William Lane Craig is Shamelessly Taking the Low Road

I've heard three interviews where Bill Craig says I didn't leave the Christian faith because of intellectual reasons but because of moral failures, like an addiction to pornography and adultery. I've seriously considered filing a lawsuit against him for defamation of character, and I might do it. When I spoke to him after he debated Sam Harris he acknowledged not having read my book. I suspect he still hasn't. So to falsely and slanderously describe my deconversion while not having read my book is reprehensible ignorance at best and criminal at worst. While I'm no prude I have never said I had a pornography problem. Such a suggestion conjurers up a pervert to Christians, even though many of them ARE perverts by his own understandings who watch porn and then later publicly condemn it, or who have gay lovers then publicly condemn homosexuality. Is Bill projecting his own porn addiction on to me, or is he knowingly lying about me? Believers have always spread lies about apostates. In a different era we were killed. There is no evidence for this porn accusation of his. But who needs evidence when one is constantly in debate mode in defense of a faith that cannot be defended.

Here is the video interview:



Now for my comments:

Notice why my name was brought up in the first place. There was a former Christian from this church (perhaps a noteworthy one, since he was worth mentioning) who walked away from his faith who told people to read my book, Why I Became an Atheist. That's a nice recommendation and I'm grateful my work has had such an impact like that.

Notice that Craig acknowledges I was a former student of his. Some people still doubt this. Doubt it no more. I took half of my hours at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for my Th.M degree under him and graduated in 1985.

He says we continue to be friends and are cordial with each other. That is true, although given these unfounded accusations it'll be harder for me.

He also thinks I was a real Christian believer at one time, because he still has hope I'll return to the fold. Some Christians think real apostasy is impossible, so walking away from real faith is only temporary, as he thinks is the case with me. So let him be my witness against anyone who claims I never believed in the first place. Take it up with Craig if you think that. He knew me when I was a believer and his testimony is that I really believed. The problem is that if anyone has ever committed the unforgivable sin then I have. I wrote a detailed post on the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit about six years ago. According to Jesus I can never be saved now even if I did turn to him in faith and repentance. But again, who needs evidence when one is constantly in debate mode in defense of a faith that cannot be defended. When I die in my unbelief then I can predict what Craig will say. He will say I was never a real Christian believer as he had thought. "Heads I win tails you lose," right Bill?

He seems determined to exonerate himself from my "temporary" apostasy. You see, it's not his fault, nor is it the fault of his weak arguments. No siree Bob. The fault is my sin. Take the low road Bill. See where that gets you.

So let me relate some pertinent things I said in the first chapter of my book:
For me there were three major circumstances that happened in my life that changed my thinking. They all happened in the space of about five years, from 1991 to1996. These things are associated with three people: Larry, Jeff, and a woman I’ll call Linda. It was Linda who brought a major crisis in my life. Larry brought new information in my life. Jeff took away my sense of a loving Christian community. These are the three things that changed my thinking: a major crisis, plus new information that caused me to see things differently, minus a sense of a loving, caring, Christian community.
Notice I said three things and pornography was not one of them. About Linda I wrote:
I was the founding president of a shelter for the homeless in Angola, Indiana, where I ministered. It was devoted to giving temporary shelter to people in need. I worked day by day with Linda, the executive director. She practically idolized me. She did everything I said to do, and she would call me daily to ask for help in dealing with various situations that came up from the running of the shelter, along with her own personal issues. I was also having problems with my marriage at the time, and Linda made herself available to me. I succumbed and had an affair with her.

There’s so much more I’d like to say about this, but few people would believe me. As a former stripper in her younger days, she had it in for preachers, and she took out her wrath on me. Perhaps because I was a moral crusader in town and stood against abortion and X-rated video rentals, she chose to humiliate me. Suffice it to say there are some women out there who, akin to Potipher’s wife in the Bible, find it challenging to see if they can sack a minister, and she did.

How many sermons have you heard about Potipher’s seductress wife where preachers wonder aloud if many men could’ve overcome the temptation to sleep with her as she continually made herself available to Joseph (Gen. 39:6–20)? In order to bolster our confidence in Joseph’s faith, they conclude not many men would’ve overcome this temptation. But when someone like me actually does succumb to such a temptation, even if it wasn’t exactly the same, these preachers are quick to condemn me. There are mitigating factors here, even if I did do wrong. And I did do wrong. But until you experience something like this, you will never understand. This lack of understanding doubles my pain.
But there is more. After only a few months I finally decided I could no longer reconcile the affair with my faith or my family life. So I told Linda that it was over. Well, William Congreve is right, “hell has no fury like a woman scorned.” She went off in a rampage and told the board of directors at the shelter that I had raped her. She went to the prosecutor with my former associate minister and tried to press charges against me, too. They were all lies. No charges were brought against me, thankfully. I thought everyone had heard of her accusations and that most people believed her. I received a phone call from someone who threatened my life, and it sounded like he would kill me. One man for whom I had a great amount of respect had heard her accusations. I said to him, “You don’t believe her, do you?” He replied, “John, I don’t know what to believe.” This really hurt.

