Why Your Children Do NOT Need Apologetics: Correcting Misconceptions
by Hillary Morgan Ferrer
This weekend, a blog was released titled “Why Your Children do NOT Need Apologetics.” In it, apologetics was characterized as a fear-based recitation of doctrines which “denies the realities of human experience.” I suspect that it was written in response to the blog and podcast that Rebekah and I did the last week critiquing their Easter article. The article we critiqued was written by a children’s pastor, and it discouraged teaching children about the literal death and resurrection of Jesus, or the concept of original sin. (You can see our podcast response with extensive summary notes here.) We definitely didn’t mince words in the podcast, but neither did we throw any punches.
Upon seeing this new blog, explicitly aimed at discouraging teaching apologetics to kids, I did what I think we should all do on a regular basis: I listened to their critique and tried to evaluate their message with a spirit of humility and self-reflection. I truly believe that we can learn from anyone. We all have blindspots. Are there things that we as an apologetics community could do better? Absolutely. In fact, I felt so strongly about it that I wrote a full, public apology on behalf of the apologetics community for the areas where we blow it. But after sleeping on it, I realized that none of the things I was ready to apologize for were the things that the author seemed to have a beef with.
I’ll be the first one to admit that apologists can be prone to valuing argumentation over people, and we need to not only repent of that, but hold each other accountable within the apologetics community. We cannot be content to just roll our eyes when we see self-proclaimed apologists steamrolling people. However, when I went back and reread the article on why we shouldn’t teach our kids apologetics, the faults that I wanted to apologize for didn’t match with the author’s complaints. Her main concern seems to be (ironically) a fear of passing on fear to children, and a resistance to affirming that Christianity is indeed based on doctrines. In fact, most of her concerns seem to stem from misconceptions of apologetics, not bad experiences with apologists. I am more than willing to apologize for the areas where misguided apologists have hurt our cause. However, I don’t think I can apologize for someone not understanding what we do. All I can do for that is correct the misconceptions, and hope for better mutual understanding…
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