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Why is apologetics almost unknown?

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  • Why is apologetics almost unknown?

    I don't get it. Thousands of years worth of evidence and arguements and I didnt know about any of even the most basic stuff untill relatively recently.
    Why is that? Why is this information not thrusted into the public eye?
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  • #2
    I think it has to do with the fact that most people are too busy living their lives, or simply don't care to venture into these cerebral areas of study. They might view it as a fruitless endeavor that isn't going to prove anything significant one way or another and, therefore, opt instead to spend their time on more practical things that lead to concrete ends. I think on average, an individual needs to possess an initial intellectual interest in religion or philosophy, and the more they pursue that interest, the greater chance will be that they come across apologetics of the Christian, Islamic, etc. faith(s).

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    • #3
      Oh, to be young again...

      I stumbled into apologetics as a teenager. I've also come across a number of other people who discovered apologetics at around the same age and were similarly drawn into it. I don't know if I would have been intellectually ready for it prior to then, so even if I'd heard the word used prior to that, I wouldn't have grasped its significance, and the thing itself would still have struck me as surprising and compelling and asked "why in the world don't we talk about this more???"

      ... but almost ten years later, I don't see it as quite as wonderful as I thought at first. For many people, apologetics is just preaching to the choir. I'm glad I learned about it, and I wouldn't have gotten into the study of theology, or, if I would have, not as readily or profitably, without apologetics. However, the arguments are of limited utility in the end.

      I think one of the key realizations for me was the different roles of the will and the intellect in a person's faith or lack thereof. Apologetics can clear away intellectual obstacles to faith, but I usually think of faith as a matter of the will, not the intellect. And apologetics doesn't do much for people who are in emotional crises of faith, which are, by my impressions at least, more common. Apologetics is fine to keep in your back pocket, and it's good for you to learn about and participate in these arguments while they hold your interest, but the arguments themselves aren't really all that useful.
      Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

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      • #4
        For me, apologetics was useful when I didn't know exactly where I stood. Now that I do feel sure, with a quiet sort of confidence, I feel that to exclusively focus on apologetics would be to be spinning in place. There is so much more to explore as part of my walk, you know?
        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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        • #5
          Intruiging answers.
          I find it interesting because generally I like learning. I want to learm as much about my faith as I can.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by TheWall View Post
            Intruiging answers.
            I find it interesting because generally I like learning. I want to learm as much about my faith as I can.
            And you certainly do learn a lot about it through study of apologetics.
            "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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            • #7
              Yeah. Still a lot of it is intra personal. Learning about yourself and your struggles. It isn't the easiest thing in the world.
              Then you have other people. I really am amazed how much you can learn from your fellows.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                Oh, to be young again...
                And apologetics doesn't do much for people who are in emotional crises of faith, which are, by my impressions at least, more common.
                I found apologetics to be very helpful when I had an emotional crisis of faith, so I think you may be underestimating its usefulness

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Celebrian View Post
                  I found apologetics to be very helpful when I had an emotional crisis of faith, so I think you may be underestimating its usefulness
                  I also have found this.
                  3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures --1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (borrowed with gratitude from 37818's sig)

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                  • #10
                    Its useful when I am trying to find certain meanings to scripture or confront something in life. If I am or have the time to engage in a debate with someone (hard with 3 youngins) then I really like it. Its also useful to understand specific meanings of scriptures and how to read them so that when I am confronted with a decision or heretical teaching I can refute it specifically. And if I am asking questions or discussing something with a pastor it becomes useful. But I'm not sure that most people were called to be scholars. A lot of folks tend to accept scripture with a "face value" reading and never look deeper. There is a psychological theory behind this, but I'll write more about that later. It has to do with how our brain develops higher functioning and thought.
                    A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
                    George Bernard Shaw

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                      Oh, to be young again...

                      I stumbled into apologetics as a teenager. I've also come across a number of other people who discovered apologetics at around the same age and were similarly drawn into it. I don't know if I would have been intellectually ready for it prior to then, so even if I'd heard the word used prior to that, I wouldn't have grasped its significance, and the thing itself would still have struck me as surprising and compelling and asked "why in the world don't we talk about this more???"

                      ... but almost ten years later, I don't see it as quite as wonderful as I thought at first. For many people, apologetics is just preaching to the choir. I'm glad I learned about it, and I wouldn't have gotten into the study of theology, or, if I would have, not as readily or profitably, without apologetics. However, the arguments are of limited utility in the end.

                      I think one of the key realizations for me was the different roles of the will and the intellect in a person's faith or lack thereof. Apologetics can clear away intellectual obstacles to faith, but I usually think of faith as a matter of the will, not the intellect. And apologetics doesn't do much for people who are in emotional crises of faith, which are, by my impressions at least, more common. Apologetics is fine to keep in your back pocket, and it's good for you to learn about and participate in these arguments while they hold your interest, but the arguments themselves aren't really all that useful.
                      To me, it seems to ignore, in part, the involvement of the Holy Spirit, both in somebody accepting Christ as Savior, and growing in the faith. So, while largely agreeing with Spart on much of what he wrote here, I'd add that the power of the Holy Spirit needs to be recognized whether "apologetics" is at work or not. In many cases when I have been witnessing to a lost person, there was no need to "apologete" because the Holy Spirit had already 'done the background work', and the person was ready to be saved.

                      Then, I think too many times, we don't focus on "fruit that remains", where sound teaching - including apologetics - helps give them that assurance.

                      Currently, we're going through (with our leadership class) John's Gospel which was written "so that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God", and just finished that, and are now in 1 John, where John is writing to those "who believe that Jesus is the Son of God" with the purpose "so that they may know....".

