Although I have only been studying and discussing apologetics for about four years, the question of why I do this comes up with relative frequency. There are certainly many other things I could be doing as a busy teenager. After all, I’m a student, athlete, son, brother, etc. It’s not as though I cannot find anything to do with my time. So, the question remains. Why do I spend all this time with apologetics?
The Importance of Apologetics
One of the reasons I participate in apologetics is because I believe it is important. There are many reasons for my belief in the great importance of apologetics.
First, apologetics is important for nonbelievers. Many nonbelievers are mostly uninformed about the issues. However, probably the majority of nonbelievers are at least aware of the beliefs of Christianity, and most of them know why they choose not to follow its tenets. Let’s face it, if you are one of those nonbelievers who is at least marginally informed on the issues, hymns in church are not going to cause you to consider Christianity. Having a friend tell you, “It just takes faith”, or, “I’m praying for you” is not going to have a tremendous effect. Reading the Bible won’t even get you to consider converting (in fact, nonbelievers will generally only have their convictions strengthened with each read through the Good Book.) In reality, the only thing that is going to impress you is logic. The more Christians realize that logic is an important part of the Christian faith, the more effective we will be in convincing others that our religion is not blind stupidity, but rather a rationally defensible belief. That is the only thing that is going to cause nonbelievers to even consider Christianity, and thus, apologetics is greatly needed in that regard.
Second, apologetics is important for believers. There are several reasons for this. No matter how staunch of a believer you are, you occasionally have doubts. Every now and then you may find yourself confused by a Biblical passage, or stumped by a question posed by either a nonbeliever or another Christian in your community. It is my opinion that doubts are perfectly healthy and normal, as long as they are dealt with. However, if allowed to build up, doubts will consume you. The Internet is rife with stories and personal testimonies of Christians who converted to atheism. A common theme you will find in many of these is that the individual had doubts that he or she either kept inside them, or tried to find answers only to uncover nothing. Apologetics is all about seeking for and revealing answers to the troubling questions which plague the minds of Christian believers, and that is one reason why it is so important that Christians have access to these answers.
Not only do Christians need answers for themselves; they also need answers for others. If you are going to be an effective witness, it is important that you know common objections to Christianity as well as effective counters. Once again, apologetics, not hymns or prayers, is the most effective tool for reaching nonbelievers.
Apologetics is important for everybody. Whether a pastor or rabbi, theist or atheist, apologetics can affect everyone in a positive manner.
The Hope of Positively Affecting Another
Another factor that contributes to my wish to continue apologetics is my hope that I can positively affect another human being. As a Christian, I sincerely believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. As a consequence, I feel I have a burden to help others come to the same realization that I have. Since this issue deals with eternity, I cannot imagine anything more important than helping a non-Christian to consider placing their faith in Christ.
Now, if you are of the skeptical persuasion and you are reading this essay, then perhaps you are a bit miffed at the thought that I am so arrogant. However, if you look at the issue from my perspective, perhaps you can understand my motivations. If you truly believed that there was only one way to have eternal life, wouldn’t you also sincerely wish to help others achieve it? Well, that is my position. I believe that there are good reasons for my religious persuasion (and you can check other articles on this site for a few of those reasons). Because of this, if you are a nonbeliever, I sincerely hope that this site will at least cause you to consider Christianity in a better light.
Of course, apologetics can positively affect the believer as well as the nonbeliever. It is my opinion that every Christian, young and old, has doubts. The only way to resolve these is to find answers to them. Without answers, these problems will only grow in number and in severity. No Christian is free from the ever-lasting grip of doubts. Even Charles Templeton, the famous pastor, succumbed to doubts because he could not find satisfactory answers. I have had many personal discussions with other teens in my community, and find that, unfortunately, their questions are not answered by the church. Obviously, they cannot be answered with the Bible alone. Apologetics is where the answers are, and this information needs to be spread far and wide for Christians everywhere. I hope that I am positively affecting others by the creation of this site.
Strengthening My Own Convictions
A third major reason for my growing interest in apologetics is my quest to learn what I believe and why I believe it. As a Christian, I have faced numerous slanderous remarks about my supposed gullibility, ignorance, and even stupidity. While I do not mean to misrepresent the atheist community and imply that all atheists claim these things, it is nonetheless true that this is a common accusation hurled at Christians and other religious persons. I have decided to make a commitment to myself by learning more and more about my faith as well as other faiths, and the various objections that individuals have to these beliefs. By becoming more informed on the issues, I strengthen my own faith, and that allows me to help others.
There are many reasons for my growing interest in apologetics. Above, I have given a few of the major reasons, but this is by no means a comprehensive essay. Hopefully, after reading this essay, you will have a better understanding of why I spend much of my free time on apologetics. Perhaps this will help you in your own quest to discover what apologetics means to you.
1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
Also see the Forum Discussion:
My Reasons for Apologetics (Hosted at TheologyWeb)