In the pretty miscellaneous "Global Flood" thread there were a couple of exchanges on the value of "apologetics" per se. I think this subject is worth a thread of its own. I will here recall some statements in the aforementioned thread:
I started on this side topic by quoting Christian philosopher Sören Kierkegaard (Sickness unto Death):
One sees now how extraordinarily (that there might be something extraordinary left) -- how extraordinarily stupid it is to defend Christianity, how little knowledge of men this betrays, and how truly, even though it be unconsciously, it is working in collusion with the enemy, by making of Christianity a miserable something or another which in the end has to be rescued by a defense. Therefore it is certain and true that he who first invented the notion of defending Christianity in Christendom is de facto Judas No. 2; he also betrays with a kiss, only his treachery is that of stupidity. To defend anything is always to discredit it. Let a man have a storehouse full of gold, let him be willing to dispense every ducat to the poor -- but let him besides that be stupid enough to begin this benevolent undertaking with a defense in which he advances three reasons to prove that it is justifiable -- and people will be almost inclined to doubt whether he is doing any good. But now for Christianity! Yea, he who defends it has never believed in it. If he believes, then the enthusiasm of faith is . . . not defense, no, it is attack and victory. The believer is a victor.
A Christian, who was engaged in an apologetic controversy, admitted later:
I don't believe the evidence God gives to most of us is "recyclable." For every child whom God adopts He adopts personally. That being the case, I doubt you will ever find all the evidence you need to put your faith in the God of the Bible on an Internet discussion board.
Still later he brought up an interesting quotation to make a similar point:
If my understanding that God has chosen to "hide the truth in his book" is "made up" it was not made up by me. It was made up by Jesus Christ. For He said of His disciples: "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand." (Luke 8:10)
Frankiespeakin made a thought-provoking remark on that:
I agree,, since Jesus says understanding these thing are to be hidden those not beleiving. It is also a clever way to make the believer feel special when others find contradictions in Jesus or Christian teachings,, and in this way it gets the believer to stop thinking critically. The NT teachings on "faith" if you ask me is a very clever "thought control" device to get one to accept uncritically what is written,, it has worked for almost 2000 years and no doubt been very instrumental in the survival of the Chrisitan belief.
I finally referred to the poetical dialogues of Job, where (as I read it) Job accuses God of being a tyrant and his friends try to defend God and bring Job into submission. Chapter 13 (Job talking) is especially strong in this regard. AlanF quoted it as follows:
Are you defending God by means of lies and dishonest arguments? You should be impartial witnesses, but will you slant your testimony in his favor? Will you argue God?s case for him? Be careful that he doesn?t find out what you are doing! Or do you think you can fool him as easily as you fool people? No, you will be in serious trouble with him if even in your hearts you slant your testimony in his favor. Doesn?t his majesty strike terror into your heart? Does not your fear of him seize you? Your statements have about as much value as ashes. Your defense is as fragile as a clay pot. (Job 13:7-12; New Living Translation)
The issue of apologetics (or, more specifically, theodicy = justifying God) divides Christians from the very beginnings down to the present (think of Karl Barth, who insisted on preaching the Gospel without trying to defend it, and Paul Tillich, who stressed the need of making it culturally credible in the first place). Is the Christian faith as a whole something to be defended on rational grounds? Or is it a "special grace", an esoterical teaching, which only some are effectively called to believe? What do you think and why?