What is apologetics?
Apologetics - From the Greek “apologia” which means to give a reason or defend. Christian apologetics provides a rational defense against various attacks on the historic Christian faith.
Why is Apologetics so Important in Universities?
The Bible Instructs Us to Do It
- 1 Peter 3:15 - But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.
- 1 Corinthians 1:20 – Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
- 2 Timothy 2:24-25 - The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of truth.
- 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 - For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
- Colossians 2:6-8 - So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
- Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD.
Great Men of Faith Have Done It
- There are numerous accounts in the book of Acts where the Apostle Paul is seen reasoning with those he encountered concerning the gospel: “So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God fearing Gentiles, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be present.” (Acts 17:17)
- As a matter of fact Paul had done this with such consistency that it became his custom: “And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence.” (Acts 17:2-3)
Our Lord Gave Us An Example
- In Matthew chapter 22 Jesus silenced the Sadducees in their attempts to discredit the resurrection by laying out a reasonable argument from the scriptures (vrs.30-32).
- We see again in Matthew chapter twenty-two Jesus’ way of masterfully silencing yet another group, the Pharisee’s as He reasons with them to the only possible conclusion; Jesus is both fully God and fully man (vrs.37-46).
- Jesus gave evidence of His divine nature to the doubting Pharisee’s and scribes by supporting the power of His words to forgive a paralytic by healing him with His words, “ . . .so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . .” (Luke 5:18-26)
- “. . .Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles, wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst . . .” (Acts 2:22)
How much opposition is there really in the university?
“. . . we try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own ... we do our best to convince these students of the benefits of secularization. We assign first-person accounts of growing up homosexual to our homophobic students for the same reasons that German schoolteachers in the postwar period assigned The Diary of Anne Frank... You have to be educated in order to be ... a participant in our conversation ... So we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours ... I think those students are lucky to find themselves under the benevolent Herrschaft [domination] of people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents ...” - Richard Rorty, former philosophy professor at Princeton University – ‘Universality and Truth,’ in Robert B. Brandom (ed.), Rorty and his Critics, pp. 21-22.
“…some children are raised in such an ideological prison that they willingly become their own jailers…forbidding themselves any contact with the liberating ideas that might well change their mind.” – Daniel Dennet, Breaking the Spell, pp. 324, 326.
“The contents and prospects of religion remain thoroughly problematic—and fascinating. Even within a world dominated by self-created technology, humans still will not easily accepts that constructs of sense reaching out for the nonobvious are nothing but self-created projections, and that no other signs from the universe around are there to be perceived except for the irregularities resounding from the first big bang.” –Walter Burkert, Creation of the Sacred, p 179.
“For the foreseeable future, [conservative parents] will continue to drop off their children at the dorms. After a teary-eyed hug, mom and dad will drive their SUV’s off toward the nearest gas station, leaving their beloved progeny behind. And then they all are mine.” - Bill Savage, Lecturer at Northwestern University (article "Lessons Learned.").
According to research done by Neil Gross & Solon Simmons
- 72.9% of professors at elite universities say that “The Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by men”
- 84.1% of professors disagree with the statement “The theory of intelligent design IS a serious scientific alternative to the Darwin theory of evolution”
- “. . .it is clear that on the whole, and measured in various ways, professors are less religious than the general U.S. population” . (p.9)
- Source: How Religious are America’s College and University Professors? Feb.6, 2007, p.6-9.