Dear Dr. Craig, I, Tito Santos, am writing this message to thank you for all your life’s work and for the impact it has done in my life. I briefly want to share with you how I came to Christ and your role in it. I am 31 years old. Up until this last Spring I was an atheist. I had many (false) reasons to deny the existence of God, the main one though was the evil and suffering that we see and experience on a daily basis. I could not reconcile an all loving and powerful God with this fact. In my early twenties, I read a book that guided my to the cosmological argument for the existence of God. I felt like a hypocrite, I saw myself as a man of reason and I could not accept the overwhelming evidence for a Creator. When I came to America in 2014, I had a scary experience that for several weeks made me afraid of going to sleep. I was absolutely sure this was a paranormal event and that there is more in this existence that what we see. Somehow, this faded in my memory and still, I did not seek God. The worst blind is the one that does not want to see... Around 2 years ago, I saw you for the first time, it was a youtube video of your debate with Christopher Hitchens at Biola University and soon after the one with Sam Harris at Notre Dame. To be honest with you, my first reactions were to fast forward when you were speaking. I did not want to waste my time listening to a “silly” christian, I just wanted to hear the “intelligent” atheist. I entertained myself with this kind of debates with other speakers for a while. Still, I did not convert. In the beginning of 2018, I felt a need to challenge myself professionally and I decided to set a higher goal for me, outside of my professional field. In the end the of March and beginning of April, I started buying and reading several books about several subjects to improve myself. I was not seeking God in any of this search. Out of the blue, the idea of God starts to appear in my mind. With His grace, a lot of reasoning and reflection about my life in particular, I start to question my disbelief. I go back to the same debate videos and gradually I realize that the “silly” christians are quite bright, the arguments that they presented were logical. I realized that what was keeping me away from Him was not logic or science, it was my self-centered thinking and the emotions that came with it. A puzzle, made of very different pieces of very odd shapes, started to be assembled in my mind: God exists! We are just self-centered fools that do not want to see it! Since the middle of June, I have been going to church every Sunday, praying everyday and reading the Holy Bible everyday. I will finish the the entire book on Christmas Day (funny coincidence). What Jesus Christ has done for me is impressive. I have never felt more at peace with life. I wonder if this is Joy? I feel that whatever virtue there is in me is being enhanced and my flaws are being contained and diminished. The more I place Him and others as the center of my life, the bigger the reward is. The more I seek him, the smaller I feel, and yet that is what is making me grow. It is hard to put it into words. With all due respect, now, I look to atheists, regardless of their background, position or degree, as mere children trying to build sand castles at the beach. Sand castles that cannot withstand any high tide thrown at them by God. I thank you for all your work and dedication. You and other philosophers, theologians and apologists have help me to seek the absolute good that exists in this Universe. The world is blessed, as God as gifted you with a brilliant mind and that you have been very wise in the way you have used it. I wish you a Merry Christmas and good luck with your endeavors.
This week, I made my first financial contribution to Reasonable Faith. Although this is my first donation, I hope it will not be the last, though I do this with prayer and guidance from God with my wife. In 2006, I was a sophomore at the University of Virginia. I didn't find out until 5 years later that I had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. In addition to compulsive sexual behavior, I had obsessive thoughts and anxieties all my life. My sophomore year in College was where those obsessions hit new heights. "What if....x,y,z." "What if I am terminally ill? What if I have this disease? What if I am in trouble for this or that?" The worst began when I took a New Testament History class with a textbook written by Dr. Bart Ehrman. Not only did I not know who he was, but I had never been exposed to the sorts of views he espouses. I could not imagine that a New Testament scholar could not be a Christian. But here was this bright man who studied the New Testament vigorously, and HE did not believe it! I did not know what to do! It was bad enough to have these nagging doubts about my faith, with no one to turn to. But that OCD was akin to gasoline on the fire. "What if it is all not true? What if my family are just a bunch of naive simpletons who just do not get it? What if my presence in this small rural church is a sham? What if this is a lie?" And I would repeat these questions, constantly, over and over and over, many times a day. I could not lay it down. And at the time, I did not know that this was, at least in part, my OCD. I just thought I had a natural crisis of faith. I was miserable and very depressed. I could not enjoy our traditional family Christmas gatherings, because "what if this is all a joke?" I couldn't look at a nativity scene without a surge of anxiety rushing in. And because of my compulsive sexual behavior with pornography, I was trapped in my own isolated cocoon behind a computer screen, strapped down by sinful desires, anti-social tendencies, and now, grief and doubt. While others have certainly experienced much more adversity than I ever have, for me, this was as close to a living hell as I could get. I was afraid to examine these questions of my faith, because, to my shame, I was afraid that the "truth" would turn out to be my worst fear: that Christianity was not true, that I cannot trust in this God or any God, and that my life is devoid of any core purpose and fulfillment. So who was I even praying to? What was I living for? Around that same time, I searched on YouTube for "Christian Atheist Debate." Lo and behold, I found this bearded chap debating an atheist. The clip only had the Christians perspective, but his dismantling of the atheist's argument was amazing. For someone to so articulately convey the confidence of his faith and the reason for the hope in him was something that was new in the face of Bart Ehrman's textbook. Of course that "chap" was William Lane Craig. I then watched a full debate with another atheist. Twelve years later, I am a regular consumer of Reasonable Faith. In 2010, I went on to graduate school, and I found a counselor who helped me uncover this OCD. It is still a problem that exists, and one I will never be rid of. I still have obsessive thoughts, but I certainly have a much better perspective of this problem and have a much fuller arsenal of tools to keep these obsessions from debilitating my life. While my lusts are certainly things that will probably never go away, I have renounced sexual addiction and have barriers in place on my phone and home entertainment to ensure I cannot view sinful material. In the years of my darkest doubts always come away with the reassurance that there are good arguments to support my faith. Selfishly, I look primarily for reassurance of my own positions, but I am trying to build my thought process to defend my own faith confidently, rather than to use resources as a crutch. I want my heart fully devoted to the Lord. I refuse to be batted back by these thoughts, and I want so badly to be rid of them once and for all. With God's leadership, I am prevailing. I want to thank Reasonable Faith for being such a crucial light in the darkness for our young adults. The hopeful anchor offered by Dr. Craig can allow us to stand athwart to the spiritual and intellectual assault under which we find ourselves. There less than 5 things since 2006 that have kept me from ending my life. Dr. Craig is one of them. Thank you, and God Bless this ministry.
Thank you for your work on the Atonement (Elements in the Philosophy of Religion)! It has been an amazing read, specifically 2.4.3. Turretin's Defense. What an amazing section.
Thanksgiving is about family, but it is broader than that. On that front please thank Dr. Craig for fortifying my Christian beliefs and sending me on a path to study and deeper and fulfilling discovery of Christianity. In addition, you have brought my wife and children closer to Christ. Thank you, and bless your family.
I just wanted to give a big tanks to William and all of the teaching that he does. I have a number of his books and have also been going through his Defenders series. Yesterday I got into a discussion online about objective morals not being possible in a naturalistic/atheistic worldview. First, it was great to have the main arguments on the top of my head. But then when people pushed back and made arguments that either used false dilemmas or incorrect assumptions about the nature of God, I had my notes and books and was able to refute the incorrect arguments that I'm sure would have stumped me not that long ago. It was neat to get a taste of being able to give reasonable responses and identify flaws in their arguments that I see William do so effortlessly in his debates and writings. I'm sure William gets these reports all of the time. But I just wanted to thank him and encourage him in his works. They really make a big difference in this world.