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Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:02 PM

Could someone explain what apologetics are?

I have read various definitions, but still don't know the answer. I have a friend who is upset about their son getting into it and I don't know how to respond to her concerns.

57 replies, 4045 views

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Reply Could someone explain what apologetics are? (Original post)
Frustratedlady Nov 2012 OP
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #1
Frustratedlady Nov 2012 #5
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #11
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #12
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #15
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #17
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #21
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #25
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #28
Frustratedlady Nov 2012 #20
rug Nov 2012 #34
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #36
rug Nov 2012 #38
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #45
rug Nov 2012 #46
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #47
rug Nov 2012 #48
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #53
rug Nov 2012 #55
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #51
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #54
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #56
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #57
MineralMan Nov 2012 #37
rug Nov 2012 #39
MineralMan Nov 2012 #40
rug Nov 2012 #41
MineralMan Nov 2012 #42
rug Nov 2012 #43
Brettongarcia Nov 2012 #49
rug Nov 2012 #50
Frustratedlady Nov 2012 #19
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #23
Frustratedlady Nov 2012 #30
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #31
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #32
orpupilofnature57 Nov 2012 #29
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #10
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #13
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #16
DonViejo Nov 2012 #2
Frustratedlady Nov 2012 #6
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #3
Frustratedlady Nov 2012 #7
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #8
Frustratedlady Nov 2012 #14
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #18
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #24
Recursion Nov 2012 #4
Frustratedlady Nov 2012 #9
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #27
MineralMan Nov 2012 #22
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #26
rug Nov 2012 #33
MineralMan Nov 2012 #35
Warren Stupidity Nov 2012 #44
intaglio Nov 2012 #52

Response to Frustratedlady (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:07 PM

1. Why is your friend concerned?

It's nothing more than defending christian religious beliefs when questioned by non-believers or someone of another faith. It can also be used "offensively" to convert non-believers. Requires a strong knowledge of the bible and church teachings.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:51 PM

5. Thanks. I did that, but seemed like most of the sites were arguments, but in various directions.

Apparently, some group is going around and converting young people into the group. I'm not sure he is into apologetics, but that is what I got from a Facebook post.

Whatever he is into is more than how you described and they are quite worried. They are active Christians and concerned because he is into further education with some group.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:13 PM

11. Perhaps they are worried because he is

becoming a bit extreme.

I find it interesting that "active christians" would object to a son proselytizing. If he's become an anti-gay, anti-abortion fanatic, that could be a problem. But if they hold the same positions, it seems a bit odd to be worried about a child for following in their footsteps. Further education? Does that mean advanced Bible study?

How old is this son? Are your friends Catholic or Protestant, if the latter, which denomination? I can't see the problem for an "active christian" family. Are they afraid the group is a cult?

Sorry for all the questions, but I'm trying to think my way through this....

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:18 PM

12. You do realize that Christian Apologetics is anti-science, reason and logic, right?

Unless one is a religious fundamentalist, then they should be afraid of any group that is anti-science and reality trying to indoctrinate their child.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:27 PM

15. I studied apologetics years ago...in my last attempt to defeat my head.

The writer said her friends are "active christians" What does that mean?

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #15)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:32 PM

17. Unsure what that means.

And if you studied apologetics then you already know it is full of logical fallacies and long-debunked nonsense.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #17)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:45 PM

21. I was raised in a fundamental christian church...

but from a very young age I had problems getting my head around the teachings. For a good part of my life my head battled with my heart untll finally my head won. 26 years ago I began a bible study program that included apologetics in one final attempt to accept the teachings of christianity.

You cannot "debunk" faith or beliefs as they are not fact based. Ultimately that is the steel chain that keeps people tethered to their religion. Apologetics is no more nonsensical than the rest of religion.... You either believe in a very bad tempered and arbitrary magician in the sky or you don't.

What most interested me in the OP was the "active christian" friends.... All of us reap what we sow, eventually.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #21)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:03 PM

25. I see what you are saying and am in complete agreement.

I am glad reason and reality won you over.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #25)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:10 PM

28. So am I.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #15)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:45 PM

20. By active Christians, I mean they attend church (Methodist) at least 2ce/week...

are very active in the activities of the church and active in prayer groups.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 09:45 PM

34. It is hardly that. It is based on reason and logic.

All logic begins with a premise. You can reject the premise but you cannot credibly argue that what flows from the premise is ant-reason and anti-logic.

Your post is bathed in opinion and projection which is itself antithetical to reason and logic.

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Response to rug (Reply #34)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:37 PM

36. Why yes, the Discovery Institute and Answers in Genisis are all about reason and logic.

Last edited Wed Nov 21, 2012, 01:16 PM - Edit history (1)




on edit:

Found this just a minute ago...

