How William Lane Craig became Christian philosophy's
Kendrick Brinson for The Chronicle Review
William Lane Craig
By Nathan Schneider
When, during a conversation in a swank hotel lobby in Manhattan, I
mentioned to Richard Dawkins that I was working on a story about William
Lane Craig, the muscles in his face clenched.
"Why are you publicizing him?" Dawkins demanded, twice. The
best-selling "New Atheist" professor went on to assure me that
I shouldn't bother, that he'd met Craig in Mexicothey opposed each other
in a prime-time, three-on-three debate staged in a boxing ringand found
him "very unimpressive."
"I mean, whose side are you on?" Dawkins said. "Are you
Several months later, in April 2011, Craig debated another New Atheist
author, Sam Harris, in a large, sold-out auditorium at the University of
Notre Dame. In a sequence of carefully timed speeches and rejoinders, the
two men clashed over whether we need God for there to be moral laws.
Harris delivered most of the better one-liners that night, while Craig,
in suit and tie, fired off his volleys of argumentation with the
father-knows-best composure of Mitt Romney, plus a dash of
Schwarzenegger. Something Harris said
during the debate might help explain how Dawkins reacted: He called
Craig "the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of
God into many of my fellow atheists." Enlarge
William Lane Craig debated Christopher Hitchens at Biola U. in
In the lobby afterward, the remarks of students seemed to confirm this.
"The apologist won because his structure was perfect," one
said. "Craig had already won by the first rebuttal!" A Harris
partisan lamented, "Sam kinda blew it."
Well-publicized atheists like Dawkins and Harris are closer to being
household names than William Lane Craig is, but within the subculture of
evangelical Christians interested in defending their faith rationally, he
has had a devoted following for decades. Many professional philosophers
know about him only vaguely, but in the field of philosophy of religion,
his books and articles are among the most cited. And though he works
mainly from his home, in suburban Marietta, Ga., he holds a faculty
appointment at Biola University, an evangelical stronghold on the
southeastern edge of Los Angeles County and home to one of the largest
philosophy graduate programs in the world.
Surveys suggest that the philosophy professoriate is among the most
atheistic subpopulations in the United States; even those philosophers
who specialize in religion believe in God at a somewhat lower rate than
the general public does. Philosophers have also lately been in a habit of
humility, as their profession's scope seems to shrink before the advance
of science and the modern university's preference for research that wins
corporate contracts. But it is partly because of William Lane Craig that
one can hear certain stripes of evangelicals whispering to one another
lately that "God is working something" in the discipline. And
through the discipline, they see a way of working something in society as
The enormous kinds of questions that speculative-minded college students
obsess overlife, death, the universeare taken unusually seriously by
philosophers who also happen to be evangelical Christians. To them, after
all, what one believes matters infinitely for one's eternal soul. They
therefore tend to care less about disciplinary minutiae and terms of art
than about big-picture "worldviews," every aspect of which
should be compatible with a particular way of thinking about the fraught
love affair between God and humanityor else.
The debates for which Craig is most famous live on long after the crowds
are gone from the campus auditoriums or megachurch sanctuaries where they
take place. On YouTube, they garner tens or hundreds of thousands of
views as they're dissected and fact-checked by bloggers and hobbyists and
apologists-in-training. Such debates have an appealing absence of gray
area: There are only two sides, and one or the other has to win. By the
time it's over, you have the impression that your intelligence has been
respectedyou get to hear both sides make their cases, after all. The
winner? You decide.
"I believe that debate is the forum for sharing the gospel on
college campuses," Craig told an audience of several thousand at a
seminar about "Unpacking Atheism" in a suburban Denver church
last October, simulcast at other churches around the country. Compared
with the rancorous presidential debates happening at the time, he added,
"these are respectable academic events conducted with civility and
Openly Christian faculty are perched in many of the major departments in
Craig generally insists on the same format: opening statements, then two
rounds of rebuttals, then closing statements, then audience. He prepares
extensively beforehand, sometimes for months at a time, with research
assistants poring over the writings of the opponent in search of
objections that Craig should anticipate. He amasses a well-organized file
of notes that he can draw on during the debate for a choice quotation or
In the opening statement he pummels the opponent with five or so concise
argumentsfor instance, the origins of the universe, the basis of
morality, the testimony of religious experience, and perhaps an addendum
of evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Over the course of the
rebuttals he makes sure to respond to every point that the opponent has
brought up, which usually sends the opponent off on a series of tangents.
