Christian philosopher William Lane Craig believes that the evidence for or against God doesn’t really matter, because the “inner witness of the Holy Spirit” trumps everything:
…the way we know Christianity to be true is by the self-authenticating witness of God’s Holy Spirit. Now what do I mean by that? I mean that the experience of the Holy Spirit is… unmistakable… for him who has it; …that arguments and evidence incompatible with that truth are overwhelmed by the experience of the Holy Spirit…1
…it is the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit that gives us the fundamental knowledge of Christianity’s truth. Therefore, the only role left for argument and evidence to play is a subsidiary role… The magisterial use of reason occurs when reason stands over and above the gospel… and judges it on the basis of argument and evidence. The ministerial use of reason occurs when reason submits to and serves the gospel. In light of the Spirit’s witness, only the ministerial use of reason is legitimate. Philosophy is rightly the handmaid of theology. Reason is a tool to help us better understand and defend our faith…2
[The inner witness of the Spirit] trumps all other evidence.3
So yeah, nothing would change Craig’s mind. He is not the “champion” of arguments and evidence he presents himself as. He is immune to arguments and evidence.
I’m not exaggerating. Mark Smith posed the following scenario to Craig:
Dr. Craig, for the sake of argument let’s pretend that a time machine gets built. You and I hop in it, and travel back to the day before Easter, 33 AD. We park it outside the tomb of Jesus. We wait. Easter morning rolls around, and nothing happens. We continue to wait. After several weeks of waiting, still nothing happens. There is no resurrection – Jesus is quietly rotting away in the tomb.
Smith then asked Craig if he would then deny Christianity, having seen with his own eyes that Jesus did not rise from the dead. Smith writes:
He told me, face to face, that he would STILL believe in Jesus, he would STILL believe in the resurrection, and he would STILL remain a Christian.
So let me repeat: William Lane Craig is not a champion of logic and evidence. He admits he is immune to them.
Really, what can even be said of Craig’s claim? If the inner witness of the Holy Spirit is not evidence or the premise of an argument but is “self-authenticating” to such a degree that it “trumps all other evidence,” what can we even say about such a claim? Am I allowed to claim that the inner witness of my “sensus atheistus” – which tells me that there are no gods – is self-authenticating to such a degree that it trumps all other evidence? Nobody should accept such nonsense.
Basically, Craig defends his faith against the evidence the same way my mom does – “I know because I know that I know that I know.” And that’s it. “I know in my heart that Christianity is true, and I know my heart is right because my heart tells me it is right.”
That’s, like, the dumbest thing ever.
It’s intellectual suicide. It is extreme gullibility and credulity. It is also reveals profoundly arrogant double standard to assert that my heart provides irrefutable proof of metaphysical truths, while the hearts of everyone who disagrees with me deceives them.
I’ll conclude by quoting Craig’s remarkably honest account of his abandonment of reason:
Raised in a non-evangelical home, I became a Christian my third year of high school, not through any careful consideration of the evidence, but because those Christian students who shared the gospel with me seemed to be living on a different plane of reality than I was. Their faith in Christ imparted meaning to their lives along with a joyous peace, which I craved.
…As a young believer full of enthusiasm and faith, I went off in 1967 to study at Wheaton College. During the sixties Wheaton had become a seedbed of skepticism and cynicism, and I was dismayed to see students whose intellectual abilities I admired lose their faith and renounce Christianity in the name of reason… Among the students, doubt was touted as a virtue of the mature Christian life, and one was supposed to follow unflinchingly the demands of reason wherever it might lead. I will remember well one of my theology professors commenting that if he were persuaded that Christianity were unreasonable, then he would renounce Christianity.
Now that frightened and troubled me. For me, Christ was so real and had invested my life with such significance that I could not make the confession of my professor – if somehow through my studies my reason were to turn against my faith, then so much the worse for reason! Thus, I confided to one of my philosophy teachers, “I guess I’m not a true intellectual. If my reason turned against Christ, I’d still believe. My faith is too real.”5
As you say, Dr. Craig…