Internal Debates and Apologetics
by Luke Nix
Internal Debates Versus Apologetics
Not too long ago I was in a discussion with a fellow apologist. We were discussing several different controversial topics in Christianity (age of the universe, Calvinism vs. Arminianism, and God’s attributes). After a while he made a very strange statement. He told me that these discussions about science, philosophy, and theology weren’t really important to apologists and only served to divide and cause unbelievers to run from Christ.
He took the position that apologists really only needed to defend the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to establish the truth of Christianity. His main support for that claim was that no other worldview can accommodate the resurrection of Jesus, so if it can be shown to be an historical event, all other worldviews are eliminated from the possibility of being true.
All Eggs In The Resurrection Basket
While I do understand the force behind that argument and agree that no other worldview can make sense of the resurrection of Jesus, I also know that people are very willing to accept any possible explanation (versus reasonable explanation: see Chapter 2 of Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace) of the evidences to avoid accepting the truth of something they don’t want to acknowledge is true. Naturalistic explanations for the evidence related to the resurrection are possible, so that does give a person a way out and does not solidify the case, on its own, as tightly as my friend believes.
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I mean, any particular event seems quite improbable until we look at the background information. If any other worldview is correct, we can’t get around the reality that the naturalistic explanations for the evidence we use for the resurrection of Jesus is actually more probable than the Christian’s explanation. If we have the background of atheism, then the idea that God resurrected anyone from the dead is not only improbable, it is impossible; and any other explanation is more probable than impossible.
By choosing to focus solely on defending the resurrection, I think he is missing out on the cumulative case and counting on the idea that the skeptic cannot provide an alternative explanation for the evidences.
That said, I do want to switch gears for a moment from his claim about simply defending the resurrection to the idea that the other discussions are not useful for the apologist and actually work against the apologist and, worse, Christ…
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