Apologetics – Can You Defend What You Know And/Or Believe?

 

You’ve heard the expression “Opinions are like A _ _ holes, everyone’s got one.”  So, are you any different?  No, of course not, nor am I.  So, what validates one opinion over another?  If you’re into ascetics or philosophy, then probably nothing.  On the other hand, if you’re into politics, history, science, theology, and other solid subject matter, then there are a few factors.  Being a good orator helps, but is not sufficient, except for the shallow thinkers and the easily manipulated – uh oh, does that include the vast majority of Americans today?

When someone offers an opinion, they should be prepared to defend that opinion if it is regarding something other than personal tastes.  In so doing, they are employing apologetics or the defense of their beliefs.  Sadly, people’s opinions on important issues are often based upon “how they feel”.  Seeing as how no two people “feel” exactly the same way about the same thing to a 100% agreement, then there is a need to be able to defend even how you “feel”.  Feelings, are generally warm fuzzy things that are very personal, and when someone is confronted with the need to defend those feelings, they usually retreat to things like; “Just because..”, or “I don’t want to talk about it.”, or “You always think you’re right.”, or “I don’t have time for this.”, or “I’m not going to discuss it.”, and so on, and then they either change the subject, or walk off in a huff.  That kind of response just shows the weakness of the argument for the “feeling” someone has.  Try it sometime, and you’ll see that is the reality of it.

Generally, a person’s “feelings” are based upon emotions and little more.   Maybe someone they like and respect told them their opinion (feelings), and they took it to be fact.  That’s a big part of the problem when feelings and hearsay become facts in the mind’s eye of an individual.  It’s  hard to root out, or overcome.  What inevitably happens is the person with feelings is arguing with another person with feelings, and the two feelings don’t concur.  When that happens, it usually ends up in divorce, broken friendships, lost jobs, lost customers or whatever.  It may even come to a fist fight, a shooting, a lost election, or between nations – a war!

What happens when the person with feelings comes up against a person with apologetics.  The person with feelings always loses, but will never admit it.  Of course, there’s always the possibility of two people with apologetics coming together, and if that happens, you have a debate.  We’re not talking about a panel discussion that is purveyed as a debate in the Presidential elections; no, we’re talking about an organized, discussion with rules known to all and applied uniformly by a moderator who follows the rules in governing the debate.

In order to apply apologetics, it is not necessary to have a formal debate with a moderator.  All that is needed is for two or more intelligent people to rationally, logically, and dispassionately get together and discuss a subject and stick to that subject until all views are sufficiently exhausted.  A key word in the application is the word intelligent to describe those involved.  The word intelligent comes from two Latin derivatives; inter – meaning between, and legare – the verb form for the ability to choose.  Therefore, the definition of intelligent is the ability to choose between.  It requires having at least two viewpoints that are meaningfully contrasting.  Of course, when the talking heads (paid liars) of the corporate media speak of this, there are only two sides to every election – Socialist Republicans and Socialist Democrats.  No other opinion counts, so you can see that kind of dishonesty negates any legitimate debate or use of apologetics.  It’s all appealing to emotions.

A good apologist will be armed with verifiable facts first and foremost.  It’s hard to argue with facts as they tend to get in the way of emotions, and that’s why the emotional people give up easily and dodge the important issues.  Those facts, if presented in a logical way, and applied appropriately, will lead to a victorious debate.  It can also persuade people to change their views on important matters.  Certainly, some people don’t want their views changed, because that would be absolutely humiliating.  Therefore, better to remain ignorantly fixated on your beliefs than to concede that someone else may be correct, or at least more correct than you are.  If you believe that, there’s always a good buy on some swamp land in Florida, or beach front property in Yuma, Arizona.

Do not be deceived by emotions – they are weak shields against the truth.  Ah, but “I have a good heart.” you say.  Nonsense!  Jeremiah said; “The heart is deceitful above all else, and desperately wicked – who can know it?”  And, where do emotions come from, but the heart?  From the heart comes love, hate, anger, sadness, bitterness, jealousy, envy, fear, lust, greed, and a myriad of other emotions.  Sadly, people have a very difficult time controlling their emotions.  Therefore, we see, at least in America, a lot of murders, lies, stealing, fraud, anger, cheating etc.  With good apologetics, much of that could be overcome.

