A few days ago, William Lane Craig gave a gift to all atheists out there. The gift was called ”five reasons why god exists”, and I will now quote these reasons and respond to them in order.
1. God provides the best explanation of the origin of the universe. Given the scientific evidence we have about our universe and its origins, and bolstered by arguments presented by philosophers for centuries, it is highly probable that the universe had an absolute beginning. Since the universe, like everything else, could not have merely popped into being without a cause, there must exist a transcendent reality beyond time and space that brought the universe into existence. This entity must therefore be enormously powerful. Only a transcendent, unembodied mind suitably fits that description.
To someone who is scientifically litterate, God is not an explanation any more than fairies explain gravity or trolls explain chemistry. God is unprovable assertion, and therefore useless as a scientific explanation of anything. And yes, the beginning of everything needs, and has, a scientific explanation.
It is also important to note that you are in no position to claim what must have existed before or outside existence itself. This is not knowledge you can reason yourself to, this is probably what we would call unknowable.
2. God provides the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe. Contemporary physics has established that the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent, interactive life. That is to say, in order for intelligent, interactive life to exist, the fundamental constants and quantities of nature must fall into an incomprehensibly narrow life-permitting range. There are three competing explanations of this remarkable fine-tuning: physical necessity, chance, or design. The first two are highly implausible, given the independence of the fundamental constants and quantities from nature’s laws and the desperate maneuvers needed to save the hypothesis of chance. That leaves design as the best explanation.
Once again, science demands science, not fairytales. Also, the universe is largely completely unable to support life, which would then speak against your own claim.
Plausibility is difficult to understand for a lot of people. For something to be deemed implausible, it needs to be compared to something else, it can only be implausible in relation to something else. For instance, if I am about to throw a T-20 die, it is implausible that I will strike a 10 at the first go, it’s one in 20. It is far more likely, and therefore more plausible, that i will strike an even number, there’s a 50% chance of that happening.
If the claim is that it is implausible that the universe needs to be the way it is, my question is: in comparison to what, exactly? How do you measure this implausibility? I would say that the universe being the way it needs to be is infinitely more probable than design, since design is an impossibility.
3. God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties. Even atheists recognize that some things, for example, the Holocaust, are objectively evil. But if atheism is true, what basis is there for the objectivity of the moral values we affirm? Evolution? Social conditioning? These factors may at best produce in us the subjective feeling that there are objective moral values and duties, but they do nothing to provide a basis for them. If human evolution had taken a different path, a very different set of moral feelings might have evolved. By contrast, God Himself serves as the paradigm of goodness, and His commandments constitute our moral duties. Thus, theism provides a better explanation of objective moral values and duties.
Objectivity cannot, and should not, be applied to actions and beliefs. The holocaust is not objectively bad simply because any fair minded person believes so. There are still nazis in the world, and they for instance probably think the holocaust was a good thing. Are they objectively wrong in thinking this? No, but most of us would agree that they are wrong anyway.
Objective moral values simply do not exist, because moral values do not exist outside of subjective reasoning and understanding of the world. Is it wrong for me to stare at the back of your head for five seconds? No, it isn’t, but if we had evolved in a way so that this action killed you, we would surely consider it immoral to do so. This is the reason we consider stabbing, shooting and strangling people to be immoral. The actions become immoral because they hurt other human beings, if they did nothing, they would be morally neutral.
As a moral person, you not liking something is enough reason for me to refrain from doing it, generally speaking. You don’t benefit from being hurt or killed, so I do my best to not subject you to that. I also expect you to return the favor. There is simply no need to involve a deity.
4. God provides the best explanation of the historical facts concerning Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Historians have reached something of consensus that the historical Jesus thought that in himself God’s Kingdom had broken into human history, and he carried out a ministry of miracle-working and exorcisms as evidence of that fact. Moreover, most historical scholars agree that after his crucifixion Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty by a group of female disciples, that various individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death, and that the original disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe in Jesus’ resurrection despite their every predisposition to the contrary. I can think of no better explanation of these facts than the one the original disciples gave: God raised Jesus from the dead.
I reject your claims of consensus, since they haven’t been substantiated. We also need to take into consideration that consensus isn’t fact, especially when no facts are actually available. The existence of Jesus isn’t more probable the more people you convince, the same goes for all these other claims. The best, and no matter how you look at it, most probable explanation is that these are just fairytales told through generations.
5. God can be personally known and experienced. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Down through history Christians have found through Jesus a personal acquaintance with God that has transformed their lives.
In what religion isn’t this the case? This argument is fairly common, though it is a pretty lousy one. If you had been born in the Middle Easy, Mohammed would be your prophet, not Jesus, and your belief would be just as vivid and strong. This proves beyond a doubt that humans are vary receptive when it comes to religious claims and ideas no matter if they are true or not. All religions cannot be true, yet they gain believers every day.
No, William Lane Craig, I do not accept your gift of ignorance, I am in fact returning it in unopened and pristine condition.