We’ve barely scratched the surface of Dr. William Lane Craig’s “Theistic Critiques of Atheism,” but we’re already seeing a pattern develop: in the rarified heights of philosophical theism, they dispense with any obligation to find God in the real world, and instead impress each other with the complexity and subtlety of the characteristics they can imagine that a perfect God might possess. To their credit, they do manage to think some deep thoughts, but without that connection to the real world (which they dismiss as “Verificationism”), they risk ending up like the fellow who grew so obsessed with fantasizing about the Perfect Lover that he lost all interest in real women.
The problem with philosophy is that, if you’re really good at it, you’re tempted to forget that genuine reality is a bit too vast and complex to be contained by a finite human mind. You forget that you are dealing with abstractions—details that have been separated from their real-world context so as to simplify the task of considering their characteristics. You forget that, by isolating the details from their context, you are working with facts that are, to some degree, false. You’ve broken their connection to the rest of reality, and thus interrupted the perfect self-consistency that is the characteristic of truth.
The solution to this particular philosophical problem is to continually refer back to the real world in your philosophizing—to verify your findings against the gold standard of reality itself. Non-Alethian theologians, however, cannot do this, since there is no real-world God for them to observe and check their speculations against. They end up like Craig, building relatively small, locally-coherent thought castles that are amazing for their intricacy and thoughtfulness but that, due to their disconnect with verifiable reality, fail to unite into a broader and more comprehensive coherence. Each sounds good on its own, and is more than enough to consume the entire attention of even the most intelligent individual, but when you try to put them all together and find an overall, real-world consistency, they have conflicts.
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