There are six people living in my house. Well, there are six people and a dog, a puppy. Between teenage emotions, sibling rivalry, and rough-housing accidents, there are no shortages of apologies in our house. The thing about apologies is that they are typically over-simplified. They never include the all the details.
“He hit me first.” “She stole my doll.” “They won’t stay out of my room.”The Browning House
There’s always more to the story, and apologies don’t cover it all. The reasons that support Christianity are typically the same: they are simple Christian apologies.
WHAT IS AN APOLOGY
An apology is a reason, or an account, for an action or belief[i]; it accounts for things that have already happened. King Charles the First once said, “Never make a defense or an apology until you are accused.”
The original term, apologia, is the essence of a speech in one’s own defense. Christian apologists often cite 1 Peter 3:15 as the heart of Christian apologies. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGY[ii]
- Justin Martyr (100-165CE) — the first to offer a defense of Christianity. Martyr’s defense stood opposed to polytheism. Christians were being called atheist for their denial of other gods. Martyr’s apology of Christianity summarized Christians as, the “best helpers and allies in securing good order, convinced as we are that no wicked man … can be hidden from
God,and that everyone goes to eternal punishment or salvation in accordance with the character of his actions.” Martyr even offered an apology that Plato plagiarized Moses.
- Augustine – defended the Christian perspective of faith and reason. Later, Augustine’s work would become known as the Cosmological Argument or the argument from first cause.
They are much deceived, who think that we believe in Christ without any proofs concerning Christ.Augustine
- Anselm of Canterbury[iii] – focused on rationalizing the knowability of God. Anselm’s work would develop into the Ontological Argument to logically necessity the realness (as opposed to abstractness) of God.
- Thomas Aquinas – formulated the five proofs of God. It was Aquinas’ apology that proofs of God extend beyond simple reason. God can be inferred from such things as: nature of the world, causation, and contingency.
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”Thomas Aquinas
A SIMPLE CHRISTIAN APOLOGY
Just as most apologies focus on a single event and provide a reason for it, most Christian apologies focus on one specific aspect of God. But they rarely tell the whole story because they don’t cover every view (nor should they); they always fail in some regards. An atheist can easily dismiss the apology of Martyr with a wallow of self-arrogance: “You don’t need God to know good from bad.” Or, they can offer a counter-claim to Aquinas by sharing current scientific theories on abiogenesis or the Big Bang. Quaint rebuttals are, themselves, apologies.
Most arguments in support of Christianity are simple. These apologies are not meant to prove the intellect of the one who uses them, nor are they meant as a winsome maneuver to introduce someone to Jesus. Simple Christian apologies play a supportive role in
The reasons supporting Christianity have been around since before Jesus walked the Earth. Certainly, there are more than enough reasons to believe Christianity. Furthermore, there are no good reasons to believe anything else. Christianity is the only religion that offers an explanation and an apology for all aspects of our universe and life: origin, cosmos, desire, evil, order, logic, history, geology, sex, free-will, morality, marriage, justice, government, family, and more. No other religion or worldview does that. In fact, that may be the simplest Christian apology there is.
What do you think? Is it enough?
What apologies do you offer for, or against, Christianity?
[i] Meriam Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apology
[ii] A great starting point for more on this topic: https://bible.org/seriespage/2-brief-history-apologetics#P42_24041