Monday, March 04, 2019

The value of apologetics

Christian apologetics serves different functions:

1. There's the oft-repeated slogan that no one is argued into the faith. But is there any polling data on that? Are there any studies by sociologists of religion that show apologetics is statistically insignificant to conversion? 

In general, men take much greater interest in apologetics than women, so it stands to reason that there's a percentage of men for whom apologetics was instrumental in their conversion.

2. Keeping Christians in the faith. Whether or not you come to the Christian faith as a result of apologetics, it can keep you in the faith. And that, in turn, may take different forms:

i) It will prevent some Christians from suffering a crisis of faith.

ii) Other Christians may lose their faith, but come back to the faith as a result of apologetics. Take the scenario of the guy who had questions, but no one in his church could give him good answers, so he left the faith. Later one, he discovered apologetics, he found out that there were answers to his questions. So that brought him back. 

iii) Some Christians don't feel the need until something happens to them or someone they care about. At that point, having apologetics to fall back on keeps them in the faith.

iv) Some Christians may study apologetics, then walk away from the faith for personal reasons (e.g. sowing their wild oats). Yet because they know some arguments and evidence, that can function as intellectual seeds for their restoration. 

v) Some Christians may not need apologetics for themselves, but it comes in handy when witnessing to friends or raising their kids in the faith. 

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