Wednesday, October 20, 2010

God Needs A Quality Control Department 1.6

This is "God Needs A Quality Control Department," Part I(g), which is Part 7 of my thoughts on the debate between William Lane Craig and Shabir Ally, held at York University in Toronto on March 5, 2002. The focus of the debate is this question: Which doctrine of salvation is correct, that of Jesusianismistism or that of Muhammadanismistism? In this video I'll conclude my musings on the rebuttals and finish with some thoughts on Dr Draig's closing comments.

Ally, either because he doesn't know the bible very well, or perhaps because he and his opponent had previously collaborated on a plan to minimize the effort necessary to fleece their audience, has this to say about Dr. Craig's assertion that one can't base doctrine on poetic passages.

<clip>

Get this: he started with the idea that the Qur'an is to be interpreted figuratively when it says that Allah hates sinners. When Dr Craig pushed back a little, Ally abandoned that idea and tried to say that Allah is loving in general, so it's ok for Allah to hate specific persons, in other words admitting that it's literally true that Allah hates sinners. Now that Dr Craig has claimed the right to interpret Psalm 5:5 figuratively, Ally feels more confident about his original point and goes back to it, giving up on his second point. Ally is clearly demonstrating here that nothing he says has any merit on its own; rather, for him, the debate is about saying what you can get away with and giving your half-asleep audience the impression that you have something meaningful. The discussion has degenerated from a question of whether this god is good to a question of which debater has enough charisma to convince you of his interpretation of holy writ.

Further, what is it with Muhammadanismistism that encourages this childishness? He starts his argument with, "Hey, my god is not any worse than yours is!" Now he has moved on to, "Dude, if you can say it's poetry then so can I!" I fully expected Ally to say something like, "I know you are but what am I?" Some people object to me referring to Ally's religion as "Muhammadanismistism," and I'd love to change it to "Pee-wee-hermanistism," but then no one would know what I'm talking about.

Dr. Craig's Second Rebuttal and Closing Comments

Dr. Craig addresses Ally's earlier statement that "God is loving and merciful."

<clip>

Ok, I can agree with Dr. Craig here. But I want to apply this question to the claim that God loves us all. What does this mean, given that a very tiny percentage of us will escape eternal torment? This is a strange kind of love, at at least the same level of strangeness Dr. Craig is imputing to the so-called love of Allah.

Dr. Craig begins his closing statements.

<clip> (what salvation means to him personally)

I met this fantastic woman years ago. Like an idiot, I worshiped her from afar for two years rather than asking her out. Let me tell you what she meant to me personally.

Dr Craig presents his first encounter with Jesus, while talking to a fanatical classmate in high school.

<clip> (because he loves you, hit me like a ton of bricks, thought just staggered me, worm)

One day I finally got up the nerve and asked this woman out. We got on well. The first time we had sex I was astonished (to tell the truth, I was astonished almost every time). The thought that she found me attractive was staggering. She was an amazing woman, and I was--ok, am a doofus.

Dr Craig describes the moment of his conversion:

<clip> (joy, balloon)

Oh yeah, there was a lot of blowing and bursting in those days. But it got even better: after a while, she told me that she loved me. I started to like myself for the first time in my life. I started to feel like maybe I wasn't ugly and stupid after all. I couldn't be, or this fabulous woman wouldn't love me. My life took on meaning, purpose, direction, because of her love.

That was a long time ago, and I've grown up a bit. My point here is that it makes no sense at all to attempt to connect the weight of an experience with the validity of one's interpretation of the experience. Sure, it was profound; that's great. But how can you possibly get from there to the claim that it was god causing you to have that experience? You can't, any more than I can say that god was causing mine. All you can say is that you discovered something profound, which happens a lot to young people.

Some may wish to object that Dr. Craig's experience was due to god while mine was due to a human. I'd like to know how anyone could possibly tell the difference. Further, you could easily find thousands, probably even millions of people in the world who have had similar ecstasies but have attributed them to Allah, or Vishnu, or Apollo, or the tree spirit down by the fishing hole. Using the depth of your experience as an indicator of the truth of your religious belief is preposterous.

God, if you're out there, I strongly recommend that you institute a quality assurance department, because these bozos are really making you look bad.

That's Part I(g), the end of my comments on this debate. Thanks for watching.

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