In this episode, Kurt talks about Billy Graham, the Licona-Ehrman debate, and the Craig-Wielenberg debate.
Kurt: Good day to you and thanks for joining us here on another episode of Veracity Hill where we are striving for truth on faith, politics, and society. So nice to be with you here again on this fine Saturday. The weather is not simple cold and I think Spring is just around the corner, as much as Chris might not like that. There has been much that has gone on this week in our nation and in the apologetics world and so initially, I was hoping to get a Billy Graham biographer to be our guest on this week’s show but did not hear back in time. I’m just deciding to shoot the breeze with you today and we will be talking a little bit about Billy Graham and his legacy. We’re also going to be talking about two debate that occurred this week between New Testament scholars Mike Licona and Bart Ehrman and between two philosophers, William Lane Craig and Erik Wielenberg, who talked about issues pertaining to morality and the Licona-Ehrman debate was about determining whether the Gospels are reliable. We will be talking about and I’m following along here on the livestream. If you have comments and questions, please, by all means, submit them my way. There a couple of other ways you can get in touch with me. I’ve got our texting plan up here. You can text the word VERACITY to the number 555-888 and you’ll be subscribed to our free list and if you want to send a comment or question through a text message you can do that and I’ll read those here as well, and lastly you can email me at Kurt@veracityhill.com. I’ll be keeping an eye on that. Again, would love for your participation in today’s program and so before I jump into talking about Billy Graham and his legacy, I do want to say this. In case you missed it, Defenders Media, my organization, has occurred Apologetics315, which is one of the largest apologetic web resource ministries out there on the interwebs and so we’re very excited about what this means for our organization. I know it’s going to be a lot of work. We’re already putting out I think 3-4 posts a week on the website so that’s good. We want to be doing more. Of course, we’d love to get your help in doing that. If you are interested in volunteering, in helping out, please get in touch with me. If you’d like to support us financially you can do that either on the Defenders Media website or on apologetics315.com. Just click on the donate button there in the menu. Again, we’re very excited about what this acquisition means for our organization. Not just in how we can serve folks, but we’re going to be able to promote some of the work that we are already doing to an existing, a large, existing audience. That makes us very happy and will help get the word out about what Ted Wright’s doing with Epic Archaeology or Blake Giunta’s doing at beliefmap or Rich Sanford with God Loves Mormons. People will be able to see what great work is being done.
Again, three main segments to today’s program. First, I want to talk about Billy Graham and his legacy and then we’ll jump into the historical reliability debate, and then closer to the end of today’s show, I’m hoping to talk about William Lane Craig and Erik Wielenberg and I might have a correspondent joining us as well to tell us more who was, I believe he was there at the debate, so we’ll see if he’ll join us today.
So Billy Graham passed away, America’s pastor, the greatest evangelist of the 20th century without debate. This has, I think, surprisingly, brought some mixed reactions. There are some people who are I guess bitter over Billy Graham’s preaching, sadly, and of course, there are plenty of people who recognize the value to the great work that he did. What I would like to do is, I want to, we’re going to play a few of his clips today and I’m going to talk about one theological issue really that I’m interested in and that Billy Graham got some beef over, but before we really jump into that, I want to pay our respects here for the legacy that he has left and so I want you to sit back for a few minutes here and enjoy this video from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. Chris, I think, has it up and ready to roll.
Kurt: Alright. That’s a tribute video put on by the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. Five-minute clip, very inspirational, for the legacy that Billy left. He influenced millions of people, hundreds of millions, and I know even in my own family that his legacy and his work was valuable. I know for my uncle at least, my uncle specifically recalls that Billy Graham’s preaching led to his conversion. I think there are many people for whom the Holy Spirit worked through Billy Graham’s voice and that’s something that we should all be grateful for. Sorry. Getting a little emotional today. We don’t know when the Lord will bring us another Billy Graham. We don’t know if there ever will be another Billy Graham or someone like him who will be able to preach with such power and authority. Billy Graham himself was not perfect. I know for some people again, they’ve criticized him, and some sadly have even wished that he would rot in Hell. I think that what’s most telling about that is people are hurt for whatever reason. There’s something going on there. We should pray for people like that who do feel hurt. I do want to talk about one theological issue I think that Billy got a little bit in trouble for and chiefly because his position is my position, so I don’t mind talking about it on today’s show. Billy back in the early 90’s had an interview, this is later, this is towards the end of his career as preacher. In fact, he may have been formally retired by this time. He talked about what he thought of people that maybe haven’t heard the gospel or maybe even people that rejected the message that they heard from someone once. This is the exclusivism/inclusivism debate as to what happens to those who haven’t heard the gospel, so listen now, I think it’s just a two-minute clip or so. Listen to Billy’s answer here because I’m not sure I fully agree with it, maybe I do, and I’d love to get your thoughts as well. Take a listen.
