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{{short description|Systemic defence of a position}}{{About|the systematic defense of a religious position|the Christian parody band|ApologetiX}}{{Redirect|Apologist|non-religious uses of apologetic and apologist|Apology (disambiguation)}}{{more footnotes|date=July 2016}}{{pov|date=March 2018}}Apologetics (from Greek , "speaking in defense") is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse.WEB,weblink ἀπολογία, Blue Letter Bible-Lexicon, 19 September 2016, WEB,weblink Apologetics, The Advent, 24 September 2016, WEB,weblink apologetics, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 5 October 2016, Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their beliefs against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called Christian apologists.BOOK, Apologists, Cross, F. L., Frank Leslie Cross, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, New York, Oxford University Press, 2005, In 21st-century usage, apologetics is often identified with debates over religion and theology.


The term apologetics derives from the Ancient Greek word apologia (ἀπολογία). In the Classical Greek legal system, the prosecution delivered the kategoria (κατηγορία), the accusation or charge, and the defendant replied with an apologia, the defense.Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, κατηγορία and ἀπολογία The apologia was a formal speech or explanation to reply to and rebut the charges. A famous example is Socrates' Apologia defense, as chronicled in Plato's Apology.In the Koine Greek of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul employs the term apologia in his trial speech to Festus and Agrippa when he says "I make my defense" in Acts 26:2.WEB,weblink Acts 26:2, 19 September 2016, Blue Letter Bible, A cognate form appears in Paul's Letter to the Philippians as he is "defending the gospel" in Philippians 1:7,WEB,weblink Phl 1:7, 19 September 2016, Blue Letter Bible, and in "giving an answer" in 1 Peter 3:15.WEB,weblink 1Pe 3:15, 19 September 2016, Blue Letter Bible, Although the term apologetics has Western, primarily Christian origins and is most frequently associated with the defense of Christianity, the term is sometimes used referring to the defense of any religion in formal debate involving religion.

Apologetic positions


Many apologetic books have been written in defence of the history or teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. The religion's founders wrote several books presenting proofs of their religion, among them are the Báb's Seven Proofs and Bahá'u'lláh's Kitáb-i-Íqán.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Smith, Peter, A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith, apologetics, 2000, Oneworld Publications, Oxford, 39–40, 1-85168-184-1, Later Bahá'í authors wrote prominent apologetic texts, such as Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl's The Brilliant Proof and Udo Schaefer et al.'s Making the Crooked Straight;.WEB,weblink Making the Crooked Straight, by Udo Schaefer, Nicola Towfigh, and Ulrich Gollmer,,


One of the earliest Buddhist apologetic texts is The Questions of King Milinda, which deals with the Buddhist metaphysics such as the "no-self" nature of the individual and characteristics such as of wisdom, perception, volition, feeling, consciousness and the soul. In the mid-19th century, encounters between Buddhists and Christians in Japan prompted the formation of a Buddhist Propagation Society {{Citation needed|date=September 2016}}. In recent times, A. L. De Silva, an Australian convert to Buddhism, has written a book, Beyond Belief, providing Buddhist apologetic responses and a critique of Christian Fundamentalist doctrine.BOOK,weblink Beyond Belief, a Buddhist Critique of Fundamentalist Christianity, De Silva, A. L., Three Gems Publications, ebook link at Buddha Dharma Education Association Incorporated, also, 1994, 978-0-6462-1211-1, Gunapala Dharmasiri wrote an apologetic critique of the Christian concept of God from a Theravadan Buddhist perspective.BOOK, A Buddhist critique of the Christian concept of God : a critique of the concept of God in contemporary Christian theology and philosophy of religion from the point of view of early Buddhism, Dharmasiri, Gunapala, Colombo : Lake House Investments, 1974, WorldCat,


File:Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-compact.svg|thumb|260px|The Scutum Fidei, a diagram frequently used by Christian apologists to explain the TrinityTrinityChristian apologetics combines Christian theology, natural theology,WEB,weblink Natural Theology, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 10 March 2015, Brent, James, and philosophy to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, to defend the faith against objections and misrepresentation.Christian apologetics has taken many forms over the centuries. In the Roman Empire, Christians were severely persecuted, and many charges were brought against them. J. David CasselJ. David Cassel. "Defending the Cannibals: How Christians responded to the sometimes strange accusations of their critics." WEB,weblink Defending the Cannibals, 2012-09-08, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-08-21, gives several examples: Tacitus wrote that Nero fabricated charges that Christians started the burning of Rome.Tacitus, Annals XV.44 Other charges included cannibalism (due to a literal interpretation of the Eucharist) and incest (due to early Christians' practice of addressing each other as "brother" and "sister"). Paul the Apostle, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and others often defended Christianity against charges that were brought to justify persecution.WEB,weblink Why Early Christians Were Despised, Christianity Today (Church history timeline)., 21 September 2016, Later apologists have focused on providing reasons to accept various aspects of Christian belief. Christian apologists of many traditions, in common with Jews, Muslims, and some others, argue for the existence of a unique and personal God. Theodicy is one important aspect of such arguments, and Alvin Plantinga's arguments have been highly influential in this area. Many prominent Christian apologists are scholarly philosophers or theologians, frequently with additional doctoral work in physics, cosmology, comparative religions, or other fields. Others take a more popular or pastoral approach. Some prominent modern apologists are Douglas Groothuis, Frederick Copleston, John Lennox, Walter R. Martin, Dinesh D'Souza, Douglas Wilson, Cornelius Van Til, Gordon Clark, Francis Schaeffer, Greg Bahnsen, Edward John Carnell, James White, R.C. Sproul, Hank Hanegraaff, Ravi Zacharias, Alister McGrath, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, Peter Kreeft, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland, Hugh Ross, David Bentley Hart, Gary Habermas, Norman Geisler and Scott Hahn.Catholic Education Resource Center: The Scott Hahn Conversion Story {{webarchive |url= |date=July 18, 2012 }}Notable apologists within the Catholic Church include Bishop Robert Barron,WEB,weblink Page Not Found - Word On Fire, G. K. Chesterton,BOOK, The Everlasting Man, Chesterton, G K, Wilder Publications, 2008, 978-1604592467, Radford, 180, Dr. Scott Hahn, Patrick Madrid, Kenneth Hensley,WEB,weblink Kenneth Hensley - Catholic Apologetics Academy, Karl Keating, Ronald Knox, Peter Kreeft.John Henry Newman (February 21, 1801 – August 11, 1890) was an English convert to Roman Catholicism, later made a cardinal, and beatified in 2010. In early life he was a major figure in the Oxford Movement to bring the Church of England back to its Catholic roots. Eventually his studies in history persuaded him to become a Roman Catholic. When John Henry Newman entitled his spiritual autobiography Apologia Pro Vita Sua in 1864, he was playing upon both this connotation, and the more commonly understood meaning of an expression of contrition or regret.Christian apologists employ a variety of philosophical and formal approaches, including ontological, cosmological, and teleological arguments.WEB,weblink An Introduction to Christian Apologetics, Coulter, Paul, 2011-05-10, Bethinking, 21 September 2016, The Christian presuppositionalist approach to apologetics utilizes the transcendental argument for the existence of God.Apologetics: A Justification of Christian BeliefJohn Frame-Joseph Torres - P&R Publishing - 2015 p. 67fTertullian was a notable early Christian apologist. He was born, lived and died in Carthage. He is sometimes known as the "Father of the Latin Church". He introduced the term Trinity (Latin trinitas) to the Christian vocabularyA History of Christian Thought, Paul Tillich, Touchstone Books, 1972. {{ISBN|0-671-21426-8}} (p. 43) and also probably{{Citation needed|date=January 2009}} the formula "three Persons, one Substance" as the Latin "tres Personae, una Substantia" (itself from the Koine Greek "treis Hypostaseis, Homoousios"), and also the terms Vetus Testamentum (Old Testament) and Novum Testamentum (New Testament).


{{further information|Mormon studies#Apologetics}}There are notable Latter-day Saint apologists who focus on the defense of Mormonism, including early church leaders such as Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, B. H. Roberts, James E. Talmage and more modern figures such as Hugh Nibley, Orson Scott Card, and Jeff Lindsay.Several well-known Mormon apologetic organizations, such as the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (a group of scholars at Brigham Young University) and FairMormon (an independent, Mormon-run, not-for-profit group), have been formed to defend the doctrines and history of the Latter Day Saint movement in general and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in particular.


Deism is a form of theism in which God created the universe and established rationally comprehensible moral and natural laws but no longer intervenes in human affairs. Deism is a natural religion where belief in God is based on application of reason and evidence observed in the designs and laws found in nature.[12] The World Order of Deists maintains a web site presenting deist apologetics that demonstrate the existence of God based on evidence and reason, absent divine revelation.