Then, at the end, he reminds the audience how many of his arguments
stated at the outset the opponent couldn't manage to address, much less
refute. He declares himself and his message the winner. Onlookers can't
Craig comes by his mastery of the formal debate honestly; he worked at it
on debating squads all through high school and all through college, with
From birth he has suffered from Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, a
neuromuscular disease that causes atrophy in the extremities. He walks
with a slight limp, and his hands often look as if they're gripping an
invisible object. Growing up, he couldn't run normally.
"My boyhood was difficult," he says. "Children can be very
Since varsity sports weren't an option, he discovered debate. High-school
competitions took him all over Illinois. The subject matter was never
religionrather, the usual debate-team fodder of public-policy
questionsbut religion was meanwhile starting to matter more and more to
"My folks sort of believed in the man upstairs," he says.
"He's sort of up there watching out for you, and that's sort of
it." In high-school German class, an especially radiant girl sitting
near him told him about what Jesus Christ had done in her life. That got
him reading the Bible, and the Jesus he found there took hold of him.
"For me it was a question of personal, existential commitment: Was I
prepared to become this man's follower?"
He went on to attend Wheaton College, a well-regarded evangelical
institution in Illinois, where he continued debating and searching for
his calling. Not until years later, though, after establishing himself as
a philosopher, did he begin to be asked to debate publicly in defense of
his faith. It came as a surprise, but a welcome one.
"I was just thrilled to be able to do it again as a means of
fulfilling this vision of sharing the gospel," he says.
By then, Craig had come under the influence of the theologian Francis
Schaeffer, who from his refuge in Switzerland called on American
evangelicals to reclaim Western culture's Christian heritage, and who
helped orchestrate the rise of the religious right during the Reagan
years. Debate, then, served as both a philosophical exercise and a part
of a growing movement.
Paul Draper, of Purdue University, is one of the leading nontheist
philosophers of religion today, and though he has debated Craig, he
doesn't see these debates as having much philosophical merit in and of
themselves. He does see value, however, in studying them closely with
students in a classroom: "It helps them learn to distinguish
persuasive arguments from good arguments." Draper has recently
co-written a paper, "Diagnosing Bias in Philosophy of Religion"
in The Monist, alleging that the work of Craig and his ilk
exhibits "a variety of cognitive biases operating at the
nonconscious level, combined with an unhealthy dose of group
This line of questioningabout whether William Lane Craig is merely
persuasive or actually correct, an honest philosopher or a snake-oil
evangelistarises every time another one of his bouts hits the Internet.
Anyone can see that he is good, but is he for real?
In the mid-1970s, Craig was looking for a place to do his Ph.D., on the
cosmological argument for the existence of God. He was finishing master's
degrees in church history and philosophy of religion at Trinity
Evangelical Divinity School, near Chicago, where he argued against Kant
and Hume that observation and reason could form a valid basis for
religious belief. With the cosmological argumentwhich deduces God's
existence from what we know about the nature of the universe as a
wholehe hoped to put that groundwork to use.
At the time, this was a rather unpopular kind of project in philosophy
departments, which were still recovering from the positivists' doctrine
that religious concepts are too incoherent to be worth even meddling
with. It couldn't have helped that Craig was a seminary graduate who'd
worked for Campus Crusade for Christ.
"I couldn't find anybody in the United States who would supervise
such a dissertation," Craig recalls.
So he and his wife, Jan, packed their bags for the University of
Birmingham, in England. Craig's proposal was welcomed there by John
Hickone of the best-known philosophers of religion of his generation and
also one of the most liberal-minded. Hick, who died last year, counts
Craig in his memoir as among the top three students of his teaching
career, even while describing Craig's "extreme theological
conservatism" as in at least one respect "horrific" and
generally indicative of "a startling lack of connection with the
Yes and no. On the one hand, the dissertation Craig produced in
Birmingham was a retrieval of the "Kalam cosmological
argument"a way of reasoning about the cause of the universe
developed by Muslims and Jews between the fall of the Roman Empire and
the Renaissance. On the other, he updated the argument with more recent
scientific notions, such as the Big Bang and the laws of thermodynamics.
