rigorous philosophical defending for the faith is extremely commendable and something that every Christian should be encouraged to do. Maybe it’s about time we Christians took William Lane Craig’s example and started thinking hard about our beliefs as well.

    In Christ
    Nick

    1. Nathan Campbell

      Hi Nick,

      I’d want to agree that philosophy is not the preserve of secular minds – but I’d want to add the caveat that genuine Christian philosophy starts and ends, and is methodologically shaped by Jesus and the Cross. Before it is shaped by Elijah. Can you point me to a text that calls us to imitate Elijah?

      I’m familiar with WLC’s work. I have read his articles, and watched several of his debates. I agree that the atheist argument from evil can be defeated. I don’t think Divine Command Theory is the answer though. I think an educated reading of the text, in the context of a robust, Christ-centred Biblical Theology, with some sensitivity to how narrative functions and how it would have been received by its initial audience (coupled with the intention of the author) is the key to reading the Canaanite stuff.

      I want to repeat – I didn’t miss the point of Craig’s arguments. I just didn’t think Craig argued the right points, given the audience, and given the direction Krauss took it in. As soon as Krauss went off topic, Craig had to go off topic too. It sucks. But that’s how fighting for hearts and minds works. He looked like a scripted drone who wasn’t prepared to engage with the incendiary devices his interlocutor was hurling his way.

      I suspect your caricature of me is perhaps worse than any caricature I’ve made of Craig. You only have to read the thousands of posts here to see that I’m doing anything but promoting anti-intellectualism – I’m promoting a Christian intellectualism that takes seriously the tension Paul articulates in 1 Corinthians, and starts with the cross. And realises that puts us behind the eight ball – but also realises we’ve got to start by making sure audiences realise that we are bringing vastly different, but no less valid, presuppositions to the table. I don’t think Craig did that last night.

      My point isn’t that there is no place for thinking philosophically, my point is that this wasn’t the place to do it. Krauss mocked the audience by patronising us with a bunch of ahistorical “history of religions” drivel, Craig misunderstood the audience by thinking we were there to witness a fair fight conducted using the rules he was familiar with. He aimed to high. Krauss aimed to low. Sadly, all of us are capable of low thinking – so the impact of Krauss’ points was felt by all of us, while Craig alienated those who disagreed with him, and confused those who had open minds.

  8. Craig Johnson

    Hi Nathan. I’m not really sure what you are or are not saying should be said in these kinds of debates, or whether there should be debates at all. I think I get your point about Theism vs Christianity and WLC’s weakness when it came to the “genocide” issue. But I don’t really get your David/Goliath and winning/losing stuff. Are you saying we shouldn’t try to engage the atheist using extra-Biblical logical arguments, meeting them on their own terms? (Although you did say you were not against apologetics.) Or are you saying we should be trying to lose the argument, and show how to be a good loser? Are you saying WLC didn’t respond well when LK picked him up on his failures and weaknesses? What might it look like “really try to reach across the divide to Krauss in a particularly winsome way”? Sorry, I don’t really get what you are saying. But you do make a great point that gospel-shaped presentations will be ready to look foolish in the eyes of the opposition (which, BTW, may mean they will also not end up entirely “winsome” either). To some the fragrance of Christ will be the stench of death, and they will be repelled and offended (indeed that is an exprected response of the sin-enslaved nature). Both Paul and Jesus often addressed their adversaries in very clever ways, using reasonable arguments. And especially in the case of Jesus, it sometimes made the opponents look like fools, and they just became more angry with Jesus. As for last night, I think WLC was generally patient and tried to engage LK on important and relevant issues. I think he made good points about the importance of God and Christianity in providing an environment and framework in which science can flourish and have an ethical framework. To these LK just seemed to take cheap shots and not really engage with the core arguments. (He wanted to say “thanks for what you’ve done for us, but now you can go and we’ll take it from here”, but I suspect he doesn’t properly appreciate the “hand who feeds him”.) But yes, WLC’s theology let him down with the “genocide” issue, I think, such as his commitment to libertarianism, and perhaps overemphasis on the place of rationality vs revelation. (I was a littlle surprised that AFES/CBF/QTC got WLC, given his different theological perspective, but good on them for ecumenism!) I was glad that WLC emphasised God’s prerogative to give and take life, but, yes, some more proclamation, especially about Christ, might have been better. Maybe WLC should have addressed some of the more presuppositional issues, but perhaps that is not his style. And yes, I think WLC would have been better to just speak on behalf of the Christian God, rather than Theism generally.

    1. Nathan Campbell

      Hi Craig,

      I might try to respond piece by piece.

      “But I don’t really get your David/Goliath and winning/losing stuff. Are you saying we shouldn’t try to engage the atheist using extra-Biblical logical arguments, meeting them on their own terms?”

      I think I’m looking to Paul’s Areopagus speech – where he uses secular philosophy as a means to describe true philosophy, or Israel’s subversion of “wisdom literature” where the fear of Yahweh is presented as the foundation for true knowledge – as examples of how we should engage with atheist arguments. And I’d say the ultimate goal of any Christian apologetics is to get to the gospel. I’d even say we should start with the gospel – such is its effect on our thinking (thanks to our “renewed minds” and the transformation we experience as a result of the Spirit working in us, and the decision to buy into a “gospel” that is completely counter cultural, and counter intuitive. I actually think the statement that resonated with me most last night was the bit from Tertullian – and that came from Krauss. And he mocked it.

      I’m saying the figure we should be imitating in these interactions isn’t the combative giant slayer who is establishing God’s kingdom – but as followers of the king of God’s kingdom we should be imitating him, who when he went up against a powerful establishment, went willingly to his death.

