Christianity / Faith / Rant

Apologetics: I hate it!

Don’t get me wrong I love questions. I love answers and I love arguing. I love rationality. I just hate apologetics. It certainly isn’t a substitution for dialogue. When I enter a discussion with a person who claims to be an apologist my mind is on defense from the start. That’s where apologetics comes from; a place of defense moving in offense of another position. I enjoy the tussle, but I’ve never seen any good come from it. The truth is that no one ever converted to Christianity because they lost an argument. I never expect to change minds while defending my thoughts with someone. I do however, hope that they hear me and that I hear them and we both consider one another’s point of view. But that’s not what apologetics does, what I described is dialogue. Walking into a conversation on apologetics is like walking armed into an interrogation room. Sure, the people in the room will probably agree with you in the end, but out of duress. We aren’t going to win anyone to Christ for real like that. So what’s the point?

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17 thoughts on “Apologetics: I hate it!

  1. I’ve never understood the desire to be an apologist. It strikes me as similar to a doctor choosing to be a proctologist. I understand someone has to do it but it’s hard to visualize it as a calling. I suppose we all can get sucked into apologetics at times. I always like to start with something like “Is this something standing in the way of your loving Jesus more?” Most likely all the want to do is argue.

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    • Haha.
      What a wonderful question! Actually the definition of Christian apologetics form apologetics.com is “removing one’s intellectual barriers for belief.”
      Yes. I remember witnessing to this lady in Venezuela once and we started into apologetics and I looked at my translator and just said that I didn’t really have any where else to go with this, and she said to me in English to keep preaching. Sometimes they just want to watch you articulate your beliefs. Not that there’s any problem with that.

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    • Grace4everyday,

      For me apologetics is more about how I delve deeper into my understanding of my own faith. To be honest I did not even know what the term meant 18 months ago. What I have found is the deeper I dive into apologetics material the better I have become at articulating my beliefs, and understanding of scripture.

      I think the other piece relates to an evangelism angle, though not in the debate-type way you might think. I have some very close friends, for example, who are not Christians. Every once in awhile they will ask me question about the Bible, God, or religion in general. By studying apologetics I have found myself in a much better position to answer those questions. I think this is important, as if I were just to shrug my shoulders I would, in my estimation, be dismissing an opportunity to bring one more soul to the Lord. As an added benefit the souls I described above are folks who I wouldn’t mind spending the rest of eternity with.

      Great conversation!

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  2. Pingback: Why Apologetics matter. « CognitiveFaith

  3. I couldn’t disagree with you more.

    Apologetics is necessary. Very, very necessary. Secular pluralism is on the rise here in the United States, and one of the rallying cries is that one religion is just as good as any other, as all are paths to the same almighty God. Atheists even find common ground here, and say that all religions ARE as good as each other — and fit only to be eliminated because there is no evidence for any one of them.

    Apologetics is the use of logic and reason to articulate not only WHAT we believe as Christians, but WHY we believe it. And “why” is very important to skeptics and seekers; they want to know why they should become Christians as opposed to Buddhists or Muslims or even atheists. They want to know if Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses are really Christian. They want to know what separates Catholicism from Protestantism.

    They want to know why God “never” answers prayer.

    Why, if God exists and is perfectly good, is there evil, suffering, and disease in the world.

    And they want to know why we think Jesus rose from the dead.

    No offense meant, but I haven’t met a single Christian without some interest in apologetics that can satisfactorily answer any of those issues. Most end up looking like fools when they try, and seekers walk away from Christianity forever because it “obviously” isn’t different than any other faith.

    Apologists like me can allay doubts; not necessarily silence them. We can help seekers understand what Christians believe, and help questioning Christians find answers to tough questions (like “Why didn’t God answer my last prayer?”). And we can do it with more sophistication than saying “Ya gotta have faith, man!” (which is what I usually hear from Christians that have no interest in apologetics when they attempt to answer tough questions).

    I feel called to apologetics, not so I can argue with atheists (it actually HURTS ME that someone thought we apologists just want to argue!) but so I can help remove the intellectual barriers many claim they have. Notice I said “claim” — at root, the objection is almost ALWAYS emotional in nature. I can show that Christianity is logically coherent to people. While they may not enter the faith immediately because of that, God may be laying a foundation through me to call them when the time IS right.

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    • Well, no hurt meant by my post, just my personal experience. I do think as Christians we need to be ready to give an answer if asked, however nearly all apologists I have met or talked to have immediately buckled in rather than actually dialogued with other people. The truth is we just don’t have the answer to everything and pretending that we do hurts others and us when sometimes embracing the question and allowing dialogue could help ourselves and others closer to Christ. Cognitivefaith gave a good account of what an apologist should look like and I agree with his post and think perhaps apologetics has been misrepresented and misused. You should check it out. Thanks for stopping by and standing up for your opinion.

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      • Perhaps the difference between me and other apologists that you’ve encountered is twofold: (1) I’m willing to dialogue with others (inasmuch as they are willing to dialogue with me); and (2) I admit I don’t have all the answers, and won’t this side of eternity. As I said, as an apologist I can ALLAY doubts, but NOT silence them.

        Cognitivefaith’s post is how I learned about this one. He did have a good post.

        Anyway, all the best to you. Hopefully you meet some more realistic apologists in the future. 🙂

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  4. >> I just hate apologetics. It certainly isn’t a substitution for dialogue.

    At its best, apologetics *is* dialog, with each side responding honestly to the best arguments of the other. Unfortunately (and I sense you already know this), that does not often happen.

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  5. Pingback: Alternative Theology: Condititional Immortality | Sacred Struggler

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