Christian philosopher and theologian William Craig will describe tomorrow the seven reasons, he believes, God exists.
Craig, a research professor of philosophy at the Talbot University of Theology, is well known in the philosophy and theology communities, as well as on college campuses around the world where he travels extensively to speak.
“[Student] response has been highly encouraging,” Craig said. “They are interested in hearing arguments for and against the existence of God.”
Craig, who just returned from speaking at two universities in Hyderabad, India, added that his speeches are not just for Christian audiences.
“People of all world views are interested in and can appreciate them. This is very evident in the questions that are asked,” he said.
Craig usually holds a question and answer session after his presentations that lasts about 45 minutes, allowing him to open up a forum for discussion where he can debate his beliefs and answer questions from the audience.
Among those who receive him favorably are UC Davis professors.
Richard Spencer, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, agrees with Craig’s beliefs. He believes that one of Craig’s important contributions to the field of theology is his work in Christian Aplogetics, a field that strives to produce rational evidence of Christian faith.
“In general there’s a misconception that faith is contrary to evidence and that’s not true,” Spencer said. “Bill Craig is an excellent example of some of the reasons why.”
Craig said his speeches don’t just focus on preaching, but seek to approach theology through a philosophical perspective. Craig received his Ph.D. in philosophy and has worked outside of religion in metaphysics as well as in presentism, which focuses on the idea that only things in the present really exist; the future and past are not real.
Cody Gilmore, a philosophy professor, admits that much of Craig’s work on presentism is compatible with modern physics. Gilmore reads, analyzes, critiques and debates Craig’s work in his classes with his students.
Gilmore himself, however, doesn’t buy Craig’s philosophy.
“I’m not convinced by his arguments,” he said, “but I think they’re interesting and useful.”
Despite offering criticism, Gilmore mentioned several of Craig’s books that refer to Craig’s contribution to rehabilitating the cosmological argument. Gilmore feels that this argument is one of Craig’s most important contributions to the fields of theology and philosophy.
Spencer, on the other hand, said the only criticism he has to offer are minor theological issues so trivial they are not worth mentioning.
“[Craig] is very intelligent, well read, educated and his work is very accessible,” he said.
In spite of their differing views of Craig, however, both Gilmore and Spencer expressed hope that students will attend the event, regardless of their religious practices.
“[Students] are likely to run into ideas they haven’t been exposed to,” Gilmore said. “It will be a mind-expanding event.”
AKSHAYA RAMANUJAM can be reached at email@example.com.