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"The Obligation To Do Apologetics"


Scott Lloyd

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I think we're agreed that not every believer is obligated to write apologetics in journals, conference presentations, books, etc. On what exactly constitutes apologetics, and the utility or necessity of apologetics, we seem to diverge.

I think we are in closer agreement than we let on, but rather differ in how we interpret DCP's and Theophilus's comments.

However, as I asked before. What distinctions am I drawing that you believe do not hold up to scrutiny?

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I think we are in closer agreement than we let on, but rather differ in how we interpret DCP's and Theophilus's comments.

However, as I asked before. What distinctions am I drawing that you believe do not hold up to scrutiny?

I think we may define apologetics differently, and in my view (my own scrutiny) your definition seems too narrow. To you mine likely seems too broad.

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Yes, you do, and you better defend them to the death!

And to start with, all Coke is crap. Dr. Pepper is made from prunes (not necessarily a drawback!). Pepsi is like a beautiful mountain stream in early spring when snow is still on the ground but all nature is waking from its long winter sleep.

But you are absolutely correct about Crystal Pepsi, on that we can agree.

Carbinated beverages= not the best

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I think we may define apologetics differently, and in my view (my own scrutiny) your definition seems too narrow. To you mine likely seems too broad.

Given the OP, isn't the issue how DCP defines it? And if he really means to define it to be as broad as testimony bearing, then is he saying anything of value at all?

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I think we're agreed that not every believer is obligated to write apologetics in journals, conference presentations, books, etc. On what exactly constitutes apologetics, and the utility or necessity of apologetics, we seem to diverge.

I think apologetics at a fundamental level is building and preserving faith and defense of the faith. Whatever you do to do that would constitute apologetics. Whether what you do is good or bad apologetics on the other hand, is another issue altogether. If your facts are wrong in your defense, it is bad. If you evade facts, it is bad. If you explain things away, that can be bad. And so on. To come up with a rational defense based on where the evidence actually goes is good apologetics.

Ed Goble

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Given the OP, isn't the issue how DCP defines it? And if he really means to define it to be as broad as testimony bearing, then is he saying anything of value at all?

Scott posted some excerpts that show DCP recognized different apologetic approaches/methods, whatever we call them. In this case I like to think of the "body of Christ" analogy drawn by Paul, "And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you," etc. I think it's good for the bod parts to provide some check and balance, but not to exclude or claim ultimate preeminence. So yes, I think he was specific enough to remain meaningful, to retain value, as you say, but I've only read bits of the article, I didn't hear the presentation itself and haven't read it or seen it anywhere else (I didn't revisit the old thread with Theophilus, so I haven't spoken on those comments).

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I think apologetics at a fundamental level is building and preserving faith and defense of the faith. Whatever you do to do that would constitute apologetics. Whether what you do is good or bad apologetics on the other hand, is another issue altogether. If your facts are wrong in your defense, it is bad. If you evade facts, it is bad. If you explain things away, that can be bad. And so on. To come up with a rational defense based on where the evidence actually goes is good apologetics.

Ed Goble

And I think the narrator would add that faith should not be built solely on reason or argument, but on revelation through faith, etc., which I believe you implicitly assume.

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Please explain what he meant then so that it was still meaningful.

I can only guess at what he meant, and that based on a short news article. But I've been doing exactly that throughout this whole thread, so if you're interested, read through my comments again and see if they mean anything to you. If they don't, ask some questions about it and we can go from there.

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I can only guess at what he meant, and that based on a short news article. But I've been doing exactly that throughout this whole thread, so if you're interested, read through my comments again and see if they mean anything to you. If they don't, ask some questions about it and we can go from there.

Well you seemed to say that DCP's use of 'apologetics' was broad enough to include simple testimony. Is that correct?

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Well you seemed to say that DCP's use of 'apologetics' was broad enough to include simple testimony. Is that correct?

For example, the article says:

There are two parts, he said, to positive apologetics. "One is to argue that the gospel is true, but the other is to argue that it's desirable, that it's good, that it's something you ought to consider if you are a non-Latter-day Saint."

