Apologetics without Apology: Speaking of God in a World Troubled by Religion
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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Other TitlesDidsbury Lectures 2015
AbstractAgainst many expectations, religion has not vanished from Western culture. If anything, it exercises a greater fascination than ever before. But people are troubled and fascinated in equal measure by this new visibility of faith, not least because those who ‘speak of God in public’ are now in a minority. Society as a whole is nervous about the public engagement of faith groups and whether it is right to (re)incorporate the vocabulary of faith into our common life. This unprecedented, unanticipated, agonistic co-existence of religion and secularism is sometimes termed the ‘post-secular’, and in this book I consider some of its implications and especially for the public witness of Christianity. I argue that everyone, from Church leaders, theologians to local activists and campaigners, needs to learn again how to ‘speak Christian’ in these contexts, not just to articulate credible theological justifications for their involvement in public life but to justify the very relevance of their faith to a culture that no longer grants automatic privilege or credence. This entails a retrieval of the practice of apologetics, in terms of Christians being prepared to defend their core principles and convictions in public. An apologetics of presence involves a three-fold process of discerning the actions of God in the world, participating in the praxis of God’s mission and bearing witness to the theological convictions that underpin that praxis. Rather than being an adversarial or argumentative process, however, the apologetics of presence is an invitation to dialogue and to the rejuvenation of the vocabulary and praxis of public life, as a way of enriching our shared commitment to the common good.
CitationGraham, E. (2017). Apologetics without Apology: Speaking of God in a World Troubled by Religion. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books.
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