A brief introduction to the life, work, books and debates of apologist William Lane Craig.
William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California and is arguably the foremost Christian apologist in the world today. As well as being author or editor of over thirty books, and author of nearly 200 peer-reviewed academic articles in professional journals of theology and philosophy, he is well known for his many public debates with atheists, agnostics and sceptics.
Two of Craig’s key books on apologetics are Reasonable Faith (More Information; Read reviews; Read extracts; Buy from Amazon.co.uk), now in its third edition, and On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision (More information and read the first chapter; Buy from Amazon.co.uk). He explains and defends his own approach to apologetics, in a friendly discussion with other apologists, in Five Views on Apologetics (Buy from Amazon.co.uk).
the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists"
Sam Harris talking about Bill Craig
Craig's areas of speciality are the philosophy of religion and natural theology. He has made significant contributions to the Kalam cosmological argument and his work embraces the philosophical and theological implications of modern physics, especially the Big Bang, quantum physics and the philosophy of time. The Kalam cosmological argument argues from the reality of the Big Bang to the need for an intelligent Creator.
Craig has previously debated two of the so-called ‘Four Horsemen’ of New Atheism (Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens) and engaged with a third (Daniel Dennett) in a one to one exchange. Sam Harris, neuroscientist, philosopher, and bestselling author, is the most recent of the New Atheist 'horsemen' to have debated with Dr Craig, on 7th April 2011, and in his opening address Harris stated that Craig was “the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists”. After that debate, atheist John Loftus blogged: “Bill (Craig) has once again showed himself as the best debater of this generation.” In 2009, Craig debated with Christopher Hitchens on the subject 'Does God Exist?'. In the same year, Craig had a one to one exchange, although not formally a debate, with Daniel Dennett on the validity of theistic arguments. See below for details of how to access Craig’s debates with Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens and his exchange with Daniel Dennett.
If Richard Dawkins is prepared to defend his arguments contained in The God Delusion, he has the perfect opportunity to do so ...
In contrast to his fellow atheists’ willingness to put their beliefs to the test, and engage with the arguments put forward by Craig, Professor Richard Dawkins has repeatedly and publicly declined to debate with Craig. In addition, he has recently declined a number of further invitations to a debate in the Autumn when Craig returns to the UK for a week’s tour. These invitations came from the British Humanist Association, the Cambridge (Debating) Union, Premier Radio and the Oxford Christian Union.The Telegraph has recently reported on this in its article Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God.
Dawkins’ reasons for declining look decidedly weak in the light of his own commandment “Never cut yourself off from dissent.” Perhaps a more obvious reason is the extensive critique levelled against Dawkins’ book The God Delusion, even from fellow atheists, to which it would seem Dawkins has no adequate response to proffer.
If Richard Dawkins is prepared to defend his arguments contained in The God Delusion, he has the perfect opportunity to do so by accepting a high profile debate with Craig on the arguments for God’s existence at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre on Tuesday 26th October.
William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. He came to faith in Christ aged sixteen. On his 2007 Reasonable Faith tour to the UK, he gave the testimony of his journey to faith.
Dr. Craig pursued his undergraduate (BA) and graduate (MA) studies in the US, before taking two doctorates in England (Ph.D. 1977), and then Germany (D.Theol. 1984). In 1980, he moved back to the US to teach the Philosophy of Religion, moving to Brussels in 1987 for further research and then moving to his current post at Talbot in 1994.
Listed below is a selection of Dr Craig’s many debates, with brief comments and appropriate links to the debate itself (where available) or comments upon it. We have also put together a selection of YouTube video clips.
Is the Foundation of Morality Natural or Supernatural? or Does Good Come from God?
7th April 2011
Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, philosopher, bestselling author and one of the so-called Four Horsemen of New Atheism.
Video (then scroll down for summary and comments)
Assessment of the debate
Does God Exist?
4 April 2009
This celebrated encounter was moderated by radio personality Hugh Hewitt. Nearly 10,000 people attended this debate in person, while countless other watched it online. One atheist blogger's summary of the debate: "Frankly, Craig spanked Hitchens like a foolish child.";
Craig challenges Hitchens with 10 key arguments prior to their 4th April debate.
