This will take several posts and will require some editing to fit so please bare with me.
I would appreciate it if people could wait to post till after I have finished posting.
And yes this is a multi post wall... if you don't like it, don't read it.
This is the unedited complete transcript of WLC’s lecture.
I will follow this up by highlighting the logical fallacies and other flaws in his argument.
Thus demonstrating that WLC hasn’t made HIS point.
Then I will follow up with My counter argument disproving his position.
The Absurdity Of Life Without God by William Lane Craig (WLC).
“Man” writes Loren Eiseley “is the cosmic orphan.
“He’s the only creature in the universe who asks why.
Other animals have instincts to guide them.
But man has learned to ask questions
‘Who am I?’ He asks,
‘Why am I here?’
‘Where am I going?’”
Well ever since the enlightenment when modern man threw off the shackles of religion he’s tried to answer those questions without reference to god.
But the answers that came back were not exhilarating, but dark and terrible.
You are the accidental by product of nature.
A result of matter, plus time, plus chance.
There is no reason for your existence, all you face is death.
Modern man thought that in throwing off god he’d freed himself from all that stifled and repressed him.
Instead he discovered that in killing god, he’d only succeeded in orphaning himself.
For if there is no god then man’s life becomes ultimately absurd, its without ultimate meaning, without ultimate value, without ultimate purpose.
I’d like to look at each one of these tonight.
First; life is without ultimate meaning.
If each individual person passes out of existence when he dies then what ultimate meaning can be given to his life? Does it really matter, whether he really existed or not?
Now it might be said that his life was important because it influenced others or effected the course of history, but that shows only a relative significance, to his life, Not an ultimate significance.
If all of the events are ultimately meaningless then what significance is there in influencing any of them?
Mankind is destined only to perish in the eventual heat death of the universe.
And thus the contributions of the scientist to the advance of human knowledge...
The efforts of the doctor to alleviate pain and suffering...
The efforts of the diplomat to secure peace in the world...
The sacrifices of good people everywhere to better the lot of the human race...
In the end all of these come to nothing.
They don’t make one bit of difference, not one bit.
And therefore each person’s life is without ultimate significance.
And because our lives are ultimately meaningless, the activities that we fill our lives with are also, in the final analysis, meaningless.
The long hours spent in study at the university, our friendships, our interests, our jobs, our relationships, all of these are in the final analysis ultimately meaningless.
This is the horror of modern man, because he ends in nothing, he ultimately is nothing.
Twentieth century man came to understand this.
Read for example a play like “Waiting for Godot”. By Samuel Becket.
During this entire play two men carry on trivial, mind numbing, conversation, while waiting for a third man to arrive, who never does.
And our lives are like that Becket is saying, we just kill time waiting, for what, we don’t know.
In a tragic portrayal of man Becket wrote another play in which the curtain opened revealing a stage littered with trash. And for thirty long seconds the audience sat, and stared, in silence at that junk and then the curtain closed that was all.
The French existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus also understood this.
Sartre portrayed life in his play “no exit” as hell. The final line of the play are the words of resignation “well... let’s get on with it” hence Sartre writes elsewhere of the “nausea of existence”.
“Man” he says “is adrift in a boat without a rudder on an endless sea.”
Camus also saw life as absurd “life he said is like a man doomed for all eternity to roll a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down again. Over, and over, and over again.”
At the end of his brief novel the stranger Camus’ hero discovers in a flash of insight that life has no meaning, and that there is no god to give it one.
The French biochemist Jacques Monod seemed to echo these sentiments when he wrote in his work “chance and necessity”.
“Man finally knows that he is alone in the indifferent immensity of the universe.”
Thus if there is, no god, then life itself becomes ultimately meaningless man and the universe are without ultimate significance.
Second; Life is without ultimate value.
If life ends at the grave then it ultimately makes no difference whether you have lived as a Stalin, or as a saint.
As the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky put it “if there is no immortality, then all things are permitted.”
On this basis a writer like Ayn Rand, is absolutely correct, to praise the virtues of selfishness. Live totally for self, no one holds you accountable, indeed it would be foolish to do anything else for life is too short to jeopardise it by acting out of anything but pure self interest, sacrifice for another person would be stupid.
But the problem becomes even worse, for regardless of immortality if there is no god then there is no, absolute standard of right and wrong. All we’re confronted with is in Jean-Paul Sartre’s words “the bare valueless fact of existence”. Moral values, are either just a socio-cultural by-products of the evolutionary process, Or else mere expressions of personal taste.
In a world without god who’s to say, who’s values are right, and who’s are wrong.
Who’s to judge, that the values of an Adolf Hitler are inferior of those of a mother Teresa. The concept of objective morality loses all meaning in a universe without god, there can be no right and wrong. But that means that it’s impossible to condemn war, oppression, brutality, or crime, as evil. By the same token one cannot praise brotherhood, equality, love, or self sacrifice, as good
For in a universe without god, good and evil, do not exist. There is just the bare valueless fact of existence and there is no one to say that you are right and I am wrong.
And Thirdly; Life is ultimately without purpose.
If death stands with open arms at the end of life’s trail, then to what end has life been?
Is it all for nothing?
Is there no reason for life?
Is there no purpose at all for the human race?
Or will it simply peter out someday lost somewhere in the oblivion of an indifferent universe?
The English writer HG Wells foresaw such a prospect in his novel “The Time Machine.
Wells time traveller travels far into the distant future to discover the eventual destiny of man.
And all he finds is a dead Earth except for a few lichens and moss orbiting a gigantic red sun.
The only sounds are the rush of the wind and the gentle ripple of the sea
“Beyond these lifeless sounds” writes wells “the world was silent
Silent? it would be hard to convey the stillness of it”
All the sounds of man the bleating of sheep, the cries of birds, the hum of insects,
The stir that makes the background of our lives, all that was over”.
And so wells time traveller returned.
But to what?
To merely an earlier point on the same purposeless rush towards oblivion.
When as a non-Christian and I first read Well’s book I thought “NO! NO! It can’t end this way!” but this is reality, in a universe without god.
If there is no god then it will end that way, like it or not.
There is no hope, there is no purpose, I’m reminded of TS Eliot’s haunting lines
“This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper”.
If there is no god, then our lives are not qualitatively different from that of a dog.
Now I know that sounds harsh but it’s true as the ancient writer of the book of Ecclesiastes put it “The fate of the suns of man and the fate of beasts is the same, as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity, all go to one place, all are from the dust, and all turn to dust, again.”
In this book which reads more like a piece of modern existentialist literature than a book from the bible. The author shows the futility of pleasure, wealth, education, political fame, and honour, in a life doomed to end in death.
His verdict “Vanity of vanity’s all is vanity” if life ends at the grave we have no ultimate purpose for living.
So I hope you begin to grasp the gravity of the alternatives before us.
For if god does not exist, then all we are left with is despair. Life would have no significance, no value no purpose and that is why the question of the existence of god is so vital to mankind.