Kurt: Alright. So that’s that short clip and a lot of people at that time in the early 90’s gave Billy Graham some beef for this. This position that he’s advocating for is called inclusivism. This is the position that there are some people that have not heard the gospel and yet they still will be saved in the end. How can this be? Perhaps, it’s the case that this person recognizes that there’s a divine creator and recognizes their fallenness and their need for mercy from the creator. Someone who might even show the fruit of the Spirit and for some Christians, this is uncomfortable, but I would like to quote for you a very short passage here from Christianity and Comparative Religion published by IVP back in the 70’s. This is J.N.D. Anderson and he asks this question. “Does ignorance disqualify for grace? If so, where in Scripture do we have the exact amount of knowledge required set out? For assurance, no doubt, knowledge is required, but for grace, it is not so much knowledge as a right attitude towards God that matters.”
Some people might say here, “Well the Scripture teaches that you have to believe in order to be saved.” Does it really say that? Does it say you have to have that proposition, “Jesus is Lord and savior”, you have to believe that proposition in order to be saved? What about unborn infants? What about those that are mentally unable to grasp that concept due to some fallenness in the world, that is, they’re simply not able to comprehend such a thing. What happens to those sorts of people? If we’re going to be consistent here, you’d have to say that if one must have, some would say even a verbal confirmation of their, if you have to have faith, you should be consistent and think that unborn infants or the mentally disabled are not going to be eternally saved. I reject that position and I think that those that don’t hear the gospel can be saved. I do want to clarify here, I’m not saying there are multiple ways to heaven. There’s only one way and that’s through Jesus and He’s explicit that He is the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes through the Father except through Him. The fine distinction here, and this is going to be a philosophical distinction, is between the metaphysical reality and we epistemologically know. Okay? It’s a difference between what someone knows and the way it really is.
Someone can have a false belief about something. Someone might be ignorant about something. They don’t know what’s going on or why something is happening. Nevertheless, that something is still, in fact, happening. I’m making this point because Billy Graham, a current friend of mine, Leighton Flowers, and I want to ward off any confusion here, have been accused of universalism or religious pluralism and this is not the case. We all are still exclusivists with regard to the means of salvation. There is only one way. I think it’s a shame that Billy got a lot of flack for this back in the 90’s. It was fascinating. There was so much flack that one of his spokesmen put out a retraction piece saying it was something to do with Billy’s age or medication and I’m pretty sure that Billy did not see this, this press release, because Billy has held this position for a long time. There’s one of his sermons back in the 70’s where he advocates this position. I don’t think his saying it in the 90’s was controversial. Again, I just wish that some people would step back for a moment and make sure they’re understanding what someone is saying. This does maybe pose difficulties. Can an atheist be saved? I know Pope Francis said something like that. Again, where does the grace of God go? Does it exclusively only go to believers? I’m not convinced of that and I think God can work in the lives of non-believers even if the believers don’t know it. I think even Reformed theologians would say that. The question is to what extent that would be the case.
Of course, if you disagree with me, I’d love to get in touch with you and would love to interact. Of course, we might have different interpretations on different passages. One of the key figures I like to look to is in Acts, Cornelius the God-fearing man, who hadn’t heard the gospel yet, hadn’t received the Holy Spirit, and yet his prayer and almsgiving were a sweet aroma to the Lord. That’s what the Scripture says. I like to point to Cornelius as an example of someone who has experienced the grace of God in his life without even knowing yet about Jesus.