"In Defence of Theistic Arguments"
At a philosophical conference, Dennett gives a 15 minute response to Bill Craig's paper titled "In Defence of Theistic Arguments".
Does the Universe have a purpose?
In a surprise meeting, Craig and Dawkins met in Mexico when Dawkins stepped in as a replacement speaker at the last minute. In this three on three exchange, set in a boxing ring, there was little opportunity for direct engagement between Dawkins and Craig. Indeed, Dawkins said to Craig beforehand that he did not consider this to be a debate between them.
Video (introductions are in Spanish)
Debates with scientists
Is there Evidence for God?
30 March 2011
Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist, holding the post of Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department, and Inaugural Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. His research includes the interface between particle physics and cosmology.
Video or Video (plus further information and written comments from both sides after the event)
Is God a Delusion?
Reasonable Faith Tour 2007
Professor Craig debated Professor Wolpert at Central Hall, Westminster, with John Humphrys in the chair. Professor Wolpert is Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine at University College, London and is well know for his atheistic beliefs.
Debates with philosophers
Belief in God Makes Sense in the Light of Tsunamis
28 April 2005
Held at the Oxford Union, the most prestigious debating society in the world, Craig debated the distinguished philosopher A.C. Grayling, noted for his vociferous secularism, on whether belief in God can be rationally maintained in the face of terrible suffering.
Walter Sinnott Armstrong
Does Evil and Suffering Disprove God?
For a book on the debate, see God?: A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist by William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Buy from Amazon)
Debates on the Resurrection of Jesus
Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment?
Download Audio (scroll down)
For a book on the debate, see Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment? – A Debate Between William Lane Craig and Gerd Ludemann by Paul Copan and Ronald Tacelli (Buy from Amazon)
View a comprehensive list of Dr Craig’s debates, arranged by theme.
William Lane Craig is the sole author of the following books, unless noted otherwise.
On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision
“In these pages, you’ll learn the most compelling arguments in favor of Christianity. Not only that, but you’ll also find out how to respond to the most popular objections to those arguments. You’ll discover that On Guard is solidly factual, winsomely personal, consistently practical, and ultimately convincing in its presentation of the case for Christianity.” Lee Strobel
This is Dr Craig’s ‘signature’ book, from which his own website takes its name. Now in its third edition, the book does exactly what its title suggests – it shows that Christian Faith is reasonable and certainly not blind, requiring no irrational leap in the dark.
Hard Questions, Real Answers
No Easy Answers
Is God Real? (RZIM Critical Questions Discussion Guides)
William Lane Craig, Charles C. Taliaferro and Ravi Zacharias
God Are You There
An excellent booklet giving a brief summary of Craig’s key arguments for the existence of God. Keep a few spare copies for following up on conversations.
The Truth of the Resurrection
Knowing the Truth About the Resurrection: Our Response to the Empty Tomb
The Son Rises: The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus
To Everyone an Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview
Francis J. Beckwith, William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland
Five Views on Apologetics
William Lane Craig, Gary R. Habermas, Paul D. Feinberg, John M. Frame and Kelly James Clark
Science and the Cosmological Argument
The Kalam Cosmological Argument
Cosmological Argument from Plato to Leibniz
Creation Out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration
Paul Copan and William Lane Craig
Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology
William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith
Time and the Metaphysics of Relativity
Philosophy of Religion: A Reader and Guide
Naturalism: A Critical Analysis
William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland
The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology
William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland
The Two Tasks of the Christian Scholar: Redeeming the Soul, Redeeming the Mind
William Lane Craig and Habib C. Malik
Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview
J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig
For further details of publishers, dates, some sample chapters and a more extensive list, go to Amazon.co.uk’s selection of William Lane Craig books.
Dr Craig has published nearly 200 articles in professional journals of philosophy and theology, including The Journal of Philosophy, New Testament Studies, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, and British Journal for Philosophy of Science.
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