TRIGGER WARNING: THIS POST DISCUSSES RELIGION AND RAISES QUESTIONS THAT MAY MAKE SOME READERS UNCOMFORTABLE.
I heard the term “apologetics” last week and it gave me the weirdest vibe. I stumbled across a new Christian-faith blog where the author was introducing himself before his first post. He was launching a blog dedicated to Christian apologetics and discussed the need to equip Christians with responses and rebuttals to common questions and rebukes of the faith. The blog promised to give them the answers they needed to defend Christianity against, mostly atheists, but also against any of the most commonly opposed aspects of the religion. I read a lot of stuff on the internet that gives me weird vibes so I didn’t think much of this beyond, “Why on Earth would anyone want to do this?”
Not being familiar with the term apologetics I had to dig a little deeper and that’s when I learned that this practice of preparing verbal arguments is encouraged and actually taught in some faiths. The thought was totally foreign to me. In my experience, preparing an argument in order to prove someone else wrong is typically discouraged, falling somewhere between unnecessary and plain ol’ bad behavior. From my observation apologetics is encouraging people to argue against others, who may or may not already have their mind made up. In the case of the blog I visited the apologetics mostly were intended to prove atheists wrong. Why anyone would want to put their energy into proving atheists wrong is beyond me. Further digging showed me that there are apologetics bibles, study courses and books for teens “Help Teens Defend Christianity,” one reads. To me, there is a difference between answering questions and defending inquiries.
The subject made me think about parenting advice. Imagine your kid comes home upset that he was verbally picked on at school. How do you advise him to handle it the next day? Do you advise him to ignore nay-sayers and be true to himself or do you advise him to confront the bully with a list of top 5 reasons he is right and the other kids are wrong? To me, apologetics is a sure-fire way to get the proverbial wedgie. It seems so obvious that I must be missing something.
Admittedly, before last week I had never heard the term before. I also learned most of what I know about apologetics from WordPress blogs, which may have a disproportionate amount of zealotry per-capita. Maybe someone can explain it to me in a way that doesn’t creep me out so much. Defensiveness, in this context, is a low-vibration energy (in New Age circles, that means it’s dark or negative. Not bad per say, but not “of the light” or of god.) Christ has such a beautiful and loving energy, why would followers of Christ want to participate in such discourse? Perhaps I’m misreading it entirely.
If you are more familiar with apologetics, please explain it to me. How is it intended to be used? How is it encouraged? Where is it encouraged? I can’t imagine its purpose is to convert atheists or followers of other faiths. That seems like a lot of work for no return. I know this is a tricky subject. Please keep comments respectful. ∞