Yesterday, I wrote about the American Humanist Association’s new website and ad campaign promoting atheism to our children. Today, I want to show you what they’re telling our teens on the section of the site called Teens Without God.

In 2009, Answers in Genesis contracted with America’s Research Group to conduct research into why the church is losing so many young people from this generation. The results showed that two-thirds of young people leave the church by the time they reach college age. Why? One main reason was a lack of training in apologetics. Our young people don’t know how to respond to the skeptical questions of this age! They have been taught—through public schools, media, and museums—that the Word of God is not trustworthy.

The results of this research are available in my book (co-authored with Britt Beemer) Already Gone.

Well, the Kids Without God site offers answers to teens’ questions about topics like evolution, sex, and morality—all from an atheistic worldview. There’s even a section on how to tell their families that they don’t believe there is a God!

Of course, this anti-God group capitalizes on pop culture to try to influence teens’ minds toward atheism by listing “atheist rock songs” and presenting a list of the most popular atheist actors.

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2012/11/21/are-your-teens-good-without-god/



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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #36)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:41 PM

38. You do realize that apologetics is far more than this litlle backwater site you posted.

Maybe you don't.

Start with Irenaeus. When you get bast the second century let me know and I'll give you some more.

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Response to rug (Reply #38)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:12 AM

45. This is what apologetics is today.

Half-baked nonsense and nothing more.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #45)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:18 AM

46. That is one small part of it only and, at that,, primarily in this country.

You don't define an elephant by describiting its tail.

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Response to rug (Reply #46)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 12:36 PM

47. Since the tail is connected to the spot where the bullshit comes out...

It is a perfect description.


I've yet to see an apologists argument that wasn't littered with logical fallacies and failed to match reality. Its mental masturbation at best, dressed up to look like real sex.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #47)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:24 PM

48. I take it your experience is limited to the 700 Club.

Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian, among others, was around more than a millenium before these bogeymen of yours were born.

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Response to rug (Reply #48)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:27 PM

53. Well, there is the DU Religion forum. Don't forget that.

It's regular plethora of apologetic wit and wisdom.


The point being, that the argument, whether given by Martyr..

The fragments of the work "On the Resurrection" begin with the assertion that the truth, and God the author of truth, need no witness, but that as a concession to the weakness of men it is necessary to give arguments to convince those who gainsay it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Martyr#Apology


or Humblebum (Other Ways of Knowing, Stalin, Mao, Militant Atheists, etc..)

Or Serious Theologians (Thatsmyopinion comes to mind)...


It is all nonsense and logical fallacies that fail to match the reality we inhabit.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #53)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:58 AM

55. I disagree.

This is how Aquinas' Summa Theologica begins.

We cannot know what God is, but only what He is not. So to study Him, we study what He has not -- such as composition and motion.


Of course you disagree with him, his premise and likely everything he stands for. But what follows is far from "nonsense and logical fallacies". It is the application of intellect at the highest level.

Likewise, look how Descartes begins his Discourse on the Method (in which his famous "Je pense donc je suis" is found).

Good sense is the best shared-out thing in the world; foreveryone thinks he has such a good supply of it that he doesn’t want more, even if he is extremely hard to please about other things. Since it’s not likely that everyone is mistaken about this, it is evidence that the power of judging well and of telling the true from the false—which is what we properly call ‘good sense or ‘reason’—is naturally equal in all men; thus it is also evidence thatour opinions differ not because some of us are more reasonable than others, but solely because we take our thoughts along different paths and don’t attend to the same things. For it isn’t enough to have a good mind; what matters most is using it well. Sheer quality of intellect doesn’t make the difference between good and bad: the greatest souls are capable of the greatest vices as well as the greatest virtues. Nor is nimbleness of intellect the key to making discoveries:those who go very slowly but always on the right path can make much greater progress than those who sprint and go
astray.


You do yourself a disservice by tossing these thinkers because of a gaggle of yahoos.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #45)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 05:11 PM

51. "Half-baked nonsense and nothing more"? Do they not receive tax-free funds?

 

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #51)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:29 PM

54. Is that an argument for half-baked nonsense or the ignorance of men?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #54)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 10:11 AM

56. Neither. At most, it's an argument for doing away with the tax-exemptions.

 

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #56)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 10:53 AM

57. That is something I certainly support.

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Response to rug (Reply #34)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:29 PM

37. No. It is based on a faulty premise that cannot be demonstrated

to be true. What flows from that faulty premise is unreason and illogic.