I'm assuming DCP would extend this arguing of desirability to the audience of "non-Latter-day Saints" to include Latter-day Saints as well, which sounds a lot like many F&T meetings I've attended. It seems to me he is defining 'apologetics' broad enough to include those who are speaking in the Spirit of the verses from 1 Peter mentioned above. He's also giving a defense of apologetics in the form of responding to criticism, writing and publishing, etc. These are a few of the ways he mentions. He may have mentioned more. He may have intended more, he may have intended less. But we've already established that my definition of "apologetics" would include your response to the hypothetical about masonry and the temple. If you do not view your response as an apologetic than I have a broader definition than you because I include your type of response under the umbrella.

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For example, the article says:

I'm assuming DCP would extend this arguing of desirability to the audience of "non-Latter-day Saints" to include Latter-day Saints as well, which sounds a lot like many F&T meetings I've attended. It seems to me he is defining 'apologetics' broad enough to include those who are speaking in the Spirit of the verses from 1 Peter mentioned above. He's also giving a defense of apologetics in the form of responding to criticism, writing and publishing, etc. These are a few of the ways he mentions. He may have mentioned more. He may have intended more, he may have intended less. But we've already established that my definition of "apologetics" would include your response to the hypothetical about masonry and the temple. If you do not view your response as an apologetic than I have a broader definition than you because I include your type of response under the umbrella.

Well Nemesis saw fit to ban me again, so we'll have to finish this discussion in private.

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For example, the article says:

I'm assuming DCP would extend this arguing of desirability to the audience of "non-Latter-day Saints" to include Latter-day Saints as well, which sounds a lot like many F&T meetings I've attended. It seems to me he is defining 'apologetics' broad enough to include those who are speaking in the Spirit of the verses from 1 Peter mentioned above. He's also giving a defense of apologetics in the form of responding to criticism, writing and publishing, etc. These are a few of the ways he mentions. He may have mentioned more. He may have intended more, he may have intended less. But we've already established that my definition of "apologetics" would include your response to the hypothetical about masonry and the temple. If you do not view your response as an apologetic than I have a broader definition than you because I include your type of response under the umbrella.

The dictionary at my desk (Webster's New World, Fourth Edition) defines apologist as "a person who writes or speaks in defense or justification of a doctrine, faith, action, etc." It seems quite clear to me that Daniel Peterson is going by a normative definition of the word. I really don't see a problem with his usage.

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There are two parts, he said, to positive apologetics. "One is to argue that the gospel is true, but the other is to argue that it's desirable, that it's good, that it's something you ought to consider if you are a non-Latter-day Saint."

I think too often we forget the second part of positive apologetics, and as a result we may unwittingly leave the kind of negative impression of apologetics that Narrator and others may have.

Think of it as analogous to an advertisement that is filled with seemingly dry facts about this specific thing or that. Such ads can, in unintended ways, be a bit of a turn-off, and not work as hoped for (and may even backfire), and worse yet, may not reflect the true nature of the product being advertised.

This is in part why I, several years back, decided to abandon the label of apologist, and to concentrate more on doing the second positive apologetics, since for me it lends itself more to productive dialogue as well as to meeting and reflecting the very purpose of the gospel.

I did this appreciatively, understanding that others would be doing the first part of positive apologetics as well as some negative apologetics, realizing that without these other parts of apologetics in play, the second positive apologetic that I prefer to engage in, wouldn't work so well.

As LoaP astutely surmized, apologetics is like the body, with each part having its respective roles, and each working synergistically together to create an effectual whole, and without some of each, the body will fail to function as desired.

So, as I see my apologetic obligation (or, rather, my love-motivated privilege), instead of just defending the faith, I try and provide beneficial reasons for the hope that is in me. I try to explain thing in a way that others might see the advantage to them, personally, and their families and loved ones, in believing what I believe. :P

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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So, as I see my apologetic obligation (or, rather, my love-motivated privilege), instead of just defending the faith, I try and provide beneficial reasons for the hope that is in me. I try to explain thing in a way that others might see the advantage to them, personally, and their families and loved ones, in believing what I believe. :P

Fair enough (no pun intended).

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Bump

"And yet," Brother Peterson said, "it turns out it [theosis/deification] is an ancient Christian doctrine. And how do you account for the fact that Joseph Smith came up with that out of nowhere, with no great access to patristic literature or anything like that?"

Relative to your ANE studies, Dan... how much time to you spend actually looking for possible 19th century sources?