Hindu apologetics began developing during the British colonial period. A number of Indian intellectuals had become critical of the British tendency to devalue the Hindu religious tradition. As a result, these Indian intellectuals, as well as a handful of British Indologists, were galvanized to examine the roots of the religion as well as to study its vast arcana and corpus in an analytical fashion. This endeavor drove the deciphering and preservation of Sanskrit. Many translations of Hindu texts were produced which made them accessible to a broader reading audience.A range of Indian philosophers, including Swami Vivekananda and Aurobindo Ghose, have written rational explanations regarding the values of the Hindu religious tradition. More modern proponents such as the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi have also tried to correlate recent developments from quantum physics and consciousness research with Hindu concepts. The late Reverend Pandurang Shastri Athavale has given a plethora of discourses regarding the symbolism and rational basis for many principles in the Vedic tradition. In his book The Cradle of Civilization, David Frawley, an American who has embraced the Vedic tradition, has characterized the ancient texts of the Hindu heritage as being like "pyramids of the spirit". Such individuals have tried to construct an intellectual defense of Hinduism during a phase when the fundamentalistic elements of other faiths have sought to denigrate the ancient religion in an effort to gain converts.


Ilm al-Kalām, literally "science of discourse",Winter, Tim J. "Introduction." Introduction. The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008. 4–5. Print. usually foreshortened to kalam and sometimes called Islamic scholastic theology, is an Islamic undertaking born out of the need to establish and defend the tenets of Islamic faith against doubters and detractors.Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Linda Gale Jones, Handbook to Life in the Medieval World, p 391. {{ISBN|1438109075}} A scholar of kalam is referred to as a mutakallim (plural mutakallimūn) as distinguished from philosophers, jurists, and scientists.Clinton Bennett, The Bloomsbury Companion to Islamic Studies, p 119. {{ISBN|1441127887}}.


{{See also|Jewish polemics and apologetics in the Middle Ages}}Jewish apologetic literature can be traced back as far as Aristobulus of Paneas, though some discern it in the works of Demetrius the chronographer (3rd century BCE) traces of the style of "questions" and "solutions" typical of the genre. Aristobulus was a Jewish philosopher of Alexandria and the author of an apologetic work addressed to Ptolemy VI Philometor. Josephus's Contra Apion is a wide-ranging defense of Judaism against many charges laid against Judaism at that time, as too are some of the works of Philo of Alexandria.John Granger Cook (2000) The Interpretation of the New Testament in Greco-Roman paganism p.4., Mohr Siebeck Verlag, Tuebingen, GermanyWEB,weblink APOLOGISTS, Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906, In response to modern Christian missionaries, and congregations that "are designed to appear Jewish, but are actually fundamentalist Christian churches, which use traditional Jewish symbols to lure the most vulnerable of our Jewish people into their ranks",Simon Schoon, "Noachides and Converts to Judaism", in Jan N. Bremmer, Wout Jac. van Bekkum, Arie L. Molendijk. Cultures of Conversions, Peeters Publishers, 2006, {{ISBN|978-90-429-1753-8}}, p. 125. Jews for Judaism is the largest counter-missionary organization in existence, today. Kiruv Organisation, founded by Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, and Outreach Judaism, founded by Rabbi Tovia Singer, are other prominent international organizations that respond "directly to the issues raised by missionaries and cults, by exploring Judaism in contradistinction to fundamentalist Christianity."About Us, Outreach Judaism website. Accessed January 9, 2011.J. Gordon Melton, "The Modern Anti-Cult Movement in Historical Perspective", in Jeffrey Kaplan, Heléne Lööw. The Cultic Milieu: Oppositional Subcultures in an Age of Globalization, Rowman Altamira, 2002, {{ISBN|978-0-7591-0204-0}}, p. 285, note 4.


Some pantheists have formed organizations such as the World Pantheist Movement and the Universal Pantheist Society to promote and defend the belief in pantheism.WEB, The Pantheist Credo,weblink World Pantheist Movement,

Native Americans

In a famous speech called "Red Jacket on Religion for the White Man and the Red" in 1805, Seneca chief Red Jacket gave an apologetic for Native American religion.WEB,weblink Red Jacket on the Religion of the White Man and the Red by Red Jacket. America: I. (1761-1837). Vol. VIII. Bryan, William Jennings, ed. 1906. The World's Famous Orations,,

In literature

Plato's Apology may be read as both a religious and literary apology; however, more specifically literary examples may be found in the prefaces and dedications, which proceed many Early Modern plays, novels, and poems. Eighteenth century authors such as Colley Cibber, Frances Burney, and William Congreve, to name but a few, prefaced the majority of their poetic work with such apologies. In addition to the desire to defend their work, the apologetic preface often suggests the author's attempt to humble his- or herself before the audience.WEB,weblink Apology, Encyclopædia Britannica, Britannica Academic Edition, 14 July 2011,

See also


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