Apologetics…Useful, Vital, and the Most Important Thing Anyone Can Do
Apologetics…Useful, Vital, and the Most Important Thing Anyone Can Do
Hello everyone, and welcome to Original Apologetics, where we explore new ways to defend Christians and As always, I hope that you are doing well.
Alright everyone, so, for this video, we are going to be addressing the issue of whether engaging in Christian apologetics is a useful endeavor or not. After all, one of the complaints that is often leveled against Christian apologists and Christian evangelists from atheistic unbelievers is that apologetic work is ultimately a massive waste of time and energy. Such atheistic unbelievers argue that rather than expending such a large quantity of effort on such drivel as apologetics and evangelism, Christians should strive to do something more useful with their time and energy, like science or alleviating the suffering of others through some kind of more tangible and material work. So, what should Christian apologists make of this kind of objection from an atheistic unbeliever (and note that in this case, we are only dealing with this objection from the specific perspective of an atheistic unbeliever, not from some other religious individual)?
Well, leaving aside the fact that many Christian apologists only engage in their apologetic endeavors on a part-time basis, and thus readily contribute to society through their primary employment, thus negating a substantial amount of force from the atheistic unbeliever’s objection, the fact remains that even if this was not the case, and even if a Christian apologist was working on apologetics full time, the atheistic unbeliever’s objection would still be unsound. Why? Because, ultimately, Christian apologetics/evangelism is, in fact, the most important endeavor that any human being can perform, and so the apologist is not only not wasting his time, but he is actually engaging in the most critical work that there possibly is.
Don’t believe me? Well, consider the fact that if Christianity is true, then apologetics and evangelism—which help bring people to Christ, and thus help bring people to an eternal life of incomparable bliss—would indeed be the most important sorts of activities that any person could perform. After all, if there exists an eternal life of the utmost bliss that can be freely chosen, as well as a life of self-inflicted suffering in hell which can be freely avoided, and if apologetics and evangelism can help someone to accomplish the former while also avoiding the latter, then anything and everything that could be accomplished on this earthly plane pales in comparison to the task of helping people make that positive choice. So, for example, while curing cancer may be an incredibly worthy goal, it would ultimately still pale in comparison to helping even just one person come to know Christ and have eternal life. Let that fact sink in for a moment. Curing cancer for millions upon millions of people, though an overwhelming good, nevertheless is still almost insignificant compared to a person choosing eternal life with God. That is how valuable eternal life is.
And so, in light of this fact, if Christianity is true, which the apologist obviously believes, then far from being faulted for doing something useless, the apologist should be commended for doing the most important task imaginable, for he is not only bringing the truth of Christianity to people, but he is also helping them to fulfil their highest self-interest and their highest well-being by assisting them in the achievement of eternal life. So, in an ultimate sense, if Christianity is true, there is literally nothing more important that a person could do than apologetics and evangelism. For such tasks both strengthen existing believers and help move unbelievers towards Christian truth.
However, for the sake of argument, let us imagine, for the moment, that Christianity is actually false and that atheistic-naturalism is true. In such a case, is the Christian apologist/evangelist now wasting his life by arguing for the truth of Christianity. Not really, for on atheistic-naturalism, there is no objective purpose or meaning that people have to fulfil. Indeed, on such a worldview, and in the ultimate sense, there is nothing objective that humans should do or need to do. Thus, on this view, humans have no objective duties nor any requirement to fulfil one purpose over any other. And even if there somehow were objective purposes and duties on atheistic-naturalism—although there are not—the fact would remain that on atheistic-naturalism there would still be no ultimate accountability for failing to fulfil such purposes and duties. After all, it needs to be remembered that at the core level, on atheistic-naturalism, humans are little more than gene-propagating meat-machines, with, at best, no more of an objective purpose or meaning to their lives than spreading their DNA.
So, on atheistic-naturalism, the most plausible account is that while human beings can provide themselves with a purely subjective purpose that is individually chosen, they do not have any objective purpose, nor a duty to fulfil any specific purpose, nor any ultimate accountability for the purposes that they either do or do not fulfil. But now, with that understanding in mind, note that one person’s subjective purpose in life is as good as any other’s. Thus, on atheistic-naturalism, one person’s subjectively chosen purpose to cure cancer is objectively no better or worse than another person’s subjectively chosen purpose to be, say, a video game player. Nor, on such a view, does a person have any duty to fulfil one purpose over another; thus, even if a person could cure cancer, but played video games instead, he would not be shunning any objective duty or proper purpose by doing so, because his subjectively chosen purpose to play video games is as objectively valid as curing cancer. Nor, on atheistic-naturalism, will a person be held ultimately accountable for deciding on one purpose—such as playing video games—over another purpose, so there are not even self-interested reasons for choosing one purpose over another.