The dissertation was soon published in the form of not one but two books,
which went on to become influential and widely discussed in the
Hick, a pioneer of religious pluralism and nonexclusivist approaches to
Christianity, was taken aback by this brilliant student's single-minded
ambition: to persuade more people everywhere to make professions of faith
in Jesus Christ.
Any given debate about the existence of God or some related topic reveals
the tremendous intellectual labor Craig has undertaken to that end. In
addition to his two master's degrees and philosophy Ph.D. under Hick, he
spent the early 1980s acquiring a further doctorate in theology at the
University of Munich, where he studied the reliability of the source
texts about the resurrection of Jesus. He has published more than 100
articles in philosophy and theology journals. The result is a person
(verging on machine) who cannot only hold his own against fellow analytic
philosophers on matters such as the possibility of an infinite regress
and the nature of time, but who can also spar with physicists on the
first milliseconds of the universe and with biblical scholars on the
provenance of particular passages in New Testament Greek.
Craig thinks of the course of his studies as having been more improvised
than deliberate. "I pursue research topics that are of interest to
me," he avers. He has spent the past decade or so, for instance,
pondering the subject of abstract objectsnumbers, concepts, ideaswhich
has little obvious apologetic value. His inquiries have even led him into
minor unorthodoxies, including a disagreement with the Nicene Creed on
the details of the Trinity. Yet these serve as exceptions that prove the
rule: His investigations might thus seem all the more rigorous, together
with his commitment to the bulk of old-time religion. Just following his
curiosity has made Craig an ever-abler defender of the faith.
"The funny thing," he says, "is that I have found over and
over again that the area I'm doing research on comes up." When
people at his lectures and debates try to stump him with questions,
"I hear these, and I think, 'Thank you, Lord, I'm working on this! I
never would have thought that this would be relevant!'"
Craig's oeuvre of philosophical arguments for Christian faith is
available in many forms, each tailored for a different audience and
promotedonline, with a mobile app, and through local chapters on several
continentsby his Reasonable Faith ministry. At the top tier, for those
undaunted by more than 600 pages of heavy groundwork, is Philosophical
Foundations for a Christian Worldview. Somewhat more concise is
Reasonable Faith, which can be purchased with a companion study
guide. Church groups might prefer the illustrations and sidebars in On
Guard, while Sunday schoolers can go straight to The Defense Never
Rests: A Workbook for Budding Apologists. Now even small children can
benefit from the "Dr. Craig's" What Is God Like? picture-book
seriesoriginally written for his own childrenin which various divine
attributes are explained by Brown Bear and Red Goose.
The Reasonable Faith ministry has been growing rapidly in recent years,
raising hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from donors who attend
Holy Land tours and Mediterranean cruises. But Craig isn't satisfied with
just more books and more campus debates. He has recently appeared as a
commentator, for instance, discussing the spread of atheism on The
Washington Post's Web site and CNN.
"I have become convinced that we need to be more active in using the
media," he told me in April. "I need to work smarter, not
harder, by leveraging these media opportunities."
It's clear that the Evangelical Philosophical Society is meant to be more
than solely an academic organization by what its members do with their
evenings. At the society's annual meetingwhich is part of the much
larger Evangelical Theological Society conferencethe EPS's leading
figures bus out from the downtown convention center after the daytime
panel sessions are over to a large-enough church somewhere in the suburbs
of whatever city they're in. A thousand or so rank-and-file believers,
from teenagers to grandparents, await them in the pews. People travel
from around the country and the world to attend. There, the philosophers
are stars; wearing TED Talk-like clear headsets, with slide shows glowing
overhead, they present the latest deliverances of analytic philosophy as
they pertain to defending the Christian faith in the vernacular worldby
the water cooler, at the dinner table, in the locker room.
There are lectures about the relationship between science and religion,
about countering the latest New Atheist claims, about the foundations of
morality. Gary Habermas, of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, tells the
story of his years-long correspondence with the British philosopher
Antony Flew, during which the outspoken atheist drifted, shortly before
his death, toward some kind of deism. One session sets out to justify
God's harsher commands in the Hebrew Bible, while another exposes the
dangers of so-called tolerance of other religions. Craig himself speaks
on whatever seems fittingmaybe the cosmological argument one year, or
abstract objects another year. Whatever it is, he draws a large,
attentive crowd, and afterward budding young apologists ply him with
questions about one intricacy or another of his position.
