William Lane Craig On Whether the Witness of the Spirit is Question-Begging

Dr. Craig attempts to answer that question right here. What you will see when you read his answer, ladies and gentlemen, is something I have told you about before. Step right up for an extra $1 and see this oddity, folks. Christians repeatedly are forced into claiming that their faith is possible and demand that we show their faith is nearly impossible before they will consider it to be improbable, which is an utterly unreasonable epistemological standard. Here we see it in plain sight. Craig highlights Alvin Plantinga's argument, now get this, that "Christian belief can be shown to be unjustified, irrational, or unwarranted only if it is shown that Christian beliefs are false." Craig says:
On behalf of his model Plantinga claims, not that it [Christianity] is true, but that

(i) it is epistemically possible, that is to say, for all we know, it may be true;
(ii) if Christianity is true, there are no philosophical objections to the model;
(iii) if Christianity is true, then something like the model is very likely to be true.

None of this begs the question, I hope you can see. For the key claims are conditional. Neither of them assumes that Christianity actually is true.
Wow, such a conclusion just takes our breath away doesn't it, even if we grant it. Guess what folks, Christianity is possibly true, and if it's true then something like Plantinga's model is very likely to be the case! But I admit this very slim possibility. Sheesh. It takes Plantinga three massive books to make that point? That's what's on display for your viewing pleasure folks. But this isn't the issue, or at least, not a very important one! The issue is whether it's probable that Christianity is true, and it is no more likely to be true than any other faith based claim!

But wait, Craig goes on to say, and you've got to see this to believe it, that,
...of course, a Muslim could make exactly similar claims about Islam, as Plantinga acknowledges.
So what do have we here? Plantinga's argument could equally be used by a Muslim, Mormon, Moonie, Marcionist, Mithraist, Mandaeist, Manichaeist, Mazdakist, Mohist, Macumbaist, Masaist, Mayanist, Meher Babaist, and so forth. Which means folks that, to use a conditional statement, even if Plantinga's argument succeeds it says nothing at all about whether Christianity is true.

When it comes to his own personal inner experience of the spirit Craig merely denies others have one:
Of course, the Muslim can say the same thing, and so we have a standoff. But...he does not in fact have a genuine witness of the Holy Spirit to the truth of Islam...his experience was either non-veridical or misinterpreted.
"Nah nah na boo boo," he says, "I have one and you don't, so take that." And Craig thinks this response is not question-begging? What does he think it means to beg the question? We can only shake ours heads.

Isn't the reasonable adult thing to do is to admit something like this: "I see that many other people in different religions all claim to have a personal experience of their own god and that they also claim, as I do, that all others are wrong about it. So this so-called inner witness of mine is probably mistaken given the number of mutually exclusive religious claims being made by people who were raised to believe differently in their own distinct religious cultures." This conclusion is further warranted since we know from psychology that we interpret our personal experiences according to what we consider probable, that what we consider probable is dependent on what we were taught to believe when there isn't any clear cold hard evidence to settle these diverse religious claims, that we subsequently believe what we prefer to believe, and that we defend what we prefer to be true.

When it comes to defending his brand of Christianity over others, Craig does not propose any method at all to get at the truth. He says:
Again, the Muslim can say the same thing and so engage in Muslim apologetics aimed at providing de facto objections to Christianity. Great! Bring on the debate!
I challenge Dr. Craig to tell us all what method he proposes to establish the probability of his particular brand of Christianity at this point. All that religious faith produces is more and more diverse and even mutually exclusive religions with no method to settle their differences. By contrast I've proposed a consistent, non-double standard in The Outsider Test for Faith. What alternative does he propose?

I also challenge him to respond to MY proposed question about the supposed inner witness of the Holy Spirit, which I submitted to him on October 19th, 2007, and so far he has not written on it yet:
My question is this one: Would you please specify the propositional content of the inner witness of the Holy Spirit? Plantinga calls the content "the great things of the gospel", and includes the idea that "God exists", "God has forgiven and accepted me", or "God is the author of the Bible." You claim this content assures Christians that they are children of God. But such a notion echoes the poet whom Paul quoted who said, "we are his offspring." (Acts 17:28) You are surely arguing that the inner witness of the third person of the trinity contains more propositional content than that. Shouldn't this witness be more specific about what is meant to be a "child" of the kind of "God" one believes in, how one becomes a child of this God, where one can learn additional information about this God, what he must think of the authority of that source of information, and how he can best interpret it? For instance, to say "God exists" does not say anything about the attributes of this God, and might even be consistent with panentheism. To say "God is the author of the Bible" doesn't say what a believer should think about the specific nature of the Bible, or how to best interpret it. Link.
Until he does I will continue to call him an Epistemological Solipsist.

Nothing personal Bill, but this inner witness argument of yours deserves a reserved place in a circus under the big tent! Most professing Christians think it's an oddity, including your own mentor Norman Geisler, so why would you expect anyone else to think differently? Give it up.

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