A Reasonable Response: Answers to Tough Questions

by Julie Miller

A Reasonable Response by William Lane Craig and Joseph Gorra, is a compilation of Dr. Craig’s most insightful and instructive Q&A exchanges.  The book is meant to be a “celebration and an example of the practice and ministry of answering questions.” [1] The questions are organized in six broad categories: (a) Knowing and Believing What Is Real, (b) God, (c) Origins and the Meaning of Life, (d) the Afterlife and Evil, (e) Jesus Christ and Being His Disciple and (f) Issues of Christian Practice.

In addition to the actual Q&A exchanges, Joseph Gorra gives extra ‘insights’ to aid the reader in understanding Craig’s suppositions and approaches.  He also provides a preface before each category that includes expectations, contextual comments, learning objectives, and additional resources.

Even though the reader may find it tempting to dive immediately into one of the question/answer topics, do not do it.  The Introduction, “A Meditation on the Practice and Ministry of Answering Questions,” is worth the price of the book.  It offers a splendid view of the forest before your journey into the trees.   And more than that, Gorra challenges the reader to consider why you are compelled to investigate the trees in the first place.

Introduction
What is the secret to a fruitful ministry of answering questions? Gorra points out that those who can answer a question well have first wrestled with the question themselves and are able to help others come to know the answer.  This practice of inquiring helps us cultivate the virtue of humility because question-asking creatures are more likely to understand the reality that there is much more to know. William Lane Craig has modeled this virtue in his ministry of answering questions.  Gorra challenges those who have this ministry not to fall into the habit of living as if their scholarship is for the academy and close themselves off from the world.  His antidote for the ‘know it all’ is to develop Christian virtues.  Gorra refers the reader

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to JP Moreland’s five groups of virtues from Love Your God with All Your Mind [2] and their importance in developing a Christian mind.  If you have not already read Moreland’s book, you might as well put it at the top of your reading list.  You will add many more to your list as you work through each category of questions with their recommended resources.

Is question-asking inherent to human nature? Gorra asserts it is one of the aspects of being made in the image of God.  In other words, we are designed to be curious, to reason and discover reality.  This makes sense from my experience.  I have always thought the best part of a speaker event was the Q&A session afterward.  I suspect this is also true for others because the university students at our Ratio Christi [3] events seem to never tire of asking questions during Q&A time.  In fact, I depend on this ‘curiosity’ aspect of humanity in our Ratio Christi meetings.  One of our goals for our skeptical atheist friends is to challenge them to question certain aspects of their worldview that do not correspond to reality.  The Holy Spirit can then use a nagging question that needs an answer to bring a skeptic closer to Ultimate Reality, God Himself. Gorra sets the tone for the Q&A sections of the book with this thought, “Apologetics is not a sport: a kind of intellectual Ping-Pong.  It is intentional answering for the sake of growth.” [4]

Questions and Answers
The reader may choose to read individual Q&A exchanges out of order, but the sections are arranged logically and they build on one another.  Most people will no doubt be helped by the content of Dr. Craig’s responses.  That being said, I was surprised at how often I was impacted by how he answered the questions.  To show what I mean, I have chosen to summarize three Q&A exchanges as examples of the content (what) and the tone (how) of Craig’s answers…

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