Atheist Christmas Present from William Lane Craig

Eye roll. Fox Snooze gives us William Lane Craig writing A Christmas gift for atheists – five reasons why God exists.

He starts out, annoyingly enough, with this:

For atheists, Christmas is a religious sham. For if God does not exist, then obviously Jesus’ birth cannot represent the incarnation of God in human history, which Christians celebrate at this time of year.

However, most atheists, in my experience, have no good reasons for their disbelief. Rather they’ve learned to simply repeat the slogan, “There’s no good evidence for God’s existence!”

I know that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 45 years or so. Because fuck thinking, right? Far easier to parrot what I’ve been told, repeating stock phrases, kneeling, singing hymns, counting the Rosary … oh, wait.

And by the way, the dismissive presentation of that “slogan”? It’s not exactly false, is it? There is no good evidence for the existence of a supernatural superbeing in the mold of the Christian God.

But then again, Christmas — the religious part of it, anyway — IS a religious sham, even to some Christians. Take this article from Good News, United Church of God’s online magazine: The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Celebrate Christmas … some of which are: Christmas is nowhere mentioned in the Bible. Jesus wasn’t born on or near Dec. 25. The Christmas holiday is largely a recycled pagan celebration. And the cool one:  You can’t put Christ back into something He was never in.

But as a cultural celebration, Christmas is one of a category of fun mid-winter events (think Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and at least 32 other Winter Solstice celebrations). I have fond memories of it as a kid, and fond feelings for it now. Sham or not, we can celebrate the hell out of it. Christians don’t own it. Christmas is not an item, it’s something people DO. And you can do it however it suits you.

I tend to think of it as Krismas, named after Kris Kringle, and my Nativity Scene would probably have a baby Skettymon cooing cutely from a large colander, but hey, the sentiment of joy and togetherness is there.

Back to Craig and his 5 reasons:

1.  God provides the best explanation of the origin of the universe.
2.  God provides the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe.
3.  God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties.
4.  God provides the best explanation of the historical facts concerning Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
5.  God can be personally known and experienced.

I am not well equipped to argue physics, nor is William Lane Craig. Items 4 and 5 seem so irrelevant to anything real they’re not worth answering. But I can argue with Craig’s craptastic conclusions in point 3:

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.

I doubt there are “objective” moral values. We’re sort of working our way toward it, aren’t we? Muddling along as best we can. For instance, we no longer care all that much about Exodus 20:4-6

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Arrogant puffery. Such a god would be unworthy of worship, or even admiration, and every person reading this knows it … in perfect opposition to what it says in the sourcebook of Christianity. We no longer believe such stuff because we’re better than the Bible. Because our morals, at least in some things, have progressed in the past few thousand years. So much so that even Christians are now forced to ignore large parts of their own sourcebook.

But this was puffery written by PEOPLE (rather than gods) — humans who sought to control other humans with slippery arguments, subtle misdirection, and blatant lies.

Just as William Lane Craig does:

The good thing is that atheists tend to be very passionate people and want to believe in something. If they would only put aside the slogans for a moment and reexamine their worldview in light of the best philosophical, scientific, and historical evidence we have today, then they, too, would find Christmas worth celebrating!



  • Pofarmer

    Same old arguments by WLC. They’ve been rebutted tima and again, and they still suck. And ya know what? That’s all, they’ve got and all they’ll ever have.

  • lorimakesquilts

    More complete meaninglessness comes out of religion — ho hum. Best explanation by what standard? But my all time favorite is the personal relationship bit — yes, you too can be delusional and never worry about being confined to a mental institution, just call it religious!

  • Nemo

    5. Kalam eh? Uncaused cause =/= Yahweh.
    4. The universe is fined tuned for black holes and pulsars, not life.
    3. If the near universal revulsion we today have for Hitler points to an objective morality, does our equal revulsion at the execution of gays (which the Bible says was a beautiful, good thing for at least 2/3 of human history, and is still just, but we should be “merciful” today) point away from Yahweh?
    2. I don’t doubt that Jesus existed. The lack of contemporary writers to the zombie outbreak after his alleged death, though, suggests he wasn’t that important in life.
    1. So the people here on the pagan and Muslim channels have valid reasons for their “experiences”, too? Somehow, I doubt it.

  • Don’t bother parsing the flaws in the arguments. That’s been done very well for centuries, and that has not stopped the same tired, old arguments from being repeated again.

    Address the fact that they are nothing but arguments.

    Apologists offer arguments. Arguments are what people offer when they don’t have the goods. When you don’t have your assignment ready, you offer your teacher an argument for why he shouldn’t flunk you. When you don’t have your work done, you offer your boss an argument for why he shouldn’t fire you. When you don’t have the rent, you offer your landlord an argument for why he shouldn’t evict you.

    And when you don’t have evidence for the existence of your Super Spook, you offer an atheist an argument for why he shouldn’t completely disregard you.

    Your teacher, your boss, and your landlord can’t use your arguments. They need your assignment, your work, and your rent. That’s what they need. Arguments don’t make their needs go away.

    And an atheist can’t use your arguments. An atheist needs credible, acceptable evidence. That’s what they need. Arguments don’t make that need go away.

    If you don’t acknowledge that people need what they need, rather than what you need, and if you keep offering them what they don’t need, they will ignore you.

    • James