Apologetic Journey Pt. 5: Apologetic Schools Cntd

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Desdichado

Senior Member
Feb 9, 2014
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#1
To get a better frame of reference for this piece, I strongly suggest you read Pt. 4 in this series where I briefly define each school.

Here, I will explain how I will read/use texts from the other schools and better-define my preference for Classical Apologetics.

The Classical School- My Core

For now, I consider myself a Classical apologist above all else. The two-step approach matches up well with the theological truths of National Revelation and Special Revelation. It also mirrors the methods of basic human reasoning- I have to figure out if a car went down the road before I prove that car was a Honda Accord or at least build a cumulative case that car which was a Honda Accord went down the road.

Many of the biggest questions have to do with the car and non-Christians often make assumptions violating formal logic when they say there is no car! That's big check against them.

Classical apologetics has also withstood the test of time and has incorporated some of the best aspects of the other schools.

The Existentialist School- Explaining People as they Are

A completely rational person is a rare bird. Most people base their beliefs on a confluence of subjective factors- their temperament, upbringing, life-experience, social pressure, identity, etc.

For example, in my life Christians have been comparatively more charitable, more caring, and less superstitious than non-Christians.

For my atheist, this is a different story. By their observation, Christians are cruel, hypocritical mystics. I've heard their anecdotes and must say they are being perfectly sincere in their accusations. The Christians they have been exposed to are awful. May this be a lesson to us all- faith without works is dead.

For this reason, I stymie my expectations for what more rational apologetics can do. But I don't think this excludes the need for them. We are also, partially, rational beings, needing reasons for things. Those reasons can sway us on a fundamental level if taken in concert with the powerful non-rational factors mentioned above.

This, essentially, the purview of apologetics on a fundamental level.

The Presuppositionalist School- A Diagnostic Tool

I think it's quite true people come to spiritual quandaries with presuppositions. It's useful to define those presuppositions in broad strokes in the interest of defining who your opponent is and who they are not. That way, you can argue to their perspective.

It's also useful to evaluate our own presuppositions as Christians. I think we should probe our own weaknesses! Figure out where we are making logical and epistemological leaps like a good diagnostician.

That's where I part ways with the more radical Presuppositionalists- we must admit our own vulnerabilities It's okay to exchange certainties for strong probabilities if those strong probabilities are better-substantiated arguments.

Evidentialism- The Multi-Tool

Unless you are a full-blooded Existentialist, you will end up embracing some plank of evidentialism. I expect to lean heavily on the following:


  • Old School evidentialism, making the case for the historical Jesus and his resurrection.
  • The textual and historical validity of the Bible itself.
  • Natural phenomena which render the non-existence of God unlikely.

I'm going to avoid or, time permitting, criticise Evidentialists who have poor evidence, misinterpret Scripture, and make existential or presuppositional leaps while painting them as evidence. The field is rife with those.

Conclusion

I've written this mainly to give you all an idea of my views and inherent biases going forward. I could very well switch team jerseys by the end of this process, but for now, I'm of the Classical variety for many more reasons than those listed above.

I also expect to write more pieces on the schools themselves as I delve deeper.