Apologetics is defined as:
- Systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine)
- A branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
But to what end? How far are Christians willing to assert and defend themselves in the face of denial? It seems that too many of us all begin this argument with the presupposition that we are already absolutely and objectively right before a conclusion can even be met. But is this an intelligent assumption for those concerned about the social, political, scientific or overall intellectual legitimacy of their position? Or in any discussion for that matter? Are we willing to leave valid points unchecked simply to save our own arguments?
In the interest of intellectual honesty there must be a criteria purposefully defined and agreed upon for the religious themselves to admit that they have failed to win the debate. Otherwise, what's the point? It seems this would otherwise serve to encourage people to blindly oppose everything the counter-argument has to say without accountability.
With the burden of proof resting on the claimant the Christian criteria for disproof seems primarily important. Because the atheist argument isn't an assertion (a rejection of all religious assertion) criteria for disproof doesn't seem to apply there. Yet we atheists too should set our cards on the table. I have my understandings which are continually being revised and expanded based on new information. I will gladly explain them if asked.
I suggest we at least make an attempt to agree on this criteria before the discussion can resume.
- What fundamental claims of Christianity do you personally think must be proven in order to claim success in proving your religion true, specifically to the atheist? Things that, unaccounted for, should result in failure.
- By what standards, with what types of evidence and to what degree must your claims be proven?