Apologetics: A God to Defend Might be the Wrong God to Follow

In Apologetics, you will often hear this general notion of “defense” in terms of a believer’s addressing an opponents objection/argument. However, what business does a believer of some particular faith have in “defending” his religion? If he is defending his religion, does that mean there’s a degree of inherent uncertainty in the religion he follows?

Christians themselves have often objected to doing apologetics by saying that “God doesn’t need defending; He can defend himself.” Or, perhaps more so, as I myself have unfortunately heard: ” I started thinking that if I have to defend God maybe I picked the wrong God to follow.”

So then, what business do we have defending Christianity if we have faith? The answer is clear: You are right; God doesn’t need defending. But people still need help in understanding. My clarity of apologetics in that way and people’s misunderstanding of apologetics is a more general issue that must be clarified.

 

A Proper Understanding

What is Apologetics? Alister McGrath in his recent autobiography entitled C.S. Lewis: A Life [1] defines apologetics as the “business of identifying, understanding, and answering concerns and difficulties that ordinary people have about the Christian faith, and also demonstrating its power to explain things and satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart” [2].

This is an interesting understanding of apologetics apart from its more academic theme. In other words, McGrath in his work on Christian Theology also defines apologetics as “the reasoned defense and justification of the Christian faith against critics” [3].

Apologetics thence is a two-fold manner of “demonstrating [the Christian faith’s] power to explain things and satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart”, as well as “defend and justify it’s claims” against the objections from critics. Therefore, apologetics in an existential context – i.e., can be intelligible (or rational) while also being personal, livable, or relational – is crucial for any and every Christian to have in regards to his faith.

 

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Notes:

  • [1] Alister McGrath, C.S. Lewis: A Life (Colorado Springs: Co, 2013)
  • [2] Ibid. pp. 200-201
  • [3] Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction (Malden, MA: 2001) p. 8
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