Problems with apologetics?


(Phil) #1

Randy linked this blog in another post, and I felt it deserved its own post. It discusses what the author feels is wrong with apologetics.
It makes some good points. What do you think?
What is wrong with apologetics arguments you have heard?
What is right with apologetics?
https://randalrauser.com/2018/09/the-top-five-problems-with-contemporary-christian-apologetics/


(RiderOnTheClouds) #2

Pretty good, I pretty much agree entirely.

Apologists waste too much time in defending the inerrancy of scripture, which I do not believe is important, or defensible, Daniel believed the world would end after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes. All that is required is a belief in the resurrection of Christ for Christianity to be true.

I also disagree with the Ontological Argument, as presented by Plantinga, Plantinga overlooks that we cannot say that anything is objectively great, including necessity, surely a virus would be greater if it was not necessary.

With the rise of Jordan Peterson, and other figures, we are seeing a rise of apologists defending the societal and personal ethical benefits of religion, rather than it’s literal truth, I think this is a good thing, because it helps to bring atheists to the faith easier, this is how I came to adopt Judaism, and later Christianity.

That’s not to say that there are no good arguments for the existence of God. I find Leibniz’s argument from contingency to be compelling, as well as some of the arguments for the resurrection of Christ.

It’s also good to see that most serious apologists don’t take Young Earth Creationism seriously, most are either Old Earth Creationists (Hugh Ross, JP Moreland, Frank Turek, Norm L. Geisler) or Theistic Evolutionists (William Lane Craig, CS Lewis, Alvin Plantinga, Alister McGrath).

As a side note, even though I am an amateur apologist myself (I post defences of religion on my blog), might there be a theological argument ‘against’ apologetics? I don’t think so, but what do others think?


#3

Thanks for sharing the article. I like what he says about emotional intelligence.

I’m not an expert but have read a good bit on the subject. I’m a presuppositionalist who believes that arguing for God’s existence is an exercise in futilily. That is, I think reasonable arguments can be made but can’t persuade anyone that is suppressing God’s own revelation of himself in creation (Rom 1). God is more competent than we are in commending his own existence to mankind through his general revelation in nature. He is absolute reality and everything else is derivative, including his beloved creatures made in his image.

As I said on another thread, roughly:
I think apologetics has value in keeping us all honest and consistent. No worldview is above the need to give an account for reality with logical consistency. As Christians, we ought to be compelled by his love to share his gospel with everyone in word and deed. It’s fair to challenge folks on who they believe Christ to be using Lewis’s argument (liar, lunatic, Lord). I find some other arguments to be helpful as well. But at the end of the day, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). They will know that we are Christians by our love not clever arguments.


(Laura) #4

I especially agree with the point about tribalism – in some ways it really is a matter of integrity, being able to critique arguments from your own “camp” even if you agree with what they’re arguing for. Overall I struggle with the purpose of apologetics, especially when it comes to educating children – I’ve seen too many examples of them being overdone or done badly.

It seems to me that emotional intelligence can be a double-edged sword. Maybe I’ve been too influenced by charismatic anti-evolutionists who are great at the “winsome and savvy” part but not so much on the facts. I remember Kent Hovind being a very funny, persuasive speaker, at least in my youthful estimation – but he was also flat-out wrong on many facts, as well as being a conspiracy theorist in general.

I’m sure that’s a difficult balance to strike with any apologetics though. If a speaker is too dry and stuffy, not many people will want to listen, but if they’re too winsome they might get by on charisma and get lazy on arguments.


(Phil) #5

Good point Elle, it makes me think that if if you base your faith of the strength of an argument, you can lose it to a better argument. Not really what you want to see.


(Randy) #6

Good point.


Where did the laws of physics come from?