      How do you think one should apply the principle of “taking up one’s cross” or you know, take Paul’s words seriously in 2 Corinthians 4…

      “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

      7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

      I think it means taking contemporary philosophy, being wise about it, but subverting it to fit a cruciformed paradigm where our strength is in our weakness. Have a read of my project (linked a few posts below on the blog) if you want 16,000 words of me outlining my approach to almost exactly this question. I think it’s possible to be “clever” but subversive of expectations at the same time. And I think that’s the area I see real “rhetorical” victory lying for Christians. Not in wiping the floor with the other guy’s frankly juvenile approach to discourse and philosophy.

      I think you need to be familiar enough with the thinking of the people you’re talking to that you can relate to them, and critique their position (Paul says “he demolishes” arguments). But I don’t think you then adopt the same powerful arguments to advocate for God, or the Gospel. I think we speak the gospel, and we live the gospel, and we love the people we’re talking to – even if they’re our enemies. Even if they’re heaping scorn on us.

      WLC was at our college this morning, and a student asked him why he didn’t talk about Jesus last night. He said the topic was has science buried God, so Jesus was irrelevant. Frankly, I’m appalled by that line of reasoning – Jesus is the physical evidence that supports our faith, and thus the question is “can you trust “science” from before the scientific method, described in history?” Once the discussion got into ethics, Jesus is the answer again – a Christian ethic is not derived from an isolated incident in the Old Testament – though we must adequately account for that incident – a Christian ethic is based in the loving sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. That’s why Christians aren’t running around committing genocide on the basis of the commands to Israel in Deuteronomy. It’s not that God isn’t whispering in our ear “kill them. Kill them.”

      1. Craig Johnson

        Hi Nathan.

        It is a good angle to make sure we are ready to be “cross-shaped”, and ready to bear the shame of the cross. You should keep exploring and developing that angle. I think a lot of it is about being vulnerable, loving, giving, self-denying etc, even when we are despised by others for doing so. Sometimes I hear 1 Cor 9:19-23 thrown around, and it seems more like a veiled excuse for Christians to allow themselves to look hip/cool/with-it/trendy/attractive in the eyes of the world, and missing the heartbeat of servant humility and sacrificial self-denial.

        However, I think the picture is also more complicated than you presented, and there are other angles. Paul also cast out demons, powerful miracles were performed through him, the magician Elymas was blinded to stop his opposition, he used his Roman citizenship trump card when useful for the gospel, etc. Sorry, I started reading your paper, but don’t have time to read it all. In it, do you also carefully analyse all of Paul’s methods and words from Acts, as well as what he says in the Corinthian epistles? Or how about what he says in 2 Cor 13:2-4? Christ was not only crucified, but also risen in power. Both are realities which I think have bearing and influence on what and how we speak.

  9. B. P. Burnett

    Hahaha! Good one Nathan, searing sarcasm about the debate! I agree; I can’t believe how ridiculous Krauss behaved. Krauss was like a little school child debating a, well… a professional philosopher who actually knew what he was talking about. By all accounts, Craig clearluy came through in terms of ediquette, candour and relevance to the topic. Krauss on the other hand pronounced ad homem after ad hominem whilst opressing that stupid buzzer in his hand. What a useless debate; a moron (Krauss) debates a scholar (WLC). The only problem for Craig here was how much time he had to waste.

  10. Kerry Lawson

    Dear Nathan et al,
    Thank you to everyone for your comments. I attended the debate last night and one of the difficulties was the acoustics in the Brisbane City Hall. At least that was the case on my side of the hall. All we got was a terrible echo of each word spoken which made it incredibly hard to follow the debate. Lawrence Krauss had the edge in terms of being heard better in the moderated section (only because Dr Craig’s back was muffling his voice from where I sat).
    I found the whole event extremely frustrating. There were hecklers around me calling out, ‘you’re a sick man!’ to Dr Craig, when he spoke about Canaan. ‘Go, Lawrence!’ and encouragement for Dr Krauss was frequent. Also, Mr Krauss had a vocal fan base in the audience and played to the crowd big time.
    On occasion, during Dr Craig’s talk, there was an audible buzz that I thought was someone’s mobile phone. However, during the moderated dialogue, after both gentlemen had spoken, it transpired that Mr Krauss had what he called ‘a bull—t buzzer’ that he rudely pressed whenever he objected to a statement made by Dr Craig.
    Mr Krauss seemed to go out of his way to cheapen the debate and aim for the lowest common denominator. He was patronising in the extreme, belligerent, rude, and monopolised the conversation at every opportunity simply to sling inane and irrelevant barbs.
    I texted my question: ‘I came here this evening to hear Mr Krauss’ best knock-down argument for atheism – what is it?’
    It was obvious Mr Krauss wasn’t interested in a serious or edifying debate or dialogue. He never is (if you’ve seen him on Q & A). He knew his supporters didn’t need much from him to start baying for blood. His absolute certainty (something he criticises in others) that there is ‘no empirical evidence’ for the existence of God, anywhere, ever, was a classic. I guess he possesses an omnipotence and omniscience that eludes the rest of us. Lawrence Krauss is himself startling evidence that there is a God (and that He has a cracker of a sense of humour).
    I believe the topic was doomed from the start. It would have been better to address, ‘Has science buried the Christian God’, and avoid all the irrelevant chaff about other gods etc., Mr Krauss threw in to muddy the waters (a lot of rhubarb that no one believes anyway).
    Listening to, and being on the receiving end of, some of the offensive and deliberately disparaging remarks about Christianity, Jesus, and Dr Craig, by the champions of Mr Krauss afterwards, it struck me that this behaviour seemed to be the preserve of non-Christians. I can only hope that the civil conduct of Christians in the audience and Dr Craig himself – by contrast – may have been an additional witness on the night.
    Mr Krauss, whatever his argument, is still a child of God (cleverly disguised as a Philistine; but a child of God, nonetheless).
    I was disappointed by the event on a number of levels, some of which others have already touched on, and believe the moderator, though earnest, was, sadly, out of his depth.
    Hopefully, some of these will be ironed out by the next debate.
    Dr Craig is a committed and sincere Christian and I pray God will use these debates/dialogues to reach the hearts of many.
    Interestingly, II Corinthians 10:5, was the text Dr Craig wrote in my copy of one of his books.
    Fellow apologist, Ravi Zacharias, often quotes an old saying – ‘When you start slinging mud at others, not only do you get your hands dirty – you also lose a lot of ground.’ Amen to that.
    Take care. Kerry.

