What is Apologetics?

Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word “apologetics” derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense or an answer given in reply. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply (apologia). The word appears 17 times in noun or verb form in the New Testament, and both the noun (apologia) and verb form (apologeomai) can be translated “defense” or “vindication” in every case.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Destroy Christianity": Richard Dawkins' amazing claim in the New Statesman

by Rev. George Pitcher
from Mail Online Blog, George Pitcher's Blog
December 14, 2011

[Editor's Note:  If Richard thinks that he is going to succeed in eradicating Christianity, he either has not read history, or he is ignoring history.  I don't think we have to worry about "Richey" snubbing out Christianity.  I mean after all, Nero, Trajan, and even Voltaire tried to kill Christians (Nero, Trajan and Domitian) and Voltaire said that he was going to rid the Bible of the face of the earth.  
      Let's see, Christianity expands under intense persecution, and America has not seen what out brothers and sisters overseas are experiencing, at least not yet.  There is a French Bible Society and printing press to publish Bibles in Voltaire's former house.  Um, I don't think we need to worry about anything so long as we study, defend, and then lovingly and graciously and firmly present the truth claim of the Christian faith.  Enjoy and engage the article.  -- RL]

My old friend, Professor Richard Dawkins, is guest editor of the Christmas double issue of the New Statesman. And he makes a very decent fist of it. His is a light touch to the magazine; a column on Islamism here, a piece by Rabbi Jonathan Romain on faith schools there. Prof. Dawkins himself pens a leader column as an open letter to David Cameron. It's rather rambling and seems to forget from time to time that it's addressing the Prime Minister, as the good Professor describes, I think, how he loves carols and secularism equally.

It's unlikely to cause the political stir that Dr Rowan Williams' contribution to the New Statesman generated last June. The Archbishop of Canterbury's edition was the biggest seller since the one that directly followed 9/11. I know, because I organised it. Still, Prof. Dawkins has a whole fortnight over Christmas to make up ground.

But the centrepiece of this Christmas edition is the main coup for the New Statesman - an interview by Prof. Dawkins with Christopher Hitchens, the great polymath who is suffering from terminal cancer. It's a fascinating read over three double-page spreads. Not least because Prof. Dawkins reveals a charming humility, allowing Hitchens to show his intellectual superiority at his own expense. Hitchens is thoughtful about CS Lewis and Christianity and rather leaves Prof. Dawkins floundering in his wake, occasionally interjecting little assents to show that he's stil there, as he struggles to keep up.

But one of these interjections is most revealing. About half-way through, the Prof gets this in edgeways: "Do you ever worry that if we win and, so to speak, destroy Christianity, that vacuum would be filled by Islam?"

So, "if we win...and destroy Christianity." True, there's a "so to speak" in there, but it doesn't do much. Try "If we win and, so to speak, kill all the Jews" as an alternative. Doesn't really work, does it? And Prof Dawkins can hardly claim that he was misquoted or taken out of context. He was editing the magazine, after all - there's even a picture of him doing so, pen poised masterfully over page proofs.

For all his claims that Christianity has been a brutal force throughout history, I'm sure Prof Dawkins' attitude, revealed here, isn't reciprocated. I don't recall Rowan Williams talking about "destroying atheism".

So it's good to know, at last, where Prof Dawkins really stands - and, incidentally, it's not where the gracious, generous-spirited and libertarian Hitchens stands. Hitchens hates totalitarianism. And it's totalitarians who have tried and failed throughout history to "destroy Christianity". Dawkins now sees that as a measure of winning. Good luck with that, Richard. And happy Christmas. 

3 comments:

Carneades Hume said...

Richard means intellectually eviscerate Christianity rather than by foul means! Remember that Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and Calvin hated freedom of belief! Had they the power, they would have scorched all Europe!
Communists' atheism is just an after-thought,not an essential part of their ideology. Remember that the First Commandment contradicts the First Amendment. Yahweh tolerates no dissent! That He purportedly gave us free will does not belie that!
Richard epitomizes civility!
Check out my Hume Carneades account at blogspot for gnu atheism. I' d appreciate any of your comments from the tone of your comments here!

Rob Lundberg said...

Thank you for your thoughts. I will not disagree with you that Dawkins is not civil in his tone, despite his arguments are rather horrible. One thing I would like to know is where you get this idea that Augustine, Aquinas et all hated freedom. You seem to be committing the fallacy of equivocation mishandling the term "bondage". I am thinking about Luther's Bondage of the Will. That has nothing to do with man's free moral (or amoral) agency that a loving God put in man. The issue you have is either a misunderstanding or a misrepresentation of this concept.

You statement about the First Commandment and the First Amendment is also illogical. What do they have to do with one another. Once says have no other gods before Yahweh, and the First Amendment says that "Congress shall make no respecting the establishment of religion NOR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF." No church and state phraseology and they are saying something categorically different from what you are arguing.

Yahweh tolerates no dissent? What about those who are militantly pushing the removal of religion from American culture? Are they making the same claim? If so how hypocritical is that?

Thanks again, Rob

Rob Lundberg said...

Thank you also for clarifying your first post from your second post to which I responded. I tried sending an email and my server went schitzo for a brief moment.