Apologetics is about being argumentative, right? That’s the reputation. The reality can and should be very different. Jonathan McLatchie demonstrates the real effect of knowing apologetics in this 10 minute video exchange with atheistDouglas Letkeman.
Watch and observe:
Watch how easily he answers. He doesn’t say more than necessary, because this is an artificial “intervention” Douglas is performing with him, called “Street Epistemology.” (He calls it SE in the first moments of the clip.)
Watch also how little confrontation there is here. Practitioners of SE are taught to avoid confrontation; it’s part of the technique. Jonathan gives short answers and offers longer ones (“I can give you examples,” he says), calmly, relationally.
Note that Douglas doesn’t take him up on that offer. He’s not interested in finding out what Jonathan is talking about, on undesigned coincidences, for example. Rather, he’s practicing SE, a technique first introduced by Peter Boghossian in his Manual for Creating Atheists, which has no other purpose but to talk believers down in their confidence in their faith.
Jonathan doesn’t get flustered by this intervention. He stays calm, and remains relationally involved, never argumentative. He can do this because he knows what he’s talking about.
I’ve said the same thing about discussions on sexuality. Confident knowledge supports calm conversation. It’s when you’re unsure of yourself that nervousness kicks in, and the temperature of the discussion starts to rise.
Can apologetics be argumentative? Sure. Then it’s a character issue. Solid knowledge actually helps, however, leading to calm, caring connections over crucial questions.