In the latest episode of his Reasonable Faith podcast, Bill Craig said:
When my colleague… at Westmont college… got into trouble… because the students were complaining that he was teaching heresy… and he responded that [he] was just playing ‘devil’s advocate’ to challenge the student’s faith, the literal sense of that terms just hit me in the face: “Playing the devil’s advocate” …this is something I would never want to be, an advocate for Satan. I want to be an advocate for Christ.
…There’s something wrong with challenging their faith. I don’t want to challenge their faith! I want to challenge their thinking, but I want to build up their faith.
Later, Craig describes “playing the devil’s advocate” as pretending to believe what you don’t actually believe. That’s not my understanding of what it means to play devil’s advocate, and so there may be a semantic confusion between our views, but let me clarify one difference between Craig and I, anyway.
I do want to challenge people’s faith. I want to challenge their faith in Christianity, in Islam, in atheism, in naturalism. I want to challenge my faith in naturalism, in atheism, in moral realism, in evidentialism, in everything. It is only by regularly challenging current views that we can make progress toward the truth. Views that survive these challenges may be worth keeping. Those that cannot should be discarded. Faith is a kind of anti-epistemology that glorifies assurance, stagnation, and dogmatism. It has no place in the mind of a genuine truth-seeker. In fact, I like to challenge my faith that faith is a kind of anti-epistemology.
Craig doesn’t want Christians exposed to “devil’s advocates.” Does this mean he only wants them exposed to Yes-men? That’s what it sounds like to me.