I guess that’s the main thing I wanted to touch upon with Billy Graham. We’re going to play a segment after we turn from the break a little later of Billy Graham’s preaching. Maybe you’ve never even heard Billy Graham preach before and so we’ll play a short three-minute clip. I would love to get your thoughts on the passing of Billy Graham. If he was a personal influence in your life, maybe if you had even met him or went to one of his crusades, I’d be interested to hear that. One of my friends, Mike, told me that in the 1980’s, that he went to a Billy Graham crusade in Baltimore and heard Billy preach.
I want to transition over to a slightly more academic topic for this next segment. There was a debate on Wednesday night between Dr. Mike Licona and Dr. Bart Ehrman and this was maybe like their seventh debate or something like that. They’ve got a nice relationship from what I can gather, a very cordial relationship, and the topic of the debate was on the reliability of the Gospels. Let me look up the exact question. “Are the Gospels historically reliable?” I was able to watch the debate for the most part. I had to step away for about 10-15 minutes. Very interesting debate. What I found fascinating, I’ve watched a number of their debates in the past. You can watch them on YouTube as well. What I thought was fascinating, two things. One. Bart used the same jokes. He used the same jokes as in past debates which I thought was a little repetitive, unoriginal, but also, interestingly, he used the same arguments as past debates. I’m going to talk about how I thought Dr. Licona could have done a bit better in a couple situations, so I guess before get maybe into critiquing all that, let me first layout how it was structured.
Mike used his opening speech very well I thought and he had six main points to how he comes to find that the Gospels are historically reliable documents. I took note here of these six points and he said this.
#1. The author intended to write an accurate account. Here we’re speaking generally, a general accurate account.
#2. The author used good judgment in his choice of sources.
#3. The author used good judgment in his use of those sources.
#4 The author and his sources were capable of reporting accurately. We might think of them as being in the right place at the right time, that sort of situation.
#5. We can verify numerous items reported.
#6. No more than a very small percentage of items reported by an ancient author are known by false.
Here Licona, formally speaking, affirms the doctrine of inerrancy, but he’s open to entertaining whether there was an error in the text. Presently he doesn’t believe so, so that’s that sixth point, that if there were any errors, it’s a very small percentage. Here’s Licona’s conclusion here if I can summarize what his view is. To say that a particular historical work in antiquity is historically reliable does not require reports to have accuracy with the precision of a legal transcript or that it be free from error or embellishment. Historically reliable, at the very minimum, means that the account provides an accurate gist or an essential faithful representation of what occurred. That was Licona’s position and what he wanted to defend in the debate. Ehrman, I see here Jonathan following along, I know Jonathan watched the debate too. Ehrman, I found, didn’t even reply to Licona’s opening speech. So what did Ehrman say? I think Ehrman was very typical of himself and what I’m going to say here is maybe slightly provocative about Ehrman. I’m not sure he realizes it himself and I wish that more evangelicals would make light of this. Ehrman still reads the Gospels like his former evangelical, and in this case, fundamentalist self. Now what is meant by fundamentalism? I take it there is a good definition of what the fundamentalists believed. When I talk about fundamentalism here I’m talking about the negative connotation of maybe what some Christians have believed, some uninformed Christians have believed, about the text, a very rigid view, almost a view similar to what Muslims think of the Qur’an, on what the Bible is as a text, and so Ehrman as an evangelical had a very rigid view of the text. He affirmed the doctrine of inerrancy, and when Ehrman, he talks about this, he talks about his conversion experience. When he was an evangelical, and he went to Wheaton College and he went and got his M.Div, and so he was a devout evangelical, when he was exploring Gospel difficulties, he came across one that was very difficult. His eyes began to be open to the possibility that maybe there is an error here. For Ehrman, that idea that there was one error in the text was faith-shattering. I think that view, having so much faith in that non-essential doctrine, is a mistake. That is not what the doctrine of inerrancy is about. I think that gives too much weight to that doctrine. If it wrecks your faith entirely such that you leave the faith, you didn’t have a good foundation to begin with and so when Ehrman critiques the reliablity of the Gospels, he does so from that former fundamentalist perspective. He is still a fundamentalist.
