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Imaginative Apologetics: Theology, Philosophy and the Catholic Tradition Paperback – May 1, 2012
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'The authors of this remarkably impressive group of essays believe we need a fresh approach to apologetics, given the kind of confident crudity and principled ignorance represented by the New Atheists.' Professor David Martin, Church Times.
'Every chapter in this stimulating book is worth reading.' The Church of England Newspaper.
'The short version of the review is that if you are at all interested in apologetics, you should read this book... the authors' perspective is just different enough from the typical Evangelical perspective as to bring new insights to the table (and to challenge hidden assumptions as well).' Hieropraxis.com
From the Back Cover
A Fresh Introduction to Christian Apologetics
This timely introduction argues for a version of Christian apologetics that is theological, philosophical, and "catholic" and that embraces the whole of human reason. It emphasizes a foundation in theology that is both confident and open and makes reference to philosophy in an accessible way.
John Hughes on proofs and arguments for faith and reason
Andrew Davison on Christian reason and Christian community
Alison Milbank on apologetics and the imagination
Donna J. Lazenby on apologetics, literature, and worldview
Michael Ward on C. S. Lewis's view of imagination and reason in apologetics
Stephen Bullivant on atheism, apologetics, and ecclesiology
Craig Hovey on Christian ethics as Good News
Graham Ward on cultural hermeneutics and Christian apologetics
Richard Conrad, OP, on moments and themes in the history of apologetics
Alister E. McGrath on the natural sciences and apologetics
"The time seems ripe to reconsider the apologetic role. . . . It is the true exercise of the imagination which induces a paradoxically sober furor and guides and cautions our discursive judgement. . . . It is the vision of Christ, the God-Man who exercised for our redemption the supreme imaginative act of recreation here on earth. A true apologetics negatively defends this imaginative action against assault by positively perpetuating its performance. It is this task which the authors of the present volume seek to renew in our time."
--John Milbank, University of Nottingham (from the foreword)
"This attractive volume encourages us to invite others into Christ's way of seeing the world and to step into the life of a community where his new way of living and loving can be found. It is an original and inspiring contribution to the apologetic task of the Church."
--Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry
Top customer reviews
A few of the essays, such as that on Lewis, or Richard Conrad’s “Moments and Themes in the History of Apologetics,” are easier to grasp than the other rather abstract writings, as they observe figures who have illustrated ways to convey faith. This is not a ‘how to’ book of apologetics, but a call for a more comprehensive presentation of faith than traditional methods have offered.
The book calls for rethinking how apologetics is done, with more of an emphasis on the imagination. It does not call for tossing the baby out with the bath water but does make a compelling case for expanding how we view doing apologetics.
In this collections of essays, Imaginative Apologetics attempts to remove the vanity and pride--and hence all our smartest arguments all together--to reveal the need and the method necessary for actual Christian persuasion.
If you've ever wondered how C.S. Lewis did it, how he managed to be the sole figure in 20th century Christendom that is claimed as a guide by every branch of Christianity, Michael Ward's essay on Lewis provides the best answer I've ever seen. Lewis's apologetics were successful, Ward writes, not simply because they were well reasoned, but "first and foremost because [of Lewis's]...imaginative skill and imaginative intent." Ward concocts a story where he asks a car mechanic if his rear indicator light is working and the mechanic said "Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes." As he goes on to explain, the mechanic heard and answered the question strictly as a matter of whether the electrical connection had been made or was broken. But he was unable, within the confines of circuits--i.e. science--to see the relationship between a completed or broken circuit and the meaning of Michael Ward's question, "is it working?" I am not doing justice to even that small part of the essay, let alone the best parts that follow.
Allison Milbank says that metaphysics is the science of the limits of our understanding. Donna J. Lazenby has a brilliant essay addressing what is going on in modern literature. Craig Hovey argues that the more a Christian proof-apologist wins the argument the more ground he concedes by failing to make the non-believer jealous of what Christians have and what they are struggling for.
I have wanted to write a review of this book since finishing it some months ago, but I don't know how to do it justice in a brief review. I have lamented for a long time that I am unable to persuade someone--anyone--to join the church. The so-called New Atheists are such easy targets because their arguments are far less formidable than the more serious atheists of old such as Frederich Nietzsche. It's great fun to put their follies on display, but in the end, where does that get us as Christians? We don't need to defeat the non-believers; we need to make them want what we have. Imaginative Apologetics is a brilliant guidebook for how to make them jealous.