  11. Glenn Hohnberg

    May I offer a suggestion to assess the night: If you brought a friend with you, like I did, who was not Christian, did the night open the door to further discussion?

    The night and the shape of the series is not structured as a set of debates but moderated discussions for a very important reason. We want to open the door to ongoing discussion between Christians and their friends and colleagues. This door is often jammed tightly shut and many people who are not Christian will not darken the door of anything that formally presents the Christian position.

    My straw polling feedback from the night has been – if a Christian did not have a friend there they were frustrated. They wanted a win. They came to the night with that in mind. But, if a Christian did have a friend there that they have been trying to break ground with for a while, they were elated and a few have contacted me about conversations that started that night and they expect to continue. Could WLC gotten more clearly onto Jesus at a few points? Yes. But, in my ongoing and real conversations with many friends who are not Christian I don’t try and get off topic and onto Jesus in every conversation. There are two more conversations to go.

    Assessing the Cross shape of the night – I think WLC’s grace under pressure proclaimed loudly and clearly the Cross. I’m confused by the strange statements that he didn’t reach across to the divide but nor did he turn the other cheek. Given WLC did not attack Krauss personally during the whole night I’d say his cheek was turned the whole night.

    1. Nathan Campbell

      It didn’t end up feeling like a moderated discussion. I’ve had plenty of conversation on Twitter, didn’t have non-Christian friends there with me but the feedback I’ve heard from those who did is that it was a good conversation starter, would make a future event invite easier, but they’d never invite these friends to a debate again.

  12. Neal

    All said, I can’t wait for the next two.
    Haha now that WLC has a more accurate measure of his opponent im sure he won’t be caught of guard again.

    I haven’t seen the debate yet but anyone who can put up with that flak, keep their kool and still put across the topic of the debate in a civil manner is representing the Lord well enough for me. Despite appeals to turning the other cheek it sounds as though WLC did plenty of that from what people are saying. He doesn’t seem to have repaid vitriol for vitriol from what your all saying.

    WLC has represented Christian philosophy with passionate dedication to his calling for over 30 years now. And I count him as having been instrumental in my walk back to what I knew in my heart to be true but what my head could not understand. And this seems to be true of literally hundreds if not thousands of others also.

    Credit has to go to the man in the arena guys. Always ready to provide reasons for the hope we have. Cunning as snakes and harmless as doves right?!

    The sky isn’t falling chicken littles :-P we will see how things go by the time they hit nation wide telly in Sydney!

    How about we all throw up a few prayers for the guy and those who listen to him that minds and hearts might be nudged open.

    Blessings!

  13. Pingback: Conversation highlights: Lawrence Krauss & William Lane Craig: Has Science Buried God? | Eternitainment

  14. Billy Squibs

    I can’t help but wonder if an effective tactic against Craig hasn’t been developed by the likes of Rosenberg, Krauss et al. It appears that being rude, insulting and focusing on those difficult and emotive questions (even though they have nothing directly to do with the topic at hand) are the things that really stand out as points in some people’s minds. I expect to see more of the same the next time Craig is in debate with an anti-theist.

    This said I’ve never been particularly bowled over by Craig’s line of argumentation and the criticism raised in this post seem to be valid and therefore worrying. That Jesus is irrelevant to the debate (my paraphrase) is a shocking opinion for one of the foremost formal defenders of Christianity to make, especially when his is in debate with one of Christianity most popular and vociferous detractors.

    1. Billy Squibs

      That should have read “…a shocking opinion for one of the foremost formal defenders of Christianity to have

  15. Pingback: Krauss, Craig, Dawkins and a Difficult Week for McAtheism - Saints and Sceptics

  16. Pingback: Krauss, Craig, Dawkins and a Difficult Week for McAtheism | A disciple's study

  17. Pingback: How to ‘debate’ an atheist mega brain and talk about Jesus winsomely | St. Eutychus

  18. Adam

    Afzal

    I’m an non-theist who was recently introduced to William Craig by a Christian. I’ve seen Lawrence Krauss on telly recently in a science programme. So it was interesting how these two would ‘clash’ – in my hed I ofn think up clashes between CS Lewis and B Russell; Augustine and Muhammad; Paul and Muhammad….

    It was good that that Lawrence using reason appealed to Conscience. Ofn Xtians, if exasperated, quote to me words of Paul : the message of the cross being ‘stupidity’ to me but Power to those who accept it.

    And this is where -I’d opine- non theists must challenge xtians as members of one society in this day and age. Let me explain, please.

    Christians believe that Jesus is God: Jesus stated he was the ‘I AM’ deity. This I AM Deity is identified as the one with whom Moses ‘had a relationship’ (to put it in protestant parlance) as did adam, Abraham, Saul David Isaiah etc.

    Therefore, necessarily and ineluctably it must be prest home by the non-theist that Jesus is the one who burns children (as in Numbers); Jesus is the one who ‘makes parents eat their own children’ (as in Lev, Deut Jeremy etc); Jesus is the one who has 42 children mauld by She Bears, Jesus is the one who ‘murders (to use Jack Spong’s wurd) the babies in Egypt in order to get Feroh to believe, like the usual terrorist hostage taker etc.

    Jesus, yahweh, al-shiddai refur to the same thing if ‘elmo’ a synonym for God.

    I put it: the Incarnator is, naturally, the incarnated.

