What's Going On at Reasonable Faith?
Reasonable Faith is expanding! We discuss Dr. Craig's newest books, research, travel, and another meetup with Lawrence Krauss in Australia!
What’s Going On at Reasonable Faith?
Kevin Harris: Great to have you here on Reasonable Faith. I’m Kevin Harris with Dr. William Lane Craig. Bill, there is so much going on at Reasonable Faith, we are going to have to talk at the speed of sound; we are going to have to defy physics just to get it all in. Let’s start with the very youngest and talk about the Bear and Goose series which is actually doing quite well.
Dr. Craig: Yes, we are so thrilled with the reception to this series of booklets on What is God Like? for children on the attributes of God. The ten booklet series is almost complete now. The ninth booklet will come out very soon and then Marli, the artist, has already drawn the illustrations for the tenth and final booklet. She is so talented and it has been just a joy to work with Marli. So this series is about to be completed. Then there will be all ten booklets.
The reaction of children to these booklets is just hilarious sometimes. One fellow sent in a video to the Facebook page of his son being read the booklet on God Is All Powerful – the booklet on divine omnipotence. And the little boy started to cry when the father wouldn’t read it to him for a second time before putting him to bed. It wasn’t enough to hear the story once, he wanted it a second time. Another mother wrote in and described the reaction of her child to the booklet on divine omnipotence. She said the day after reading the booklet, her child said to her, “Mommy, God can’t make a square circle because then it wouldn’t be a circle!” And I thought, wow, this little child gets the paradoxes of omnipotence.
When I wrote that booklet I thought, “Is this going to be too much for them talking about things God can’t do because they are logical impossibilities?” But honestly, Kevin, we underestimate these little kids. They really do get it. And over and over again we are hearing from parents about how much children love these booklets and about conversations with their children that they’ve never had before on these deep issues that arise as a result of reading these booklets.
Kevin Harris: I am going to tell people who are advanced in philosophy and apologetics to get this too and add it to your William Lane Craig library – put it right there next to Time and Eternity.
Dr. Craig: This is the little secret that my wife Jan tells me – it is really the adults that are learning about the attributes of God by reading these booklets.
Kevin Harris: Even if kids don’t express it, this is going on in their heads. It is amazing when they do express it, like this little boy did. We’ve also added a new addition on staff at Reasonable Faith. Boy, that just shows we are growing. Let’s talk about Lee.
Dr. Craig: Yes. What you mentioned, Kevin, about how Reasonable Faith has got so many tentacles out there, so many different facets of the ministry, that it is hard to keep track of everything that’s going on. It is sort of like herding cats, to change the metaphor. So Beau Bishop and Chris Shannon, who have been our co-directors of the ministry, came to me last year and said, “We have got to hire a full-time executive director for this ministry.” This was a big step because up to now we’ve only had just part-time people working for us. The idea of taking on a full-time employee was a big step. I am not even employed by Reasonable Faith. I receive no income or salary from Reasonable Faith. So on Beau and Chris’ advice, we put out the need for the job and began to receive resumes. The person we’ve hired is Lee Koz from Buffalo, New York. Lee and Cathryn are just terrific people and seem to be ideally suited for the job. He is a systems manager who has many years in industry and manages people – manages systems. So it is wonderful to have somebody at the top of the pyramid who is supervising and keeping track of everything that is going on below.
Kevin Harris: You’ve got also some traveling coming up. Let’s talk about some of the travel you did. You were in Canada.
