Why Aren’t More Women Interested in Apologetics?

by Natasha Crain

Last weekend, I had the privilege of teaching at the CrossExamined Instructor Academy. There was an excellent group of attendees, and I loved having the opportunity to engage with so many passionate apologists. I especially enjoyed time on the final day when instructors were each assigned a room and students were free to move about the rooms and ask questions. One question I was asked during that time led to a particularly interesting conversation:

Why aren’t more women interested in apologetics?

This question regularly comes up in apologetics circles, so it wasn’t surprising. But as the only female instructor at an event where only about 10 percent of the attendees were women, it seemed especially relevant that day. I thought about the question perhaps more deeply than I ever had before.

Here’s what I said.

A lot of people assume (and it has often been said) that men are more analytical than women, and since apologetics is seen as an analytical pursuit, it makes sense that more men would care about it. While I think there is some truth to this, I believe it’s a very small part of the picture.
My professional background is in marketing. In marketing, we know there are two different kinds of interest, based on how relevant something is to a person: intrinsic relevance and situational relevance. Things that have intrinsic relevance to you are things in which you’re naturally interested. For example, I’ve always been fascinated by family history research; it’s intrinsically relevant to me. But many people are bored to tears by researching generations of dead ancestors (my husband included!). Things that are not intrinsically relevant to you, however, can become situationally relevant due to changes in your life circumstances. I’ve seen many people who never cared about family history suddenly want to know all they can about their family tree after a family member dies. That situation creates an interest.

Let’s apply this to apologetics…

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Why Aren’t More Women Interested in Apologetics?