What the Presidential Debate Can Teach Us About Apologetics

by Aaron Klein

apologetics debateHow can politics teach us anything about apologetics? How in the world do you think the a publicized political debate and a reasoned defense of the faith can be connected? I think there are a few things that the candidates did, or did not do, that are important for the effective apologist to do, or not do, as well.

The very first thing I noticed when President Obama or Governor Romney answered a question was….they did not really answer the question. Numerous times both men went off on a tangent, sometimes related to the question, sometimes not, and did not get back to actually answering the question. The people the apologist interacts with generally have genuine concerns that deserve an answer, not whatever happens to fancy the mind of the apologist at the time.The 30th tip in Brian Auten’s 52 Tips for Apologists is “You don’t have to respond to every possible objection.” You do not have to answer every objection, but the ones you do answer must actually answer the objection.

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The second thing I noticed was the apparent lack of respect between the candidates. The entire debate can only be described as tense. They frequently interrupted the other and the moderator, called each other liars, and faced each other off. Romney’s son was asked how he would have liked to respond when Obama called his father a liar. He said he wanted to go down and punch him. The importance of our presentation in apologetics matters a great deal because our goal is not to win the argument, but to show the reasonableness of the Christian faith. If someone walks away from a conversation with an apologist and he, or some bystander, says he would have liked to punch him, that is not a good representation of Christ, even if you “won” the exchange…

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