Section 4

An Introduction to Deconstructive Apologetics    

“…(W)e demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God...”  2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

    This apologetic level assumes that you are a Christian and that you are convinced the core beliefs of Christianity are true or truer than the core beliefs of other world views and religions; and that as a part of your stewardship of defending the faith you wish to analyze and even deconstruct arguments and pretensions that set themselves up against the knowledge of God.

    In this particular level we are (obviously) not mainly concerned with just any kind of deconstruction, like architectural deconstruction or (less obviously) deconstruction as a linguistic theory in philosophy.  We’ re using the term ‘deconstruction’ and deconstructive apologetics in a technical way: deconstructive apologetics is about first, doing our best to give a charitable and fair conceptual (and sometimes cultural) analysis of competing world-views and religions, seeking to uncover their truth value and the existential viability of what is implied within them.  (Level 6 will be devoted to hopefully helping us to better understand cultural analysis from a Christian perspective.)

    Second, a major emphasis of deconstruction is take the analysis and use it in making and presenting critiques of other competing world views and competing religions that make truth claims.  That is, world views and religions that make truth claims that conflict with Christian truth claims.  We want to look for internal inconsistencies and/or self-referential incoherencies in their accounts.

    Believing as we do that competing world views and competing religious ideologies could not even possibly all be true at the same time and in the same sense in their core beliefs, while at the same time having come to believe that Christianity is true (certainly truer) in its core beliefs than these other competitors, we enter this discipline thinking that is very likely that we will able find these difficulties and errors.  Indeed, we think that helping people to see the weaknesses of their positions can often be a crucial first step in seeing people change their minds--and if the arguments we give hold water, then that might not be a bad thing for them to see.  Such change may not be immediate, but accumulated doubts about even their strongly held core beliefs can proceed to discarding those beliefs and looking about for others with greater credibility.

    We also believe that presenting deconstructive arguments is not inherently uncharitable if the facts of the case support it; because, if the arguments work properly, the conclusions merely follows from the laws of logic (non-contradiction, identity and excluded middle) or from probability calculus or from inferences to the best explanation as it applies to the problems it addresses. We also wish to assert from the beginning that we do NOT expect to find other world views and religions completely without truth, or completely lacking in value, insight or benefits.  That could be the case, even if they are seriously in error in their core beliefs.

    Further, we enter this apologetic discipline not to destroy people or destroy ideas held by people for the fun of it or to merely help us to feel good about ourselves.  Rather, we engage in this part of the discipline believing it can be the best thing we can do for people—that is, we think it is a good thing to help them evaluate their own views, especially if we do that mercifully. We think that task can justifiably include uncovering illusions or putting a spotlight on serious deficiencies.  We believe that this way of doing things can be charitable (and can be charitably done) because the best way forward in some of these situations maybe to change direction.

    We specifically eschew propaganda, sophistry and character assassination; rather we aim at clarity, increasing rigor and increasing sophistication in our work and charity in our dealings with people.

    Those values shape how we are to be and how we are to do what we do.  Thus, we will seek to be and to do things, not uncharitably, but rather with respect for the people who hold opposing views.  We hold this even though, for example, in this sort of discipline we would want to thoroughly analyze and evaluate world views, such as the various forms of atheistic metaphysical naturalism or physicalism, various forms of pantheism, and other forms of monotheism and so forth.

    The resources on this level of the Apologia website have been gathered and organized so that you advance in your knowledge and skills involved in this discipline.  We encourage you to explore on. © Academic Connections, International