Use of terms
In particular, the meaning has become established that the justification of Christian doctrines of the faith, and that part of Christian theology , in which one deals with the scientific-rational safeguarding of the faith, is referred to with the term apologetics . A restriction to Christian content would, however, represent a narrowing of the term. If the term apologetics is used in Marxist- oriented studies, for example, it is better to speak of “social apologetics ”.
That the term apologetics is not reserved exclusively for Christian content can also be seen from other dictionaries with formulations such as “defense of [Christian] doctrines”. In literary history, apologists are not only the originally Greek representatives of a group of writers of the 2nd century who advocated Christianity, but also generally anyone who emphatically advocates and defends a certain point of view. In Catholic theology today the apologetic area is mostly called fundamental theology .
Functions of apologetics
Apologetics has three main functions. she wants
- Advocate the truth of the faith through logical argument and scientific and historical evidence
- Defend the faith against attacks from critics of various other worldviews and beliefs
- reject opposing beliefs or worldviews
"Always be ready to answer any question ( ἀπολογίαν ) who asks about the reasonableness ( λόγος ) of the hope that fills you."
This is the classic reference (the Locus classicus ) for the term apology or apologetics . In Luke's Acts of the Apostles , the conflict between early Christianity and the worldview of the environment becomes visible, with magic ( Acts 8,5-24 EU ), polytheism ( Acts 14,8-20 EU ) and Greek philosophy ( Acts 17:16 -34 EU ).
In the late 2nd century, Christian apologists such as Justin Martyr , Athenagoras of Athens, and Tertullian saw their primary role as defending the Christian faith against charges of illegal activity.
"They are very wrong who think that we believe in Christ without any evidence of Christ."
The Middle Ages were concerned with the evidence of God . Anselm of Canterbury was the first to perform the ontological proof of God, which has since been much discussed. In particular his book Cur deus homo (Why God became a man) has a clearly apologetic orientation:
“ God must be thought of as the absolutely perfect being. […] If God were only an idea and not also real, he would not be thought of as the absolutely perfect being. [...] So God must also exist. "
- Everything that is moved has to be moved by someone else. Ultimately, there is the first thing that moves, the cause of all movement. That is God: the immobile mover (according to Aristotle ).
- The visible world consists of causes and effects. Every effect has a cause, an effect cannot be a cause of its own. The first operative cause is God.
- Every contingent being has its cause ultimately in a necessity. Every relative necessity has its justification from another necessity. A need is absolute, has the need in itself, that is God.
- Every natural body is more or less useful. Only an intelligent being can create purposefully in the visible world. The world itself was created by the highest intelligent being, God.
As an independent discipline under the name of apologetics, the Christian apology only emerges in the course of internal Christian disputes and, following its classic methodology, following the epistemological directions of the 14th century.
Medieval Islamic theology pursued both its own scientific foundations ('founding') and defending ('apologetic') issues in a discipline known as Kalām . The inventory of the terms and arguments used has numerous parallels with previous Jewish and Christian theology, is further elaborated here and then in turn received by Jewish and Christian theologians of the Middle Ages ( scholasticism ).
Apologetics was also a concern of the Reformers . John Calvin assumed that the Christian faith is always reasonable. But he also insisted that the Christian faith often seems unreasonable because human reason is compromised by sin and spiritual deception.
The mathematician Blaise Pascal rejected the traditional arguments for God's existence and emphasized the personal relational aspect of believing in Jesus Christ . He argued that God had given enough evidence of the truth of Christianity that those who wanted to know the truth could see it, but he had not shown himself in a way that would force those who would not believe to believe. Pascal is known for Pascal's bet as an inviting argument for the Christian faith (shortened):
“In this game we call life, everyone has to make a bet. One stake applies to every bet. Man must base his life either on claiming that Christian teaching is true or on claiming that it is not. If a person does not take this bet, they automatically bet on the possibility that it is not true. ... Assuming that a person decides in favor of the Christian faith: if he is correct with his assumption, he has everything to gain, if he is wrong, he has nothing to lose. ... Let us assume that a person decides against the Christian faith: If he is correct, he has won nothing. But if he is wrong, he has lost everything and will spend his eternity in hell . "
Depending on what the emphasis is on, the following approaches can be distinguished:
These apologetics are heavily based on reason and especially logic. In this classic form of apologetics, Christianity is not primarily defended, but a logical, rational belief is presented and secured or argued for the rationality of monotheism. Representatives are in particular Augustinus von Hippo , Thomas von Aquin , Norman Geisler , CS Lewis , Wolfhart Pannenberg , William Lane Craig and Ravi Zacharias .
This modern form of apologetics uses empirical and historically verifiable facts to make the Christian faith plausible. Typical representatives of this direction are Lee Strobel and Carsten Peter Thiede . Weighing up historical evidence results in “probability, but not certainty” ( Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer ).
This position assumes that a personal, existential experience of God cannot be based primarily on rational arguments or empirical evidence. The existential religious longings of man can be fulfilled in Christianity as a "relational religion", and this happens through personal experience. This was already emphasized by Søren Kierkegaard . And Ole Hallesby describes the role of experience in becoming a Christian. Such experience does not have to stand in opposition to rationally comprehensible arguments, but complements them.
