I’ve just started reading William Lane Craig’s “Reasonable Faith”, which is a university level textbook on Christian Apologetics. This is the guy that Richard Dawkins has famously refused to debate and who is widely regarded by many Christians as one of the worlds leading Christian philosophers and apologists. What he says carries significant influence.
Even before I got into the meat of the book, it felt like I’d stepped into a surreal parallel universe. For example, in the introduction, he writes:
“It is my earnest hope that God will use this material to help equip a new generation of intelligent, articulate Christians, who are filled with the Spirit and burdened to see the Great Commission fulfilled.”
My immediate thought was to wonder whether God orders his books through Amazon, or Book Depository. But of course, this is representative of a world view, where by definition, God is on Craig’s side and anyone who disagrees is acting on behalf of Satan. Indeed only a few pages later, in the Introduction, Craig tells us that:
“Indeed, I think that getting people to believe that we live in a postmodern culture is one of the craftiest deceptions that Satan has yet devised”.
So, people have no real agency in Craig’s world. We are either servants of God, or pawns of Satan. Even when we think that we are acting out of our own free will, everything that we do is actually tied into the great battle between God and Satan.
And where does this end? Well where all organised religion ends: War.
Again from the Introduction (when talking about the need to train kids in apologetics):
“We’ve got to train our kids for war. We dare not send them out into public high school and university armed with rubber swords and plastic armor. The time for playing games is past”.
While Craig would undoubtedly claim that he is only talking about war in a metaphorical way, his worldview is certainly seems little different from that of any Islamist, or other person who views his own views as divinely inspired, while holding all others as the work of the Devil.
Of course, everyone knows that war and violence are justified when you are combatting Satanically inspired evil. Just ask George W Bush.
I find this sort of worldview abhorrent in the extreme. By aligning one’s own views with the will of God and those who disagree with Satan, you are guaranteeing that you’ll never critically examine your own ideas, even when they do inevitably slide into serving Darkness instead of Light. Not only will you lie to yourself, but to others as well.
There has to be a better way! I’m sick and tired of this “us vs them” mentality. It is high time that we dropped all of this pointless dogma, and started working together for a better result for us all. Light and Darkness exist in every culture, in every time and place. It is up to us to search for those who embody Light and to work with them towards a better world.
I firmly believe that people of goodwill can work together and find win-win solutions, irrespective of their cultural and religious differences. The key is that we need to be able to give up our need for certainty and our need to be right. Rather than having resolute faith in our own position, we need to take a step back and admit that we could be wrong, because without an acknowledgement that we could be wrong, we’ll never learn anything new and will continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
We need to be able to empathise with the viewpoints of others, even as we disagree. We need to be able to listen to the criticisms of others without getting offended and without pulling a gun.
We can work together if only our egos will let us.