Apologetics must be not only a defense of but also a search for the truth. A parallel I would draw is one I heard in the movie, “The Bible vs. The Book of Mormon.” In that movie, they discuss the role which Mormon apologists have taken on: that of defending a falsehood, and essentially just telling believers they must keep the faith and ignore/lie about the evidence. Christian apologists must never allow themselves to value fideism over reasoned faith. If conclusive evidence undermines an article of faith, it must be abandoned.
What am I suggesting? Apologetics is not just a static defense of each point of Christianity, rather, it is a defense seeking truth. Some will immediately bristle upon reading this and argue there are some beliefs Christians cannot compromise. I agree. There are truths, which, if shown to be false, would lead to the falsehood of Christianity. But if evidence existed which conclusively proved God did not exist, then Christianity would be false, no matter what we would desire. That said, it seems to me that there is an overwhelming weight of evidence showing that God does indeed exist. Not only that, but there is a huge amount of evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. So again, we return to the position of the apologist: defending truths.
Perhaps an example might help draw out the implications of my points. Take Young Earth Creationism. Many apologists continue to defend this position, yet there is conclusive evidence both in the cosmic background radiation from the Big Bang and in the dating of rocks on earth and from space that the world is much older than a Young Earth position would have us believe. Not only that, but throughout the history of Christianity, a Young Earth position has not been a serious article of faith. The conclusive evidence against the Young Earth position should lead Christian apologists to continue to seek to understand the world God created–along different lines as necessary.
It is telling that Paul himself wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14 that “…if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” He goes on to clearly explicate the implications of this historical fact for Christianity. Christianity is based upon seeking truth. If it were the case that central truth claims of Christianity were factually incorrect, than “our preaching is usless” and “so is [our] faith.” Christian apologists should therefore continue to seek truth, and defend it. The order of operation is not: pick a belief, decide it is true, and defend it. Rather, the apologist must operate in a completely opposite fashion: seek to discover truth, believe in that truth, and defend it.
So, fellow apologists, I issue you a challenge: let nothing be unexplored. When you get the questions you cannot answer, do not fall on fideism, but investigate the truth. All truths are God’s truths, and we should not fear them.
To those who detract apologetics as a defense of falsehoods, I also issue a challenge: Have you actually explored the truth claims of Christianity? Have you engaged the arguments for theism? Have you investigated the evidence for the Resurrection of Christ? If not, you also need be consistent–leave no stone unturned in your search for truth.
While there almost certainly are apologists who defend their specific theological point against any and all scientific and philosophical evidence, what I am suggesting is a methodological apology: one which actively defends truth, but without putting all the weight upon one position; one which continues to seek truth, wherever it is found; a methodology which not only defends the truth, but finds it. What is truth? That which God has wrought.
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