Why Apologetics Takes Hard Work!

Apologetics is a branch of Christian theology that helps give reasons for the truthfulness of the Christian faith/worldview. The Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Pet. 3:15: “But in your hearts acknowledge Messiah as the holy Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to every one who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have yet with gentleness and respect.” In the context of this verse, the apostle Peter is writing to a group of persecuted Christians. The Greek word for “reason” in this passage is “logos,” which is defined as “a word, inward thought itself, a reckoning, or a regard.”

While I know many Christians are engaged in a variety of ministries that are making a difference around the world, I want to demonstrate why apologetics takes hard work. When I mean “hard work,” I mean that many of the objections we hear require lots of research, plenty of of patience and time, and alot of perseverance.

The Internet

First, there is no doubt that the internet is a blessing and a curse. For anyone who is asking questions about the Christian faith or looking for reasons to believe or not to believe, they are just a click away from a You Tube clip, a Wiki article or some other resource that can make them into a skeptic in 20 minutes. Also, it is on the internet where a lot of apologetic discussions are taking place.

So what do apologists need to know? Let me give some examples of some of the common objections that get rehashed every decade:

Historical skepticism: Questions and comments

“I am not sure if Jesus existed”
“ The New Testament authors are biased”
“ We can’t know much of anything in history”
“ History is always written by the winners”
“Jesus’ Followers Fabricated the Stories and Sayings of Jesus”
“The New Testament story of Jesus was borrowed from paganism/mystery religions!
“ There are books that are supposed to be in the Bible that were kept out. Hence, we can’t trust the books we do have in the Bible.”
“The Bible has been translated over and over. We can’t trust it!”
“The Gospels are not written by eyewitnesses.”
“Paul doesn’t discuss the Historical Jesus”
“The genre of the Gospels are historical fiction”
“There are no contemporary sources outside the Bible that mention Jesus.”

Skepticism about the Bible and issues of Interpretation

“I don’t think we can take the Bible literally”
“ I cant accept Genesis if it says the earth is only 6,000 years old”
“ You can’t expect me to accept a book that condones the killing of innocent people (i.e. the Canaanites, etc)”
“ Why does the Bible condone slavery?”
“Why does the Bible say women are supposed to be in submission to men?”
“How can you accept a book as an authority when it says homosexuality is wrong?”

Evolution and Science/Creation conflict

“Evolution has shown we don’t need to posit God as an explanation for the complexity of life”
“ Science has a better track record than religion. We keep looking for answers. Your God arguments are science stoppers!”
“Intelligent Design is bad science and not even science at all”
“ Evolution is fact” (never mind that fact that every time someone says this that they don’t even define what evolution is).

Religious Pluralism Objections

“How can you possibly know which religion is true?”
“How do you know your God is the one true God?”
“ I just think all religions are true and everyone should get along”
“ I think it is arrogant to say one religion is right!”
“ I just prefer to be agnostic about religions. There is no way to know the truth”

Naturalism Objections

“ Why don’t we see miracles today?”
“We can’t know if the miracles happened in the Bible”
“ Given we don’t see men rising from the dead today you can’t expect me to believe a man rose from the dead 2,000 years ago”

God’s existence
“There is no evidence for God”
“I can’t empirically verify the existence of God. Hence, he must not exist”
“I think religion is just psychological phenomena. It is just a function of the brain”
“ There is no proof for the existence of God”
“ I just don’t think we can know if God exists”
” I think there is maybe a force of some kind. He is in everything”
“ I don’t see what difference it would make if God exists. After all, I am a good person”
“If your belief in God provides you comfort and makes you a better moral person that is fine. But it does not mean it is true.”
“If God exists or created the universe, what caused God”
“ I don’t need God to be a moral person”

Common objections about Christians

“Why are Christians so anti-intellectual?”
“Why do Christians only target homosexuality?”
“Why are Christians so weird?”
“Why are Christians so involved in politics?”
“Why do Christians have to force their beliefs on others?”
“I see so many Christians who profess their faith but they don’t live it out at all”

Common Objections about Jesus

“ I love the moral teachings of Jesus but I don’t think he is divine”
“I don’t think the miracles of Jesus are to be taken literally”
“ Jesus never said he was God”
“ I don’t see that difference believing in Jesus would really make in my life. I am a moral person.”
“Jesus was just another failed prophet”

Conclusion: Someone has to do the job!

In another post on my blog, I provide a page with resources to answering these objections. You may look at the list of these objections and be overwhelmed. This is why so many of us that labor in the field of apologetics spend time providing answers/resources for these common objections. Also, apologists have to cross over into a variety of academic disciplines and are responsible for making material that is accessible to the lay person. If you are truly looking for answers, just visit a website likeThe Poached Egg, Apologetics 315, Wintery Knight’s Blog, Cold Case Christianity or others. Dig deep! There are answers!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s