Dr. Craig: Yes, I had a very long ten-day trip in Canada that took me to both the Vancouver area and then also to Calgary where I did two large apologetics conferences. The thing that struck me about these, Kevin, was the attendance. Each one had over a thousand people in attendance. It is very clear that these conferences are meeting a deep felt need on the part of Christian laity today. They want to be equipped to defend their faith. They are coming out to these apologetics conferences which are being sponsored by relatively neophyte organizations. Young ministries that have not got the sort of clout you would think to bring in these sorts of crowds. But I think it is indicative of the need that is felt, and especially, Kevin, among young men. It is remarkable to see the number of men that come to these conferences. It has reinforced my thinking that if the contemporary evangelical church in this country or in North America wants to reach men, I think apologetics is really the ticket because it appeals to that rational side of the personality that men resonate with. It is very clear that to reach men we ought not to be simply putting on barbeques and sports programs and appealing to jocks. We need to appeal to the thinking side of men as well. They really, really respond to it. That is one of the things that I did in Canada as well as speaking at a number of Canadian universities and had very large crowds for those as well. The Q&As were excellent. You could see there were lots of non-believers in the audience as was evident from the questions that were posed. So those were very good outreaches, I think.
Kevin Harris: You made a brief appearance on CNN. Bill, it has gotten so many hits on YouTube. It was just very brief. That was a couple of months ago.
Dr. Craig: Right. It was a little thing where they were interviewing me and, unbeknownst to me – they didn’t tell me this in advance, they had some YouTube atheist on with me, whom I have never heard of before. So this YouTube video has now received over a hundred and forty-nine thousand views. This is just astonishing to me that people would see this sort of thing. But it emphasizes again, I think, the importance of getting into the media and then also getting these videos up on YouTube. This is one of the things we are focusing more on now – getting our YouTube channels populated with lots of these videos from debates, speaking engagements, question times, and so forth.
Kevin Harris: Bill, I want to encourage our listeners again to write to the producers of the major networks and get your name out there. Because when they see this buzz, when they see that there is a person who is coming to the forefront that there is a lot of people talking about in response to various stories and things in culture, that will get their attention. We will see Reasonable Faith and you, yourself, on some of the major network outlets again. So often, whenever they have Richard Dawkins on or an atheist or someone like this, they will get someone who is usually a real fire-breathing fundamentalist in order to create clash and make it entertaining. That doesn’t bode well.
Dr. Craig: Not for us, anyway.
Kevin Harris: It really doesn’t. Maybe they would get the clue and say, “We don’t need to just do that. Let’s get two minds here. Let’s get the representative of both.” But, again, they’ve got to pick up on the buzz.
Dr. Craig: Right. People like Dawkins say they want to have a conversation. Unfortunately, that conversation is not usually with an intelligent representative from the evangelical side.
Kevin Harris: That brings us back to YouTube. There really has been a renovation of YouTube videos.
Dr. Craig: Yes. You know we were given the drcraigvideos YouTube channel by the person who ran it before. It was shut down then for a while because of some things that he had done but it has now been cleansed. It has been cleaned up, renovated, so we are back really attempting to push hard with our two YouTube channels in getting this material out to viewers.
Kevin Harris: Social media is also very important. I think that we have a team here that is really on the cutting edge of what is going on in social media. It is not only YouTube but Facebook and everything else.
Dr. Craig: Yes. We have a fellow in charge of this named Michael Lepien who has come on board as another new person that is working part-time with us. He is very skilled in social media. He has been running the Reasonable Faith Facebook page, for example. He is just constantly putting new material up there and attempting to grow the fanbase for the Facebook page. So that is another area where we are also attempting to expand and reach out to the younger generation.
Kevin Harris: We are just a few days away from a cruise.
Dr. Craig: Yes, it is going to be fabulous, Lord willing. Two years ago we took a group to Israel with Reasonable Faith. This year we decided to do something that would be more in the footsteps of Paul. So we are doing a Mediterranean cruise. 123 people are signed up for this from all around the world. There is a large contingent coming from Australia, for example. We’ll be visiting cities like Athens and Ephesus and Rome as well as Istanbul which is ancient Constantinople, which was once the capital city of Christianity before it fell to Islam. I’ll be lecturing on the roots of Christian civilization that are connected with these major cities that we will visit. As well as doing some Q&A time on issues in Christian apologetics. So it is a very educational sort of vacation. It is a fun time. It should be fabulous, I think. But it is much, much more than that. It is very educational and I think inspiration for those who are privileged to come on this.
