One skeptic provided the following challenge, “Why, if your faith is so strong, do you feel the need to defend your religion? It should need no justification to someone who you perceive as factually incorrect and fallacious.”
I have heard this before, I don’t think its an uncommon line. My first answer would be due to pure necessity. We live in a cut throat world when it comes down to worldviews. We have naturalism, theism, Hinduism, and nihilism, just to name a few. Apologists of each worldview try to persuasively argue that it is their one which best corresponds to reality and the universe around us. These worldviews clearly clash since they make objective, philosophical truth claims that cannot be squared with opposing worldviews. Clearly Christian theism & Islam cannot both be correct, just as atheism and Judaism cannot both be either. This is why the world of worldviews is cut throat. If one is true then that necessitates that many, if not all, others are false.
Christians have also pointed out that their scriptures instructs them to “defend” their religion. They usually point to 1 Peter 3:15 which instructs faithful followers to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you.” This requires the Christian to produce evidence to back her beliefs. Christian apologist and professional philosopher William Lane Craig captures this explaining that “If Christians could be trained to to provide solid evidence for what they believe and good answers to unbelievers’ questions and objections, then the perception of Christians would slowly change. Christians would be seen as thoughtful people to be taken seriously rather than as emotional fanatics or buffoons. The gospel would be a real alternative for people to embrace” (1). Given the truth of Christian theism salvation of humans is also on the line. In this way one needs to make the gospel, as Craig explained, “a real alternative for people to embrace.”
Also, one feels obligated to defend their worldview. If the Christian believes there’s sufficient reason to affirm Jesus resurrection then he might feel obligated to share that good news with unbelievers. But this would, and should, require being able to defend this belief. Somewhere along the line someone will challenge his belief, so he better be able to defend it. Finally, being able to defend one’s worldview enhances and strengthens one’s faith. If one can see that her worldview is able to stand up to scrutiny then it will provide her with a boost of confidence in it. In this way it encourages the Christian’s own spiritual growth.
1. Craig, W. 2010. On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision. p. 18.