I read a debate between two men with academic theological background. Simply put, one of them doubted to the uttermost that we could believe anything the scripture says about Jesus. One of the arguments he used is that the scripture has been thoroughly embellished and corrupted that it could not reflect the historical Jesus at all. Why, then, should we base our life on such reconstruction of Jesus of whom we cannot verify?
The other theologian keep responding that he doesn’t really care about these matters because every interpretation is valid enough that he want not any of them to be put aside in the front. But this is really avoiding the issue! So could we still read the scripture and find the real Jesus? Is the hyper-skeptical approach proposed by this man could be entertained with a same weight with all the other approaches?
This is where we see apologetics works could fill in the gap. If only both of them would look upon apologetics works written to answer that same issue, then they would be surprised, indeed.
But looking to apologetics works seems to be out of question. It hasn’t been long since we have a typical criticism about apologetics in a forum. These people criticized a stripe of apologists then generalizes the issue to this particular branch of discipline. Sure, there are history of apologists exaggerating the evidences. Sure, there are accounts of misrepresenting the data. But shouldn’t we, as academicians at least, put a hold to our prejudices (ah, the conservative-fundamentalist and apologetically-driven folks!) and generalizations (that all apologists are unfair) and weigh the evidences as they really are presented? If we find some spiritualist works as fallacious, or say, some biblical theologian’s works as confused, should we proceed to hit the discipline of spirituality and biblical theology at once? No we wouldn’t. That is exactly how I want people to see apologetics: withhold judgment, respect the arguments and avoid generalizations.
I am not saying that every apologetics works are created equal. Far from it, there are some with lots of fallacious logic and some other with greater precision and careful argumentation. What I’m protesting is the dismissive attitude toward apologetics works simply because they are apologetically-driven works. Ironically this comes often from those so-called academic communities who prized intellectual rigor and banishes dogmatic assumptions as preposterous. In doing this they have shown that the unfairness lies not upon the apologetic-driven works alone but also to theirs.