The speakers are mainly men, but there are women, too: Mary Jo Sharp
representing her "lean in"-style ministry, Confident
Christianity, and Holly Ordway, an English Ph.D. who underwent a
relatively recent conversion through the works of John Donne and J.R.R.
Between sessions, speakers and audience members mingle over coffee near
the sprawling book sale, where attendees snatch up as many copies of the
speakers' books as they can carry, along with DVDs of Craig's debates and
subscriptions to the society's academic journal, Philosophia
Christi. ("I am amazed at how low the prices are!" exclaims
one speaker from the stage.) A handful of distractible audience members
tweet to one another on the conference hashtag.
Craig is more than his students' teacher; for many, this is the man who
saved their faith.
This kind of philosophy and these most-conservative kinds of churches
were never supposed to mix. In the early part of the 20th century,
figures like Bertrand Russell and A.J. Ayer made it their business to
ensure that the analytic style of philosophy emerging in the Anglophone
world would be a stronghold of unbelief. Questions that had animated the
whole history of philosophy in Europe and the Americas about whether God
exists, or whether there is an afterlife worth anticipating, were
suddenly deemed more or less finishedthe answer was no.
Significant cracks in this consensus didn't begin appearing until the
1960s and 1970s, especially thanks to the work of Alvin Plantinga, a
young philosopher who leveraged the cutting-edge modal logic and
epistemology of the time to argue that Christian belief wasn't so
manifestly unreasonable as his predecessors had claimed. Along with his
lifelong friend Nicholas Wolterstorff, who has spent much of his career
writing and teaching at Yale, Plantinga engineered a stunning revival of
philosophy in a Christian key, largely through the vehicle of the Society
of Christian Philosophers. Following his lead, many more philosophers
became braver about articulating Christian faith in arguments, and
together they've amassed an arsenal more formidable than many outsiders,
whether professional philosophers or laypeople, realize.
The Evangelical Philosophical Society was founded in 1974, four years
before the SCP. It didn't really take off, however, until the SCP
membership's insistence on including Mormons compelled William Lane Craig
to redirect his energy to the more narrowly defined EPS in the
"I thought, let's kick this organization into high gear," Craig
He held the presidency from 1996 to 2005. It was during that time, in the
early 2000s, that the society began holding an "apologetics
conference" alongside the annual scholarly meetingstarting at
Craig's own church, in Marietta. The EPS grew rapidly as both an academic
society and a publicity platform for the most culture-warring flavors of
Norman Geisler, one of the founders of the EPS, watched in amazement.
"The term 'Christian' took on a positive connotation that people
actually wanted to claim," he told me. "When I started in
philosophy, in the late 1960s, it was a term of reproach." Now
openly Christian faculty are perched in many of the major departments in
"It's such a privilege to be alive and working in this field during
this era," says Craig.
Along the narrow basement hallway that was home to the Biola philosophy
master's program when I sat in on Craig's class in 2011, there was a map
of the United States on the wall. On it were labels with the names of
universities you've heard ofNotre Dame, Cornell, Rutgersand some you
probably haven't. The labels were fastened by pins in three colors. Blue
signified alumni enrolled in doctoral programs. Red meant programs where
alums had been accepted, and yellow meant where they held full-time
teaching jobs. There were several more pins in the Atlantic Ocean:
Oxford, King's College, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
This is a not-unusual sight in the hallway of any placement-minded
graduate program. But at Biolaa name derived from "Bible Institute
of Los Angeles"the map had particular significance.
"My goal is for Christian theism as a worldview to be articulated
cogently and persuasively in the academy," says Scott Rae, an
ethicist who co-founded the master's program in the early 1990s. The
purpose of the program was not simply to train evangelical Christian
students for evangelical Christian schools, but to send those students
off to doctoral programs, and eventually professorships, at leading
secular universities. "We figured if we ended up with 30 or 40
students, and maybe we sent 20 of them to Ph.D.'s before we retired,
that'd be awesome," Rae added. "The thing just
The program's other founder, J.P. Moreland, was already in high demand as
an author and speaker on apologetics, in addition to being a philosopher
of mind. Rae and Moreland invited William Lane Craig to join their team,
though he comes to the campus only for brief, intensive courses in the
fall and winter. Before long they were attracting more than 100 master's
students at a time (including women, generally, in only single digits);
as many as 150 have continued on to further graduate work. Despite having
only a handful of faculty, perhaps no philosophy master's program in the
English-speaking world enrolls so many students and, even if by that
measure alone, few can claim to be so influential in shaping the next
generation of analytic philosophers.
