“We need arguments, art, and personal witness. The ear cannot say to the hand or the eye, ‘I have no need of you’: so, too, the apologist cannot say to the martyr, ‘I have my arguments; I have no need of your witness’—nor to the poet, the filmmaker, the shelter volunteer, the mother of children, ‘I have my arguments; I have no need of your art, or your service, or your love.’
Christian faith includes assent to propositions, but it is more than just a set of propositions; it is an entirely different way of looking at and living in the world. The experience of turning from unbelief to belief involves a tectonic shift in values and identity; depending on the particular individual’s prior beliefs, becoming convinced of the truth of Christianity may involve a terrifying dislocation of familiar ideas, the relinquishment of convictions previously held as basic truth, and a turn to an entirely new and existentially demanding way of being in the world.
With the dramatic nature of this shift in mind, we can better appreciate that propositional knowledge about Christianity, though necessary, may not be sufficient to help a nonbeliever make the action of the will necessary to accept Christ as Savior. More is needed. As Alison Milbank argues, ‘in apologetics we do not just want to convince people of the rationality of what we believe as if it were a fact about the population of the Galapagos Islands: we want to make them understand in a participatory way.’
Or, to put it in Bl. John Henry Newman’s terms, we want to help people move from inference to assent, and for that assent to be real, not merely notional and abstract. The fact of the Resurrection, and its implications, can be understood by the reason, but it is imagination that helps establish its meaning—and thereby makes it a real, living, life-changing idea.” – Excerpt from Apologetics and the Christian Faith by Dr. Holly Ordway