Sunday, September 08, 2013

"Is Christian Apologetics Secular and Unbiblical?" - Myron Penner

Excerpt of interview with Myron Penner:
Q: To begin with, what sort of book is this and why did you write it?
I adopt what I call a “postmodern” perspective in this book, which I realize is a bit of a contentious place to start. But I mean something very specific by that. By postmodern I mean the awareness of the contingency or the problematic nature of the so-called modern project.

Soren Kierkegaard
And I wrote the book because that’s where I am at. I no longer see how modern apologetics (and by that I mean the attempt to give reasons for Christian belief that are objective, universal, and neutral) is really all that helpful – for me or anyone else.
It began for me when I came across Søren Kierkegaard’s statement that whoever came up with the idea of defending Christianity in modernity is a second Judas who betrays the Christ under the guise of a friendly kiss; only, he adds, the apologist’s treachery (unlike Judas’s) is “the treason of stupidity.” At first this shocked and fascinated me. I wanted to try to understand what Kierkegaard meant by that, because it somehow sounded right to me. So I wrote the book.

Q: What would you say is the conceptual core of your book?
The key to my book lies in my assertion that modern reason – which I describe as objective, universal, and neutral – is something distinct from other conceptions of reason. It, therefore, is just one way of thinking about human reason, not the way. It is also a secular way to understand reason because we imagine it to be immune or separable from faith.
We usually just assume that what we believe counts as a good reason to believe something is natural, obvious, and the only way to think about it. But I find that assumption mistaken and deeply problematic. And ultimately, I believe that this way of thinking about reason is not the best way to be faithful to biblical faith. So I suggest that it is time to change paradigms.
I am therefore against apologetics insofar as it suggests – explicitly or implicitly – that what makes Christianity believable or worthy of our belief is that it is somehow grounded in human rational capabilities. There are all sorts of problems that come when we try to ground anything – but especially the Gospel – in the modern form of reason. And I try to spell out some of those problems in the book.

Q: When do you mean by saying you are against apologetics?
It all hinges on Kierkegaard’s distinction between a genius and an apostle. Kierkegaard sees quite clearly that the modern form of authority for belief derives from genius – or what we might call “experts,” leaders in their fields. We believe what they tell us to believe because they know more than the rest of us they are more brilliant, intelligent, rational, insightful, etc.
Kierkegaard contrasts this with the Christian source of belief which comes from apostles, who differ from genius in that they do not ground their authority in their own talents or merits. Their message comes from God so the reasons they give are grounded differently than those of the genius.
We believe the Christian message is true, Kierkegaard says, not because it is brilliant or rationally grounded (in the modern sense), but because it is true, it comes from God. So I am really against the entire modern epistemological paradigm that produces modern apologetics, because it attempts to ground faith in genius or secular reason. The problem with modern apologetics is that, because it operates from the same (secular) grounds as modernity, it offers no real solution to modern issues.  FULL INTERVIEW

1 comment:


    Did you ever notice that secularists accept historical writings as fact, unless they are about God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    Have you ever heard a secularist proclaim that the following men did not live and that they were not who historians said they were?
    Confucius 551-479 B.C.
    Plato 427-347 B.C.
    Alexander the Great 356-323 B.C.
    Julius Caesar 100-44 B.C.
    Socrates 469-399 B.C.
    Buddha 563-483 B.C.
    Ludwig van Beethoven 1770-1827
    Homer 700-800 B.C.
    Isaac Newton 1642-1727
    Galileo Galilei 1564-1642
    Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519
    Marco Polo 1254-1324
    John Locke 1632-1704
    George Washington 1732-1799
    Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865

    Secularists do not question the historical fact, that these men lived and died. They do not deny the role these men played in history. They believe this, by faith, that the historical accounts are accurate.

    Secularists do deny the historical accuracy of the Bible and all other accounts that proclaim Jesus as the Son of God. They deny the historical accounts of God the Father resurrecting Jesus from the grave.

    THE RESULTS OF A SELECTIVE VIEW OF HISTORICAL FACTS.(2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.)





Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!