Today John Loftus has posted a video of William Lane Craig spreading outright falsehoods about him and his reaction to it.
First, I’d like to say that I hope John doesn’t mind me posting my thoughts about this. If so I’d be happy to delete this post. Second, I can sympathize with John because I’ve had my character attacked on more occasions than I can remember. Certainly, the degree to which I was attacked pales in comparison to the very public way in which John has been defamed, but I did go through a similar experience on a few websites on the internet where many of these dishonest personal attacks against myself can still be found.
These attacks occurred over a period of about four years where my accusers would falsely charge me with refusing to debate and discuss the arguments and counter-arguments in one particular Christian apologist’s book, and instead took to insulting him and belittling him. Later on, one of my accusers began to claim that on several occasions I wrote “pornographic” posts about him on some forum, and would falsely claim that I have lied about him and one of his books.
Eventually, after being inundated with lies, insults, and smears against myself, I scoured the forums where these attacks were taking place and I was able to find numerous examples of my accusers insulting me, and my accusers refusing to debate me, and my accusers lying about me! After sifting through all of my evidence of their hypocrisy and dishonesty I posted my findings and most of their lies stopped, except by one particular stubborn fellow. I eventually left the forums because the moderators refused to do anything about it.
If John wishes to peruse the legal avenue I wish him luck. What Craig said about pornography was downright despicable. But like my accusers, Craig is being a tremendous hypocrite since he himself has made public his conversion and he alludes to emotional reasons for his conversion. On his website Reasonable Faith Craig tells a reader his conversion story. He writes,
I wasn’t raised in a church-going family, much less a Christian family—though it was a good and loving home. But when I became a teenager, I began to ask the big questions of life: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “Where am I going?” In the search for answers I began to attend on my own a large church in our community. But instead of answers, all I found was a social country club where the dues were a dollar a week in the offering plate. The other high school students who were involved in the youth group and claimed to be Christians on Sunday lived for their real God the rest of the week, which was popularity. They seemed willing to do whatever it took to be popular.
This really bothered me. “They claim to be Christians, but I’m leading a better life than they are!” I thought. “Yet I feel so empty inside. They must be just as empty as I am, but they’re just pretending to be something they’re not. They’re all just a pack of hypocrites.” So I began to grow very bitter toward the institutional church and the people in it.
In time this attitude spread toward other people. “Nobody is really genuine,” I thought. “They’re all just a bunch of phonies, holding up a plastic mask to the world, while the real person is cowering down inside, afraid to come out and be real.” So my anger and resentment spread toward people in general. I grew to despise people, I wanted nothing to do with them. “I don’t need people,” I thought, and I threw myself into my studies. Frankly, I was on my way toward becoming a very alienated young man.
And yet—in moments of introspection and honesty, I knew deep down inside that I really did want to love and be loved by others. I realized in that moment that I was just as much a phony as they were. For here I was, pretending not to need people, when deep down I knew that I really did. So that anger and hatred turned in upon myself for my own hypocrisy and phoniness.
I don’t know if you understand what this is like, but this kind of inner anger and despair just eats away at your insides, making every day miserable, another day to get through. I couldn’t see any purpose to life; nothing really mattered.
One day when I was feeling particularly crummy, I walked into my high school German class and sat down behind a girl who was one of those types that is always so happy it just makes you sick! I tapped her on the shoulder, and she turned around, and I growled, “Sandy, what are you always so happy about anyway?”
“Well, Bill,” she said, “It’s because I’m saved!”
I was in utter shock. I had never heard language like this before.
“You’re what?” I demanded.
“I know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior,” she explained.
“I go to church,” I said lamely.
“That’s not enough, Bill,” she said. “You’ve got to have him really living in your heart.”
That was the limit! “What would he want to do a thing like that for?” I demanded.
“Because he loves you, Bill.”
That hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I was, so filled with anger and hate, and she said there was someone who really loved me. And who was it but the God of the universe! That thought just staggered me. To think that the God of the universe should love me, Bill Craig, that worm down there on that speck of dust called planet Earth! I just couldn’t take it in.