Kevin Harris: A couple of conferences coming up – one in July. I want to invite people to go to ReasonableFaith.org, click on the Calendar and see some of the things that are going on.
Dr. Craig: That’s right. I think many folks are not aware that there is a calendar on the site from the questions we get about “Where will you be speaking?” This is on the calendar. The one you are talking about is at Xenos Christian Fellowship – that is X-E-N-O-S. It is in Ohio and promises to be a very large conference. I think around 3,000 people or so. I’ll be giving a couple of talks at that in July.
Kevin Harris: Australia in August.
Dr. Craig: Right. Australia is one of the top visiting countries to our website. Being an English speaking country and a very secular country, Christians there have rallied to the Reasonable Faith site to become equipped to defend the faith. Folks have been wanting to have a return trip to Australia now for several years. It is finally in the works for this August. Jan and I will be there for about three weeks. Whereas the last time I was entirely in Sydney, this time we will be in several Australian cities. We will be having outreaches in Sydney, but also in Brisbane, in Melbourne, and in Adelaide. It will be a combination of university speaking, conferences on apologetics, as well as dialogues or debates for reaching out to non-believing audiences.
Kevin Harris: Krauss will be there?
Dr. Craig: Right. Lawrence Krauss is going to be in Australia at the same time. So the organizers of this tour have actually arranged three separate dialogues between me and Lawrence Krauss in separate cities. I think we will be in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney together. The plans are in the works now to do a different topic at each one of these engagements so it is not just a repeat. Maybe in one we will talk about “Has science eliminated the need for God?” Maybe in another one we’ll talk about “Does God exist?” Something of that sort. Krauss and I will be in dialogue on these questions in Australia in August.
Kevin Harris: On top of all this, Bill, your scholarly work continues. How do you have time?
Dr. Craig: Yes, I continue to plug away at my work on God and abstract objects. That has been just a great source of joy for me especially interacting with other scholars. When I was at Texas A&M doing the Veritas Forum recently this spring, for example, the philosophy department at A&M invited me to speak in their colloquium and to present a paper. So I did so on God and abstract objects. It was very bracing to be able to interact with the professional colleagues in the department at A&M on this subject of “Do abstract objects like numbers and propositions and properties exist?” I am also writing on this subject for a book that Paul Gould is editing called “God and Abstract Objects” where I, along with Paul, Graham Oppy, Keith Yandell, Scott Shalkowski, and Greg Welty, will all be contributing chapters from a different perspective on the subject of God and abstract objects. Then interacting with each other – we each write a response to the others – then we finally have a counter-response to our colleagues. I’ve just finished that counter-response and am about to send that in to Paul for the final text of the book.
Kevin Harris: I want people to understand that it is philosophical issues like this that weigh very heavily on theology – on the Christian faith – just like time and eternity, God and his relationship to time. So many issues there for years have needed to be clarified that you’ve worked on.
Dr. Craig: Yes. That is absolutely correct, Kevin. I am sure to some laypeople these topics that I work on sound so abstract . . .
Kevin Harris: No pun intended!
Dr. Craig: . . . and irrelevant, far removed from everyday life. Yet, Kevin, I am amazed – again and again when I speak on university campuses in the Q&A time afterward these issues come up. Sometimes the questioner doesn’t even realize that his question may hinge upon, for example, God’s relationship to time. Then we go into that question and expose the deeper issue that underlies the question that is being posed. So you are absolutely right, Kevin, in saying that these philosophical issues that seem so far removed from everyday life are actually very foundational for our everyday Christian faith.
 The book title is actually Beyond the Control of God?: Six Views on The Problem of God and Abstract Objects.
 Total Running Time: 17:11 (Copyright © 2013 William Lane Craig)