1. With a few trivial word substitutions, the entire argument could be framed as an equivalent choice between (for example) Islam and atheism. Thus, the exact same argument supports the conclusions "You should accept Christianity" and "You should accept Islam". Obviously, these conclusions are mutually exclusive. An argument that is equally supportive of two mutually exclusive conclusions cannot be valid.
2. The argument implicitly assumes the existence of a deity who will look favorably upon belief motivated by a desire for reward (in this case, relief from existential angst). If, instead, there is a deity who looks favorably upon the ability to suck it up and bear with a bit of angst, the argument leads to the conclusion that atheism is actually preferred -- and yet there is no way to know in advance which alternative is correct.
You either didn’t bother to stay and read the whole presentation or else you are deliberately trivializing it as a straw man.
Pascal’s wager says that, cetaris parabis, one should “wager” that there is a God and an eternal destiny, given the fact that “betting right” gives you everything and “betting wrong” costs you nothing; whereas betting on atheism costs you EVERYTHING if you bet wrong.
This lecture goes FAR beyond that. It not only asserts, but uses the very words of atheists to PROVE that without God there is no meaning, value, or purpose. And the force of Craig’s argument is that one is literally reduced to “pretending” that life really has meaning, value, and purpose, or accepting God.
I remember the massive riots in Los Angeles following the Rodney King police beating trial. People burned down huge swaths of the city when they thought justice was being ignored. What would happen if every single member of the human race faced the reality that such a thing as “justice” was itself utterly nonexistent, and killing a human being actually had no more moral consequence than stepping on a bug?
Leading atheist H.L. Mencken said, “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” And if life has no ultimate purpose, value, or meaning, why shouldn’t we?
Citing the article itself:
And yet, Nietzsche predicted that some day, people would realize the implications of atheism, and this realization would usher in an age of nihilism that is the destruction of all meaning and value in life. This most gruesome of guests, he said, is standing already at the door. Our whole European culture is moving for some time now with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade as toward a catastrophe, restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.
I don't know that the 'argument' can make any such assumption:
Heard Sprout [Sproat], on 3 Tit. 5. Not by Works of Righteousness, which We have done, but according to his Mercy he saved us, through the Washing of Regeneration and the Renewing of the holy Ghost.
. . . . . John Adams Diary 23, Sunday, September 17, 1775, pg 5
This is simply a bloviated version of “Pascal’s Wager”, and falls to the same fallacies:
1. With a few trivial word substitutions, the entire argument could be framed as an equivalent choice between (for example) Islam and atheism. Thus, the exact same argument supports the conclusions “You should accept Christianity” and “You should accept Islam”.
What you are saying, first of all, is the silliness that Islam and Christianity are identical. They are not, as anyone with common sense should clearly understand.
Further, you are saying that the evidence for Islam and the evidence for Christianity are identical. And again, you are very wrong. Had Mohammad stated that he would rise from the dead, and then done so, maybe you’d have a point.
Jesus’ disciples were absolutely convinced that they saw and touched the risen Jesus. Their lives transformed. They wrote the most sublime moral literature in the history of the world. They didn’t “make a ton of cash” bilking the faithful out of their money, but rather carried the faith to the ends of the earth. Read any good encyclopedia on the disciples. Matthew, Peter, Nathanial, etc.; all but John died martyrs deaths. And they journeyed to the ends of the known earth to spread a message (and die for that message) that they clearly believed to be true. You don’t die for something you know to be a lie.
One hundred years after Christ, Christians were dying by the tens of thousands as martyrs under hateful emperors determined to crush their faith and impose the Roman deities. But Christianity changed the culture that was murdering them because it was truth.
One hundred years after Mohammed, Muslims - who had already swept across Arabia into Africa looting and murdering any one who would not submit to Islam - poured across Western Europe to continue their killing and were stopped at Tours, France by the Christian Frank Charles Martel.
And you think these religions are interchangeable?
2. The argument implicitly assumes the existence of a deity who will look favorably upon belief motivated by a desire for reward (in this case, relief from existential angst). If, instead, there is a deity who looks favorably upon the ability to suck it up and bear with a bit of angst, the argument leads to the conclusion that atheism is actually preferred — and yet there is no way to know in advance which alternative is correct.
As for your second point, that religious people are moral out of fear of a vengeful deity, and that atheism is therefore preferred, is just as remarkably absurd. The problem with atheism is that there are NO MORAL GROUNDS TO CONDEMN DESPICABLE BEHAVIOR.
Go ahead: offer an atheism-based critique of Joseph Stalin. I will respond with a defense of Stalin. He made sure that he was the strongest who survived, he killed the weak, etc.
What moral laws derive from atheism? How is it that atheism is prescriptive, and not only tells me what I’ve done, but what I ought to do? Doesn’t evolution “evolve”? If it does, then how can you demand I live by “yesterday’s” standards?