The concern of educating about so-called " sects " led to the establishment of church offices. The Evangelical Church in Germany founded an Apologetic Center in Berlin in 1921 , headed by Walter Künneth . Its successor organization was the Protestant Central Office for Weltanschauung questions founded in Stuttgart in 1960 , headed by Kurt Hutten . Religious communities active in Germany are observed and assessed from a church perspective, with reference to theological or psychological problems. The term “apologetics” was used for this purpose in a series of books from the 1990s, namely in the series Apologetic Topics published by Werner Thiede .
Dealing with special communities sometimes leads to self-criticism from churches. Kurt Hutten spoke of an "office" "that God also gave to sects". Because these draw attention to gaps in the church's preaching as well as to shortcomings in church practice. Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer describes the “self-questioning as a church in the face of sects”, “learning processes through encounters with sect members” and “theological insights through observation of the sect scene”.
Joseph Ratzinger emphasizes the importance of saints and art: “The only real apology of Christianity can be limited to two arguments: the saints that the church produced and the art that grew in its womb. The Lord is authenticated by the magnificence of holiness and art that have arisen in the believing community rather than by the clever excuses that apologetics has worked out to justify the dark sides of which unfortunately the human history of the Church is so rich . "
Manuals and reference works
- Norman Geisler: Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics , 2000, ISBN 0-8010-2151-0 .
- Campbell Campbell-Jack (Ed.): New dictionary of Christian apologetics Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press 2006. ISBN 978-0-8308-2451-9 .
- Peter Kreeft , Ronald K. Tacelli: Handbook of Christian Apologetics. Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions. InterVaristy Press, Downers Grove (Illinois) 1994 (406 pp.)
- Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 3, 1978, pp. 371-429: Art. Apologetics (I. Old Church , II. Modern Age , III. Practical Theological ).
Apologetics in History
Early Christian Apologetics
- Sonja Ackermann: Christian apologetics and pagan philosophy in the dispute over the Old Testament ; SBB 36; Stuttgart: Kath. Bibelwerk, 1997; ISBN 3-460-00361-8 .
- Norbert Brox et al. a. (Ed. :) Commentary on early Christian apologists (KfA), 12 vol .; Freiburg u. a .: Herder, 2001ff.
- Michael Fiedrowicz : Apology in early Christianity: the controversy about the Christian claim to truth in the first centuries . Paderborn u. a .: Schöningh, 2001 2 ; ISBN 3-506-72733-8 .
- Robert M. Grant: Greek apologists of the second century , Philadelphia, Pa. : Westminster Pr. 1988, ISBN 0-664-21915-2 .
- Johann Evangelist Hafner: Self-definition of Christianity ( Memento from July 13, 2012 in the Internet Archive ): a system-theoretical approach to the early Christian exclusion of Gnosis . Herder, Freiburg / Breisgau a. a. 2003; ISBN 3-451-28073-6 .
- Christoph Schubert (ed.): Ad veram religionem reformare: early Christian apologetics between claim and reality Erlangen: Univ.-Bund Erlangen-Nürnberg; Erlangen: University Library 2006; ISBN 3-930357-74-7 .
Medieval and Early Modern Apologetics
- Albert Lang: The Development of the Apologetic Problem in Medieval Scholasticism . Freiburg: Herder 1962.
- Eugen Seiterich : The knowledge of credibility: a theological investigation for the foundation of apologetics . Heidelberg: guys 1948.
Late modern apologetics
- Franz Delitzsch : System of Christian Apologetics . Leipzig: Dörffling & Franke 1869
- Friedrich Schleiermacher : About religion. Speeches to the educated among their despisers (1799); Stuttgart: Reclam 1997, Reclams UB 8313 ( ISBN 3-15-008313-3 ); Stuttgart: Brockhaus, 8th edition, 2002, UTB S 1655 ( ISBN 3-8252-1655-1 ); Berlin u. a .: de Gruyter 2001 ( ISBN 3-11-017267-4 ).
- Anton Seitz: Natural justification of religion: a fundamental apologetics . Regensburg: Manz, 1914
Reflection on apologetics
- Kurt Aland : Apologie der Apologetik: on the attitude and task of Protestant Christianity in the controversies of the present . Berlin: Christian magazine publisher 1948
- Heinrich Ott : Apologetics of Faith: Basic Problems of a Dialogic Fundamental Theology . Knowledge Buchges., Darmstadt 1994, ISBN 3-534-12328-X .
- Michael Roth : God in contradiction? Possibilities and limits of theological apologetics . de Gruyter, Berlin-New York 2002, ISBN 3-11-017377-8 .
- Yossef Schwartz (Ed.): Religious apologetics - philosophical argumentation . Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2004, ISBN 3-16-148310-3 .
Reasoning for the Christian faith
- Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer : Read Christian books critically. A textbook and workbook for training your own judgment based on excerpts from conservative Protestant non-fiction books (Theological Teaching and Study Material, 26). VKW, Bonn 2008 (deals with strengths and weaknesses of apologetic literature).