I was supposed to be smarter and better than that, or so I thought. How could I have done this? How could I have an affair with her and sin like that against my God and against my family? How could I allow my Christian reputation to be sullied by claims that I had raped her? The biggest question of all was why God tested me by allowing her to come into my life when she did—if he knew in advance I would fail the test. All of this devastated me: my sin, the strange mitigating factors, the Christian people who wouldn’t forgive me even though I repented of the sin of adultery, the false accusation of rape, and God not seeming to care about his wayward soldier. I do thank my ex-wife, Kathy, for forgiving me and for standing by me during this dark period in my life. She understood.
In the era of tell-all books, I think honesty is what’s required so that readers can see and judge for themselves about the totality of the reasons why I rejected Christianity. I don’t believe conversion or deconversion experiences take place strictly because of epistemic reasons in either direction, in most cases. There are almost always social and psychological factors too. Anyone who regularly hears Christian conversion stories knows exactly what I mean. All of the ones I’ve ever personally heard had to do to some degree with someone who has either grown up in the church or someone who has had some dramatic experience when down on his or her luck. If anyone wants to discount my deconversion and present rejection of Christianity because of my experiences, then I could discount the overwhelming number of Christian conversion experiences owing to similar factors like divorce, bankruptcy, jail, addiction, and so forth. Anyone intelligent enough to realize that these factors influence us all will wonder what these factors were for me, so I have spelled them out here in both my conversion and my deconversion stories. I share these experiences in the attempt to show that my rejection of Christianity is sincere and honest.
I know many Christians who refuse to deal with the arguments later on in this book will use the personal information I’ve just shared to attack my character...Many Christians will also discount my deconversion due to my sin. Their claim is that the whole reason I no longer believe isn’t because of the arguments, because they think the arguments on behalf of Christianity are solid. They will assume that I left the faith because of my own personal failures, and they will use this to discount everything else in this book. James Spiegel argues from the Bible that atheists simply have a will to disbelieve, that “atheists ultimately choose not to believe in God.” Although I find this claim very interesting, it’s dead wrong. The truth is that my personal experiences forced me to do what I should have been doing all along, critically examining my faith. It took these experiences because the power of the delusion is that strong. So just because many of us leave the faith after some bad experiences, it does not follow that the experiences alone caused us to leave the faith. The bad experiences merely caused us to wake from our dogmatic slumbers. They forced us into actually thinking critically about our inherited faith for probably the first time in our lives.

That's the rest of my story. It's true.

Lastly, in the interview Craig says the intellectual reasons I offer are "excuses" for my immoral behavior. Yep, excuses he says. Well then, even if that's what they are, Christian apologists need to answer them for the people in the pew who are being persuaded by them, like the guy mentioned in the first part of the video. But he didn't offer anything like that to this audience at all. I doubt very much his response will do anything to answer them when parishioners get my book and read it. If anything he did what many apologists do, he took the low road by poisoning the well against me.

The truth of the matter is that it does not matter who makes an argument. What matters is the argument itself, and in my books I refer to many different scholars who make my arguments for me. Will he also discount their arguments for the same reasons? Are all of our arguments mere excuses for immorality and unbelief? He simply cannot consistently say this about us all. Furthermore, I actually think "immorality" is a good reason to walk away from the Christian faith, if that faith burns heretics and witches, enslaves others, subjugates women, discriminates against gays and lesbians, kills others in needless genocidal crusades to conquer a holy city or the world, or covers up pedophile priests, things that have been considered as "moral" by the church. My "immoral" intuitions are therefore much better than the church's "moral" ones and are a good reason to think there is no divine mind behind the Bible or Christianity.

As Robert Ingersoll once said this when accused of lecturing for the money:
The arguments I advance are either good or bad. If they are bad, they can easily be answered by argument. If they are not, they cannot be answered by personalities or ascribing to me selfish motives. It is not a personal matter. It is a matter of logic–not a matter of slander, vituperation or hatred. I presume I am about as bad as most folks, and as good as some, but my goodness or badness has nothing to do with the question. I may have committed every crime in the world, yet that does not make the story of the flood reasonable, nor does it tend to show that the three gentlemen in the furnace were not scorched. I may be the best man in the world, yet that does not go to prove that Jonah was swallowed by the whale.
Bill apparently prefers taking the low road, a disgusting nasty road, with false accusations unrelated to what I wrote in the book he has not read.

Up until now Bill has refused to debate me. I suspect he will be forced to do so before too long. If not, I will continue doing what I do best, arguing Christians out of their faith. So much the better I suppose. I can't lose. I'm on the right side of history. Take the low road all you want to Bill. It's disgusting and perhaps even criminal.

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I'm not going to allow comments on this post since it is personal with me. Just make sure to forewarn Craig and the ministry partners who support him of the possible legal ramifications, that's all. Then if he says it in the future he will have knowingly slandered me.

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