When you see how he approaches the text and he continuously asks the audience. He might give any number of examples where there might be a Gospel difficulty. “Did you know that there was one angel in this book and there were two angels in that book? Did you know that Jesus’s cleansing of the temple occurs earlier in John and later in the Synoptics? Did you know this?” He’ll give all these examples. I think it’s great to a certain extent that he does that. I think it’s great that he is able to open people up to the possibility that the text is not what they thought it was. A strict harmonization really brings a stretched view to understand the Gospels. If you try to create a chronology of the text, you’re going to end up with some very stretched interpretations. Here Jonathan writes, “J.I. Packer labeled Harold Lindsell’s approach as basically a fundamentalist approach.” And again Jonathan, yeah, it might just depend on how we’re defining fundamentalism there. Of course, I mean it here in this more contemporary sense than say what a 100 years ago we might think of fundamentalism as. Again, I think Ehrman’s doing a good job of critiquing the doctrine of inerrancy or should I say some peoples’ perception of that doctrine of inerrancy. That’s good of what Ehrman’s doing. The trouble is he connects it to its being a fundamental view of the faith, fundamental doctrine, core doctrine. That’s just not the case. You can reject inerrancy, logically speaking, you can reject inerrancy and still be a devout Christian. Plenty of non-Americans doing that. Having lived overseas for a short time and meeting people, I lived in London for a year, and I was able to meet people from all over the world, London being sort of a global hub and just speaking to them about this and from learning from other scholars. Inerrancy isn’t as big of a deal for non-Americans as it is for Americans. That being said, I still affirm the doctrine of inerrancy. I don’t think that in the original writings, I think that the authors meant what they wrote, so there is no flub, there’s no goof. They intentionally wrote what they did. That doesn’t constitute as an error so there might be debate over that. Nevertheless, I still affirm it, but for me, I place it as a secondary or tertiary doctrine and I think you should too.
Let’s get back to the debate here. In his opening speech, Ehrman was basically doing that. He was trying to cast doubt in peoples’ minds and these are the same arguments he’s used in past debates. He used the same jokes and the same arguments. It really wasn’t anything new. Really, it took his second speech where he started to lay out an argument and I think Ehrman just thinks that we can’t have enough confidence in the historical method for determining those things and I think he’s mistaken for that and I want to encourage you once the video gets up for you to take the two hours and watch the debate. We’re already at a halfway point here. I’m chatting away. I guess when we want to come back from the break I do want to talk about some suggestions I think Dr. Licona could have done better on. I think Licona still won the debate properly speaking. Licona laid out his terms and I think Ehrman didn’t sufficiently address them. In terms of a debate, I think Licona won. I have some friends that ecstatically think Licona won. They might be a bit more biased than I am. Tim. If you’re watching, that’d be you. Let’s take a short break here. We’re shooting the breeze. I’m following along with your comments here on Facebook and after this short break we’re going to enter back in with a three-minute clip of Billy Graham’s preaching so here’s a short break from our sponsors.
*second clip plays*
Kurt: Alright. That was a preaching clip of Billy Graham. I tried to find a short one. Most of the sermons are in full up on YouTube there. Very powerful legacy that he left behind. I know our society’s changing a bit and so for some, perhaps many people, Billy Graham might have to, if his career still were going on to this day, supposed he were thirty years old and spry again, he might have to change his message a bit. Less people find themselves believing in God. The Scripture says that the fool says in his heart there is no God. I think a good interpretation of that, really a better translation of that passage is something like this, “The fool says, ‘For me, no God.’ ” It’s not a propositional rejection of God there in the original. It’s a lifestyle rejection and you certainly see that and so I hope that for many people still, the preaching content would still be quite applicable. Some people say, “Why should we worry about where we’re going to go when we die if there is no God?” I think God’s existence is self-evident to us from creation. I want to suggest here if you’re listening to this that if you’ve had doubts, if you’ve got personal issues that you’ve been dealing with, that you deal with those. Don’t leave them on the backburner. Don’t put them in the closet. They’re still going to haunt you for the rest of your life. They’re going to be on your mind. Deal with your skeletons in your closet and come face reality. We are intelligently designed creatures and we have to be in a right relationship with our creator so I think it’s high time that some folks realize what issues are leading them to reject the Christian faith, to reject God’s existence. It’s not in my perspective, it is not intellectual issues. It’s a matter of the will. Again, I hope for the people that I know, I’m praying for you, and hope that you can work with some issues and I hope you don’t just let them continue on and fester for the rest of your life.