And so, what does this mean for the Christian apologist? It means that—even assuming that atheistic-naturalism is true—the Christian apologist’s self-chosen purpose of defending Christianity is objectively no better or worse than any other subjectively chosen purpose. Nor does the Christian apologist have a duty not to defend Christianity. Nor will the Christian apologist be ultimately held accountable for choosing to defend Christianity as his purpose. Essentially, on atheistic-naturalism, the Christian apologist’s drive to defend Christianity is, from an objective and ultimate perspective, as valuable and legitimate as any other purpose. Now, the atheistic unbeliever may not like that the Christian apologist does what he does, but on atheistic-naturalism, who cares about the unbeliever’s subjective likes and dislikes. They are no more valid than the Christian apologist’s likes and dislikes, and so, from an objective perspective, they can be readily ignored!
Now, the atheistic unbeliever might nevertheless still object that if atheistic-naturalism is true, then the Christian apologist is essentially spreading falsehoods and lies by engaging in apologetics. But again, ultimately, so what? After all, to repeat the key point: on atheistic-naturalism, humans have no objective purposes or duties, and thus they have no objective purpose or duty to follow the truth. Nor are humans held accountable if they do not follow the truth. Furthermore, on atheistic-naturalism, if self-interest, personal pleasure, and self-satisfaction conflicts with the truth, then why should a person sacrifice the former for the latter, especially since this is allegedly that person’s only life to live? Of course, on atheistic-naturalism, rationally, they shouldn’t sacrifice those things for truth—assuming, of course, that those things conflict with the truth, which they actually very often do. And so the atheistic unbeliever can hardly object if a person tells him that, on atheistic-naturalism, the truth does not override self-interest in importance. Thus, the atheistic unbeliever’s objection from truth simply has no objective force on his own worldview.
And, as a side-note, also remember that, in arguably all cases, the Christian apologist genuinely believes that he is the one spreading the truth, and that it is the atheistic unbeliever who is actually spreading falsehoods. And so, what this means is that even if Christianity is false, the Christian is still seeking to defend the truth of Christianity because the apologist believes it to be true, and thus the apologist cannot be morally blamed for lying or willfully spreading falsehoods unless it can clearly be shown that the Christian apologist knew better and yet continued to argue that Christianity was true regardless of consciously knowing it to be false—not that moral blame, in an objective sense, even makes sense on atheistic-naturalism, but you get the point. Furthermore, since the Christian apologist believes in what he is doing, and since, on Christianity, what he is doing is the most important thing that he could do, then this very fact also makes the apologist’s behavior commendable, even if atheistic-naturalism were true.
But what about the idea that an apologist should be helping people and seeking to alleviate their suffering in this life rather than wasting his time with defending and spreading Christianity. Well, even here, the atheistic unbeliever’s objection fails. Why? Because, first, and as already argued, if Christianity is true, then helping even one soul to achieve eternal life is a greater good than anything else that a person could possibly do on this earth. But the objection also fails because, over the ages, accepting Christianity as being true has brought countless individuals satisfaction, well-being, and mental contentment. Indeed, the fact is that a worldview like Christianity has brought many individuals great peace and joy, thus serving to alleviate their suffering and also helping to remove their harmful vices. In fact, in terms of worldviews, for many people—not all, for sure, but for many—Christianity serves to alleviate a person’s suffering and improve their life much more than a worldview like atheistic-naturalism does.
Thus, ironically, even if Christianity is not true—again, a point which is accepted only for the sake of argument—the apologist still serves a very useful function by the atheistic unbeliever’s own standard of alleviating human suffering and improving the lives of human beings. In fact—and this is even more ironic because it is still using the atheistic unbeliever’s own metric of alleviating suffering in this earthly life—a strong case can be made that the Christian apologist arguably serves a more useful purpose than a proselytizing atheist does, for the Christian apologist provides many people with a worldview that creates mental contentment and much joy. By contrast, atheistic-naturalism—which, at its core, holds that a human being is essentially a soon-to-die meat-sack who is the equivalent of a really complex form of slime mold that can think—is an ultimately depressing and unmotivating point-of-view. So, even on atheistic-naturalism, a Christian apologist is arguably performing a better service to other people than a vocal atheistic unbeliever is.
And so, in the end, if Christianity is true—which it is—then the Christian apologist/evangelist is engaging in the most useful and important activity that any human being could perform. And even if Christianity is false and atheistic-naturalism is true, then even in such a case, the Christian apologist’s subjectively chosen purpose to spread Christianity is, objectively speaking, no more or less worthy than any other subjectively chosen purpose.
So, all this is to say that, no, the Christian apologist is not doing something useless. Far from it. In fact, the Christian apologist/evangelist is doing the most useful thing in this world.
Alright everyone, that concludes this video, which I hope you enjoyed. Now, before you go, and if you would like, please subscribe to Original Apologetics if you have not already done so. Your support is greatly appreciated. Additionally, if you have a question for Original Apologetics or if you would like to submit any material to the site for publication, then please don’t hesitate to e-mail Original Apologetics at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. Thank you and good-bye.