Why Apologetics? Answering Objections From Within the Church
by Casey Sudduth
I’ve just graduated from a Christian college, where a discussion in my final religion class last fall caused me consternation. We’d been looking at data on declining church attendance and reasons people were leaving. We realized that all of the most-cited reasons were intellectual in nature. For example, “If God were real he wouldn’t allow so much evil,” and “I stopped believing in Christianity because of science.” This ran counter to the common belief that most people leave the church because of bad experiences.
What disturbed me was watching the class discussion play out. One student said the church should train people to understand the problems with these reasons. Others in the class seemed to agree this would be an effective first step. I chimed in to say this was in fact one of the primary tasks of apologetics. I noted that even though many of the religion professors at this Christian school disliked apologetics, these students were making a case for it.
That struck a bad note in the class. At the mention of apologetics, they backed down on what they’d been saying, and began to object that apologetics would not be good for the church.
My classmates’ initial support for intellectual defense of the faith was right. The data makes that clear. We must prepare to respond to the objections raised against apologetics, so that no one will be led astray by misconceptions and false assumptions.
What follows, then, is a response to each of the anti-apologetics arguments I heard from professors and fellow students at college…