That said, I know, you may have heard the Skype going on and I had something I wanted to say about Licona, but if Randy’s there, I still want to say hi to Randy. How are you doing Randy?
Can you hear me?
Randy: I can. Can you hear me?
Kurt: Yes. Welcome to the program.
Kurt: I want to say one thing about the Licona/Ehrman debate and just want to see, did you end up watching that debate too or just the Craig/Wielenberg debate?
Randy: Just the Craig/Wielenberg debate, but I heard it was a really good one so I’m sad I missed it.
Kurt: Yes, and I wasn’t able to watch the Craig/Wielenberg debate in full. So before I get your correspondent take on it, let me just finish up a thought I had on the Licona/Ehrman debate. There was one question that I really thought Mike on Wednesday night could have better answered. Ehrman was critiquing the zombies which occurred at the end of Matthew 27. What is that about? It’s specifically about a passage in Matthew 27, when Jesus died verse 5 says “And the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised and coming out of the graves after His resurrection they appeared in the holy city and appeared to many.” So, here, Matthew is saying, it seems that people were resurrected and went into the cities. Bart is very skeptical of this. Mike also happens to be skeptical of the historicity of this event. Mike here thinks that this is apocalyptic in nature so it belongs to a different genre, that Matthew is using some rhetorical flair to talk about what an awesome event the resurrection of Jesus was.
How do I think he could have answered this question? Bart asked specifically, “Do you believe that the zombies was accurate?” Something like that. The specific question was, “Do you believe this is accurate?” I thought Mike’s answer was okay, was good, but he could have done better. He could have said “What do you mean by accurate? Accurate pertaining to what? To the historicity of it or to the theological nature of it?” Because to ask that vague question, it puts Mike in a tough horn. Well, yes, I believe it is accurate, and no, I don’t believe it’s accurate. We have to clarify and nuance in what sense we believe that’s accurate. I thought that Mike maybe could have called Bart on being vague and ambiguous in his language and I think that would have helped first other people to realize what’s going on here, to clarify what is the debate? And two, I also think it would have helped Mike’s own personal perspective on this account and on the project that he was doing in terms of dealing with Gospel differences and such. It helps to hone in our critical thinking skills to think about in what sense is that the case. In what sense is that not the case? I thought he could have done that just a little bit before, but overall I thought Mike did great and I want to encourage you to watch the debate, especially you Randy. I’m sure you’d be interested to watch it as well. You are a philsophically minded individual, so for you know, I know that the Craig/Wielenberg debate was definitely on your high priority list.
Kurt: As best you can, could you give us a lay of the land as to what that debate was about?
Randy: Sure. The question that was before both William Lane Craig on the theistic side and Erik Wielenberg, a professor on the atheistic side. The question before them wasn’t can atheists be good or anything like that or are there objective moral values? They both agreed about that. It was something like this question. “What’s the most plausible foundation for objective moral values and duties?” So Craig took the theistic option, God is the most plausible foundation for objective moral values and duties and on the other side Wielenberg took his position of godless normative realism so no God, but it might take me a minute or two to explain the normative realism.
Kurt: For Wielenberg’s view, and we’re trying to keep this as easy to understand as we can, Wielenberg believes that morals objectively exist, so it’s not that humans simply just decide whatever we’re going to do is moral, that morals actually exist in the abstract, in the aether out there somewhere non-materialistically. For those that are familiar with Plato’s forms, kind of like that. Right?
Randy: Right. It very much is, Craig even says it’s moral Platonism, and interestingly Wielenberg doesn’t object to this. He kind of repeats the characterization but doesn’t say, “No. That’s not my view.”
Kurt: So what would be the pros and cons to each of the positions represented at the debate last night?
