Apologetics ( from Greek ἀπολογία apologia, " defense, justification" ) refers to the defense of a ( global) view, in particular the scientific justification of religious doctrines, and that part of theology, in which one is concerned with the scientific and rational protection of faith. In Catholic theology, this area is now usually called fundamental theology.

Apologetics has three main functions. she wants to

  • Enter through logical arguments and scientific and historical evidence for the truth of faith
  • Defend the faith against attacks by critics of various other beliefs and faiths
  • Reject opposite faiths or beliefs

The functions of apologetics, namely the rational defense of their own faith and their own belief, there are also many other religions and philosophies, eg in Islam. Both the own scientific foundations in discussion (' foundational ') as compared with actual or fictitious queries defending ( apologetic ') distinct purposes in the medieval Islamic theology in a discipline known as Kalam. The inventory of the concepts and arguments used in this case has many parallels with lying ahead Jewish and Christian theology is further elaborated here and then turn rezipiert of Jewish and Christian theologians of the Middle Ages ( Scholasticism ).

Currently, the term is generally used only apologetics for the defense of the Christian faith. As an independent discipline under the name of the Christian apologetics apology only in the course of intra- Christian clashes and their classical methodology arises following, according to the theory of science decisions of the 14th century.

  • 5.1 manuals and reference works
  • 5.2 Early Christian apologetics
  • 5.3 Medieval and early modern apologetics
  • 5.4 Modern Apologetics
  • 5.5 Recent apologetic approaches
  • 5.6 Stronger practical and popular literature
  • 5.7 apologetic aligned Blogs

Historical Development

Already in the New Testament is spoken of apologetics. In 1 Peter 3:15 EU:

"Always be ready to stand each question and answer ( ἀπολογίαν ), which according to the rationality ( " λόγος " ) asks the hope that is in you. "

In the second and third century Christian apologists such as Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian saw their main task is to defend the Christian faith against charges of illegal activities.

Augustine of Hippo argued already in his earliest writings against Manichaeism. Rational arguments for the Christian faith run like a red thread through his writings:

" You are very wrong who think that we believe without any evidence relating to Christ Christ. "

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) was the first who performed ( abridged here ) since the much-discussed ontological proof of God. In particular, his book Cur Deus Homo (Why God became man ) has a distinctly apologetic orientation:

" God must be thought of as the absolutely perfect being. [ ... ] If God is only an idea and not really existing, so he would not as the absolutely perfect being thought. [ ... ] So God must also exist. "

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) argued against the proof of God by Anselm, but results in the Summa Theologiae five ways to proof of God on (shown very briefly, see also Natural theology ):

  • Everything that is moved must be moved from one another. Somewhere there is the first mover, the cause of all motion. This is God: the unmoved mover ( Aristotle ).
  • The visible world is composed of causes and effects. Every effect has a cause, an effect can not be its own cause. The first efficient cause is God.
  • Every contingent being has a cause ultimately a necessity. Each relative necessity has its justification from another necessity. A necessity is absolute, the need in himself, that is God.
  • Every natural body is more or less purposeful. Can create full purpose in the visible world only an intelligent being. But the world itself has been created from the highest intelligent beings from God.

John Calvin (1509-1564) assumed that the Christian faith is always reasonable. But he also insisted that the Christian faith often seems unreasonable, because human reason is affected by sin and spiritual deception.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) rejected the traditional arguments for God's existence, emphasizing the personal relationship aspect of faith in Jesus Christ. He argued that God had given sufficient evidence of the truth of Christianity, that those who wanted to know the truth, could see her, but he did not appear in a way that those who did not believe would have to believe by force. Blaise Pascal is known for the wager of Pascal as an inviting argument for the Christian faith (abridged):

" In this game we call life, every man must enter into a bet. For each bet, an insert is valid. Man has his life put either on the claim that the Christian doctrine is true, or on the assertion that it is not true. If a person does not enter this bet, it automatically sets to the possibility that it is not true. ... Suppose a man decides for the Christian faith: Is he correct in his assumption that he has everything to gain, he is wrong, he has nothing to lose. ... Suppose a person decides against the Christian faith: If it is so right, he has not won anything. But should he be wrong, he has lost everything and spends his eternity in hell. "

Apologetic approaches

It is possible to observe different approaches:

Philosophical apologetics

These apologetics is based on reason and logic in particular. In this classic form of apologetics is not primarily defending Christianity, but presented as a logical, rational according to faith. Representatives are especially Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Norman Geisler, CS Lewis, Wolfhart Pannenberg, William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, and AE Wilder - Smith.

Evidence-based apologetics

This modern form of apologetics used empirical and historically verifiable facts to rebut attacks against Christianity and to show that Christianity was not unreasonable. Typical representatives of this direction are about Lee Strobel and Carsten Peter Thiede.

Experience -based apologetics

This position assumes that a personal, existential experience of God not only, or even can not be based on rational arguments or empirical evidence. The existential religious aspirations of the people can be fulfilled in Christianity as a "relationship religion ", but that could be true only through personal experience. A frequently mentioned example is representative of this trend Søren Kierkegaard. Its interpretation, however, is controversial, which still applies more to Friedrich Schleiermacher. Particularly controversial is in each individual case, the labeling as a " fideist apologetics ".

Institutionalized apologetics

The concern of education on so-called "cults" led to the establishment of ecclesiastical bodies. The Evangelical Church in Germany founded in 1921 an Apologetic Central in Berlin, headed by Walter Künneth. Your successor organization was founded in Stuttgart in 1960 Protestant Association for Religious and Ideological Issues, headed by Kurt Hutten. Religious communities operating in Germany are monitored and evaluated for the Catholic Church, which on theologically or psychologically problematic is pointed. The term " apologetics " was picked up for this concern in a book series of the 1990s, namely, edited by Werner Thiede series Apologetic topics.


( Cardinal / Pope ) Joseph Ratzinger emphasizes the importance of the saints and of art: " The only real apology for Christianity may be limited to two arguments: the saints who brought forth the church, and the art that has been growing in her womb. the Lord is rather certified by the magnificence of holiness and art which have arisen in the believing community than by the clever excuses which apologetics has developed to justify the dark sides where the human history of the Church, unfortunately, is so rich. "