                      To me, 'apologetics' without the Holy Spirit is just "arguing".
                      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                      • #12
                        I think I agree cowpoke. In many ways the arguements helped me reevaluate my situation. The helped me come to believe and strengthen the intellectual side of my faith. Of course as faith is multi faceted it takes more than intellect to grow. Of course all of it would be meaningless if he never rose from the dead.
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                        • #13
                          The problem is certainly not with Apologetics. Apologetics are fantastic in Evangelism, and they're also fantastic for bolstering the foundation of one's own faith. The problem is with the over-reliance on just dry Apologetics when, as CP points out, the Holy Spirit plays as much, if not larger role in these things.

                          The issue I think is that a lot of people familiar with Apologetics, especially on this forum, are just burnt out. On this forum you can have the exact same arguments with the exact same people for years, and it never goes anywhere. The skeptic will remain entrenched in their position no matter what. But that isn't how it has to be in the real world. I've used Apologetics successfully a number of times in the real world with wonderful results that led to people finding Christianity far deeper and far more intriguing than they ever thought it was.

                          I suppose what I love so much about Apologetics is that I've seen what happens to people when they're left with the answer "well some things are just a mystery". That used to be the default answer of Christians to people with questions. "God's ways are more mysterious than ours". For decades, centuries even, that left people confused and hopeless. My parent's generation moved towards esoteric Eastern beliefs or became agnostics/atheists because they were so frustrated with that sort of answer. My own parents joined a cult because they were sick and tired of Christians not having any answers. No one was teaching the answers to hard questions then, and as you point out in your OP, they still rarely teach that sort of thing now. It's a great failure of the Christian church. Hiding behind "His ways are mysterious" is not the solution.

                          The big problem with us humans is that we can't find moderation. We are great at building churches that are intellectually fulfilling, but are dry and stoic, and often spiritually dead. We're great at building churches that are filled with emotionalism, but lack any understanding of exegetics, or knowledge of orthodox doctrine and theology, and we're great at building churches that are super-spiritual, but aren't at all practical or relatable. We have a really hard time with building churches that are intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally fulfilling all in equal measure. There is moderation between all these things, and we need to learn to appreciate all of them without overlying on one over the other.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                            The problem is certainly not with Apologetics. Apologetics are fantastic in Evangelism, and they're also fantastic for bolstering the foundation of one's own faith. The problem is with the over-reliance on just dry Apologetics when, as CP points out, the Holy Spirit plays as much, if not larger role in these things.

                            The issue I think is that a lot of people familiar with Apologetics, especially on this forum, are just burnt out. On this forum you can have the exact same arguments with the exact same people for years, and it never goes anywhere. The skeptic will remain entrenched in their position no matter what. But that isn't how it has to be in the real world. I've used Apologetics successfully a number of times in the real world with wonderful results that led to people finding Christianity far deeper and far more intriguing than they ever thought it was.

                            I suppose what I love so much about Apologetics is that I've seen what happens to people when they're left with the answer "well some things are just a mystery". That used to be the default answer of Christians to people with questions. "God's ways are more mysterious than ours". For decades, centuries even, that left people confused and hopeless. My parent's generation moved towards esoteric Eastern beliefs or became agnostics/atheists because they were so frustrated with that sort of answer. My own parents joined a cult because they were sick and tired of Christians not having any answers. No one was teaching the answers to hard questions then, and as you point out in your OP, they still rarely teach that sort of thing now. It's a great failure of the Christian church. Hiding behind "His ways are mysterious" is not the solution.

                            The big problem with us humans is that we can't find moderation. We are great at building churches that are intellectually fulfilling, but are dry and stoic, and often spiritually dead. We're great at building churches that are filled with emotionalism, but lack any understanding of exegetics, or knowledge of orthodox doctrine and theology, and we're great at building churches that are super-spiritual, but aren't at all practical or relatable. We have a really hard time with building churches that are intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally fulfilling all in equal measure. There is moderation between all these things, and we need to learn to appreciate all of them without overlying on one over the other.
                            See, I would love to have a couple guys like this in my Church... I can focus on evangelism, and they can focus on discipleship.

                            (I know that's a WAY oversimplification of what you said, but it's kind of on my mind a whole lot right now. Our Church has a very good "love everybody" spirit, and new people who come visit often comment on that. But I know there needs to be a lot more depth. We have a good percentage of our Sunday Morning people coming to Wednesday night Bible Study where we get more into the 'apologetics' aspect, but I fully realize I'm not as good at that as a lot of people I know.)
                            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                              The big problem with us humans is that we can't find moderation. We are great at building churches that are intellectually fulfilling, but are dry and stoic, and often spiritually dead. We're great at building churches that are filled with emotionalism, but lack any understanding of exegetics, or knowledge of orthodox doctrine and theology, and we're great at building churches that are super-spiritual, but aren't at all practical or relatable. We have a really hard time with building churches that are intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally fulfilling all in equal measure. There is moderation between all these things, and we need to learn to appreciate all of them without overlying on one over the other.
                              I find this mostly to be a Protestant problem; there's a tendency to focus on one area to the relative exclusion of others (although I did spot on my trip through North Carolina the other day a "Pentacostal Free-Will Baptist Church", which sounded interesting). Of course, there are also plenty of Orthodox believers who lack knowledge, but that would be corrected by actually attending more than just the Divine Liturgy (and there are many who don't even do that regularly). The best way to learn Orthdodox doctrine is to simply attend the full cycle of services and pay attention.
                              Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                              Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
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                              I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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