“How I Got Into Apologetics” (part 1)

I don’t want this blog to be a rehashing of arguments for Christianity that you can read about in other places.  There are other blogs that give and defend various apologetic arguments, and I believe such blogs are valuable, but there are a fair amount of them already.  But, there’s only one blog written by yours truly, and while that may not be enough to capture anyone’s interest, it is something.  That being said, I’d like to give my personal background in my study of apologetics, as well as what I’m doing with my life now.

I was raised by Christian parents, and although I grew up in the Bible belt, I never considered Christianity a thing you accept only with your brain turned off.  My dad’s an MD and my mother’s a PhD — definitely not stupid people.  Growing up, the fact of God’s existence seemed plain to me.  After all, somebody had to have made the universe.  Atheism seemed so bizarre to me that I had a hard time imagining that anyone could really believe that there’s no God.  Of course, I didn’t know any atheists, so it wasn’t a problem for me.  Other religions were a little trickier.  Most of my acquaintances were Christians, but I knew some people that were Jewish, and others that were Hindu.  How was I supposed to know that the God of Christianity was the real god, and the world
wasn’t created by Zeus or Allah or Vishnu or somebody I’d not even heard of?  I decided that Christianity had to be true because we’ve got Jesus, and Jesus is so great he’s got to be God.

So that was my self-apologetic, how I defended Christianity to myself.  Not too bad for a little kid I suppose, but as I got older, I began to have doubts.  Not so much about Christianity, but about Christians.  A severe disadvantage of living in the Bible belt is that, although most of the people you meet call themselves Christians, it’s also true that most people you meet are shallow, hypocritical, self-righteous bigots.  I was severely burned when my family went through a great time of need and our church abandoned us.  For this and other related reasons, I became angry and bitter and felt extremely distant from God.  I don’t think I ever considered that Christianity was false, but I do think I considered that maybe it wasn’t for me.

I began to live the life of one who, for the most part, assumed that God didn’t exist, or if he did, he was too high above me to care about my behavior.  I resented the religious convictions of my parents because I felt they were outdated and were impinging on my freedom.  I was rebellious and openly disrespectful to the authorities in my life.  All the while though, I wanted there to be a God and I wanted Christianity to be true because I knew that life was short and pointless without God and the forgiveness of sins.  But I couldn’t get a clear view of the gospel through all the muck in my life and
the hatred I felt toward Christians.

Things changed when I was a sophomore in high school.  I don’t want to implicate anyone, but there was a person in my life whom I’d put way too much trust and confidence into, to the point that I kept no secrets from him.  In a way, he was the source of my greatest comfort in life — the only person I considered to be a true friend.  When I was 16, he betrayed me deeply.  Suddenly, I was left without a friend, and essentially without an anchor and a foundation.  I was forced to reassess my life and convictions.  At this point, I began to cling to all I had left — Jesus Christ and my devout parents.

I didn’t want to be betrayed again.  I didn’t want to put my trust into someone who didn’t deserve it and would only disappoint me in the end.  It was then that I began to look into apologetics, which began to give me a confidence that what I was believing was actually true.  I was hooked.  Since then, I’ve become an avid reader of apologetics books and listener of apologetics podcasts.  I enjoy watching debates and lectures.  Recently, I started an apologetics reading group at my school.

That’s the Cliff’s Notes, anyway.  In the next entry, I’ll go into more detail.

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