Apologetics and the Academy

by Kelly Burton

I originally got involved with philosophy in college because I love ideas. Historically, the academy is where ideas are discussed, assumptions exposed, and a sustained reasoned exchange takes place. Yet, lately, some ideas are not welcome in the academy. Some topics are off limits, regarded as settled, or worse, ridiculed rather than discussed. For example, discussion of the existence and nature of God is off limits in the secular university setting. In my fifteen years at the secular university in the disciplines of Philosophy and Religious Studies, where one would expect to discuss matters of ultimate reality, I have had one discussion about God in the classroom setting as a student. Yet, ideas are irrepressible and will find an outlet.  In the case of discussing ideas about God, there are voluntary campus associations that seek to carry on the tradition of rational discussion of the existence and nature of God in the university setting.

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Ratio Christi is one such organization. Because I love ideas, and I love the academy, in conjunction with the topic of God, the eternal One, I have joined Ratio Christi in the function of Chapter Director of the student apologetics club at Arizona State University, Tempe campus.  ‘Apologetics’ comes from the Greek apologos – and is a reasoned defense.  Ratio Christi is a Christian student apologetics alliance. Christian Apologetics has as its purpose a rational defense, as well as commendation, of the Christian worldview.

A rational defense involves the give and take of reasons for belief. Reasons for belief can be subjective or objective.  Apologetics seeks to provide objective reasons, or proof, for Christian belief. Objective proof, or reasoned defense, is not the same as a subjective religious experience.  Reason is distinct from intuition, sense perception, tradition, testimony, or common sense.  Reasoning is not the same as proselytization, which has as its goal conversion.  Apologetics has as its goal knowledge of the truth about reality…

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rcOur goal is to place apologetics clubs at all major universities. Situating Ratio Christi chapters at universities around the world is an important step in reversing the skepticism that permeates most educational institutions. We desire to partner in taking back the mind of the University for Christ. By equipping Christian students we believe many students will not only hold onto a faith that they might otherwise abandon, but they will also begin to stand up for Christianity when it comes under fire in the classroom. Furthermore, we want to train students to be conversational evangelists that can in turn train others to defend and proclaim the Gospel. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE >>>