The field of apologetics is an attempt to justify faith with reason, evidence and argumentation. Ostensibly, apologetics exist to convince non-believers. In practice, the consumers of apologetics are already believers, those looking for modern justifications for their subjective experience.
In my deconversion story, apologetics had the opposite effect of its intent. As a believer, I realized the apologetic arguments I consumed were insufficient. That even though I accepted the conclusions by faith, the arguments themselves were either fallacious or weak. Along with the bible itself, apologetics formed the first cracks in my faith.
I am not a philosopher, nor do I pretend to be one. My critiques of apologetics are from the perspective of an honest seeker. It is my opinion, that it is not that believers take their faith too seriously, it is that they do not take it seriously enough. And that believers in general and apologetics specifically use one standard of evidence to judge other religions as false and then use special pleading for their own. My goal is to have a single standard to judge all religious claims.
I also do not believe that intellectual arguments lead people to faith and very few lead people away from faith. What does allow people to listen to their doubts and in some cases walk away from their former faith? Brutal honesty. Honesty with oneself and honesty about one’s justifications for belief.
Critiques of Apologetics:
- Thought experiments for believers
- What if I grant you that?
- Apologetics, epistemology and moving on
- Watershed Presuppositions
- Leaning into my presuppositions
What disappoints me about apologists is not that they are making arguments for Christianity.From Apologetics, epistemology and moving on
I expect and encourage that.
What disappoints me is that the arguments are weak.
While I am occasionally angry at professional apologists, I am not angry at believers. How could I be? I used to be one.