No argument from a faulty premise can stand the test of logic.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #37)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:42 PM

39. If you think a premise must be demonstrable you're already off track.

Do you know what datum means?

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Response to rug (Reply #39)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:53 PM

40. I do. Logic derived from a faulty premise

is flawed from the start. I will simply refute the premise and demand that it be demonstrated to be true or I will demonstrate its flaw.

A. Rain makes grass wet.

B. The grass is wet.

Ergo: It has rained.

Incorrect logic, because rain is not the only thing that makes grass wet. I can demonstrate my refutation.

The conclusion is false. The logic is flawed, because the premise is not exclusively valid.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #40)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:56 PM

41. Wrong.

noun (plural data)

1 a piece of information: the fact is a datum worth taking into account

an assumption or premise from which inferences may be drawn

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/datum

Now, do you know what an assumption is?


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Response to rug (Reply #41)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:45 PM

42. I don't really need a teacher, rug.

Truly.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #42)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 09:19 PM

43. Everyone needs a teacher when they're wrong.

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Response to rug (Reply #43)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 04:29 PM

49. Some premises need to be questioned

In many logical arguments, we begin with a premise, which is something asserted to be true. And then we either 1) see what follows from it, if it is assumed to be true. Or 2) we see if the premise itself holds up, to logical interrogation.

So for example, apologetics usually poses, as its chief, general, methodological assumption or assertion or premise, 1) the idea that God exists, and that he is as he is described to be, in the Bible. If this is true it says, then we should be able to prove it. we can examine the logical consequences of that, and see if they hold up.

Or better, Apologetics' more proper general premise is 2) that simple logical, rational exploration of our religion, can "prove" that it is true.

But 1) we should question both premises. First, if we are really interested in logical and reason, and deeply interrogating religion, then we should not assume that God exists. Which should not accept that premise.

Or better, 2) we might question whether Christians, pretending to use logica, are really arguing in good faith. We should be aware that most Christians based themselves explicitly on "faith," not reason. Indeed often the "mind" and "philosophy" so forth are explicitly rejected in many readings of the Bible. Therefore when attempting to argue with Christians on a logical basis, we might well question their objectivity and sincerity. Is logic more than a front, for them? isn't their whole emphasis on "faith" really an attack on reason itself? Therefore we would expect Christians to be typically, misusing logic; employing sophistry and false arguments instead.

Which is in fact what we see.

Apologetics pretends to be about logica and reason. But ultimately it is actually the last great bastion of ... Sophistry.

To be sure, this isn't the strongest argument against apologists; just a general warning. Next to be sure, we might extend the benefit of the doubt to them, and assume for purposes of argument that they are arguing, using logic in good faith. Though perhaps finally this is a concession we should not make. Given their history.

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Response to Brettongarcia (Reply #49)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 04:43 PM

50. When it comes to theology, the premise of the existence or nonexistence of a god must be a given.

It cannot be proven or disproven. If one insists on proving the premise before even contemplating the results of the premise, all that occurs is the closing of minds.

The existence or nonexstence of a god is an entirely different discussion.

But the application of reason and logic to either premise, that a god exists or that a god does not exist, can and has occurred for millenia, with far better results than what is occurring now.

The problem with religious literalists is the entire exercise is finding a path to a preordained conclusion. The opposite, to not begin the endeavor, because the premise is treated as a conclusion not a starting point, simply cuts off thinking in the first place. Both are equally intellectually feeble.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:42 PM

19. He is an adult in his 40s +/- with several children.

He is supposedly taking training to become a Church of Christ minister via some on-line site. He believes the earth is 6000 years old and that man was on the ark with dinosaurs.

The parents are Methodist. I think part of the problem might also involve finances. How can he support a family...I think they have 5 or 6 children...while pursuing this training to become a minister.

They are hinting that they think this is a cult-like group and that he may be getting into something he'll be sorry for.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Reply #19)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:00 PM

23. We have a number of Church of Christ

congregations here in Palm Beach County, FL. It is more fundamental than the Methodist Church that's for sure. Dinosaurs on the Ark sounds about right. If he is 40+ one has to wonder what was going on in his life to cause him to take this path.

If he is training on-line he can still continue with his job...I'd be worried about after the training... People turn to fundamentalist types of christianity when they feel their souls are not being 'fed' by the more traditional congregations. Quite often this feeling of 'hunger' is due to some crisis. Perhaps they should try to find out what drove him to this....