Randy: For Craig, the theistic position, an advantage is you have a real personal agent giving commands, so something a lot of regular people and even philosophers have found really plausible is the phrase, “If there’s a law, there’s a lawgiver.” That goes back to C.S. Lewis and things like that. Something similar is going on here. You have this moral law that constitutes not only values such as good and evil that are rooted in God’s nature, but also duties, things that are right and wrong for you to do, also grounded in God’s nature, but coming out in the form of commands, where there’s a law, there’s a lawgiver, there’s somebody giving a command, so there’s a really intuitive advantage on the face of it for the average person I think for Craig. For Wielenberg, I think an advantage might be, obviously if you’re already an atheist, the advantage is you get to keep objective morality. One of the biggest hits on atheism is that you just think morals are subjective. I can’t really…[NP1] not ever making moral progress when we deal with issues of slavery, racism, and bigotry. We’re really not making any progress, so there’s a distinct advantage to that, but further there might be an advantage to the way he constitutes duties at least from an intuitive average person standpoint. You talked about values being out there in the Platonic forms, but for duties he says “When you encounter a child whose arm is on fire and there’s a bucket of water, these physical situations mean that you have an obligation to grab the bucket of water and put the child out of fire and get rid of her suffering and pain.” That’s very intuitive. Why wouldn’t you go and do that? Of course, we obviously can just see that we have this obligation so that might be an advantage as far as just a bare bones on the face of it kind of thing.
Kurt: Sure. The disadvantage it would seem at least for Wielenberg’s position, there’s still that why question. Why ought I do to do that? What binds me, and correct me if I’m mistaken, but what would bind me to that abstract idea or proposition.
Randy: Craig actually has a number of criticisms like this. As far as the duties are concerned, the first thing he talks about is a concept called supererogation which means going above and beyond your call of duty. We might refer to them as moral heroes, maybe a whole busful of children are drowning and this man jumps in the river over and over and over again and saves so many people but then he himself dies, whereas he could have just tried to save one and got others to, he went above and beyond his call of duty, something like that. On Wielenberg’s view, there can’t be any such cases of supererogation because as it turns out your duty just is what the physical facts of the situation tell you what you should do. That’s a problem. Wielenberg might want to respond to supererogation and say, “Maybe I think there are no cases.” That’s what he tries to do, but that’s not exactly super plausible, but what you might have been hinting at is another criticism Craig made and that is to say, “For Wielenberg, these physical facts give rise to these moral values and duties so like I said, just the presence of these facts end up constituting our values and duties, but he says these values are abstract objects. How is it that the situation of the girl with the bucket of water there and she’s on fire, how is it that situation ends up getting the right abstract object? Why not, because on a theistic view, it makes perfect sense. God wills that it be the case. He’s a personal agent. That’s very, very easy, but on Wielenberg’s view there are no personal agents. It just happens to be the case that these two things link up. Really, we have to wonder why couldn’t, Craig said, why couldn’t it link up with the square root of 4? Not only do I not have this duty, it’s just this non sequitur feeling of craziness that comes up. Instead of a moral duty, you just have “Oh look. It’s 75” or the square root of 4 or some other situation or even the reverse, what if it linked up to an evil value such that putting her out was evil. Why not? Wielenberg can say, “We just see that it’s the case that we ought to help her”, but then you have to ask yourself “Why?” and it seems that, yes, we perceive the obligation, but at least on theism this seems to be a more natural explanation. God has given you that obligation, to preserve life and to care for people.
Kurt: So in fairness, what would be Wielenberg’s top criticisms of Craig’s position?
Randy: Yeah. The good news is we have a lot of these because mostly Wielenberg ended up saying during the Q&A that he’s going to take the Churchill line of Democracy is the worst of all forms of government except for all the other ones. For Wielenberg, he says, “Look. I don’t have a lot of great reasons to support my view, but I have a lot of reasons my view is bad.” He did definitely talk about that. He says basically, “Craig. Your view has all the same problems as mine does, so we’re really on even footing”, and then once he attempts to do that by linking all of, like, Craig says “You have a causal connection problem.” By saying that, Craig is saying “Look. We don’t understand how it is that these physical acts cause these abstract objects to link up.” He says, “Craig. You have a causal connection problem. How is it that supernatural agents cause things in the world?” He’s trying to say, “Look. You have the same types of problems”, and he tries to do that for each of Craig’s criticisms is try to say, “You have the same issue.” Now when that is done, he then tries to say, “So we’re on even footing, but beyond that my view’s a little better because we can just see that you ought to prevent the holocaust or that you ought to put out this girl whereas God has to give you the further fact of commanding,” and he thinks that’s unnecessary. It’s totally superfluous. If you want I could get into the nitty-gritty of the specifics on why he says that Craig has the same problems and Craig’s response, but yeah.
