Imagine yourself in a courtroom as the lawyer of the defendant, trying your hardest to convince the jury of your client’s innocence based on varied lines of evidence. Your pulse continues to rise with every sentence. Sweat begins to bead on your forehead as you strain to reason with the silent arbiters before you. What are some words that come to mind to describe this scenario? Evidence and arguments? Making a case? What about making an apology?
I think if one looks to the heart of the apparent disjunction between apologetics and truth-seeking, they will find it lacking. There is no logical contradiction between seeking truth and defending a theory necessarily. In fact, if one does not answer objections against their view, would not that show a disinterest in truth? I think so. Moreover, answering objections posed against a theory of reality (Christianity or any other) is one of the primary ways that one realizes whether their theory is true or not! If the objections hold, the theory is false, if they do not succeed, then the theory is correct. But if this analysis of the alleged dichotomy is accurate, where do these allegations stem from?
From my own thoughts and reflections on the discipline, I think it comes from confusion about the profession itself. Questions such as, “Do they only care to parry objections with quick, witty soundbites without deep critical thought?” jump to the forefront of one’s mind when reading certain apologetic works that lack depth where depth is needed (to expect academic depth out of a popular apologetics book is unwarranted; it is not intellectually shallow to write according to the knowledge which your audience has). But, to assume that all apologists write and interact in such a manner would be fallacious (guilt by association) and thus shouldn’t even be entertained. For example some apologists such as William Lane Craig, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas, Mike Licona, Douglas Groothius, and many others write very substantive books and articles that are most definitely not intended to brush off objections, but to engage them in an honest manner. They take these issues seriously, as should we all.