    I think non-theist should challenge xtians lest they think that jesus is some Yahweh 2.0 who’s waited in the wings, face-palmd, whilst Daddy kills, sends virus, fire stone missiles – Jesus is the very one carrying out this.

    This is ofn lost on modern day xtians who seem to have a marcionite disconnect when dealing with the deity of the bible. Old testment/New testament – fair enough but same old TESTATOR.

    Xtians are welcome to call these acts ‘love’ but they must be onist enough to state that the above acts and sayings are still love. I think Craig said as much – killing the breast fed babies is still the act of an all-loving creator…

    I’d like to hear from Xtians that though Jesus has made parents eat their own children (as he’s every right to) he still loves you….

    So onisty in your Kerygma, please.

    Meantime, we the non theists have every right to call and denounce Jesus a vicious child murderer – with the same Objective moral standards we find nazi horrurs to be vile and repugnunt as we do when reading your Bibles.

    Best wishes

    Adam

    1. Nathan Campbell

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I think there are a couple of things I want to wholeheartedly agree with in what you say – particularly these bits:

      “the Incarnator is, naturally, the incarnated.” and “This is ofn lost on modern day xtians who seem to have a marcionite disconnect when dealing with the deity of the bible”

      I want to absolutely agree that the God of the Old Testament is the same God who reveals himself in the incarnation.

      But I’m curious about your source material for commands for parents to eat their children?

      I’m curious about the distinction we instinctively make between the humanity of a child and an adult – and where you’re getting the weightings you’re applying to different actions – I’ll put forward my own views on the bears, and the canaanite genocide, once you respond, because I want to make sure we’re clear about assumptions here…

      I’m also curious about what moral standard you’re bringing to the table when you’re saying that anybody has any right to “denounce Jesus as a vicious child murderer with the same Objective moral standards we find nazi horrurs to be vile and repugnunt as we do when reading your Bibles.” – where does this objective morality you cite come from?

      I suspect the problem is that most of us operate with too small a view of who and what God is. I think we fail to truly understand concepts of ‘infinity’ as they apply to God’s character.

      Let me ask you a question…

      If there is an objective moral standard, and there is a God, does God set the moral standard – or is it the moral standard that is God (ie it rules the actions of the divine being?)? this is a modified version of the Euthyphro Dilemma… If God sets the moral standards, then it would seem that he can decide the relative questions of morality – ie is it more or less moral to do x, than let y happen.

      Here are two hypothetical examples where I think this is relevant… They’re not quite what I think is going on – but they are sort of complex and plausible. I think both of us would want to say “there are other ways to tackle these problems”… and even that we think we would do things differently.

      Is it more moral to let Pharaoh enslave, kill, and have his nation benefit from, the wiping out of Israel, or is it more moral to provide for an escape for Israel, providing an escalating series of signs and warnings before taking drastic action?

      If God is infinitely big, and infinitely glorious such that to not recognise that is infinitely wrong, treasonous, and deserving of death – is it more immoral for an infinite God to end the life of a finite being on this basis at the age of 1 or 100?

      Why should we be – in your view – worth more to God than the ants or insects we thoughtlessly squash, for annoying us? Why is it wrong by a universal moral standard – not just our moral standard – for God to kill us on a whim? What is our value? I’m sure the ants, were they sentient, would have a moral objection to how humans treat them.

      I think the miracle in Christian theology isn’t that God doesn’t care enough for people to let us do whatever we want when it comes to taking a position on his worth – it’s that the triune God cares enough about us to incarnate himself and suffer the same penalty that Pharaoh did – the death of his son. The God man. On the cross.

  19. Adam (Afzal)

    (I apologise for the streamy nature of the prose:)
    Thank you for Responding. : I’ll use the wurd [no pun] ‘Jesus’ then to
    speak of the ‘I AM’ deity – ante incarnation or post.
    Parents made to eat their children: source material is, of course, the
    Bible – any sect’s version. ‘Drunk with blood’ by Steve Wells is a
    good compilation reference. The titl is from Deut 32:49> wher Jesus sez,
    ‘I kill..I wound…I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sord
    shall devaur flesh’.
    Leviticus 26:29
    You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of
    your daughters.
    Jeremiah 19:9
    And I [Jesus] will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their
    daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his neighbur in the siege
    and in the distress
    I’d like Christians at kerygma to say for that Jesus when making parents
    eat their own children is moral. To advurtise Jer 19:9 wurds on their
    bags or t-shirts or in ther chrchis in the same way they wud…. Micah
    6:8.
    Why don’t they? Wher is the difference between jer 19:9 and Micah 6:8 If
    Christians shrink from it, if for a momunt, is it because because their
    human conscience supervenes on their reception of Jesus’ killing babies,
    or Jeph burning his daughtr for Jesus who’d helpt him?
    Ah ha!
    Why do I experience the same moral repugnance at Hitler as I do at those
    jesus approved hitlers with whom He had a relationship: David, samuel,
    Joshua Elisha etc. Insisting the that morality is christogenic is off.

    Now all this is very familiar ground to me. It reminds me of Muslim
    ethic – the orthodox muslim sunne ash’are/maturede: the source of good
    authr is Allah – words like mercy, love, justice are defined – or
    re-defined – by Allah – not us.

    Qur’an 2:216 “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it
    is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye
    love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”
    Qur’an : 5:17 ‘who could stop Allah if he wisht to destroy christ, his
    mother and everyone on earth?
    i.e. if Allah sends all believers to hell, it is still ‘good’ as he’s
    the definer of ‘good.

