Christian apologist William Craig has offered a response to atheist intellectual Richard Dawkins who called him "a deplorable apologist for genocide" in his column last week.
In a speech at the Sheldonian Theater at Oxford University on Tuesday, Craig responded to Dawkins' allegations during the question and answer session.
“There was no racial war here, no command to kill them all,” he said, alluding to extermination of the Canaanites in the Old Testament, “the command was to drive them out.”
He then said: “I would say that God has the right to give and take life as He sees fit. Children die all the time! If you believe in the salvation, as I do, of children, who die, what that meant is that the death of these children meant their salvation. People look at this [genocide] and think life ends at the grave but in fact this was the salvation of these children, who were far better dead … than being raised in this Canaanite culture."
Organizers of the event left an empty chair on stage for Dawkins who has continuously refused to debate Craig, saying Craig does not have the worthy credentials.
“I always said when invited to do debates that I would be happy to debate a bishop, a cardinal, a pope, an archbishop, indeed I have done those, but I don’t take on creationists and I don’t take on people whose only claim to fame is that they are professional debaters; they’ve got to have something more than that. I’m busy," said Dawkins.
Dawkins was replaced by a panel of three Oxford Academics. Among them were Dr. Daniel Came and Philosophy Senior Research Fellow Stephen Priest.
Oxford Inter-collegiate Christian Union President Robbie Strachan praised Craig's speech, saying it contained convincing philosophical arguments.
“The next step after establishing that the existence of God is a possibility is obviously to find out what that God might be like. Christians believe in a good and loving God, which is why the ‘problem of evil’ question came up last night," he said.