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, March 1, 2012

My Rejoinder to My Unreasonable "Anonymous" Commenter


Well, my Anonymous commenter is back and not showing much reason in his arguing why my "brothers and sisters in arms" and I should not attend the Reason Rally this coming March 24th.  As I mentioned in my previous "Leaky Bucket" posting, that much of the rhetoric that is espoused by groupies like this commenter. hails out of the writings of Dawkins, Harris,  Dennett and what I suspect the new fourth horseman, P. Z. Meyers.  It is emotional, vitriolic and not demonstrative of any good use of reason.   That's right reason (and these folks are spear heading a Reason Rally).
"I'll try one more time: Reasons NOT to show up and evangelize at the Reason Rally:
(1) You respect the rights of others to be different from you. Freedom of religion is also freedom from religion. On a few special occasions like the reason rally, it could mean freedom from being accosted by evangelical strangers."
This comment on respect is a red herring.  This is not about respect as much as it is on truth matters.  At the same time, our desire is to handle each conversation the Lord allows us to partake in with utmost “gentleness and respect.”  We respect the rights of others.  We respect the right for atheists to assemble and we  expect that from them for us to be on the outskirts of the rally.
Folks, this is a free country.  One is free to assemble peaceably, speak freely within certain parameters.  One has the right to believe or disbelieve in a God who is transcendent, personal, absolute in power, knowledge, presence and love.    The problem with this appeal from my ‘anonymous commenter‘ is that he/she is trying to put up an emotional and imaginary “do not disturb” sign so that we who are “immature” and deemed delusional do not rain on their rally.   


We will not be there to pick an argument or raise our voices.  We will be there to share with whomever be willing to ask questions or engage in a cordial dialogue.  We have things to offer for anyone wanting to accept or reject, be it a booklet, bottled water, or an opportunity for a conversation, with no questions asked.  What is the problem with that?   We cannot read the “do not disturb” sign because the sign is not there.
Secondly with reference this appeal, the  statement, "freedom of religion is also freedom from religion" is an interesting quip.  I am not sure where it comes from but it is a play on faulty word games.  Freedom of religion is one of the attributes of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.  The freedom from religion is a skewed way of stating that atheism should be the only ideology and that all religions are not acceptable.  It is a confusion of objective/descriptive (of) versus source (from) categories.  This little game playing is nothing more than demonstrative of a lack of reason from the commenter.

As for evangelicals "accosting" anyone, this is reductio ad absurd um.  Does this commenter think that our very presence at the Reason Rally is accosting to anyone.  This is an appeal to pity on the part of the Anonymous commenter.
"(2) You treat others the way you want them to treat you. If You would be offended to have atheists crash a Christian rally trying to engage people on why you should become an an atheist, then you will respect atheists desire to meet without Christian interference."
First off, speaking for myself, and some of my colleagues have also stated that we would not expect it any other way when it comes to treating others the way that we would want to be treated.  With reference to an atheist crashing a Christian meeting like a rally or even a church service, some folks in some churches might be offended by "evangelistic" atheists doing such a thing.  If it was cordially done in the way that we are going to be at the Reason Rally, we would relish the opportunity to have an atheist visit our churches.  What we would expect is good behavior and cordial conversation that is OPEN and HONEST and EVEN HANDED.   Again, this commenter’s lack of reason is shining forth in this proposal. 