But, what kind of apologetics should be applied to deal with the important issues of the day; to include the problems listed above?  We are talking about survival along with life and death issues, if we are talking about meaningful things.  Today, someone said; “We’ve got to support the troops!”  It was an interjection into the middle of a conversation and completely out of context.  Nonetheless, it was worth examining the statement, but sadly the person was unable to defend their position, so the conversation went nowhere.  Was the person saying that the troops should be supported as far as trying to keep them alive and letting them do what they needed to do for that purpose?  Or, and here’s where it gets murky, was the person’s suggestion (declartion) that the troop’s mission should be supported.  The first interpretation would be a merciful one, and the second would be a political one.

So, we need always to clarify the question before we determine the kind of apologetics we employ.  One of the most important aspects to all of this is to determine the basis for someone’s opinion.  If the opinion is based upon a shallow and poorly defined world view (the basis upon which someone views the world around them), then they have made themselves very vulnerable to the thinking person’s apologetics.  Most people are content to define their world view as they go, and to make it fit the circumstances of the moment with no thought for the past, present or future.  This is known as a “slippery slope” or maybe even “situational ethics” often referred to as Machiavellian pragmatism or the end justifies the means.

Supporting a “slippery slope” is nigh on to impossible; especially when you’re up against an intelligent, well informed, principled individual with a well thought out and well established world view.  The former is highly, if not totally, subjective, and the latter is highly, although impossible to be totally, objective.  Objectivity combined with a dispassionate (non emotional) approach to a discussion or debate will always win out over the emotion.  A clever orator with no verifiable facts, can win out over a weak apologist, especially if the playing field is not even.  The example of that would be if the moderator favored the clever orator over the apologist as has been done on national television by the paid liars of CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX etc.

Returning to the idea of a world view, we need to know where that comes from. Certainly, a significant part of anyone’s world view comes from their experiences of the past.  But, is experience the sole source of knowledge?  If it were, then none of us has had the opportunity to experience everything – especially that which has already passed and never to be repeated.  That’s where history comes into play.  A reliable and well documented source of historical knowledge is very helpful.  As the saying goes; “Those who don’t learn from the past, are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.”  So, knowing history is a bit like an insurance policy.  It protects us from ourselves making mistakes when we could learn from other’s mistakes.  A saying of my own is; “A smart man learns from his mistakes; a wise man learns from other’s, and a fool never learns at all.”  So, let’s not be foolish!

History alone will not give us good apologetics.  History is just an assemblance of the facts compiled in an organized fashion, and often presented with some bias through added opinions, omissions or distortions.  Therefore, multiple sources of history from reliable, and preferably, unbiased sources is helpful in order to achieve some solid accuracy regarding knowledge of the particular time, incident or subject being studied and discussed.  That is all well and good, but we need more.  We need an authority which, or who, will be absolute.  Now, some are going to say there are no absolutes which, of course, is an immediate contradiction.  Then they might go as far as to say there are no absolutes absolutely except for this one absolute.   Once you make an exception to a rule, you are opening the door to the potential for more exceptions, and it is certain that the person setting that false standard (absolute) will come up with exceptions as is convenient.

Is there an authority upon which we can rely for anything that is true?  Some people, in fact quite a few people, would say “No!”.  This view of course leaves us in a very untenable position of being unable to “prove” anything, be sure of anything, give validity to anything, or to even know anything.  What a pointless world in which we live if there is no way of knowing anything.  We might as well eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!  That of course does not further the welfare of society, nor does it benefit future generations.  It also doesn’t give us a moral framework within which we can function as a society.  If murder is not absolutely wrong, then we have a problem.  If stealing, lying, cheating, adultery, fornication, abortion, slavery, etc. are not absolutely wrong, then we have a problem.  Look around, and do you see problems?  Is murder rampant?  Do politicians lie through their teeth constantly?  Are millions of children being born out of wedlock and raised in single parent families?  Do powerful forces, utilizing the taxing authority of government, steal blatantly?  Examples of that would be those who seek government favor through campaign contributions (bribery) so that they can profit with mandated vaccines, war machinery, communication monopolies etc.  It’s o.k. if you answer yes to these questions, because they are all a fact of life in America today.

So, if you are not in denial of the “problems” mentioned above, then what authority is there that functions outside of government, corporate interests or emotions and would provide objectivity? The only authority that has validity and has demonstrated itself to be so is the God of creation Who answers to no man.  The four most important words through all of history are the first four words of the Bible; “In the beginning God…”  If your world view starts somewhere else, then it is a faulty world view based upon the reasoning of mankind, and mankind is flawed, and his reasoning is constantly being proven as such.  Now, maybe your reasoning is flawless, in which case, we’ll call you god, but you may find disagreement on that from others who think that they are flawless. Certainly, there are a lot of people out there who think that they have the answer, and anybody else who thinks differently is a fool, and needs to be straightened out.

