Spectrum of believers in apologetics:
- Hardened Doubter
- Apathetic hardened doubter
- Not a debate anymore for them; akin to a problematic marriage in which partners no longer fight because the divide is so large
- Best approach for apathetic doubters is to be a pebble in their shoe
- Angry hardened doubter
- Remember they often carry hurt from believers themselves, so when we approach them we are taking all of that on.
- Be long suffering with people. Let them unload. There may be something cathartic about unloading to a Christian, instead of to fellow atheists.
- Our goal is to prepare our kids to meet the hardened doubters, the Bill Mahers of our world, often found by our kids on college campuses
- Many women can bring a special touch to apologetics in employing gentleness.
- Humor is another effective tool in cutting through tension in apologetic conversations; it’s a humanizing effect when used well, especially in a self-deprecating way.
- When it may not be wise to engage in an apologetic discussion:
- When you’re fatigued or physically exhausted
- If you are not in prayer, or your own spiritual life isn’t at its optimal health
- If the topic at hand is one you know will make you go from rational to emotional
People and Resources mentioned:
The Allure of Gentleness by Dallas Willard
Fruit of the Spirit, Galations 5:22-23
Lydia Allan and Allen Hainline debate: “Science & God”
Dr. John D. Ferrer and David Smalley debate: “The Problem of Evil”
Justin Bass and Dan Parker debate: “Jesus of Nazareth: Lord or Legend?”
The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12
Pensees by Blaise Pascal
Christianity for Modern Pagans by Peter Kreeft
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, Ecclesiastes 7:4
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
Bill Maher – Evangelistic atheist; comedian; host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
Jon Stewart – Atheist; comedian; host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”
G.K. Chesterton – (b. 1874, England; d.1936) Christian English author and theologian famous for writings on the Christian faith, his fictional detective character “Father Brown,” and his orations.
Dr. William Lane Craig – Christian philosopher and author; founder of Reasonable Faith, frequent international debater against Atheism.
Dr. John D. Ferrer – Husband of Hillary Morgan Ferrer; Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion; Masters in both Apologetics and Philosophy; debater and writer for the cause of Christ. You can see his writing at www.intelligentchristianfaith.com or www.abortionhistorymuseum.com
Blake Giunta – Talked about how the Dan Barker/Justin Bass debate was like throwing meat to ravenous dogs. He is also author and manager of BRILLIANT website www.beliefmap.org
Blaise Pascal – 17th century French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher who wrote apologetic notes called Pensees
Peter Kreeft – Christian philosopher at Boston College; author of a great many wonderful works. Christianity for Modern Pagans mentioned here.
C.S. Lewis – (b. 1898; d.1963) British author, theologian, broadcaster, and Oxford professor. Lewis is well known for his Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity. He is a former atheist who turned to Christianity through careful thought and consideration.
Lee Strobel – An American Christian author who applied his experience in investigative journalism to examine the Christian faith while he was an unbeliever and became convinced of its truth. Well known for writing The Case for Christ.
Elehu in the book of Job – the only one of Job’s comforters who was not later rebuked.
Apologia – Greek for “defense,” as in a lawyer’s defense course. The word used in 1 Peter 3:15; where our word “apologetics” comes from.
“Pebble in the shoe” – a phrase made popular by Greg Koukl that means to leave something for someone to think about, an idea that they can’t quite ignore, that they’re going to have to address.
Pascal’s Wager – The idea developed by Blaise Pascal that humans bet with their lives that God either exists or doesn’t. (To see an excellent rebuttal to this, see Natash Crain’s article, Please Don’t Tell Your Kids to Believe in God Just in Case He Exists.
Prescriptive – States what is best, right, or what should be.
Descriptive – Explains something as it is, without commentary or opinion on its correctness. Is not a prescription for what should be.
“Questions are good. Enough unanswered questions leads to doubt. Doubt, when left to solidify, turns into unbelief, which is really really hard to reverse.” -Hillary Morgan Ferrer
“Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” -G.K. Chesterton
“Our culture needs to relearn civility.” -Rebekah Valerius
“We are pushing down the center in ourselves interacting with a flagrant center in someone else.” -Rebekah Valerius
“When you have the rug ripped out from under you, it really depends on what kind of rug you were standing on as to whether that’s a bad thing or not.” -Hillary Morgan Ferrer
“Apologetics should never be divorced from prayer.” -Rebekah Valerius
Hillary Morgan Ferrer is the founder of Mama Bear Apologetics. She is coauthor and editor of the Mama Bear Apologetics book, and has been married to her husband, Dr. John D. Ferrer, for over 12 years. She is working on her second master’s degree, and yet can’t seem to figure out the simplest cooking recipes.