    ‘why do you call me good’ says Jesus – ‘when only God is good.’
    I understand that the implication, of course,that if I’m preperd to call
    jesus God, I’m therefore calling him God. but that I already Good
    exists. It is meaningless to say without god there’s no Good
    ontologically. otherwise it’s just begging the question.
    I’m curious about the distinction we instinctively make between the
    humanity of a child and an adult – and where you’re getting the
    weightings you’re applying to different actions – I’ll put forward my
    own views on the bears, and the canaanite genocide, once you respond,
    because I want to make sure we’re clear about assumptions here…
    Is there a distinction between the humanity of a child and an adult?
    I’ve never heard a child being called less human or sub human. Though
    perhaps in pro-life/choice contexts. I know religious people make
    variations between races and genders. Do you agree?
    I applaud you for calling the canaan thing by a modurn wurd ‘genocide’ .
    I hope you can say ‘biocide’. And say ‘murder’ for Jesus killing the
    babies in Egypt as Bishup Spong does (in ‘terrible texts’ of the bible).
    Bears: please no chestnuts ‘small children’ meaning ‘child’ as does
    the NIV or saying their ‘vagrant marauders’ of the sort.
    Canaanite chestnut: saying Jesus waited 400 years before having those
    with whom he has a relationship plunge their sords into brest fed
    babies.
    I read this and thought isn’t Jesus timeless anyway? Or then in 2
    Peter.. isn’t a day with him as 1000 years is with us. So jesus watid a
    mere 9.6 hours?
    Really?
    These to me are real indications the Christians, tellingly find Jesus’s
    behaviur embarrassing in the light of a naturalistic rational moral
    ontology being projected onto a past text.
    But why spend so much time on apologia, when the pat ansr ought to be:
    any act dun by Jesus is by definition good e.g the raped girl must marry
    her rapist in Deut. Jesus cannot act or do or say things contrary to his
    ‘good’ standards.

    If you want formal explanations of non theistic explanations or
    groundings of moral ontology, realism, as objectiv properties of
    sentient agents then atheist like Kagan or Kelley or Antony will tell
    you.
    And why shud moral realism intail Jesus any more than material facts
    e.g. the facility of language shud intail Him? With the latter we
    strive towards explications of laws of physics..why can’t we do this
    with natural law.All the less so when material facts are testable,
    observable and no non-theist denies them, unlike moral realism e.g.
    mackie.

    Grounding I bring, it can never be the one that ought not to be on the
    table you’d bring. Since by that same standard we’d reject burning
    chilldren – something which Jesus did. Or burning a daughter for
    impropriety something which Jesus commanded or dicriminating against
    handicapt people as in levit 21. Or indeed raping women – something that
    muhammad allowed – that the vulva of a married women is the husband’s
    usufruct therefor she cannot deny her husband his quasi property.

    If Jesus ‘sets’ the standard wun cannot onistly speakv objectiv or
    absolut moral standards. But I thought Jesus can no mor ‘set’ morals
    than he can ‘set’ his nature. Clarify!
    I suspect the problem is that most of us operate with too small a view
    of who and what God is. I think we fail to truly understand concepts of
    ‘infinity’ as they apply to God’s character.
    OK, I’m sure we fail. Jesus knows this and thus and wud dain to
    communicates to us in human language with all its smallnis. Or in human
    beingnis with all its limitidnis. Yet when He duz, Jesus seems to fail
    by his own standards. ‘love those who hate u’ – I don’t see him loving
    his enemies. I don’t see him loving the canaanites, fero,
    piruzzites…amonites…sending fire brething snakes… He speaks of a lake of
    fire, he burns children, he discriminate against handicapt children. Are
    the horrus in Apocalypse this ‘good’?
    So the definition of what good is becomes cunfusing to human beings as
    to be meaningless.
    But what are Jesus’ standards? what are the reference points so we can
    meaure if He’s perfect? Please ennumerate. Let me see how he mesures up
    re: slavery, gay marriage, racism…

    Is it more moral to let Pharaoh enslave, kill, and have his nation
    benefit from, the wiping out of Israel, or is it more moral to provide
    for an escape for Israel, providing an escalating series of signs and
    warnings before taking drastic action?
    Frgiv me – this seems a puerile question. I’d say, Jesus, as per his
    good nature ought’t’v softend Fero’s hart..instedv hardning it…
    Du u agree? By the same tokn I’d say it’s moral for Jesus not to hav
    testid naeve Adam with the Tree.
    If God is infinitely big, and infinitely glorious such that to not
    recognise that is infinitely wrong, treasonous, and deserving of death –
    is it more immoral for an infinite God to end the life of a finite being
    on this basis at the age of 1 or 100?
    Uhhm.Infinitly glorius that wud necessarily preclude any notionv sin in
    the univurs? Glorius enough tu offset evil? Glorius enough to say ‘go
    anywher in the garden..to whotevr tree u like..all my creation is good?
    pace Paul: Jesus falls shortv the glory I’d expect’v Him.

    Why should we be – in your view – worth more to God than the ants or
    insects we thoughtlessly squash, for annoying us? Why is it wrong by a
    universal moral standard – not just our moral standard – for God to kill
    us on a whim? What is our value? I’m sure the ants, were they sentient,
    would have a moral objection to how humans treat them.
    Uhmmm…We’re still being made in His imij? – dispite being scard by the
    Fall?
    I no that we are wurth mor to each other than the ants and cockroaches.
    …it’s that the triune God cares enough about us to incarnate himself and
    suffer the same penalty that Pharaoh did – the death of his son. The God
    man. On the cross.
    By one (Adam) sin entrd the wurld…. And thus now I find myself in a
    fallen wurld.
    Yet by the deth’v Jesus –sin didn’t exit the wurld… And I and all
    humanity still find myself here. We ought to’v found themselves back
    in Paradise lost on that Easter Sunday at Sunset – (the beginning of
    Munday.)
    The bit about kerygma is shud be uttrly irrelevant – the brute fact of
    the Cross ought to hav undun the damaj per se.
    The cross was ineffectual..it seems the bitter fruit that adam et was
    mor effectiv than the tree that bor the goodly fruit – i.e Christ.

