Postmodern Apologetics? Arguments for God in Contemporary Philosophy

Postmodern Apologetics? Arguments for God in Contemporary Philosophy

Postmodern Apologetics? Arguments for God in Contemporary Philosophy

Postmodern Apologetics? Arguments for God in Contemporary Philosophy

Excerpt

As pointed out in the preface, both “postmodern” and “apologetics” are somewhat contentious terms that can mean a whole host of things. This introduction outlines the history of apologetics in the Christian tradition in a very broad and general fashion. It concludes with a very brief introduction to postmodernism and the possibility of something like a “postmodern apologetic.”

Early Apologetics

While postmodernism is generally associated with fairly recent thinkers, apologetics has a long and rich history. The term was first used by early Christian communities and individuals (“apologists”) who defended themselves against attacks by the larger culture or by particular authorities. At times, “apology” simply meant explaining confusions that had arisen about the Christian faith, defending themselves and their fellow believers against invalid accusations. The Latin word apologia did not refer to an “apology” in the English sense of the word, i.e. an admission of wrongdoing and a desire to be forgiven. Rather, it meant a defense, whether against actual or merely possible accusation or distortion of the faith. Christians did not “excuse themselves” for their faith, but defended it and themselves against attack. There were several groups that early Christian apologists had to confront. Some of these early apologies were about setting the record straight regarding what it meant to be “Christian,” especially by explaining what . . .

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