William Lane Craig is possibly the best Christian defender of the faith of all time.  His website Reasonable Faith is the go-to for the subject of apologetics.  But as good as Craig is, he is less than truthful and you have to read him to see how representative of Christianity he is being.  Craig's defence of the plausibility and truth of the Christian faith has been answered in the book, Unreasonable Faith How William Lane Craig Overstates the Case for Christianity.  James Foder, the author, is an extremely able counteracting force.  This page is about his best and essential insights.  

Craig argues that you need to recognise God in order to recognise free will and without free will it does not matter what we do.  He also says that God who is all-love and all-justice is the reason morality is real.  Otherwise all you have is opinion and its okay to steal from a child and call it fair.


Are we and God to love good deeds because they are good or are they just good because we love them?  In other words, is good good no matter what we or God thinks?  Or can we just create morality?  Christians say that morality comes from God's nature not what God likes or commands.  So love is right for God is a loving kind of being.  That is one example.  But who says that just because God's nature is love that it should be?  It does not prove that love is morally obligatory.  However you want to ground morality, even if you cannot do it, you know that GOD IS NOT THE WAY TO DO IT!  You end up with lies.

For Craig, we have to have free will before we can be moral beings.  So free will is the horse and morality is the cart.  Morality claims that all that matters is love and as there is no love without justice justice is up there with it as well.  Only love and only justice count.  Now we are told that free will matters most. A free agent can have the power to choose without it being about moral right and wrong.  Imagine somebody who just does maths all their life.  If moral concerns are only optional if you have free will, then Craig should admit that even if we have free will it might not morally matter what we do.

Free will cannot be proven for we know that physical causes and drugs can decide for you and yet you feel you are the one that has made the decision and that it is your decision.

Nothing works at all if you want to join God and moral concerns.

Craig would see conscience as implanted by God to do the judging.  It can be distorted by sin and errors and lack of information but it is still the seat of God in us.  But its judging does not mean it is from God.  He is saying, "My conscience judges like it is superior to me and thus put there by a superior judge.  Therefore it is the work of God."  But he is assuming it really does act superior but just because it tells you you did right or wrong does not mean it is trying to rule you.  The argument that conscience can be warped denies that conscience is supreme.  What if the warped one is not warped and is right?  His errors compound.  He gets conscience wrong.  Then he thinks it points to free will.  He thinks free will points to morality and morality points to God.  None of this is coherent.  None of it follows.



Despite claiming that no non-theistic foundation of morality is possible, Craig completely ignores the large number of metaethical theories concerning the foundation of objective moral values that have already been developed and widely discussed in the philosophical literature. Prominent among such theories are the following:

Railton’s reductive naturalism: moral propositions are true in virtue of objective facts concerning the maximal fulfilment of idealised desires, which are what individuals would want themselves to desire if they had access to all the relevant information.

Jackson’s moral functionalism: a reductive analysis of moral discourse which holds that the truth of moral propositions is based upon non-moral properties which collectively account for the various functions that moral terms play in the complex conceptual scheme that we call ‘morality’.

Cornell realism: a non-reductive account of morality which holds that properties like ‘rightness’ supervene on a range of different non-moral properties depending upon the situation. Thus, there is no single thing that makes moral propositions true, but a wide range of facts and properties corresponding to the diversity of ethical circumstances we can experience. Discourse ethics: building upon Kant’s deontology – in this theory moral facts are true in virtue of universalisable presuppositions that underpin discourse between persons.

Contractualism: ethics is based upon certain norms or rules of behaviour which, if not always accepted in the real world, nevertheless could not reasonably be objected to if they were to be agreed upon from an informed and unbiased vantage point.

Ethical intuitionism: moral propositions are true in virtue of simple irreducible non-natural properties that cannot be defined in terms of biological or sociological properties.

Buddhist ethics: actions are morally right insomuch as they contribute to accumulation of good karma and facilitate exit from the cycle of rebirth.

Regarding non-naturalistic, non-theistic accounts of the nature of morality, philosopher Kevin Scharp makes a very similar point: “There are literally dozens of theories of moral values and moral duties that are objective, not naturalist, and make no appeal to gods. For example, G. E. Moore, Sir William David Ross, Christine Korsgaard, Thomas Scanlon, Derek Parfit, Philippa Foot, David Enoch, Russ Shafer-Landau, Rosalind Hursthouse, John McDowell, Jonathan Dancy, H. A. Prichard, Roger Crisp, Joseph Raz, Jean Hampton, and Rey Wedgwood. That’s just a few. Therefore, until he’s refuted every single one of these theories, he needs to stop using the moral argument. The lesson for everybody else: Stop assuming that atheists cannot accept that there aren’t objective moral values. All it demonstrates is that you know nothing about ethics.” Such lists point to the fact that, rather than there being no non-theistic foundation for morality as Craig says, the problem is in fact exactly the opposite – there are too many contending theories and little agreement among philosophers as to which provides the best account of morality.

Despite this plethora of theories, Craig has not written anything specifically responding to any of them. In response to this list Craig has retorted: “But simply providing a list, as Dr. Scharp does, does nothing to show their (the theories’) explanatory adequacy; that these are good theories or plausible theories. In fact we know that most of them can't be because they are contradictory with each other.”

Further highlighting the underdeveloped and flimsy nature of Craig’s moral argument is the fact that the view that only God can provide any sort of foundation for objective moral values is a fringe view held by only a tiny minority of philosophers. Indeed, over half of philosophers are both atheists and moral realists, with many philosophers adopting other positions which also place them in opposition to Craig’s argument.


Contrary to how it is often stated, Occam’s Razor does not say that ‘simpler explanations are more likely to be true’. Rather, it states that explanations which require fewer new (that is previously unestablished) assumptions, are to be preferred over those which require more such assumptions. Thus, it is essentially equivalent to the criterion of plausibility – given our background information, how likely is the proposed explanation?

My point is that we have got by until now while acting as if morality is not real but about what we feel we want it to be.  Craig's theories overthink and fall foul of the Razor.



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