Therein lies a great difficulty.  All of these people who think they are flawless, have not written down their world views for others to adapt and live by.  The few who have are either philosophers (none of whom agree fully with each other), or they are legislators who write as much as they can, and generally with poorly thought out conclusions and applications.  More often than not, they write down that which favors the people who support them financially which eliminates any objectivity whatsoever.

Before this gets too cumbersome, consider the following.  The Bible is claimed to be the “word of God”  Yes, God used men as His instruments for doing the writing, but the Holy Spirit guided their thoughts and their pens.  No other book, ever written, has ever claimed to be the “word of God”.  There certainly are other religions or philosophies (Buddha never claimed divinity – only that he was a philosopher), but none of them claim divine origin from the God who created all things in Heaven, on earth, and under the seas.  God’s word in the Bible has been challenged unsuccessfully for millennia.  Not only that, but it has survived numerous brutal assaults, and come out unscathed after thousands of years.  His law is written on the hearts of men He says, and yet men reject His law and disobey it.

Have you noticed that shortly after the creation of man, there was the first recorded murder in history committed when Cain, the first born human being (Adam and Eve were created) killed his brother Abel as a result of jealousy and envy?  Have you noticed that murder has continued right up until today?  If man is evolving, and constantly getting better, then why do we still have murder?  For that matter, the Bible is replete with multitudinous examples of lying, cheating, stealing, sexual immorality, hatred for God, hatred for God’s word, hatred for God’s law etc.  If we’re evolving into a higher order of specie, then why can’t we clean up all of these problems.  Why do we have inflation, poverty, dictators, wars etc.?

The correct answer is sin, but for the liberals, the sinful nature of man is not up for discussion, and yet they have no answers for sin other than to blame it on the environment in which someone is raised, or on the need for more laws to be written. The liberals are emotional people with no apologetics.  They will change the subject if you start to expose the flaws in their thinking, or they will walk off in a huff.  If they have political power, they will persecute you, throw you in jail or have you executed for your apologetics if they are too good.  They will mock and use ad hominem attacks to discredit people.  You can see the beginning of persecution of Christians in America.  It’s somewhat subtle right now, but it is coming, and is currently more akin to harassment.

So what to do about sin?  Sin is a violation of God’s law, and if sin is not dealt with, then it becomes irrelevant in a society.  Once sin is irrelevant, then man is freed up to violate whatever of man’s laws he wishes to – as long as he’s politically connected.  The 2016 election revealed all sorts of violations of man’s laws by the candidates, and yet nothing happened to anybody.  Back in 2008, the economy collapsed and the banking industry froze up because of all sorts of violations of man’s laws.  The bankers were well connected politically, and therefore, none of them went to jail, and in fact none were even charged or tried for their crimes.  They did pay the corrupt Federal Government some fines with money they printed out of thin air, but that was it.  The American taxpayer just bailed them out, and they did not repent for a moment for their sins of stealing, lying, cheating (which is lying and stealing combined), and treason against the American people.

Once you start to overlook the little transgressions in life, they become scoffed at, and the transgressions grow in size, scope and egregiousness until someone puts a stop to them. The someone usually ends up being a dictator with unlimited power to kill anyone who disagrees with him or take their property, or imprison them, or any combination therein.

How shall we survive all of this?  For the Christian, this is not our home, and we are but pilgrims on the way to a better place – Heaven!  The good news of it all is that Jesus Christ paid for our sins through a blood sacrifice – His own blood.  If living in this quasi Hell on earth is getting old for you, then consider Heaven where God will wipe away all tears, and there is no night there.  There will be only joy, peace and happiness.  Ask yourself what happens to your essence (soul if you will) when you die.  It’s what gives you your distinct and individual nature and personality.  If there is no reward or punishment when this life is over, then there is no need to restrain evil or do any good – just do whatever you want.

So, what about apologetics?  Does it have any application in our lives and nation today? If you can defend or excuse all of the evil, and transgressions (sins) discussed above, then the answer to the question is “No”.  If you cannot defend all of the evils above, then the answer is “Yes.” – an emphatic “Yes!”  How else will we correct the problems with which we are faced but to pray for Repentance, Revival and Reformation – the three R’s?  And, if you want to have good apologetics, then you best have a good basis for them – “In the beginning God…”.

Pen

Pensamiento Peligroso writes the truth as he sees it, and if it upsets you, then it makes you think!

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