Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some advice on how to get started in apologetics

A Facebook acquaintance asked me how I might advise them to get started into the realm of apologetics, and this is a person with two small children and who isn't flush with cash. Here's what I told them.

There are several different angles you can take it from. Here's a book that would describe my favored approach well:

Basically there are two veins you can take - 1) the data gopher, memorise a bunch of stuff and regurgitate as necessary (which is most apologetics you hear today); 2) recalibrate your mind to always look at the presuppositions behind what the other person is saying, and what what they are saying says about what they really believe. The latter is my general approach, and I believe it to be the approach most often taken by our biblical exemplars.

I know how it'd be tough to work your way thru a book like that with two young boys, so there are other ways to bone up.
Make it a routine when you sit down to read on the Internet to check up on a few apologetics sites.
My favorite two are:

I advise you, BTW, to find the groove that suits you in terms of tone, and not to pass judgment too quickly (if at all) on the way certain believers conduct themselves in apologetics. Save your condemnatory attitude for when you've spent some time dealing with and contending for the faith in the face of the worst that the Internet (which is the very worldwide community) has to offer, and see how they're targeting the internal contradictions and faulty assumptions that the unbelievers make.

Others to consider are: (neither are blogs, more like a resource site) (my other blog, obviously aimed at Roman Catholicism mostly and also Eastern Orthodoxy)

Also, podcasts are a great way to get your mind thinking about that stuff even in the midst of multitasking around the house or whatever. has a free one (not on iTunes though, he just blogs it as he records them, usually biweekly), and many, many useful debates for sale for cheap.
The Narrow Mind podcast on iTunes, or
The CARM podcast
Fighting for the Faith podcast - deals mostly with decay WITHIN the church, heresy, and bad theology

Finally, a good way to get real-world experience is to get familiar with an argument or two and then go use it, on blogs or bulletin boards/forums, like the ones at I gained a lot of useful experience with the Roman church when I spent a significant amount of time at a Roman Catho forum some years ago. In that context, you'll also hear alot of things you've never heard before - don't let it bother you, take the thing, research it, ask others as necessary, and come back stronger. How many 100s of times have I been challenged with sthg I had no idea about? Just find about it, and this is the most important - ask the challenge its own questions, challenge it with its own challenges and see how good an account of itself it can give. That's what I spend most of my time doing - turning the question back on the questioner.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


PChem said...

I personally have found Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by Moreland and Craid and Christian Apologetics by Geisler to be especially useful.

Rhology said...

Sure, those are good. I think they'd be too intimidatingly big for this person, just FYI.

bossmanham said...


I'm going through that book now. It's great!

Don't forget William Lane Craig's stuff, Rho. He's got some very accessible info on his web site.

PChem said...


NAL said...

When all else fails, try Reformed Epistemology.

Rhology said...

Forgot about WLC *wince*

fasb rating system said...

I know how it'd be tough to work your way through a book like that with two young boys, so there are other ways to bone up.