Actually I only respect Craig in some ways and not in others. Even when I disagree with someone I try to keep my eyes open to what good they may offer and how
I might learn from them.
What I respect:
His intelligence. How articulate he is. His erudition. His skill in debates. How he attempts to tackle head on all manner of big issues, philosophical and religious. And maybe most important, how a man of his intelligence puts that intelligence to questioning and challenging the things that I believe.
I will always appreciate anyone who brings that gift of making me think more about whether I ought to believe what I believe.
What I don't respect:
Despite all the above, I find he's essentially an axe-grinder for Christianity, not someone who impresses on me they are really searching for "the truth."
I don't mean by that to say "Christianity is not true, and since Craig believes in Christianity he isn't interested in the truth."
No. Christianity may well be true.
I mean that whenever Craig speaks about something I know fairly well, I see the extreme bias he has brought to investigating the issue (that includes some of his comments on evolution, as well as moral and philosophical theory).
He is operating out of a paradigm that I find fundamentally flawed: the exaltation of subjective experience over all else. In other words, as he has stated many times, the "Witness of the holy spirit" in his life trumps all possible evidence and argument to the contrary. He says mountains and mountains of evidence can pile up against his beliefs, and even if he could be taken in a time machine to see that Jesus never actually resurrected...NONE of that would count against his personal belief in Christianity, which he bases upon the interpretation of his own subjective experience.
Not only does this run up against all humans have learned about the unreliability of our subjectivity, it also happens to make William L. Craig essentially "God"
in his infallibility. He attributes infallibility to his ability to interpret his subjective experience (hence, nothing can challenge it).
The result is a fundamentally dishonest approach to knowledge and argument. It means he has "the truth" ALREADY and thus is motivated ONLY to sift through facts and choose those that seem to support his belief.
And it's precisely what I find he does in his writing and debates. I simply can not have respect for that approach.
As it happens, turning back toward what I admire about Craig, a person of formidable intelligence is very clever at defending even an unwarranted belief. To that extent Craig can often bring up interesting angles to defending his belief, and also quite valid criticisms of non-belief that ought to be answered by a non-believer. So in a way, his very flaw (in my view) nonetheless ends up doing some good.
But I don't respect his fundamental approach to the issue of "truth" and knowledge.
Hopefully that made some sense. :-)