How credible is William Lane Craig in academia? I often see atheists claiming that he is simply not credible and he simply a skilled debater. How credible is he at all? Does he make good arguments? Does he possess intellectual integrity? How strong is the Kalam Cosmological argument?

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    I think you need to focus this a bit more. What criticisms are you referencing? Is there an argument being discussed or do you just want academic gossip? He’s certainly “influential” in that you’re likely to read an article by him in most philosophy classes that touch on religious topics. I don’t much like his work, but I have no reason to believe he lacks integrity. The atheists he has often debated (e.g., Harris, Dawkins, and Krauss), on the other hand, are more or less laughingstocks in Philosophy departments. At least the cause of many face palms.
    – Dennis
    Feb 15, 2018 at 5:27
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    @Dennis - Your comment about Harris, Dawkins and Krauss has massively cheered me up. I thought they were taken seriously despite their incomprehension of philosophy. and religion. My opinion of the philosophy department has just considerably improved, so thanks.
    – user20253
    Feb 15, 2018 at 13:14
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    @PeterJ - I think theists make a huge case of Dawkins et caterva because those pseudo-philosophers are useful strawmen. More than once I have heard the words "you are an atheist, you certainly like Dawkins". But his brand of juvenile-yet-archaic atheism that ignores all post-Enlightement atheist literature can only be attractive for people who aren't acquainted to modern atheism. Particularly Marx, Nietzsche, Freud. Feb 18, 2018 at 18:50
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    @LuísHenrique - Good point. Unfortunately these straw-men are taken seriously by many people. I might argue about whether Nietzsche is really an atheist (as opposed to a critic of contemporary Christian teachings) but your point is fair. I feel the three names I mentioned earlier do philosophy and science a huge disservice. . .
    – user20253
    Feb 22, 2018 at 12:03
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    @PeterJ - Yes. I don't know Strauss, and Harris is quite obviously just a political hack, but Dawkins is certainly a problem - not so much for philosophy, I think, but he does give science bad PRs. At least when he is not tripping in his own words, which seems to be a favourite passtime for him. Feb 23, 2018 at 16:04

2 Answers 2


I cannot attest to his credibility (or lack thereof) in academic philosophy, since I do not work in it, but I still feel the urge to vindicate his philosophical abilities. Often it seems that Craig is critiqued on the basis of the lay-level books he writes and debates he participates in. Certainly one gets the impression from his debates that he is very sharp and is able to formulate rather cogent responses on the fly, but they are far from displaying the extent of his knowledge and philosophical acumen. I think if you read his more scholarly works, you'll be tremendously impressed, even if you disagree with most of his conclusions, especially by the diversity of topics on which he can speak.

For instance, his more recent book "God and Abstract Objects: The Coherence of Theism: Aseity", published by Springer, is representative of this. In this book he launches an attacks on the Quine-Putnam indispensability argument for Platonism and Quinean criteria for making ontological commitments; sketches and critiques realist and anti-realist options, specifically showing how theists might find anti-realist options more agreeable than realist options (especially for those who wish to preserve divine aseity--he himself is an anti-realist). In addition to this written work, he has also given two lectures which I highly recommend, the C.S. Lewis Society Lecture and the Cadbury lectures (Watch out! There are five Cadbury lectures and they are very engrossing!). In these lectures you get better grasp of Craig's philosophical acumen and range of knowledge than in his debates---it is truly astonishing how much this fellow knows.


I believe there's some interest in Craig among professional philosophers of religion; but others, such as Plantinga and Swinburne, are much more prominent. Consider the number of references to each in the SEPh entry on philosophy of religion.

That said, about 70% of Anglophone academic philosophers are atheists, and very few have much interest at all in philosophy of religion. I suspect relatively few academic philosophers have any opinion on Craig one way or the other.

  • I just read somewhere that Spinoza was a pantheist and so 'an athiest'. It looks like the category of athiesm can be pretty broad. Feb 15, 2018 at 5:37
  • Have there been any attempts to verify Craig's claims? I'm looking for content like this: books.google.co.th/… Feb 15, 2018 at 6:23
  • That greatly oversimplifies Spinoza's views en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinozism#Pantheism_controversy
    – CriglCragl
    Feb 15, 2018 at 17:22
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    Correction: ~70% of Anglophone academic philosophers, Bourget-Chalmers's poll included almost no continental ones:"we chose as a target group all regular faculty members in 99 leading departments of philosophy. These include the 89 Ph.D.-granting departments in English-speaking countries...They also include seven departments in non-English-speaking countries (all from continental Europe) and three non-Ph-D.-granting departments." I suspect that elsewhere interest in philosophy of religion is higher.
    – Conifold
    Feb 15, 2018 at 20:47
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    @Conifold Yes, good point. I've edited to add that qualification.
    – Dan Hicks
    Feb 15, 2018 at 23:34

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