Richard Dawkins reports that William Lane Craig is leveraging Dawkins’s fame into publicity for himself. Since Dawkins is being unhelpful with this project and refusing to debate WLC, WLC is attempting to use this refusal itself as a fame-pump. That reminds me of something I once saw in a restaurant (and by “once” I mean “sometime in the 1980s”): a framed letter from the White House saying Reagan wouldn’t be accepting the restaurant owner’s invitation to eat at the restaurant.
In an epitome of bullying presumption, Craig now proposes to place an empty chair on a stage in Oxford next week to symbolise my absence. The idea of cashing in on another’s name by conniving to share a stage with him is hardly new. But what are we to make of this attempt to turn my non-appearance into a self-promotion stunt?
Hilarity? That’s what I make of it.
But Craig is not just a figure of fun. He has a dark side, and that is putting it kindly. Most churchmen these days wisely disown the horrific genocides ordered by the God of the Old Testament. Anyone who criticises the divine bloodlust is loudly accused of unfairly ignoring the historical context, and of naive literalism towards what was never more than metaphor or myth. You would search far to find a modern preacher willing to defend God’s commandment, in Deuteronomy 20: 13-15, to kill all the men in a conquered city and to seize the women, children and livestock as plunder.
Hmmmmmmm…would you? Far and wide? I think Richard, in a departure from his usual practice, is falling into the mistake of thinking that the vast majority of modern preachers are liberal. I think he temporarily forgot what he usually knows quite well: there are still a lot of very illiberal preachers around. Liberals are a small minority of preachers.
But that’s a minor point. His main point is a good one. It’s that Craig defends a genocidal god, and is thus a moral horror.
Would you shake hands with a man who could write stuff like that? Would you share a platform with him? I wouldn’t, and I won’t. Even if I were not engaged to be in London on the day in question, I would be proud to leave that chair in Oxford eloquently empty.
WLC should ask Eric MacDonald to debate him. He would have another empty chair to boast of.