    I’m sorry this is long. But you speak of ‘penalty’. Now I guess this is
    the idea’v sin, det, forgivnis, justis.
    To my mind, forgivnis in Christianity is as though the IMF tells det
    Nations : we’ll fogiv U for the det…… as long a sumwun has paid it.
    Or I’l forgiv u for slapping me…as long as I’v slapt u.
    Now that you’v paid the five quid u o me, I’v forgivn u fr that det….
    Now that Jesus has appeased/propitiated (Himself?) by paying the price,
    u are forgivn…
    My landlord might as well say say he’ll let me off with the rent…as long
    as it’s been paid for.

    Seriusly?

    1. Nathan

      I must confess. I’m slightly lost due to some of the formatting here.
      I have a few more questions – I’ll try to offer a few of my answers to
      your questions too.

      It seems to me that you’re bringing an interesting interpretive
      framework (hermeneutic) to the Biblical text – I’d want to push back
      on a few things…

      1 – just because something is described in the text, doesn’t mean that
      God affirms the behaviour – this is, for example, especially true in
      Jepthath’s case. The coherent message of the Old Testament is that
      God’s people deserved exile and death – like everybody else. Human
      actions are generally condemned, rather than affirmed. The tricky bits
      for Christians – and some of your examples are these bits – are where
      God orders or orchestrates actions we might describe as morally
      questionable, or immoral. These would include, off the top of my
      head…

      1. The binding of Isaac (Abraham being commanded to kill his son).
      2. The events of the Exodus.
      3. The conquest of Canaan and commands to commit genocide.

      I’d say the question of hell is the big one in the New Testament.

      These are the moral questions I reckon we have to answer.

      I don’t think the God not softening Pharaoh’s heart or not preventing
      Adam sinning ones count – with regards to Pharaoh, I think you’re
      meant to get the picture, from the narrative – that the decisions he
      makes are entirely his own. And that any “hardening” of the heart is
      confirming the decisions that have already made, not forcing Pharaoh
      to act contrary to his nature. I’m a reformed Christian – as in a
      child of the Reformation – so I do lean towards predestination, but I
      think it operates, somewhat paradoxically, in concert with human free
      will. In the same way that I can, in my head, agree to reconcile the
      concept of Jesus being 100% divine and 100% human, not a 50-50 split.

      2 – I don’t think the Old Testament laws should be measured by modern
      standards – I think the way history has unfolded, including the move
      into New Testament times – demonstrate that these laws were, in part,
      time bound and culturally and historically limited. The “marry your
      rapist” law is, believe it or not, progressive compared to other
      Ancient Near Eastern legal codes, which did pretty nasty things to the
      now unmarriagable woman who had been raped. That’s the air the Old
      Testament law was breathing – not the rarified air of modern western
      legal codes which have benefited from the contributions of Christian
      legislators working for 2,000 years, from principles shaped by Jesus’
      act of sacrificial love for others. This is kind of the point of my
      question about Pharaoh – who had, according to the OT narrative,
      killed all the Hebrew male children just a generation before the first
      born male Egyptian children were killed at Passover. How was God, if
      he works through history using human agents without superpowers, to
      create a nation of people – as Genesis records his promises – in a
      hostile environment, without metaphorically breaking a few eggs?

      I’d also say, on the Leviticus 21 thing, that while it certainly
      discriminates, I don’t think this necessarily translated into a value
      judgment – see what David does with Jonathan’s crippled son,
      Mephibosheth. The Levitical law was a visual ritual – the need for
      unblemished people in rituals is consistent with the need for
      unblemished lambs etc – the lack of suitable people to conduct these
      rituals is part of the point of the OT – broken people needed
      sacrifices made on their behalf, and only God could supply the
      sacrifice – or, it’s faith, not obedience, that is counted righteous
      by God – which seems to be the message of the Pentateuch – there’s a
      scholar named Sailhamer who is pretty good on the Pentateuch stuff.

      There’s a Christian theological concept popular since Calvin called
      “Accommodation” – where God works with, through, and takes account of,
      human limitations in his interactions with the world. I think that
      accounts for moral issues 2 and 3, above. And I think 1 is actually
      more interesting…

      3 – I think you’ve misread the “curse promises” and their rhetorical
      function in Leviticus and Jeremiah. They aren’t commands. Nor did
      they, according to the Old Testament narrative, ever occur. They are
      rhetoric. They contain hyperbole. You’re reading them in the wrong
      genre if you think people are commanded to eat their children, or that
      this is seen as ok. This is seen as the worst case scenario. It’s like
      Hollywood doomsday movies – this is a vivid picture of how bad life is
      when people ignore God. Not a description of actual events. It’s there
      in the context – the hypothetical, downwards spiral, nature of the
      curses described in Leviticus 26 – for what it’s worth, I wrote an
      essay about the link between this chapter and the mauling of the
      youths by the bears. I do think that happened.

      4 – “I’ve never heard a child being called less human or sub human.
      Though perhaps in pro-life/choice contexts. I know religious people
      make variations between races and genders. Do you agree?”

      My point here is not that children are less valuable – but rather that
      they aren’t necessarily more valuable than adults. I’d say all human
      life is valuable, and that comes, as you identify, from the image of
      God stuff. I find it slightly curious that we seem to think children
      are more valuable – I understand why. I have children. But I guess I’m
      trying to put the God hat on, and wonder, if I exist for infinity,
      what is 70-90 years, morally speaking? I certainly don’t make
      ontological, or value, distinctions between people of different
      genders or races.

      There’s plenty in your email I haven’t been able to respond to – feel
      free to identify any bits you think I’m dodging.

