bookmark_borderBiola University Offers Course on Apologetics vs. Philosophy

LA MIRADA, CALIFORNIA–BIOLA (Bible Institute of Los Angeles) University will offer a course, “Apologetics vs. Philosophy,” as part of its M.A. in Christian Apologetics program, which will focus on the differences between Christian apologetics and philosophy.
In a press conference with an equal number of reporters, apologists, and local Awana kids, program spokesman J.P. Moreland cited renowned Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga. “In his advice to Christian philosophers, Alvin Plantinga once wrote, ‘Christian philosophers, however, are the philosophers of the Christian community; and it is part of their task as Christian philosophers to serve the Christian community.’ Like any good Christian philosopher, we worship the ground Plantinga walks on, but we think he didn’t go far enough.”
Moreland explained: “Rather than practice philosophy as Christian philosophers, we think the entire discipline of philosophy should be abolished and replaced with Christian apologetics.”
Moreland said the university will also be adding new lower division courses to serve as the prerequisites for the new upper division course. “As we were writing the syllabus, we realized that students would have an unfair disadvantage if we didn’t provide them with the right academic foundation. So we also plan to add courses on quote mining, understating the evidence, and–my personal favorite–how to strawman naturalism by conflating it with eliminative materialism.”
Not all Christian scholars were enthusiastic about the change, however. Julia Swinburne-McGrew, a Christian philosopher from Western Michigan University who attended the press conference, asked, “If we abolish philosophy (and so with it inductive logic), how will we equip the next generation of Christian apologists to answer Draperian, evidential, Bayesian arguments against theism and for naturalism?”
William Lane Craig, a Research Professor with Talbot’s School of Theology, stepped forward to the podium. “That’s easy,” he said. “We’ll just do what we’ve always done, which is to ignore such arguments as much as possible. When that’s not possible, we’ll simply use deductive arguments to mask uncertainty.”
Other Christian philosophers were more circumspect. Channeled with the help of a Ouija board, the late Christian philosopher Robert Adams–who once taught at UCLA, not far from Biola–said, “Considering how much damage Biola did (and continues to do) to the philosophy of religion, it was only a matter of time before they decided to undermine the discipline of philosophy as a whole.”
Sporting a meticulously groomed hairdo and a smokin’ corduroy jacket, a chipper Craig Hazen responded to Adams. “Well, I think that’s right. We’ve already implemented policies which suppress genuine philosophical inquiry, such as our fundamentalists-only admissions policy for students, our policy on continuing fundamentalism as a condition of employment for professors, and our publication policy whereby we don’t publish articles by non-Christians in our sectarian journal unless they are immediately followed, in the same issue, with a rebuttal by a Christian professor. Taking on philosophy as a whole just seems like the logical next step for us.”
In a bizarre twist, Biola rivals known as ‘presuppositionalists‘ celebrated the announcement. “It’s about time,” said the late Greg Bahnsen, appearing as a Force Ghost to a stunned crowd. “Van Til always said that our evidentialist brothers were ‘giving away the store’ by not blatantly begging the question and using circular arguments to argue for the triune God. But even Van Til never came up with an idea so radical as the abolishment of philosophy. This is genius, pure genius. Praise God!”
Outside observers speculated that this move is connected to Biola’s new “Center for Christian Thought.” One Biola professor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “In truth, however, we’re still thinking about that.”

bookmark_borderArtifacts Discovered in Dusty Academic Libraries Suggest WLC Once Participated in Fairly Matched Debates

