Methods of apologetics

I.                   Methods of apologetics
A.                Specific techniques of argument
1.                  Question your opponent’s point of view.
a)                 Make it your aim to remove misconceptions

For example, when Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we are not saying that He evolved out of any sexual relationship between the Holy Spirit and Mary.

b)                 What are the assumptions/values behind the argument?

(Luke 8:49-50 NIV)  While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher any more.” {50} Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

The people assumed that Jesus could heal a sick person but not raise a dead person. Jesus told them that they are wrong because their assumptions were wrong.

c)                 Challenge what your opponent states as undeniable truth.

(Acts 19:35-36 NIV)  The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: “Men of Ephesus, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? {36} Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to be quiet and not do anything rash.

d)                 Ask your opponent to prove his point.

(Acts 24:12-13 NIV)  My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. {13} And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me.

(Acts 24:19-20 NIV)  But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. {20} Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin–

{e)                 Implications – Do you know what you are actually saying?

If you say the Bible is corrupted do you know you are saying that Allah cannot protect His word from corruption?

(Luke 11:47-48 NIV)  “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. {48} So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs.

(Matthew 20:21-22 NIV)  “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” {22} “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.

(Acts 22:25 NIV)  As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”

f)                   Address exaggerations – Ask for specifics.

(Acts 17:5-6 NIV)  But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. {6} But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here,

g)                 If what I believe is wrong, why are you guilty of the same thing?

(Luke 13:14-17 NIV)  Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” {15} The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? {16} Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” {17} When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.

If you say the Bible is corrupted, what about the Quran? Don’t just keep defending your position, go on the offensive.

h)                 What has this got to do with the issue?

(Matthew 15:2 NIV)  “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

(Matthew 15:11 NIV)  What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’”

So what if the Bible contains copying errors? Does that prove that it is not the Word of God?

i)                    Let’s look at it another way

Make the weakness into a strength.

Editors of the Bible removing interpolations.

Errors in the Bible.

j)                    Why  be concerned about this when other factors are more important

(Luke 11:39 NIV)  Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.

(Matthew 16:26 NIV)  What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

k)                 It’s the other way round

(Acts 17:29 NIV)  “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone–an image made by man’s design and skill.

l)                    Expose logical errors

False analogy

False cause

False conclusion

False fallacy

Not logical

(Luke 11:17-18 NIV)  Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. {18} If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub.

Jesus proved that He could not have been using Satan’s power because it is illogical that Satan would use his own power against himself.

Talking about different things.

(James 2:20 NIV)  You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ?

(Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– {9} not by works, so that no one can boast.

m)               How do you know?  Where is your proof?

Many times people reject the truth for no good reason other than the fact that their religion tell them it cannot be true. This is blind faith. Ask them for reasons why they disbelieve.

For example, the Quran tells us that God is unity and Muslims believe it without question. But no one can prove that God is unity and not trinity.

n)                 Question/Challenge the source

Biased? Quoted within context? Expert in the subject? Contradict other source?

If the evidence is in the hadiths, can we trust the hadiths?

Is your opponent’s source selective?

Some Muslims would only accept a piece of information if the source is Muslim.

We cannot reject all things written by non-Muslims anymore than we accept all things written by Muslims. We have to find out their reasons for saying something and question both their source as well as their logic. If we do not accept or reject something based on source and logic, then we are agreeing of disagreeing with someone subjectively rather than objectively.

If a Muslim writes bad things about the Quran, do we accept it? For example, Ali Dashti talks about the literary defects of the Quran. He writes in his book Twenty-three years : A study of the prophetic career of Muhammad..

“Unfortunately the Quran was badly edited and its contents are very obtusely arranged. All students of the Quran wonder why the editors did not use the natural logical method of ordering by date or revelation, as in Ali b. Taleb’s lost copy of the text.”

On the other hand if a non-Muslim writes that Muhammad is a prophet of Islam, do we reject it? No, we have to examine each part of what they say separately.

If a Muslim say something about Muhammad, do we immediately accept it as true? No because humans can make mistake. And even Muslim authors do sometimes contradict each other. If we accept everything written by Muslims, we will be faced with an impossible task to accept contradictory comments.

Not everything about Christianity written by Christians is correct. I have read things written by Muslims about Christianity that is more correct. For example, some Christian books tell you the Bible does not contain errors. Wrong! The Bible does contain errors. I have books written by Muslims that says that the Bible contain errors. At first I don’t believe but after investigation I found out that they are right. It does contain errors. Many Christians in the world today don’t believe in anything a non-Christian say about the Bible. This type of attitude is wrong when we want to search for truth.

One should not only read something from one point of view.
To really learn the true picture, one has to read about the life of Muhammad based on both Muslim and non-Muslim writers and then try to figure out which one is true. There are many people who write about Muhammad, who hates him, and do not believe that he is a true prophet. Therefore they cannot write good things about him even if those things were true. But there are also many Muslims who love Muhammad dearly and write biographies about him. The logic is also true for them. Would they be able to write anything bad about Muhammad even if they find information in some sources? Of course they will not. Therefore one gets more information by reading from all kinds of sources.

There is no need to worry about what Muhammad haters say about him. If the things are not true, their ultimate source and logic will not hold and upon questioning the whole argument will collapse.

o)                 Question your opponent so that they will be put in corner.

(Luke 20:2-7 NIV)  “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?” {3} He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me, {4} John’s baptism–was it from heaven, or from men?” {5} They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ {6} But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” {7} So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.”