Doing Apologetics. 

What is one doing when they are doing apologetics? Is there one cut&dry method of doing apologetics? What is apologetics?It would seem that when one is doing apologetics they are defending some set of ideas, with a rational line of reasoning. While apologetics is usually associated with religion and defending religious truth claims, it is certainly not restricted to religious subject matter. One may be an apologist for global warming, evolution, or a political party. Usually one doesn’t take up the defence of something unless it is under attack from competing claims, or at least claims which are reasonable and need a response, or proactively dispelling a false notion. Not all claims, however, are reasonable even if popular. One may be surprised that there is a flat earth society, which seeks to demonstrate, using science, that the earth is flat, and that there is a widespread conspiracy to cover up this truth, and we are being lied to by NASA, our governments and the laws of gravity. While this flat earth view has its defenders, aka apologists, there are those who take up a spherical earth view. While the spherical view is so widely held, no one usually needs to actively defend it, one could almost presuppose its truth to draw predictions from it, one would find themselves being an apologist for this view when up against a proponent of a flat earth view, and quickly most lay people would have to examine why they believe in a spherical earth when faced with the “reasons” for a flat earth. 
What about views that are slightly less incontrovertible, but widely held, such as historical views. There are a few, not a whole lot, holocaust deniers, and as concentration camp survivors die off there are fewer and fewer witnesses to cross examine, making it easier to deny fairly recent history. The scholars who propagate this ideology would be considered apologists for their view, and once again, those who affirm the holocaust are forced to no longer take our widely held beliefs for granted when faced with some of the arguments against their views. 
When doing apologetics, of any subject, one is taking their beliefs into their hands and they are subjecting them to scrutiny, hopefully, and they are testing them in the crucible of reason and debate. Hopefully one begins with, or at least develops, a sense of intellectual humility during this process and learns to take their beliefs with a grain of salt and that they learn to empathize with other views other than their own. Except in mathematics, there do not seem to be any cut and dry debates, where one side can declare a firm victory over the other. 
There are certain tools in the apologists toolbox, or arsenal. These tools would be, hopefully, common to all apologists irrespective of the side they take. 
When one comes to the arena of debate, one ought to be equipped with logic and an understanding of reason. We aren’t just expressing disjointed opinions when we defend a set of ideas, we should express them cogently and soundly. There are rules of argument which apply to us as much as they do our opponent. It is easy to forget these rules apply to us as we quickly charge our opponent with fallacies of every kind. 
As mentioned before, humility and a charitable attitude go a long way. Often the argument can be won, but the opponent, if they are turned off by our attitude, will be lost and will certainly not concede to the likes of you, if you are an arrogant oaf. If one takes up a humble attitude, when proven to be in error it will be easy to save face yourself. This opens up the discussion for much more amicable dialogue, especially in heated discussions like politics or religion. 
Being dispassionate goes a long way. Often we identify personally with what we are defending and this makes being objective difficult and when our emotions get into the mix we are not presenting an argument, but are expressing our personal tastes more than anything. There is no shortage of heated topics to discuss, don’t fuel the fire with heated emotions. 
Stick to your field of knowledge and acknowledge your deficiencies, take notes and ask questions. Apologetics is the utilization of various disciplines. One may be doing historical apologetics when talking with a 9/11 conspiracy truther, or one may be doing scientific apologetics when discussing the shape of the earth, or the existence of extra-terrestrials in Arizona. If you feel the discussion is out of your realm of expertise see the point on humility. 

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