My Reasons for Apologetics

30 January 2006

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.

Conclusion

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)






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  1. Firstly, I believe you have good purpose and reason behind the creation of this article and the site in its entirety. However, I would strongly beware how much authority that you give your own voice in your essays. Some of your views not only will destroy the faith of weaker Christians, but also shatter the backbone upon which Christianity itself was built. To be so bold to put the Bible on a pedestal and declare it as virtually powerless against non-Christians is a very naive point of view. Also, one must remember that if we as Christians argue with Science (evolutionary theories, etc) for being inconsistent and for continuously changing, we must realize that apologetics will be our downfall as well. Our rationalization of the existence of God is not at all what He would want us to do. This does not mean a blind faith in any sense; however, would it not be even more logical to hold strong the book that has carried the faith through centuries? Are you merely balancing the weigh scale, and currently apologetics is beating out the reason of science? Will your faith and others like you suddenly disappear if science produces distinct “proof” that God does not exist? Doesn’t it seem odd to you, that when 50 years passes, apologetics will have completely different views? This means you will have been basing your faith on something that is not steadfast. I am a very left-brained analytical person that likes concrete evidence, reason, and rationalization for everything; however, you CANNOT rationalize God to suit your own need by listening in to apologetic views, and disgracing science. Thus, this is why using apologetics is foolish when trying to obtain new believers, as by basing their new beliefs on an ever changing system, they may as well believe in evolution.


    — Anonymous    Jan 6, 08:49 PM    #
  2. Anonymous,

    You seem to by implying that I am discounting the importance of the Bible. However, in the article I merely point out that informed nonbelievers are probably not going to be convinced of Christianity merely by reading the Bible. I have a very high view of the authority and the importance of the Bible, and much of apologetics is dedicated to defending the Bible from allegations of inconsistency or cruelty.

    You also are contrasting “apologetics” with “science.” You say that I “CANNOT rationalize God to suit [my] own need by listening in to apologetic views, and disgracing science.” I don’t know what you mean by this. I think that science is one tool that aids apologetics (other tools include philosophy, common sense, historical criticism, etc.) I don’t think apologetics “disgraces” science at all.

    You say that we should not base our beliefs on an “ever changing system”, thus, we should not base our beliefs on science. Well, first of all, apologetics is not the only reason I am a Christian. I am a Christian because of the witness of the Holy Spirit, which is why I think that, deep down, I am convinced of the truth of Christianity. However, reasons and evidence are very important to me, and I probably would not be a Christian if there were no evidence for it. I do not agree with you that apologetics will have “completely different views” in 50 years. I still suspect that, 50 years from now, there will be convincing evidence for a beginning of the universe that was well designed for life, and there will be solid historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    You also claim that I should be careful about giving too much authority to my own voice in my essays. I hope that I have not given the impression that my writing is more powerful than the Scriptures; I don’t even think that my writings are the best that apologetics has to offer. But I do think that apologetics is very important for a well-balanced Christian.


    Kyle Deming    Jan 8, 12:20 PM    #
  3. There is another reason for apologetics. To the nonbeliever, it is a show of respect. To argue honestly, passionately, and rationally, rather than wave the carrot of salvation or the club of damnation, is to accept that one’s audience is, first, not cowardly enough to accept any proposition if an eternal threat is attached, and second, willing to put as much effort into considering the arguments as was placed into making them.

    Anonymous states that to argue from reason is arrogant, and one should place absolute faith in the Bible. But in the forum of argument, the reverse is true. Here, to use reason is to admit that one does not have absolute answers. Even if the Bible is literally true, the apologist cannot claim to know absolute truth without also claiming perfect ability of interpretation. Reason offers a common ground upon which to discuss any claims the apologist advances.


    Paul    Apr 21, 08:36 AM    #
  4. I’ve argued with many Christians, specifically Creationists (the AiG folk). I find apologetics incredibly annoying because it’s like saying “I don’t care what kind of rationale you pose to me, I will find or create some reason to show you that you’re wrong.”