- Stephan Holthaus : Apologetics. An Introduction to Defense of the Christian Faith . Edition fth. Jota, Hammerbrücke 2009, ISBN 978-3-935707-60-2 .
- Oliver Lutz: Don't be afraid of critical questions. Apologetics very practical. Brother Hand Media, 2019, ISBN 978-3-944337-07-4 .
- Alister McGrath : Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith . Baker Books, 2012, ISBN 978-1-4412-3583-1 (especially on the theodicy question)
- CS Lewis : Sorry, I'm a Christian . 1942 and others, ISBN 3-7655-3150-2 .
- Bernard L. Ramm: A Christian Appeal to Reason (American Original: The God Who Makes A Difference ). ICI, Asslar 1995 (mainly about the existence of God).
More recent apologetic drafts
- Kenneth Boa, Robert Bowman: Faith Has Its Reasons: Integrative Approaches to Defending the Christian Faith , Navpress Publishing Group, 2001, ISBN 978-1-57683-143-4 .
- Matthias Clausen : I think I'm wrong here? Faith for the enlightened and enlightened . Gerth Medien, 2011, ISBN 978-3-86591-588-7 .
- William Lane Craig : Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics . Crossway Books, Wheaton, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4335-0115-9 .
- Brian Hebblethwaite: In defense of Christianity . Oxford University Press 2005, ISBN 0-19-927679-X .
- Timothy Keller : Why God? Reasonable Belief or Wisdom of Humanity? Brunnen Verlag, Giessen 2010, ISBN 978-3-7655-1766-2 .
- Walter Kern, Jörg Splett (Ed.): Why Believe? Justification and defense of the faith in thirty-nine theses . Echter-Verl., Würzburg 1961.
- Manfred Lütz : God. A little story of the greatest . Pattloch Verlag, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-629-02158-8 .
- Alvin Plantinga : Warranted Christian belief . Oxford Univ. Press, New York et al. a. 2000, ISBN 0-19-513192-4 .
- Stephan Lange: Believe well-founded. Thoughts for skeptics and believers . Neukirchener Verlagsgesellschaft 2017. ISBN 978-3-7615-6432-5 .
- Institute for Faith and Science iguw.de
- Institute for Faith and Science justified-glauben.org
- mitdenkend.de Faith - Naive, too beautiful, too simple? - Thoughts on 'God & Faith'
- reasonablefaith.org Reasonable Faith
- crossexamined.org CrossExamined
- Heinrich Schmidt : Philosophical Dictionary (= Kröner's pocket edition. 13). 21st edition, revised by Georgi Schischkoff . Alfred Kröner, Stuttgart 1982, ISBN 3-520-01321-5 ; P. 32 on the lemma "Apology".
Karl-Heinz Hillmann : Dictionary of Sociology (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 410). 4th, revised and expanded edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-520-41004-4 :
(a) p. 34 f. to Lemma: "Apologie, Apologetik";
(b) P. 760 on Lemma “Stratification”.
Brockhaus, FA: Brockhaus encyclopedia. The big foreign dictionary . 19th edition, Brockhaus Leipzig, Mannheim 2001, ISBN 3-7653-1270-3 :
(a) p. 122 on Stw. "Apologetik";
(b) p. 122 on the “Apologist”;
- Rolf Hille : Art. Apologetics. In: Evangelisches Lexikon für Theologie und Gemeinde, Vol. 1, 1992, pp. 100-102.
- See Albert Lang : The development of the apologetic problem in the scholasticism of the Middle Ages . Herder, Freiburg 1962.
- Harry Austryn Wolfson showed numerous parallels in the context of his project on a history of the philosophy of religion.
- Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer: In search of the historical Jesus. About the credibility of the Gospels and the doubts of the skeptics. Leun 2013, chap. Probability, but not certainty ... (pp. 80–86).
- Ole Hallesby: How I became a Christian , translated from Norwegian, 1952 a. ö., in chap. From doubt to belief .
- According to Graf-Stuhlhofer: In Search of the Historical Jesus , 2013, pp. 85f, a careful reading of the Gospels can lead the skeptic to the conclusion that the information they contain is historically reliable. "But you can only gain certainty in a direct relationship with Jesus."
- Kurt Hutten: seers, brooders, enthusiasts . Stuttgart 1950, 12th edition 1982, foreword.
- Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer: Warnings against wrong ways or self-questioning as a church. The church debate with so-called "sects". In: Christian Herrmann, Rolf Hille (ed.): Believe responsibly. A thematic book on Christian apologetics . VTR, Nuremberg 2016, pp. 284–293.
- Joseph Ratzinger: Apology. From ders .: On the state of faith. Munich 1985, p. 134, in: Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference (Ed.): The faith of the church. A theological reader based on texts by Joseph Ratzinger. Bonn, 2011 (Working Aids; No. 248; Archive link ( Memento from December 29, 2012 in the Internet Archive )), p. 17.