Who is the audience for fundamentalist apologetics?
One place to start in answering this question is Answers in Genesis (AiG). This creationist juggernaut – with its books, videos, podcasts, speakers, school and church curricula, museum, and theme park – advertises itself as an “apologetics (i.e., Christianity-defending) ministry, dedicated to enabling Christians to defend their faith and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively.”
Probably no one at AiG has produced more apologetics material than Ken Ham’s son-in-law, Bodie Hodge. Among other books and videos, he has written or edited Confound the Critics: Answers for Attacks on Biblical Truths, How Do We Know the Bible is True?, Quick Answers to Tough Questions, and Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions.
Again and again, Hodge underscores the point that, contrary to what one might imagine, it is very easy for fundamentalists to logically demolish the views of those with whom they disagree. For example, in a recent article on the AiG website entitled “Micro-Refutations,” Hodge asserts that “with just a little knowledge, [fundamentalists] can usually easily refute false religions and beliefs . . . It’s that simple.” To make his point, he helpfully provides some examples of “some quick, easy refutations”:
- Regarding materialism: This belief “is itself not material or energy, but a nonmaterial concept [emphases Hodge’s]. This means materialism cannot exist within materialism. Thus, materialism is self-defeating and refuted.”
- Regarding Taoism and Hinduism: While these religions “have an impersonal ‘god’ . . . how then can anyone know that this ‘god’ is impersonal? After all, this ‘god’ cannot communicate anything about itself to man since communication is personal. This is arbitrary, to say the least, and self-refuting.”
- Regarding atheism: “The atheist must be an omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscience [sic] ‘god’ to say there is no omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient God. They must have the attributes of God to claim God doesn’t exist. Thus, the atheistic position is self-refuting.”
- Regarding public education: When “state schools” – which “generally teach children the evolutionary position that they are animals” and that there is “no God” – chastise these same students for “not ‘behaving’ (acting with Christian morality)” when they “do drugs, vandalize, rape, get drunk, shoot their classmates, and live like animals,” they are being illogical.
- Regarding transgender individuals: They are “offended that I don’t accept them for who they are, when they don’t accept themselves for who they are (hence, the attempted transition from the gender they were); furthermore, they do not accept me for who I am (a double standard). Are they repentant over offending me by their actions? No. This is inconsistent and thus false.”
One probably does not need a college philosophy course to see that these arguments are ludicrous. Just to take one for example—of course, you don’t have to be God to be of the opinion that there is no God. So, we have to ask: who could be persuaded by Hodge’s “micro-refutations”?
That question, however, presumes that Hodge is seeking to persuade individuals outside fundamentalism. But given the quality of Hodge’s arguments, it makes more sense to see his primary audience as folks who are already fundamentalist creationists. Understanding this allows us to see that Hodge is in the business of delivering pep talks to true believers, comforting them with the knowledge that it takes little or no mental energy for them to demolish arguments made by their religious, political, and cultural opponents.
So, staying in the AiG bubble – with its schools, publications, speakers, and more – makes sense. Those inside the bubble have the Truth. Those outside the bubble do not.