Monday, July 03, 2006

The Problem with Preemptive Apologetics

A quote fromMark Shea's blog.

Part of what fed (and feeds) the interest in apologetics is simply the thrill of learning and articulating the faith. That's certainly what motivates me. People call me an apologist. I generally don't call myself one, because I primarily think of myself as an amateur teacher. I think the Faith is fascinating and just like telling other people about it, because I love to watch the lights come on and I love to watch the Faith liberate other people as it's liberated me. Sometimes that involves "defending the Faith". A lot of times it simply involves proclaiming the Faith.

The two, by the way, are different and those who love apologetics would do well to remember it. The first and primary task of the believer is *not* to defend the Faith, but to proclaim it. In other words, evangelization comes first, and apologetics is, at best, its handmaid. You don't *need* to "defend the Faith* unless the Faith is being attacked. And if you enter into a conversation with a defensive mentality, don't be surprised if you ignite a hostile mentality in the person you are talking to. Not a few times have I seen hot-headed, testosterone-driven young single guys (in short, the sort of person who is typically drawn to apologetics) forget this and come on strong with a pugilistic attitude that radiates "You probably think there's something wrong with my Faith, don't you? Don't you? Come on, try me buddy. Just try me!" Such folk mean well usually. They are young bucks full of piss and vinegar. A thousand years ago, all that masculine energy would have been spent on something like a healthy crusade. But today, there are very few channels through which the Valiant Knight hormones can go, so they go into apologetics, often without anybody to instruct these guys that the medieval ideal also include the model of the verray, parfit gentil knyght who comes in peace before he comes in war. (Link)

This leads to the obvious question, Am I “full of piss and vinegar?” Before I can answer I need to take a trip to the John.

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