"(3) You don't want to be a jerk. You recognize how arrogant, obnoxious and intrusive it is to crash somebody else's (sp) celebration and try to talk them out of it. Perhaps atheists should show up at your church picnics or Christmas services and debate the likelihood of a virgin birth? You do see the arrogance don't you? Are you so full of self-importance that you can't perceive that evangelizing is unwelcome at an atheist celebration? I hope you are not so lacking in self-perception?"
This appeal as unreasonable as it is has P. Z. Meyers all over it!  Apparently this commenter has not read truereason.org’s website.  Let me share a snippet briefly. . .
From True Reason's announcement: 
This is not a counter-demonstration. We are going there to share Christ person to person as opportunity arises. We will not raise our voices. We will talk with those who want to talk with us. We will offer gifts and materials to all, but we will not press ourselves on those who do not wish to converse
What is so "jerk-ish" about this?  Nothing.   Calling someone a jerk, arrogant or obnoxious is what is called in formal logic a fallacy known as an "ad hominem" (an attack against the person or the character of the person). In committing this fallacy the only thing this commenter can do is convey, in brute fact fashion, a sense of feeling “picked on” (appeal to pity) because of a group of confident Christians showing up on the outskirts of the Reason Rally to visit with anyone "who wants to" know why we believe we have the truth and not atheism.  
I will have more coming in another post on this charge of arrogance and obnoxiousness being spewed from P. Z. Meyers.  But REAL quickly here; our attitude toward our belief in God is not one of arrogance.  It is one of humble thanksgiving for the redemption that He has provided for us through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.  Arrogance in our context is sin.  If we think that we are better than our atheist counter parts railing at us, we are grossly misunderstanding the issues.  The major thing that separates the saint from the skeptic is a cross in real time space history and a resurrection in real time space history.  Plain and simple.
Again, as for an atheist showing up at our churches, let me say that some of our churches may be ready, and others. . . well, they need to be readied.  Me personally I am definitely not opposed to having an atheist day.   Again, the issue is whether a church is open or even ready for something like this.   As an elder in our church, we are somewhere at an ‘almost ready’ for something like an "invite an atheist to church" event.  
So is this third appeal reasonable?  Well my Anonymous commenter is not doing very well convincing us to stay away from the Mall on March 24th.  Next?
"Again 
(4) You are sensitive about slights to your faith. You can be certain that speakers at the Reason Rally will be just as blunt about all the problems with religion and gods as preachers in the pulpit are when trying to discredit atheists. If you consider such free speech "trashing religion" then attending will disconcerting for you."
Being sensitive to any slights of my faith is important.  To my commenter, I would like to say that if atheism were true, I would have stayed an atheist.  If Islam were true, I would want to be a Muslim.  But after continual examination of these two world views, I am convinced that Christianity is that which meets and passes the tests of a viable world view.  Atheism is an absolute denial of the Absolute according the French philosopher Etienne Bourne.  This is a logical contradiction, so no matter what Richard Dawkins wants to say is not going to impact my position in any way.  
In fact we look forward to maybe hearing a little of the bluntness of one of "Darwin's bulldogs".  At the same time, we respect the right for people to freely speak their opinion, and that includes atheists.  We expect the same courtesy.  Why is this?  Because people have a right to think and believe what they believe is right, but what they believe may not be right.  Let me encourage my “vitriolic” Anonymous commenter to examine what they believe and see if it truly lines up with consistently reality (ethically and morally, and philosophically and logically); after all as Socrates once said, "the unexamined life is not worth living." 
Let’s see if my commenter does better on the last appeal since the first four have essentially “died in the water.”

"(5) Atheists don't need your water or your Kool-Aid.. . .This will be the last time I comment on your blog because discussing religion just isn't interesting to me. It is like talking about why I don't collect stamps. There are forums for theists and atheists to debate, the Reason Rally is not one of those forums.
Thanks for trying to be reasonable. May you find reason attractive enough that you become comfortable outgrowing all supernatural beliefs."
No my commenter is correct, atheists don’t need our Kool-Aid, because they have already drank the “Kool Aid of Non-reason”.  I love the line where he/she says, “discussing religion just isn’t interesting to me.”  Apparently there was enough interest in this commenter’s psyche to post a couple of comments as unreasonable as they were. 

A commenter like this is always invited to comment on my blog.  I appreciate appreciate the attention and it let’s me know that people from all over are checking out our blog.   
A Final Note:

As I have moved through the five appeals from this commenter, it is quite clear that in their appealing for me to use reason they have demonstrated that their “reasoning” is definitively unreasonable.  This commenter is just showing how atheism is traitor to its adherent.  It is a traitor in that in the hopes of being reasonable, it commits the violation of the law of non contradiction. 

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