Professor William Lane Craig and The Big Debates
The Big Debates team invited professor William Lane Craig to debate on Islam and Christianity. Unfortunately he has refused. We hope to arrange a discussion with the professor in the near future.
This debate was of particular importance because Craig is a world renowned philosopher and Christian apologist who advocates the veracity of the Christian tradition. He also regularly speaks and comments on Islam and Islamic theology. We at The Big Debate have been inspired by his work on the existence of God, as he had revived key Islamic arguments, however his misrepresentation of Islamic theology has raised serious concerns. Craig is an established academic but his views on Islam lack depth, accuracy and consistency. For example, Craig advocates the view that the Islamic conception of the Divine is inadequate, or in his words “not the greatest conceivable being”, as salvation is only attained through doing works and performing good deeds.
This is a gross misrepresentation of Islamic theology. A fundamental principle in the Islamic tradition is that neither actions nor beliefs guarantee one’s salvation. All people need is God. To elaborate on this point reflect on the following prophetic traditions:
`A’isha (God be well pleased with her) narrates that the Prophet (God bless him and grant him peace) said, “Perform your deeds properly and in moderation, and know that one’s deeds will not cause anyone of you to enter Heaven, and that the most beloved of actions to Allah are the most consistent ones even if little in amount.” [Narrated by Bukhari]
Abu Hurayra (God be well-pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet (Godbless him and grant him peace) said, “There is no one whose deeds will cause him to enter Heaven. It was said, ‘Not even you, Messenger of Allah?’ He (God bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘Not even me unless my Lord envelops me with His mercy.’” [Narrated by Muslim]
In another narration the Prophet (God bless him and grant him peace) said, “There is no one whose deeds will cause his salvation. It was said, ‘Not even you Messenger of Allah? He (God bless him and grant him peace), ‘Not even me unless my Lord takes hold of me with mercy.’” [Narrated by Muslim]
Therefore it is God’s mercy that will cause our salvation, and God’s mercy is truly immense.
“Say: O My servants who have transgressed against their own souls, despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, God forgives all sins. Truly, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Qur’an, Chapter az-Zumar verse 53]
The Big Debates is concerned that professor Craig advocates inaccurate views on Islam, because any basic reading around the topic will conclude that the professor has either not studied the topic or has deliberately misrepresented the Islamic perspective. Since Craig has publicly announced that he specialised on Islam, we can only wonder what his intentions are.
Our offer is still open, and look forward to positively engaging with one of the great minds of the contemporary Christian world.