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The term “apologetics” is typically defined as the religious discipline of defending doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. It has nothing to do, of course, with the common concepts apologizing or arguing. And it has an honorable tradition, in Christianity, going back at least as far as the Apostle Paul’s trial in Acts 26. But while apologetics is conceptually legitimate, there are risks. Most crucially, the apologist can assume that which needs to be proved.

Because apologetics involves systematic argumentation it certainly appears as if the activity is all about proving, not assuming. But this is not always what happens. To see that, let’s begin by considering the somewhat analogous process of a lawyer defending a client. First, ask yourself what the reasons might be for retaining legal counsel. An obvious one would be to “level the playing field”. That is, the law is complex and navigating it requires expertise. If you were charged with some crime you did not commit there would be a significant risk that your lack of legal competence could result in an unjust conviction. So you would want representation by someone who would know the law as well or better than those accusing you. Then you would also want that person to be skilled in argumentation so he or she could explain your defense better than you could. Without this expertise-leveling action a defendant might not receive a fair trial. Thus legal representation is usually necessary, and those who supply the expertise – lawyers – are engaged in an honorable activity and profession. But here too there is risk, frequently occurring in real life, that the legal profession might cross the line from the above-described role and into the task of getting their client “off” by whatever means and argumentative moves the lawyer can get away...
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