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Wednesday, January 12, 2011 

Evidentiary And Philosophical Apologetics Will Always Be Necessary

Today’s quote of the day is from Joe Carter writing for First Things about the anger atheists feel toward a God they don’t believe exists. From the article:

A new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that atheists and agnostics report anger toward God either in the past or anger focused on a hypothetical image of what they imagine God must be like. Julie Exline, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University and the lead author of this recent study, has examined other data on this subject with identical results. Exline explains that her interest was first piqued when an early study of anger toward God revealed a counterintuitive finding: Those who reported no belief in God reported more grudges toward him than believers.

At first glance, this finding seemed to reflect an error. How could people be angry with God if they did not believe in God? Reanalyses of a second dataset revealed similar patterns: Those who endorsed their religious beliefs as “atheist/agnostic” or “none/unsure” reported more anger toward God than those who reported a religious affiliation.

Mr. Carter later writes “Many atheists do, of course, proceed to their denial of God based solely on rational justifications. That is why evidentialist and philosophical approaches to apologetics will always be necessary. But I'm beginning to suspect that emotional atheism is far more common than many realize. We need a new apologetic approach that takes into account that the ordinary pain and sufferings of life leads more people away from God than a library full of anti-theist books. Focusing solely on the irate sputterings of the imperfectly intellectual New Atheists may blind us to the anger and suffering that is adding new nonbelievers to their ranks.

And right there is today’s quote of the day: “Many atheists do, of course, proceed to their denial of God based solely on rational justifications. That is why evidentialist and philosophical approaches to apologetics will always be necessary

Sadly, I’m finding myself using evidentiary and philosophical apologetics more and more, not with angry atheists but rather with my reformed Christian friends and neighbors who think the Bible is just a group of stories given to us by men as a guidebook to holy living and not having any real ties to a historical crucified Jesus who continues bless us with His gifts in the sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and Holy Baptism right now, today.

Yep, I’m doing way too much of evidentiary and philosophical apologetics lately.

The question I find myself wondering is this, how many of my Christian friends who physically exhibit signs of repulsion when I say we go to church to receive gifts from God and not to do something for God are angry not at me for taking the Bible literally but instead are angry at God for not coming to them in more rational or sensible terms than simple bread, wine, or water with the spoken Word.

No matter what the case may be, evidentiary and philosophical apologetics will always be necessary for both those inside and outside the walls of Christ's Church.

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