Apologetics is Boring image

Apologetics is Boring

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As Monday is my day off, I will often indulge myself by listening to Start the Week on Radio 4. It is often hugely frustrating, and has me shouting at the radio, but it can also be an intellectually stimulating tonic to start the week with. Recently Andrew Marr introduced a program by commenting on the current fight between fundamentalist atheists and fundamentalist believers – a fight he described as “frankly boring.”

I can already hear an “Oi!” coming from Wilson, but must admit to agreeing with Marr.
 
A significant part of the output of this blog is along the lines of what could broadly be described as apologetics, and I recognize the importance of having some good apologetic arguments up one’s sleeve, in order to be able to follow the apostolic instruction to, “always be prepared to give a reason for the hope you have.” But I’ve never really been a fan of apologetics. Partly this is personality – some people are just wired to be much more interested in apologetics than I am; I guess I’m more wired as a polemicist. It is also a reflection of Barth’s rejection of both apologetics and diastasis (ethics as a twofold enquiry – theological and philosophical): Apologetics because it seeks to justify theological truth on the foundation of general, non-theological, human thought. Diastasis because it equates God’s revelation as just another disputant in the debate; whereas (in Barth’s famous phrase) the revelation of God in Jesus Christ is “the final word of the original chairman.”
 
Like Andrew Marr, I’m afraid I find the new atheists more boring than alarming, more worthy of ignoring than engaging, targets for ridicule rather than philosophical debate. I’m glad other people feel differently than me, and are gifted differently from me, but please excuse me if I have to stifle a yawn.
 
I’d much rather spend my time proclaiming “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ,” and wait for God to remove the veil of ignorance from those who are perishing. That gospel is never boring!

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