      1. Adam (Afzal)

        It seems to me that you’re bringing an interesting interpretive
        framework (hermeneutic) to the Biblical text – I’d want to push back
        on a few things…

        I agree that mere description in a text doesn’t mean affirmation. But it is not true in Jeph’s case, of coursem, there is more than mere disinterested description. There is certain affirmation – Jesus is an actor in the deal. and Jesus as God knows exactly what’s to take place. Then later this criminal Jeph is called a ‘hero’ in the NT. Ur protestations of rescuing Jesus is telling. Jesus’ behaviur fall’s short.
        It is this lack of onisty that I find desolating.why not affirm it. Jesus gave him victory. he’s called a hero. the poor lass waited 2 munths. did jesus run outv lams or rams?

        coherent message of the Old Testament is..

        And Jesus does kill everyone – remember the biocide? Jesus using ‘his people’ to do his dirty wurk masscring babies from another ethinicity? I think Israelites actuall were Canaanites originally as we all are. But Jesus is too racialist to see this.
        . And why are they cundemd? Use the same yardstick to cundem jesus who burns children, makes parents eat their own children, murders all the babies in egypt in order to get Fero to believ. Jesus here is no better than a hostij taker.
        The OT/NT is sort of bad bad Cop / good Cop routine. except, of course it’s the same Cop with a different persona. but the Good Cop is not good either!

        The tricky bits
        for Christians – and some of your examples are these bits – are where
        God orders or orchestrates actions we might describe as morally
        questionable, or immoral.
        A very parochial narrow minded -pesky Jesus here. But This is scraching the surface I think.we see these as morally objectionable because we hav this sens of moral ontology. As I say, if it’s Jesus’s nature to be good, then his behaviur is necessarily good. He cannot say/do that which is not good. That xtians are so reticent about divine command theury (i.e secund horn of euthyphro’s dilemma) it’s because they recognise the above exampls are not morally Good – standards which r independent of Jesus.

        I’d say the question of hell is the big one in the New Testament.
        Didn’t some sects get ridv it? Again I see the naturalistic objectiv standard supervening. Excellent. We start from our standards and see Jesus in those lens. Not the lens of Jesus.Thru tricky acrobatic exegeses we rescue Jesus from imbarrassingmoral turpitude, emphasising this and that good deed, sweetening the biocide with songs: the animals went in tu by tu hurrah (isn’t that sevn by sevn?
        These are the moral questions I reckon we have to answer.
        Pritty easy to ansr: Jesus folls short morally. it’s time we admittid this. and be tru to ourselvz.
        I don’t think the God not softening Pharaoh’s heart or not preventing
        Adam sinning ones count – with regards to Pharaoh, I think you’re
        meant to get the picture, from the narrative – that the decisions he
        makes are entirely his own. And that any “hardening” of the heart is
        confirming the decisions that have already made, not forcing Pharaoh
        to act contrary to his nature.

        Sofning Fero’s hart is the LOVING thing tu du. But Jesus definition of luv is too SULKY.
        hardening the hearts as confirming what he’salready chosen. Morally reprehensible. I’d say it’s as if jesus is having a sulk. But again this I don’t think ur giving a fer crack of the whip to the texts there is good episode here http://freethoughtblogs.com/reasonabledoubts/2012/05/01/episode-101-is-god-a-liar/ . Again Nathan, the logical thing wud be: so what jesus can do/say/lie/ as he likes – all this is ‘good’ since he’s the definer/owner of these words etc. a decidedly islamic view of god.
        .

        I’m a reformed Christian – as in a
        child of the Reformation – so I do lean towards predestination,

        What in a calvinistic sense? why the ‘reconciliation’ it’s not requirdv you.
        He is 100% loving / god and man.
        But of course to me the incarnation is utterly meaningless : you might as well tell me this book in fruntv me is 100% god 100% book.
        I can tear the pages! so what?
        jesus was circumcised..was his foreskin a piece of god in the flesh? No he’s not god I n the flesh…wait a sec…oh yes he is…
        I see there is actually another incarnation in the bible. virtually ignord. ‘HE CAME IN THE FORM OF… ‘HAVING THE BODILY NATURE OF’
        These wurds you’d think are from the famus philippians hym.
        But They’re actually used of the holy spirit descending as a bird. 100% god 100% bird.

        But wher is the avian creed?

        2 – I don’t think the Old Testament laws should be measured by modern
        standards – I think the way history has unfolded, including the move
        into New Testament times – demonstrate that these laws were, in part,
        time bound and culturally and historically limited. The “marry your
        rapist” law is, believe it or not, progressive compared to other
        Ancient Near Eastern legal codes,
        Good, because the OT fails by modern standards as Jesus the Breather of the OT fails: I measure Jesus the all knowing, perfect god or true god. and his behaviur towards humanity. The OT Laws are his. he loved the OT. remember Lot’s wife etc.

        ‘marry your rapist’ shows I think, how devoid of morality you becum to defend ur saviur. Jesus whose nature is the same today a milliun years ago..a milliun years hence.
        If u’r telling me that Jesus when dealing with pepl back then cud only wigl his luv toes, that the most supremely luving thing he cud reveal was, in this case, was for the girl to marry hur rapist in order to be taken care’f in a onr intrencht society (set up by jezus in the first place btw) then I’d say ur’ morally currupt. Jezus ought’v gon to nordic urup. Or prhaps the chines civilisation.

        But The OT is a human book good things and nasty things. the same is tru of other codes good things..nasty things.read Thom Stark ‘is god a moral compromiser’ a response to that particular apologetic about OT ‘progressivnis’ ofcopan and copanesq effurts.
        Is that the best jesus can do at that time? Tell the raped victim to marry her rapist? I cu’v dun better..so cud you. dearie me. Easy.

        …which did pretty nasty things to the
        now unmarriagable woman who had been raped. That’s the air the Old
        Testament law was breathing – not the rarified air of modern western
        legal codes which have benefited from the contributions of Christian
        legislators working for 2,000 years, from principles shaped by Jesus’
        act of sacrificial love for others.