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Bump

Relative to your ANE studies, Dan... how much time to you spend actually looking for possible 19th century sources?

This thread's about apologetics, maybe a different thread could be started on the question of 19th century sources and the BoM. :P I will fight you.

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This thread's about apologetics, maybe a different thread could be started on the question of 19th century sources and the BoM. ;) I will fight you.

It is about Dan's presentation, is it not?

Fight me?

Bring it!

:P

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It is about Dan's presentation, is it not?

Fight me?

Bring it!

;)

It's about the "obligation to do apologetics." And I haven't seen DCP make an appearance on the board since before the topic was started, so he probably hasn't seen your earlier question anyway. :P

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It's about the "obligation to do apologetics." And I haven't seen DCP make an appearance on the board since before the topic was started, so he probably hasn't seen your earlier question anyway. :P

As the originator of the thread, I agree that the question is off-topic -- and peripheral, at best, to the topic of DCP's FAIR presentation.

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I think too often we forget the second part of positive apologetics, and as a result we may unwittingly leave the kind of negative impression of apologetics that Narrator and others may have.

Think of it as analogous to an advertisement that is filled with seemingly dry facts about this specific thing or that. Such ads can, in unintended ways, be a bit of a turn-off, and not work as hoped for (and may even backfire), and worse yet, may not reflect the true nature of the product being advertised.

This is in part why I, several years back, decided to abandon the label of apologist, and to concentrate more on doing the second positive apologetics, since for me it lends itself more to productive dialogue as well as to meeting and reflecting the very purpose of the gospel.

I did this appreciatively, understanding that others would be doing the first part of positive apologetics as well as some negative apologetics, realizing that without these other parts of apologetics in play, the second positive apologetic that I prefer to engage in, wouldn't work so well.

As LoaP astutely surmized, apologetics is like the body, with each part having its respective roles, and each working synergistically together to create an effectual whole, and without some of each, the body will fail to function as desired.

So, as I see my apologetic obligation (or, rather, my love-motivated privilege), instead of just defending the faith, I try and provide beneficial reasons for the hope that is in me. I try to explain thing in a way that others might see the advantage to them, personally, and their families and loved ones, in believing what I believe. :P

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

I like what you say here, Wade, and I put it in terms of this already-quoted analogy from Prof. Peterson:

"If the ground is so encumbered with overgrowth of critical arguments, the seed cannot take root. It's the duty of the apologist, in that sense, to clear the ground to make it possible for the seed to grow."

If "positive apologetics" could be viewed as planting the seed in the ground, then "negative apologetics," i.e. rebutting the attacks of antagonists, would be analogous to clearing the ground of weeds so the seed can take root and grow.

I suggest one example of this is the DNA-based argument against Book of Mormon historicity. That was supposed to be "a Gallileo moment," a fatal blow to Mormonism. But upon examination, it was found to be deficient, based on misconceptions about what DNA can or cannot prove and about long-held but tenuous assumptions about Book of Mormon geography and populations. Thus, what started out as a bed of weeds that threatened to choke out the seed of faith was cleared away by good, solid apologetics. Ergo, the occasional weeding is just as necessary to the flowering of faith and harvest of testimony as is the planting and cultivating.

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This thread got me to thinking. For a long time I dismissed apologetics as "just a hobby" rather than something serious, but now I have a new view == this is serious.

Based on my new view, I read Alister McGrath's "The Dawkins Illusion" which is a nice piece of apologetics. I strongly recommend this book -- it is an easy read and relatively short. Many of his ideas and arguments fit nicely into Mormon apologetics.

He gave an interesting story where he was giving a lecture on the failure of Dawkins' arguments. After the lecture, someone came up to him and was outraged and very angry. He told Dr. McGrath that Dawkins had a great deal of influence on his thinking as a atheist, and he did not appreciate the fact that he now had to re-think his position and views.

How annoying!

I am curious whether BYU has a class on the theory and practice of apologetics, perhaps as a graduate class in religion. If so, I recommend this as a text.

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This thread got me to thinking. For a long time I dismissed apologetics as "just a hobby" rather than something serious, but now I have a new view == this is serious.

Call it what you will, it's a dynamic that's as old as the war in the pre-mortal existence.

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