Kurt: Unfortunately we’ve only got a few minutes left in the program today, but it seems like when Wielenberg said that, as you say he said, that Craig has the same issue, I don’t think it would be an issue for a supernatural agent to have created the world and placed value upon humans such that when we see a situation where the girl has her arm on fire, that because the girl is valued, that God wants us to put the fire out.
Randy: Right. These are plausibly applications of God’s commands. God’s general command to preserve life, love your neighbor, these are right there and applicable to what you’re doing. With the causal connection problem, I don’t think it’s a problem. Craig responded, “Look. We have this dualism is what Wielenberg is saying, you have a dualism issue with your soul interacting with your body,” and Craig says, “But here’s the relevant difference. The problem with substance dualism is we don’t know how it works. That’s true. We don’t know how it works, but we do know that it works.” We have a direct experience with causing things with the mind-body connection. It’s a very deep connection. It’s a very personal experience. We don’t have any experience with these physical facts giving rise to abstract objects that pair up together. That’s not even something we experience, so we have the further problem on Wielenberg’s view. We not only don’t know how it works, but we don’t know even know that it works. And I…[NP2] substance dualism, but I mean it’s very intuitive and so he can’t say, “From your own perspective you have the same problem.” At best he can say, “Here are all my criticisms of substance dualism”, but that’s a different story.
Kurt: I want to encourage listeners here that if you are interested in these what are called meta-ethical debates, these are debates where they’re not just dealing with an ethical issue, whether someone should do X or something like that. These are dealing with the above the ethical issues. Meta-ethical, as to how do we know that someone should do X. I want to encourage you not only to go watch the debate yourself, but also to check out Randyeverist.com, that’s Randy’s blog, Possible Worlds, exploring issues in Christian philosophy, theology, apologetics, and life in general. Randy. Thank you so much for giving us, as was unbeknownst, that correspondent update.
Randy: Thank you for having me on.
Kurt: God bless you.
Randy: You too. Take care.
Kurt: That, I know, was maybe a little heady for people, but that was Dr. William Lane Craig’s debate just last night that he did with the atheist Erik Wielenberg, very fascinating perspective that Wielenberg has defended and when I was in college I read Wielenberg’s book Moral Values In A Godless Universe and so I was first exposed to his position on that which is a different take than what’s the normal atheistic take as Randy mentioned.
Before we close today’s show, I want to talk about an image that Defenders Media create with Billy Graham. It’s a quote that Billy Graham said in one of his sermons about whether you hear of his death or not and there has been a little bit of dialogue between a couple of friends on the great Facebook as to the truthfulness of this statement and nevertheless, I think the statement still carries good sentiment, but we’ll have Chris put that image up of Billy Graham and this quotation and it read as follows. “Someday, you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”
This was an image we created and it got lots of shares and views online which is great, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again, so what should we think of this? My own view, I hold to, this issue’s regarding the intermediate state, what happens when we die? Do we immediately go to Heaven before the resurrection or do we have what’s called the sleep state model, that we remain in a comatose like state. I affirm the sleep state model. Here Billy Graham affirms the going to Heaven model. Nevertheless, I think it’s a fine sentiment, what he said, that there is a peace, there is an assurance here, that we will be okay after we pass and that even if we’re dead for the time being, we won’t be much longer, all things considered in light of eternity. A fine sentiment from the great Billy Graham there and I know he will be missed and pray for our nation and the world, for those whom Billy has influenced and pray that again one day there will be someone like him to preach the gospel throughout the world.
That does it for today’s show. Just shooting the breeze here today talking about the legacy of Billy Graham, talking about some reflections upon the Licona/Ehrman debate and being filled in there about what happened last night, Dr. Craig vs. Dr. Wielenberg, so thanks for tuning in today’s show. I’m grateful for the continued support of our patrons and the partnerships that we have with our sponsors, Defenders Media, Consult Kevin, The Sky Floor, Rethinking Hell, The Illinois Family Institute, Evolution 2.0, Fox Restoration, and Non-Profit Megaphone. I want to thank our technical producer Chris today, for all the fine work that he did, and last but not least, I want to thank you for listening in and for striving for truth on faith, politics, and society.
[NP1]Unclear at 48:05
[NP2]Unclear at 55:25