        Too wishy woshy. ‘marry your rapist’ is stench from Jesus’ own halitosis breth;burning misbehaving daughters is anuther malodrus breth.
        Of course 2, 000 or rather 4, 000 years’v Christianity has led to such moral and scientific progress ! In fact cursing the fig tree (stupid as good/bad fruit can be found on wun tree), putting demuns intu swine has actually led to Android Jelly bean OS for smart phones. (I’m being sarky lest u get the rong endv the stick.)

        This is kind of the point of my
        question about Pharaoh – who had, according to the OT narrative,
        killed all the Hebrew male children just a generation before the first
        born male Egyptian children were killed at Passover. How was God, if
        he works through history using human agents without superpowers, to
        create a nation of people – as Genesis records his promises – in a
        hostile environment, without metaphorically breaking a few eggs?

        Is jesus so morally and intellectually inept and so poor in ideas that he has to kill all the babies in egypt to get Fero to believ? Murdering all the babies in egypt to Jesus racist fulfilpromist land biznis. Jesus is an insult to humanity now.

        I’d also say, on the Leviticus 21 thing, that while it certainly
        discriminates,
        ‘it’ you mean Jesus? Are you separating Jesus from his word? Why not say Jesus discriminates? Is it embarrassing? Good. jesus discriminates on the basis of a handicaps. of course if I discriminate on the basis of race, creed, gender..no value jujment implied! typical racist discourse.

        There’s a Christian theological concept popular since Calvin called
        “Accommodation” – where God works with, through, and takes account of,
        human limitations in his interactions with the world. I think that
        accounts for moral issues 2 and 3, above. And I think 1 is actually
        more interesting…
        so in order to accommodate, Jesus accommodate the rapist marrying the raped victim, burn children, kill all the babies, make parents eat theirchildren.brilliant!

        3 – I think you’ve misread the “curse promises” and their rhetorical
        function in Leviticus and Jeremiah. They aren’t commands. Nor did
        they, according to the Old Testament narrative, ever occur. They are
        rhetoric. They contain hyperbole. You’re reading them in the wrong
        genre if you think people are commanded to eat their children, or that
        this is seen as ok. This is seen as the worst case scenario.

        No mis-reading Jesus is a bad rhetorician – making threts in that way is immoral. I’ve mis-red them I guess so has commentators matt henry: This was threatened in the law as an instance of the extremity to which the judgments of God should reduce them (Lev. 26:29 , Deu. 28:53 ) and was accomplished, Lam. 4:10 .
        The Targum interprets it, the goods or substance of his neighbour; which is sometimes the sense of eating the flesh of another; but as it is to be taken in a literal sense, in the preceding clause, so in this: so it should be, in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that
        seek their lives, shall straiten them;
        wesley: 26:29The flesh of your sons – Through extreme hunger.See Lamentations 4:10 .
        Again and again you seek to imbue Jesus with Morality and Goodness, superimposing our sense of Moral on to Jesus’ wurd. And again Jesus fails. If you are onist, you’ll say yes Jesus thretnd to make perants eat their children. Whot ov it? Jesus is Good what ever he does.
        So it stands jesus makes parents eat their own children. I’m sure those perants weren’t any less luving than you are towards your children. It’s astonishing that a another parent can wurship, revere, love ador adeity that makes parents eat their children. then later sez‘u must eat me’ and drink ‘my blud’. no wundr some of his disipls left him (known as protestants today?!)

        It’s like
        Hollywood doomsday movies – this is a vivid picture of how bad life is
        when people ignore God.
        Sorry – it’s I will make them eat their children.Even ordinary language breaks down when you defend this God-awful Jesus.Another telling atempt to save jesus from his moral turpitude.

        Not a description of actual events. It’s there
        in the context – the hypothetical, downwards spiral, nature of the
        curses described in Leviticus 26 – for what it’s worth, I wrote an
        essay about the link between this chapter and the mauling of the
        youths by the bears. I do think that happened.
        Excellent nathan. Jesus kills/mauls/savages 42 children using wild animals.
        I always ask in this way.
        bald Elishah, sumwun with whom Jesus has a relationship,is being made fun of by small children, and Elishah glowers at them and curses them …what happens next
        a)Jesus appears and say ‘let the children come to me’.

        b)Suddenly Elishahs her starts groing miraculusly, and the small children r ol

        bent nee beforI AM.

        c)or Jesus mauls/savages/tears 42 small children who’re left to bleed to deth.

        Which is the loving sacrificial response?

        4 – “I’ve never heard a child being called less human or sub human.
        Though perhaps in pro-life/choice contexts. I know religious people
        make variations between races and genders. Do you agree?”

        My point here is not that children are less valuable – but rather that
        they aren’t necessarily more valuable than adults. I’d say all human
        life is valuable, and that comes, as you identify, from the image of
        God stuff. I find it slightly curious that we seem to think children
        are more valuable – I understand why. I have children. But I guess I’m
        trying to put the God hat on, and wonder, if I exist for infinity,
        what is 70-90 years, morally speaking? I certainly don’t make
        ontological, or value, distinctions between people of different
        genders or races.
        Yes but as his creation he’d see it our way. heck he even became one. he wud not speak in terms of genocide or murder..but love. unfortunately Jesus doesn’t. QED
        Reminds me of the Peter Sellers biopic with Geoff Rush.Seller’s son because of his vulnerability,a development stage vandalises Sellers’ rolls royce. but Sellers then sets about destroys the child’s railway set.

        There’s plenty in your email I haven’t been able to respond to – feel
        free to identify any bits you think I’m dodging.

        That’s OK, Nathan. This is a conversation. not anything so klinikl.
        I’d like to know if my characterisation ‘I’ll cancel-the-det- wunce-you-pay is a good assessment’v “frgivnis”.
        I can understand the prodigal sun. the repentant sinner/sinless brothers both being acceptabl –without payment.
        or ‘forgiv our dets as we forgiv those indettid to us.’ if you cansl a det, no payment required. but since Jesus paid the price..ther is no frgivness.
        Afzal

Comments are closed.