A Short Defense of the Christianity (To Myself)
by C Michael Patton
I see myself as an evangelical (lower case) Christian (uppercase) apologist. I think every Christian is an apologist to some degree. No, not a “professional apologist” like Rob Bowman, William Lane Craig, or Mike Licona, but we all have formulated some degree of warrant or justification for our faith. Just like everyone is a theologian, every one is also an apologist. But this does not mean that we are good apologists!
Normally apologetics is a theological discipline which seeks to defend the faith to those who are outside our belief system. However, my fascination with apologetics is very personal. It starts with me and often ends with me. What do I mean? I suppose I mean that I engage in apologetics very selfishly. I seek to defend the faith to myself. I am continually wrestling with issues of faith and doubt that are spinning webs in my mind. Therefore, whenever I write about a topic that is docked in apologetics bay, it is normally a subject that I am either currently wrestling with or have wrestled with in the past. I often envy those who just believe. Sometimes I wish that I could flip a switch and turn the critical part of my brain off. It would allow me to get more sleep, that is for sure!
Don’t get me wrong. Most of the big issues (what Paul Copan just called the “main things”) are pretty well settled in my thinking. I have the battle scars to prove it. However, there are a lot of things that I am not settled on. Secondary issues mainly. For those things I have yet to wrestle with in a significant way, I usually put a place holder sign on the door entitled ”I will get to you later” or “what he believes.” I have a few people in my life whom I respect and trust so deeply that their view of an issue is enough for me. In such cases I am content with “referred belief.” Why? Because I will never be able to become an expert in everything. As a matter of fact, there will be very few things that I will ever be able to speak about with much personal authority. And there is just enough postmodern blood in me to realize that the human aspiration for exhaustive and authoritative knowledge on any one thing is simply self-deception. None of us are really “experts” on much. None of us are that smart. We never will be. I don’t care how many Ph.D.s someone has, how many articles they have written, or what school they teach at, the human capacity to truly understand what we are talking about is not anything to write home about. We are finite. However, this does not mean that we throw in the intellectual towel. There are things that we can have a great degree of assurance about…
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