An apologist argues that beauty and imagination are key to faith formation.
Paradoxically, we live in an age of both unprecedented information access and widespread religious illiteracy. Never has there been more material available on the rational and historical grounds for Christian faith, yet our Western culture is becoming ever more secularized. Increasing numbers of people feel comfortable embracing agnosticism or atheism, and every day we see evidence of hostility to Christianity, especially on topics related to sexual ethics. How are we to approach evangelism and discipleship in this strange, new, “post-truth” world, with its ever-deepening cultural and political divisions?
The classic rational arguments for Christian faith—based on evidence, philosophy, and history—are as sound as ever, but they are effective only when people are interested in the questions and find our words and ideas meaningful. Today, we cannot count on our listeners to be either interested or informed. Here, we see the need for a new approach—or rather, the return to an older, more integrated approach to apologetics that engages the whole human person. Many contemporary apologists—myself included—look to both reason and imagination to help us lead people to know about, follow, and love our Lord Jesus Christ.
As an apologist, I appreciate the value of the imagination in no small part because of the role it played in helping me come to Christian faith. I was once an atheist, and a hostile one, who agreed with the New Atheists that Christianity was not just false but irrational and harmful.
Although I was not interested in apologetic arguments at the time, I had, without knowing it, been experiencing the work of grace through my imagination. As a child, I fell in love with the Chronicles …