LA MIRADA, CALIFORNIA–In a significant discovery that sheds new light on late twentieth century academic philosophy, researchers discovered new evidence this week suggesting that famed Christian debater William Lane Craig once participated in fairly matched debates with his opponents.
The team of researchers–including Christian philosophers, theologians, altar boys, and vintage 1990s sweater enthusiasts–made the discovery this week while reading dusty old books found in the ruins of a bizarre building called a “Library” on the campus of Biola University. (See related story: “What were libraries for and why did colleges have them?”)
“Our finding that William Lane Craig used to participate in ‘evenly matched’ debates with atheists–debates with atheists who had both (a) debating skills and (b) knowledge of the debate topic–completely changes what we knew about William Lane Craig’s tactics,” said Bob McDowell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Christian Apologetics (formerly known as the U.S. Department of Education) and grandson of the late Josh McDowell.
But this new discovery does not mean that ‘evenly matched’ debates were Craig’s standard practice, cautioned McDowell. “In fact, based on the sheer number of artifacts we’ve discovered, it appears that ‘evenly matched’ debates were the exception rather than the rule.”
“Apparently, through no fault of his own, early in his career Craig would sometimes wind up in an evenly matched debate,” added McDowell. “It’s remarkable to think that, as a Christian apologist, Craig actually gave atheism a fair hearing.”
Archaeologists reportedly recovered more than 1,000 debate transcripts from the library, including transcripts of his unfortunate encounters with Doug Jesseph, Austin Dacey, Paul Draper, and Keith Parsons, as well as previously ‘lost’ or ‘garbled’ recordings, such as Craig’s ill-fated debate with Wes Morriston.
Western Michigan University’s Julia Swinburne-McGrew is a philosopher and the daughter of Bayesian experts Tim and Lydia McGrew (and daughter-in-law of another Bayesian and Christian philosopher,  Richard Swinburne).  Swinburne-McGrew, who examined the artifacts, told the Religion News Service that the evidence suggests a simple explanation, which she called the “Combination Hypothesis.”
According to that view, “Early in his career as a budding apologist, Craig (1) didn’t have the resources to properly vet atheist debaters, (2) needed to build up his credibility by debating qualified opponents, and (3) didn’t have the Internet–and with it, the Internet Infidels–to contend with.” She explained, “While the Combination Hypothesis is very specific and so has a low intrinsic probability, it has very high Bayes’ Factors for the relevant evidence, and so has the overall greatest balance of intrinsic probability and explanatory power.”
Despite what had been believed to be Craig’s near unanimous support from other evangelicals, Craig’s tactics were quite controversial at the time. “Apparently there was this guy named Norman Geisler who was so obsessed with Biblical inerrancy he once complained about the toilet paper in Biola’s bathrooms, saying it contradicted his ultra-conservative interpretation of something called the ‘Chicago statement‘ on inerrancy. Even most Christians at the time thought he was crazy, but they were afraid to speak up.”
“Anyway, when Geisler found out Craig was debating atheists, Geisler was incredulous,” Swinburne-McGrew continued. “He simply could not understand how Craig could share a platform with someone who denied inerrancy. Craig would try to explain to Geisler that that was the whole point of, you know, debating, but then Geisler would keep talking about Chicago. Craig finally got so fed up with Geisler talking about the ‘Chicago statement,’ Craig told Geisler that maybe he should move there and chill out — or chill in Lake Michigan.”
Another one of Craig’s vocal Christian critics was the late Greg Bahnsen. “Common folklore says that Bahnsen objected to Craig’s apologetic methodology because it was evidentialist, not presuppositionalist,” said Swinburne-McGrew.
But that’s actually a myth which sprang up in less than two generations, “no matter how many times Craig quoted A.N. Sherwin-White,” she said. “The real reason they never got along is that Craig published his arguments in academic journals, whereas Bahnsen sold something called ‘cassette tapes.’ We’re not certain, but we think ‘cassette tapes’ were a primitive way to record audio back in the 1980s and 1990s. And we think Bahnsen was pissed off that Craig would put his arguments in print. Bahnsen was apparently whining about being ignored by scholars, like Michael Martin, despite never actually publishing his beloved ‘transcendental argument for God’s existence.’ When he saw Craig getting much more attention from the secular academy, he clearly had a case of ‘philosopher envy,'” explained Swinburne-McGrew.
Despite what appear to have been occasional early instances of ‘evenly matched’ debates, researchers said that the complete lack of any comparable artifacts from more recent years confirmed that the practice seems to have died out suddenly.
“All we can say for certain is that the best historical explanation is that this ancient practice appears to have been lost to the ages,” Swinburne-McGrew added.