In my previous post I was discussing William Lane Craig’s Holy Spirit Epistemology (which he describes as Reformed Epistemology).
Craig has expressed the following: “The way in which I know Christianity is true is first and foremost on the basis of the witness of the holy spirit, in my heart. And that this gives me a self authenticating means of knowing Christianity is true wholly apart from the evidence.”
So while I will at least give Craig some credit for not saying evidence is entirely useless he has clearly stated that this feeling “in his heart” gives him proof of Christianity “wholly apart from the evidence.”
Now while it is entirely possible that this feeling is caused by an objective entity that truly exists, all humans are painfully aware that all of our heartfelt feelings are by definition subjective experiences. Again, I am not saying that all feelings cannot be caused by things that objectively exist, but what I am saying is that the feelings within the hearts of people have been shown to be terrible predictors of objective reality.
In fact in the case of religion this is so abundantly obvious due to the fact that there are so many opposing viewpoints of people in different religions / denominations which all use this exact same kind of “in my heart” logic to prove their belief to be true. Can any of them really say that this is the “first and foremost” basis of finding what is true in our world. I’m glad we live in a modern world where the majority of countries allow people to freely believe and state this as what they believe, and I am also glad that I am free as well to state very plainly that this is a terrible way to go about finding truth. Yes, truth is elusive for sure, especially for the big questions of life, but I believe it is still worth it to pursue it in as honest and objective a way that we know possible. Craig’s epistemology is based “first and foremost” on the things that we know can be incredibly subjective – our heartfelt feelings, and thus falls flat on it’s face as a method for finding truth.
So Craig believes that we can be rationally justified in believing in Christianity due to this Holy Spirit in our hearts even in the face of evidence that seems to prove it wrong. When a Muslim says “I know Islam to be true in my heart because Allah has told me” how can Craig be consistent and claim that to be irrational. Sure he can say it is, but to someone on the outside trying to determine which belief is correct sees both the Muslim and the Christian saying exactly the same thing with seemingly the same strength of faith. And it gets worse, because these are not the only 2 religions that have this kind of logic of the heart. And even factions within these 2 religions have very opposing views due to these same feelings as well (Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Sunis, Church of Christ, Shi’ites, Jehovah’s Witness’, etc.)
Christian apologists rail on against post-modernists who claim that there is no objective reality. I agree with them on this – I do believe there is an objective reality to be found, but using a subjective method to find it is not the solution.