If anyone has ever heard William Lane Craig debate, you know what argument #5 is for the truth of Christianity and that is the internal witness of the Holy Spirit. I’ve heard several audio debates of Craig. (Unfortunately, I have yet to meet him. He’s one of few I haven’t met yet and I look forward to the day.) I cannot imagine anyone as an atheist wanting to go against Craig with his sharp mind and encyclopedic knowledge.
Yet on this point, I disagree.
Loftus doesn’t think much of this argument and frankly, neither do I. Readers of my blog are probably not surprised to hear that seeing as I have written much on the idea of hearing the voice of God and feeling led by the Spirit. I am greatly concerned with what I call Pop Christianity that promises things as normative that were never meant to be as normative which leads many to apostasy.
By the way, I also consider that happened to Loftus as he wonders why it is in a church that the Holy Spirit is not giving the proper interpretation of the text of Scripture to each person. This is not the role of the Holy Spirit in biblical interpretation. The Spirit convicts you on the text, but does not tell you what it means. Loftus counts this as something that led to his doubt.
Of course, I think of being in meetings where the church is trying to decide and the vote is to be to how the Spirit leads each person. Unfortunately, it seems the Holy Spirit cannot make up his mind as the vote is far from unanimous. It seems that if people really think they’re hearing from God, why can’t one person say when the vote comes “This is the one God wants.” This is an awfully dangerous idea.
Hence, I don’t really like to base religious decision on feelings. Religion can produce feelings, but it is not about feelings. I think the same thing applies to marriage. Being in love produces feelings, but in our society, I fear we have reached the point where if the feeling is not there, then it is not love.
Now do I have any suggestions for another fifth argument?
My first choice would really be the argument from beauty. I find aesthetic experiences to be something universal and we all seem to know some things that we consider beautiful and anyone who would deny that that is beautiful, well they just don’t know what they’re talking about.
However, we could speak about the testimony of the changed lives of people. We could give examples of prayers that have been answered. We could talk about how society has changed for the better due to the coming of Christianity. The fifth argument as it stands now is just something I cannot support.
Now do I support Dr. Craig? Of course I do! He’s a marvel I’d still love to meet. However, I just can’t say I agree with the fifth argument. I’d prefer something that I think the non-Christian can see in some way. When the Christian is in doubt about Christianity, they don’t need to look for a feeling. They need to look at the rational ideas that they know. (I find when I am in doubt, it is emotion taking over and the rational is downplayed.) If feelings come, fine. If not, that’s fine also. Christ is still Lord.