Apologetics

I talked in the last blog about apologetics meaning not an apology, but a defense of belief.  Theoretically, apologetics could apply to defense of one’s political views, or any other belief system, but generally the term is used to mean defense of one’s religious or philosophical belief.

I said I would like to learn more about apologetics this year.  I have learned enough about various worldviews and religions to solidify my own beliefs.  I feel very comfortable believing Jesus was divine, and the eyewitness accounts of his life are reliable.  I believe what the Christians call the New Testament is true, and written by those who either were eyewitnesses to what they wrote, or were close associates of those who were there.  I believe the Old Testament is true, because I believe Jesus was divine.  Jesus testified to the truth of the Old Testament in that He quoted from nearly every book of it.

That being said, I have learned enough to be convinced myself, but I want to learn how to dialogue with those who are equally convinced their own belief system, or lack of belief is true.  I want to know the arguments of the other side of each debate, not to directly refute them, but to know how to introduce Jesus into their model.  I am utterly convinced Jesus is for everyone, no matter their background.  I am convinced He has the answers to all human problems, and is Himself the answer to the 5 existential questions every worldview must answer:  How did the world come to be?  What happened to cause evil and suffering?  What is mankind’s purpose?  What happens when we die?  and How does the wrong get remedied?  Not every worldview can answer all these questions.

I have come across some marvelous Christian apologists.  Some give themselves this title, and some don’t, because they talk about other things as well.   Probably my favorite apologists are Ravi Zacharias and his group of speakers/writers.  They are so down-to-earth and easy to understand.  You don’t have to be a philosopher or theologian to understand them.  I also like the books of Lee Stroble–especially interesting in that he came from an agnostic background, and initially set out to disprove Christianity, the bible, and even a creator.  He ended up convincing himself to change his own belief system.  Another apologist is Josh McDowell.  He’s been writing quite awhile, and has expanded his offerings to include answers to the most common questions skeptics ask.  A theologian who is deeper and more into doctrine is RC Sproul.  He has some good answers to more specific questions about Christian belief and practice.  A classic apologist, who is still very popular and readable is CS Lewis.  Here again we have a skeptic whose research dissolved his own skepticism.

The work of an apologist, in my opinion, is to give people intellectually satisfying reasons to believe.  In the apologists mind, God doesn’t expect blind faith.  He gives us plenty of evidence to mull over.  On the other hand, evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is not evidence beyond ALL doubt.  If there could be no doubt left, there would be no faith.  Sometimes in life, we just have to step out and trust.  If we didn’t do that, we would never marry and never have children. 

Ultimately, there can never be enough evidence to convince a skeptic who has emotional reasons for their unbelief.  Faith has two components:  intellect and will.  If I do not desire to have God in my life, if I simply won’t trust anyone but myself, if I prefer to believe I am the captain of my own ship and make my own destiny, then no amount of evidence will ever be enough.

 

 

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