Good luck to you and your friends.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #23)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:45 PM

30. Thanks for all the info.

I would guess his "crisis" was his back, surgery and finances.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Reply #30)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:53 PM

31. I would agree...

It's sad that at a time when he could use familial support, he has cut off his parents.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Reply #30)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:58 PM

32. I think you are correct...

It's too bad that at a time when he could use familial support he has cut off his family.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:11 PM

29. It's all pertinent

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:04 PM

10. Oh, it is much more than simply defending christian religious beliefs when questioned...

Christian Apologetics is an industry peddling nonsense and "other ways of knowing" such as "its in the bible so it is true..." to refute and disprove the scientific explanation for just about anything to do with evolution, biology, geology, archaeology, etc..

Check out these websites for a couple of examples of anything BUT simply defending christian religious beliefs when questioned by non-believers or someone of another faith.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/

http://www.icr.org/

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:23 PM

13. Apologetics is taught in seminaries....

so while there may, indeed, be an industry peddling nonsense, it is nothing more than an attempt to use reasoned arguments to defend or present the faith.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #13)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:31 PM

16. In practice, such as what the OP is referring to is much more than "reasoned arguments"

And to be honest about it, there is not much "reason" involved at all, as all of the apologetics arguments are littered with logical fallacies.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:15 PM

2. Do a Google search for "apologetics bible study"...

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Response to DonViejo (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:52 PM

6. Thanks. I did a Google search and was more confused than before. eom

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Response to Frustratedlady (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:28 PM

3. Your friend should be upset. It is ignorance on steroids. Very dangerous.

Check out these websites for a couple of examples...

http://www.answersingenesis.org/

http://www.icr.org/

Christian Apologetics is an industry peddling nonsense and "other ways of knowing" such as "its in the bible so it is true..." to refute and disprove the scientific explanation for just about anything to do with evolution, biology, geology, archaeology, etc..

Your friend should be very, very afraid.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:57 PM

7. Yes, this looks like what he is into.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:02 PM

8. Yes, exactly. It really is terrible, ignorant stuff.

How old is your friends son? They like to get hold of teens, especially younger ones, that are easily duped by quackery and pseudoscience, sprinkled with religious fervor. You friend should do everything in her power to expose her son to science, reason, and critical thought. It is the only way to combat such ignorance. "Other ways of knowing" has powerful appeal to those who are intellectually lazy or young.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:25 PM

14. He is an adult. I would say in his 40s.

He has several children and was trained/worked in the nursing field. Due to a back injury, I think he fell into this as a way for answers to his problems...just got the wrong source for help.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Reply #14)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:33 PM

18. Ahhh, I see. Makes a little more sense now.

This is very popular with the "born-again" fundie crowd.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Reply #14)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:02 PM

24. Got it...

While I am not a believer, he obviously is and this may all work out....

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Response to Frustratedlady (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:28 PM

4. Arguments for something

It's an older sense of the word. In Plato's "Apology", Socrates wasn't saying he was sorry, but arguing his case.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:03 PM

9. Personally, that would drive me nuts.

He argued with his father (who is a Christian and active in his church), but became so upset, he cut off any connections for himelf and his children with his parents. It is killing them, thus, my concern.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Reply #9)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:08 PM

27. How sad...

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Response to Frustratedlady (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:55 PM

22. Apologetics are explanations of things

that Christians should apologize for attempting to use to convince people they know something that is true.

If someone offers you some apologetics, just say, "Hey, thanks, but it's OK."

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #22)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:04 PM

26. +1

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #22)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 09:40 PM

33. That is inaccurate of course.

You should lookup apo logos.

Facts are much more interesting than lazy snark.

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Response to rug (Reply #33)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:37 AM

35. Thanks, rug.

It was a joke. I'm sure you've heard of those.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #35)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 09:23 AM

44. He's one god short of being an atheist, he'll come around.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 06:28 PM

52. Apologists write or speak in defense of a person or idea or faith

The word is derived from the Greek where an apologia was a defense used in a trial. Many faiths use Apologists who seek ways to defend their faith from criticism or attacks by science, philosophy or other faiths.

Generally in the West Apologists are Christian Apologists and some (wrongly) assume that the only apologetics are Christian ones. There is nothing wrong with the idea of apologists except that all too often they stray into received wisdom and specious arguments. A classic example of this is the Presupposition Apologetic denial of any absolute knowledge except that received by revelation direct from God. The Hovinds, for example, use this to argue that all scientific or experimental evidence is flawed.

Other Apologetics will cite the good bits of the Bible as proof of it's divine origins; the nasty bits are explained away in many ways such as poor translation or foolish mortals not having sufficient information to see that God had no other choices.

I suggest the the person about whom you are worried is pointed to the Skeptics Annotated Bible. It is a fine publication and also point the reader to sites that argue against the SAB interpretation of the words.

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