    The very nature of apologetics is that you create unfalsifiable, and thus illogical, arguments. With some arguments, particularly regarding the Great Flood, apologetics ultimately takes the form of a Deus Ex Machina (or Machina ex Deus?) explanation. “What? The law of conservation of mass says that the amount of water required is impossible? Well it came out of a ‘window of heaven’ or ‘fountains of the deep’ then! Oh, and all of the continental drift happened in 40 days, which explains layers and layers of sedimentary fossils”

    At what point do you concede “You know what, I agree. It’s really not likely that it happened this way. Perhaps we’re mistaken.”

    It took a LONG time (decades…centuries even) for the church to finally formally acknowledge a heliocentric solar system. How long will it take for them to finally acknowledge the other mythologies as such?


    Aaron    Sep 27, 10:42 AM    #
  5. Hm, I don’t know. I was an atheist from ~11 up until I was 16. I just can’t deny my magnetic attraction to “something else”. It seems that spiritual and mystical things are part of the whole existence of everything.

    I like discussions because people are entitled to their opinions. Life would be taken right out of, well, life, if “I” was always right and “You” were always wrong. That’s predictable, albeit enjoyable but probably not enjoyable forever.

    I like math and all that falls under that category. I love my friends and family too. I don’t want my math to be like my friends and family; I don’t want my friends and family to be like math. So I try to keep those two separate.

    Really, I’m not that familiar with the “theology” Christians’ beliefs or apologetics for that matter so I guess I shouldn’t add to this discussion.

    I’m just saying, I think truth is everywhere; a mass concentration of it is in the Bible. But it’s still everywhere, in everyone. Let’s go find it.

    (By the way, thank you to the writer of the essay for your ideas and for making a way for people to comment on it)


    — Calvin    May 11, 11:10 AM    #
  6. I am interested in re-publishing this article in a magazine. Please email me if that appeals to you.

    Denise Kneeskern
    Editor, Magnum Opus
    Institute for Excellence in Writing
    mo@excellenceinwriting.com


    Denise Kneeskern    Dec 31, 09:48 AM    #
  7. I can give you my personal experience. I didn’t convert because of apologetics, but because the word of God talked to my heart in an inexpressible way. Howewer, after my conversion I had to wrestle with doubts, with accusations by self-proclaimed religion experts, that said that the Bible was not historical, scientifical etc. Here, apologetics have been very useful to me and have strenghtened my faith, dissolving my doubts. Apologetics may not save a soul by itself, but it can be good by destroying false and dangerous doctrines that try to undermine our faith. (excuse for my weak english, I’m italian and I0m not used to speak english)


    Davide Argiolas    Mar 15, 12:34 AM    #
  8. It is important to look at the world and see the effects of non belief. Rehab centers are full of fun loving extremists. Their god does not work for them.
    Broken families are the result of individual needs not addressed in a spiritual way. The world’s god does not work for them. One can see this played out everyday. The emptiness of the reality of life shows us. “Their god does not work for them”.


    Paula Zimmer    Oct 15, 05:47 AM    #
  9. I am an African American Minister. I attend an annual Conference when the question was asked by the Bishop what can we do to enage our young people in the church. because many of them once they leave home and attend school of high learning never come back to the church. I stood up and said the we are losing our young people because we have not equip them to deal with the issue in our society in Christian manner. I said that we need to implement agologetics into our ministries, when I mention the word everyone thought that i was speaking in an u nknown tongue. The African American churcheas are losing young people because they don’t think that Christianity is revelant in a diverse society


    Melvin McCullough    Oct 28, 05:13 PM    #
  10. You say “I like math and all that falls under that category.”

    I like to ask you whether you can understand the math of people like the universe from nothing atheists-scientists: Hawking, Stenger, and Krauss, and tell readers how the math of these universe from nothing persons are not any reasonable foundation for their conclusion that the universe came forth from nothing?

    I seem to observe that Christians have not come out explicitly to tell these persons that their math is not math but irrationality pure and simple, and point out to them and to mankind how irrational is their math, and it is all because they know that people are lost when it comes to math, so they claim that their advocacy of universe from nothing is founded on math, and that math is infallible.

    Don’t we have Christians who will point out to these people that as they (Christians) also are adept in math they know and can and will show to these people that these people’s (atheists-scientists) math is no genuine true math but pure and simple irrationality dressed up as math.

    Mdejess


    Mdejess    Jul 17, 11:59 AM    #
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