Saturday, February 9, 2013

An 8th Grader’s Reaction to the Teaching of Apologetics

 Apologetics is the defense of the Christian faith (1 Peter 3:15). While Theology answers the question, “What we believe,” Apologetics answers the question, “Why we believe.”

Below, I’ve reprinted an essay written by one of the 120 8th graders I taught last week for four days. I was thrilled with his very articulate embrace of Apologetics, even if it seems that he has a higher estimation of it that I have:

          I believe that apologetics is one of the most important topics for any Christian to learn. If you are unable to defend your faith, then it will be weakened by insults and mockery. I’ve always had an interest in apologetics. Apologetics is important in our society today because of many skeptics that surround us. If we cannot give them good explanations for our beliefs, why should they believe us? I think that the church generally ignores apologetics and instead promotes what could be defined as ‘blind faith.’ Blind faith is NOT something that the Bible holds as valid. I think it is important that we utilize apologetics to not only strengthen others faith, but also to strengthen our own.
When Mr. Mann started giving verses that had to do with apologetics, I was genuinely surprised. I had never imagined that the Bible said anything about apologetics. In 1 Peter 3:15, for example, it says, “…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” I find this verse incredibly surprising because the ancient Christians had such a different culture than us. We are in a rationalistic society where religion is generally looked down upon, whereas the newly established church already had something to work with; an extremely religious society, be it Greeks or Romans, who already believed in gods and who already considered it feasible that a deity exists. I find it interesting that God prepared for a rationalistic culture such as ours two thousand years ago.

Apologetics has always been important in the Christian faith, but I think it is even more important where we are now. A few decades ago, Christianity was considered the main religion of America and was accepted throughout the country. In this recent generation, however, Christianity has been trodden on because of its exclusivity and what might first appear to be irrationalism. Christianity has gradually started to lose its powerful foothold over Western civilization; once Christianity totally loses its grasp on America, I am afraid that it will never gain it back. To find out how to remedy this problem, we need to find out how it all began.

I think the problem started with the parents of our current generation. Since they had never been taught apologetics and had never questioned their own faith, they could never be able to strengthen their offspring’s faith. In a society where rationalism is promoted over faith, some preachers and other Christians are left aghast as people continue to deny Christianity because of what appears to be ‘blind faith’. Now that we know how the problem started, I think it is even better to look at how it can be cured.

In order to fix our current problem with the Christian body as a whole, I think that we need to shift our focus from faith to rationalism. I do not mean that faith is detrimental; it is necessary to Christianity. However, in our current society, atheists and skeptics will respond more intensely to objective evidence. Since the Bible can be and has been proven historically, scientifically, and philosophically, I know that the evidence is there; we just need to utilize it. Instead of saying, “God exists and is the Lord of all things,” we should be saying, “God exists and is the Lord of all things because…” If we explain our faith to others rationally, then we can really prove to them that Christianity is valid.

Although I have gone off on a tangent, I can say one thing about Mr. Mann’s lessons this week; my faith in Christ has strengthened. I know now that the Bible really does support apologetics, and that God really was preparing for our current situation before it even happened. I think I can be useful to the Christian faith because of what I have learned. I know that apologetics is important, and I can show others that it is important too. I think that if we really utilize apologetics to the best of our abilities, then we can really make a positive impact on the body of Christ as we know it.

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