Well, you see, he believes God exists, and he believes that the Bible is God's word, and he believes that God is good. In fact, he defines God as being perfectly good. Therefore, if it's in the Bible, it must be good.
You see? It's all perfectly logical and perfectly crazy. That's because his initial premises are wrong. Either God does not exist or the Bible is not accurate or God is not good. (Or all three.) But if you simply won't accept any of those things, then you either have to ignore much of what's in the Bible or explain it away. Or accept it.
Here's an excerpt from PZ Myers' comments at Pharyngula, with a link to the post:
It's always interesting when some god-walloper honestly follows through on the logical implications of his beliefs — he basically is compelled to admit that if you worship a tyrannical monster, you have to end up rationalizing monstrous tyrannies. The latest to enlighten us with excuses for bronze age barbarisms and brutalities is William Lane Craig, who thinks that tales from the Bible of God's Chosen People slaughtering babies is A-OK:
Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God's grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven's incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.
Therefore, if I station myself outside a church door with an AK-47 and murder all the happy saved Christians exiting the service, I am doing the Lord's work. Well, gosh, Willie, not only do I get to be a mass-murderer for fun, I can be self-righteous about it, too! It's too bad I'm one of those atheists who doesn't believe in a Happy Fun Land for the dead, so I can't honestly do that in good conscience.
I will be interested to see if Craig now has a Christian perspective on abortion, that is, that it is a process that releases blameless innocents to heaven's incomparable joy, and is therefore to be encouraged.
Greta Christina has a great post on this, too. There's a lot to it, but here's an excerpt:
I want to make something very clear before I go on: William Lane Craig is not some drooling wingnut. He's not some extremist Fred Phelps type, ranting about how God's hateful vengeance is upon us for tolerating homosexuality. He's not some itinerant street preacher, railing on college campuses about premarital holding hands. He's an extensively educated, widely published, widely read theological scholar and debater. When believers accuse atheists of ignoring sophisticated modern theology, Craig is one of the people they're talking about.
And he said that as long as God gives the thumbs-up, it's okay to kill pretty much anybody. It's okay to kill bad people, because they're bad and they deserve it... and it's okay to kill good people, because they wind up in Heaven. As long as God gives the thumbs-up, it's okay to systematically wipe out entire races. As long as God gives the thumbs-up, it's okay to slaughter babies and children. Craig said -- not essentially, not as a paraphrase, but literally, in quotable words -- "the death of these children was actually their salvation."
She's right. William Lane Craig is one of those supposedly "sophisticated" believers. I've seen him debating Christopher Hitchens, and he comes off as knowledgeable, urbane, even charming.
Greta Christina makes another good point:
See, here's the thing. When faced with horrors in our past -- our personal history, or our human history -- non-believers don't have any need to defend them. When non-believers look at a human history full of genocide, infanticide, slavery, forced marriage, etc. etc. etc., we're entirely free to say, "Damn. That was terrible. That was some seriously screwed-up shit we did. We were wrong to do that. Let's not ever do that again."
But for people who believe in a holy book, it's not that simple. When faced with horrors in their religion's history -- horrors that their holy book defends, and even praises -- believers have to do one of two things. They have to either a) cherry-pick the bits they like and ignore the bits they don't; or b) come up with contorted rationalizations for why the most blatant, grotesque, black-and-white evil really isn't all that bad.
As she points out, if you decide to cherry-pick what you want to believe and what you don't, then how do you decide which parts are right and which parts are just fairy tales, just superstition? And when it comes to that point, what's to keep you from realizing that there's really no reason to believe any of it? After all, that's why most of us are atheists, because the evidence just isn't there.
Here's one more excerpt from Christina's post:
I've made this point before, and I'm sure I'll make it again: Religion, by its very nature as an untestable belief in undetectable beings and an unknowable afterlife, disables our reality checks. It ends the conversation. It cuts off inquiry: not only factual inquiry, but moral inquiry. Because God's law trumps human law, people who think they're obeying God can easily get cut off from their own moral instincts. And these moral contortions don't always lie in the realm of theological game-playing. They can have real-world consequences: from genocide to infanticide, from honor killings to abandoned gay children, from burned witches to battered wives to blown-up buildings.
As just one example among so very many: Look at the Lafferty brothers, Mormon fundamentalists who murdered an innocent woman and her 15-month-old daughter because they thought God had commanded them to do it. At many points in their journey across the continent on their way to the killings, they questioned whether brutally slaughtering their brother's wife and her infant child was really the right thing to do. But they always came to the same answer: Yes. It was right. They thought God had commanded it -- and that settled the question. It ended the conversation. It stopped their moral query dead in its tracks.
But don't just look at sociopathic murderers from a bonkers religious cult. That's too easy. Look at Mr. Theological Scholar himself, William Lane Craig. In this piece, Craig says that the Canaanites were evil, and deserving of genocide, because (among other things) they practiced infanticide. The very crime that God ordered the Israelites to commit. I shit you not. Quote: "By the time of their destruction, Canaanite culture was, in fact, debauched and cruel, embracing such practices as ritual prostitution and even child sacrifice." (Emphasis -- and dumbstruck bafflement -- mine.) And he says the infanticide of the Canaanite children was defensible and necessary because the Israelites needed to keep their tribal identity pure, and keep their God-given morality untainted by the Canaanite wickedness. Again, I shit you not. Again, quote: "By setting such strong, harsh dichotomies God taught Israel that any assimilation to pagan idolatry is intolerable." As if an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good god couldn't come up with a better way to teach a lesson about assimilation to pagan idolatry than murdering children.
Incredible, isn't it? Now Craig wrote that piece to answer a couple of questions, one wondering about Muslims justifying violence as the will of God. What's Craig's answer to that? He says that Muslims are perfectly justified in thinking that way. Their only error is that they've got the wrong god! Heh, heh. Really!
How does he know they've picked the wrong god? Well, because it's not the one William Lane Craig believes in, of course. It's not that one commands murder to be done and the other doesn't, no. Because they both do that. But in one case it's perfectly justified and in the other, it isn't. It's all a matter of being lucky enough to be born in a country and to a family where they worship the right god. Yeah, good luck with that!
Now if you're curious, here's Deuteronomy 20, one of the places where God - the right one, according to Craig - commands this particular bit of nastiness. Now I'm certainly no Biblical scholar, but I thought it was quite interesting.
You see, God doesn't command genocide against everyone. That's reserved for the five tribes he particularly dislikes, where "thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth." For everyone else, he's much kinder. In those situations, when a city resists, God just commands that every single male be killed.
The women and children, though, are to be enjoyed:
14But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.
It's sure good that this is the right god, isn't it, because otherwise this would be kind of a nasty thing.
Keep this in mind the next time your god wants you to kill, rape, or enslave someone. It's perfectly moral as long as you're sure you've got the right god.
Now me, I don't have a god at all, so I'm going to decide on morality for myself. And I'm not going to pretend that nasty shit like this is moral!