Apologetics and Worldviews ()

Chris Neiswonger, May 14, 2016
Part of the Radio Show series, preached at a Saturdays service

What is the worldview of for example, Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris, and how does it inform the way they do Atheism?
For many years, largely due to the Enlightenment bias toward a detached and objective world apprehensible through unaffected reason and open to empirical investigation, Christian apologetics overlooked the importance of perspective, cultural and historical situated-ness in advancing the apologetic agenda. Perhaps it was not so much an overt disregard for the careful identification of a person's interpretation of the world as much as that the value of such was taken for granted. There was an assumption that all invitees to the theological, philosophical or scientific project were playing by the same rules if they were "serious" thinkers and those outside of our peculiar construct were often dismissed out of hand. While it might be true that there is one real world, one real logic, one real epistemology and one real and final truth those are claims that call for substantiation.
First, it is no longer taken for granted. What was once granted (largely supplied through the theological investment of a common revelatory source giving a sufficient grounding to the project of knowledge and interpretation) is now up for grabs. Things formerly viewed common sense now need to be proven or at least intellectually defended prior to their use as a basis for something else. "Common sense" is no longer common.
Second, the idea of "pre-evangelism" through apologetics, philosophical, scientific and theological has perhaps never been more important than it is today. Christianity doesn't work just just any old way - and its presumptions and presuppositions themselves need to be identified and defended and made apprehensible and coherent to the mind of the hearer.
Much of the failure of Christian apologetics in the midst of contemporary culture might be from the lack of sufficient understanding of how far the mind and thought of the other might be from our own biblically or theologically informed point of view.
The days require a fielding out of our apologetic agenda toward ethics, politics, aesthetics, the arts, economics, psychology, sociology and international development as much as the common end of "defending the faith". No one person, as much as we value a good and well rounded education, is themselves sufficient to such an overall task and so the apologetic endeavor has become one in which differing areas of engagement have largely been overtaken by area experts well suited to the focus of a given field, but if we loose those common aspirations that hold together the whole we can lose our purpose. Can "apologetics" become inhibitory toward that which is its supposed end and purpose for being?
When we take the apologetic agenda to be as an aid and support for evangelism and the perseverance of the Christian through this life, along with answering and encouraging the unbelieving world, an understanding of the importance of worldview, ours and theirs, is inevitably at the front of our interest.


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