Still, many in the profession aren't even aware of it. The Philosophical
Gourmet Report, which ranks philosophy departments by the reputation of
their faculty members, doesn't mention Biola on its Web page about
master's programs. "No one has ever called to my attention that
Biola's M.A. program should be included," says Brian Leiter, of the
University of Chicago, who edits the report.
Among philosophersChristian or otherwisewho have worked with the Biola
program's alums, the impressions tend to be positive. According to
Laurence Bonjour, a philosopher at the University of Washington who has
supervised the Ph.D. work of program graduates, "Biola students,
especially those interested in epistemology, are often very well
"But," he is careful to add, "I doubt if the Christian
aspect of the program has much to do with that."
For the program's architects, however, the "Christian aspect"
is everything. "What makes this program different from other
philosophy programs is the distinctively Christian setting," says
Rae. Students take courses in the Bible and theology as well as in logic,
ethics, and metaphysics. On their application forms, they're asked to
sign Biola's century-old, page-long doctrinal statement and note any
points of disagreement; on the campus, alcohol, tobacco, and gambling are
prohibited. Craig begins each day's lecture in his classes with a
personal reflection on integrating the life of scholarship with the life
of a Christiancovering such topics as marriage, prayer, and regular
exercise. Everyone basically agrees on where, in the end, all the flights
of argument and inquiry need to land.
Gail Neal, a retired administrative coordinator for the program, says she
always noticed a culture of mutual support and encouragement, rather than
competition, among the students. "Their whole purpose is to help
people know Christ and to make a difference in the world for him, and to
bring people into his kingdom," she told me. "They just empty
themselves of themselves, like Christ did for us."
In a now-decade-old lecture, "Advice to Christian Apologists,"
Craig outlined his view of the university as "the single most
important institution shaping Western culture." He argued that it's
a lot easier for people throughout the society to accept Christ as their
savior if Christianity appears reasonable in higher education, if the
academic conversation takes it seriously, and if there are Christian
professors to serve as role models. The Biola master's program is thus a
strategic intervention designed to resound everywhere.
"In order to change the university, we must do scholarly
apologetics," he reasoned. "In order to do scholarly
apologetics, we must earn doctorates. It's that simple."
Jonathan LaSalle, a doctoral student in philosophy at the University of
California at Santa Barbara who took master's-level classes while an
undergraduate at Biola, says that, for Craig and his colleagues,
"philosophy is sort of the beachhead." From it, all else is
meant to follow.
Craig's version of the cosmological argument, or his case for the
Resurrection, could appeal to believers of just about any denomination or
party; the arguments themselves have no inborn political persuasion. But
the crowd they run in does. When I heard J.P. Moreland speak at a
lunchtime mixer in a Congressional office building in Washington, he
argued for a "minimalist conception of the state"; Scott Rae's
business ethics extol "the virtues of capitalism." The
current-events podcasts available on Craig's Web site and mobile app
broadcast his reflections against homosexual parenting, secularism, and
global Islam, along with patriotic exhortations on behalf of U.S.
Since Jonathan LaSalle left Biola, his evangelical faith has wavered. But
what has started to concern him most are the political messages being
tucked into the metaphysics at his alma mater. "It should worry
Christians, too," he says.
Most outsiders are familiar with the caricatures of evangelical
anti-intellectualism, from the Scopes "Monkey Trial" in 1925 to
televangelists and the faux-folksiness of George W. Bush. So are
evangelicals themselves. Almost 20 years ago, the evangelical historian
(and historian of evangelicals) Mark Noll warned, at book length, about
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. This, as much as secularism
itself, is an ill that Craig and others at Biola have set out to
"Biblical Christianity retreated into the intellectual closet of
Fundamentalism," he writes in the introduction to Reasonable
Faith. "Satan deceives us into voluntarily laying aside our best
weapons of logic and evidence, thereby ensuring unawares modernism's
triumph over us."
