What is the Purpose of Atheist Apologetics?
by Eric Chabot
Over the years, I have seen a lot of skeptical arguments against the Christian faith. There are plenty of websites who are written by people who claim to be former Christians who now have made it their life purpose to ‘disprove’ Christianity. What are the similarities between the purpose of these atheist websites and the Christian apologetic endeavor? As I have already said before in, Introducing Apologetics: Cultivating Christian Commitment by James Taylor, Taylor lists three kinds of people who we will encounter when doing evangelism. If anything, if we do evangelism and encounter people in these categories, we should see why we need apologetics in the Church. Taylor says when dealing with people, many people may fall into various categories such as:
1. Critics: those with criticisms of the Christian faith who are not open to the possibility of its truth. Critics need to be answered to neutralize the effects of their criticisms on seekers and doubters.
2. Seekers: people who are open to our faith but are prevented from making a commitment primarily because of honest questions about the Christian claims.
3. Doubters: are Christians who find it difficult to believe one or more tenants of the Christian faith with complete confidence. Doubters need to be restored to full Christian conviction by giving them the tools to remove their doubts.
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When it comes to evaluating these atheist websites and their criticisms it is clear these people mostly fall under category #1. They are mostly critics. And they are providing the info for people that have become atheists or are possibly seekers and doubters. Some of them clearly want to turn doubters into #1 and join the fight against eradicating the Christian faith and religion in general.
What are the similarities between the purpose of these atheist websites and the Christian apologetic endeavor?
First, both have issues of confirmation bias. If someone is a critic (see above), and says that God must not exist or that miracles are not possible, in many cases they will seek out evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and dismiss evidence that might challenge or overturn their position…
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