That began for me the most agonizing period of soul-searching that I’ve ever been through. I got a New Testament and read it from cover to cover. And as I did, I was absolutely captivated by the person of Jesus of Nazareth. There was a wisdom about his teaching I had never encountered before and an authenticity in his life that wasn’t characteristic of those people who claimed to be his followers in the local church I was attending. I know that I couldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Through reading the New Testament, I discovered what my problem was. My own moral failures—in thought, word, and deed—had made me morally guilty before God and so spiritually separated from Him. That’s why God seemed so unreal to me. But the Good News was that God had sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to pay the death penalty for my sin, thereby freeing up God’s love and forgiveness to pardon and cleanse me and restore me to the relationship with God that I was meant to have.
Meanwhile, Sandy introduced me to other Christian students in the high school. I had never met people like this! Whatever they said about Jesus, what was undeniable was that they were living life on a plane of reality that I didn’t even dream existed, and it imparted a deep meaning and joy to their lives, which I craved.
To make a long story short, my spiritual search went on for the next six months. I attended Christian meetings; I read Christian books; I sought God in prayer. Finally, one night I just came to the end of my rope and cried out to God. I cried out all the anger and bitterness that had built up inside me, and at the same time I felt this tremendous infusion of joy, like a balloon being blown up and blown up until it was ready to burst! I remember I rushed outdoors—it was a clear, mid-western, summer night, and you could see the Milky Way stretched from horizon to horizon. As I looked up at the stars, I thought, “God! I’ve come to know God!”
That moment changed my whole life. I had thought enough about this message during those six months to realize that if it were really the truth—really the truth—, then I could do nothing less than spend my entire life spreading this wonderful message among mankind. For many Christians, the main difference they find in coming to know Christ is the love or the joy or the peace it brings. All of those things were thrilling for me, too. But if you were to ask me what is the main difference Christ has made in my life, without hesitation I would say, “Meaning!” I knew the blackness, the despair, of a life lived apart from God. Knowing God suddenly brought eternal significance to my life. Now the things I do are charged with eternal meaning. Now life matters. Now every day I wake up to another day of walking with Him.
Craig’s emotional reasons for his conversion should not be hard to spot. Did he cite any Christian apologetic arguments that swayed him? No. He says that he felt “empty” inside and when a Christian girl in class told him about truly accepting god he began reading the bible and praying and soon became a believer.
However, if you look at John’s deconversion, and those of most atheists, what do you see? A study of the arguments and counter-arguments for the Christian faith. So, whose reasons are emotionally based and whose are intellectually based? The answer should be clear. Most atheists disbelieve for intellectual reasons, while most Christians believe for emotional reasons.
If Craig would like to discuss pornography, perhaps he might be interested in a study from the Journal of Economic Perspectives (Winter 2009), by Benjamin Edelman, titled Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment? In this study Edelman found that,
Subscriptions are slightly more prevalent in states that have enacted conservative legislation on sexuality (regression results on file with the author). In the 27 states where “defense of marriage” amendments have been adopted (making same-sex marriage, and/or civil unions unconstitutional), subscriptions to this adult entertainment service are weakly more prevalent than in other states (p 0.096). In such states, there were 0.2 more subscribers to this adult web site per thousand broadband households, 11 percent more than in other states. As shown in Table 4, subscriptions are also more prevalent in states where surveys indicate conservative positions on religion, gender roles, and sexuality. In states where more people agree that “Even today miracles are performed by the power of God” and “I never doubt the existence of God,” there are more subscriptions to this service. Subscriptions are also more prevalent in states where more people agree that “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage” and “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behavior.” Survey results come from the Pew Value Surveys (1987–2007 combined dataset).
I think the above information should make something very clear. Christians – particularly William Lane Craig – are tremendous hypocrites and often like to falsely accuse others of doing the things which they, themselves, are guilty. Of course, in this case, as Mr. Loftus pointed out, pornography had nothing to do with his deconversion.
Disclaimer: I should note that I am not accusing William Lane Craig of watching pornographic films. I am simply pointing out how Craig’s accusations of atheists alleged use of pornography is hypocritical since many Christians watch just as much pornography as non-believers.