Craig Hazen, who directs the apologetics department at Biola, calls the
problem "blind-leaping." He told me, "The idea that we're
blind-leaping into faith is actually reinforced by evangelical churches
all the time."
With close ties to the philosophy master's program, the apologetics
program teaches a couple of hundred students at a time how to defend
their faith with reasons. There are master's and certificate tracks, and
about half the students take courses online from around the world. The
program also organizes high-profile events, such as Craig's 2009 debate
with Christopher Hitchens, and seminars at churches around the country.
Part of the purpose of these is recruiting students, and part of it is
advocacy; Hazen and his team have to convince fellow Christians that
reason is not merely a dead end for faith, and that a grown-up faith in
modern society requires grown-up reasons.
"Frankly, I find it hard to understand how people today can risk
parenthood without having studied apologetics," Craig has written.
"We've got to train our kids for war."
The students in Craig's classes at Biola, it's true, bear a kind of
battle scar. A common story among them goes something like this: When
they were teenage boys, growing up in evangelical households, their
childhood faith began to buckle. Their classes in school and their
classmates and the Internet posed questions they didn't know how to
answer. Their parents and pastors couldn't help; they only recommended
more prayer and faith, more blind-leaping. It didn't work.
Then someone would lend them a book by William Lane Craig or J.P.
Moreland, or send them a link to a debate on YouTube. All of a sudden,
their questions were being taken seriously. They could chew on the latest
science and philosophy while still going to church with their friends and
families. They went to Biola to study philosophy or apologetics because
they knew it would be a safe place to ask any question they needed to,
with whatever rigor and detail they craved. Afterward they take the
answers they get there back to their friends and to the Internet, and the
entrepreneurs among them start apologetics ministries of their
They're born again: rebaptized in philosophy.
In class, Craig is more than his students' teacher; for many, this is the
man who saved their faith. Standing before them he projects a paternal
bearing, a seriousness broken only when he throws himself into imitations
of past debate opponents, especially those with British accents. For the
brief weeks each year when he's on campus at Biola, he eats lunch with
his students in the cafeteria. But he won't tell them his e-mail address,
for fear of the onslaught of correspondence that could bring him. If they
have any more questions, he recommends that they ask through
ReasonableFaith.org, like everybody else.
"My calling is not the classroom," he admits. The rest of the
year, he spends most of his time at home in Marietta with Jan, where he
can study, write, build his ministry, and prepare for his next debate
The story one tends to hear among older people drawn to Craig is a bit
different from that of the younger ones; fathers, in fact, often go to
him at first at the urging of their Internet-savvy sons. (In April, for a
bachelor party, one man from Pennsylvania brought his father and
grandfather to Georgia for Craig's seminar on the Resurrection.) While
Craig's philosophy enables the young to hold on, it gives the elders
license to let loose a bit, to think more freely in a faith that for
decades may have satisfied their hearts more than their minds. Craig's
muscular arguments lend them the confidence to delve into areas of
inquiry that might have previously seemed closed, from historical
criticism of the Bible to theistic interpretations of evolution. One
middle-aged devotee I met had recently self-published a book on the
scientific evidence for Christianity in near-death experiences.
"A person doesn't feel like they have to be a six-day creationist
anymore," says Philip Murray, a late-career computer specialist who
directs the Reasonable Faith chapter in New York City.
There's a prophecy in the Book of Joel, paraphrased later in the New
Testament: "Your young men will see visions, and your old men will
dream dreams." Maybe something of that is being fulfilled in the
simultaneously tightening and loosening effect of Craig's presence. One
on one, the younger students err on the side of acting holier-than-thou,
while the older ones let a mild curse word or two slip. For both, this
philosophy is changing their lives.
Philosophy was never supposed to be a narrow discipline, fortified from
the argumentative swells of the agora by specialization and merely
professional ambitions. That was for the Sophists whom Socrates regaled
against. Philosophy was supposed to serve the polis, to educate and
embolden its young, to raise up leaders. Whether one likes their
preconceived conclusions or not, today it is evangelical Christians, with
William Lane Craig in the lead, who are doing so better than just about
Nathan Schneider is the author of God in Proof: The Story of a
Search From the Ancients to the Internet (University of California
Press). This article was written with support from a Knight Grant for
Reporting on Religion and American Public Life from the University of
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