17th October 2011 from 7:30pm – 10pmLaw discusses it on his blog in several posts, the latest of which is here. One of the commenters on Stephen’s blog says
Westminster Central Hall, Storeys Gate, London, SW1H 9NH
Premier Christian Radio Debate on the existence of God against atheist philosopher Stephen Law, who is also editor of the magazine of the Royal Institute of Philosophy THINK.
This is not being regarded as a game or some dry academic exercise by them. You are there to be beaten, defeated, humiliated and ridiculed, and, by extension, so is the whole atheistic worldview that you represent.But then again, perhaps not. In what sense one can ‘win’ a debate like this? A show of hands is foolish, given who will be turning up (diehard supporters of Law, diehard supporters of Craig, neither side likely to be convinced by any argument on the opposing side). The only way to ‘win’ at logic is to survive careful analysis of your arguments, performed in a dark and quiet room, for at least five hours, alone. Logic and debate are quite different things, as is obvious from the following comments at an atheist website
William Lane Craig is a prolific Christian philosopher, apologist, author, and public debater. He is the best debater – on any topic – that I’ve ever heard. As far as I can tell, he has won nearly all his debates with atheists. When debating him, atheists have consistently failed to put forward solid arguments, and consistently failed to point out the flaws in Craig’s arguments.I.e. it is conceded that Craig is a good debater, yet his arguments are flawed.
Also, I was really not sure who to support. I studied Craig as part of my theology diploma, and I thought his arguments were slippery and crowdpleasing. On the other hand, I have a visceral dislike of atheism. In the end, Michael Sullivan decided it for me. In an excellent post here, he says that “One does not reason to Christianity or reason to Catholicism in the sense that philosophy ever proves (in any sense) that the Christian doctrines are true.”
That is entirely Ockham’s position (as I understand it). So I shall support Law against Craig, as if it mattered. Is Michael right? Well, Thomas thought you could reason to Christianity, and perhaps prove it in some sense. And Phillips has this to say:
Just as in S. Thomas's day there were those who maintained that the existence of God is to be accepted by faith alone, and so is not to be demonstrated, so there are also in our own. It is, in fact, felt by those who take this view to be, in some sort, impious to attempt to prove what they firmly believe; and possibly there is mixed with this attitude a kind of false mysticism, as if they had already a kind of direct intuition of God. All that has been said earlier as to the nature of the human intellect and its proper object runs counter to such an idea as this, for we are convinced that we know the immaterial and supersensible by means of the material and sensible; the proper object of man's intellect being the natures of material things. Moreover, it is clear that to say that we know God's existence by faith is to make an assertion which refutes itself, since no one can accept anything on the authority of God, i.e. by faith, who is not first convinced that there is a God. Hence S. Thomas says here in answer to this objection, that the existence of God is not an article of faith, but one of the 'preambula' to the articles of faith, natural knowledge being presupposed by faith, as nature is by grace, and in general that which is perfectible by perfection. (my emphasis)