‘Place’ and Apologetics: Christopher Brooks and “Urban Apologetics”

Recently I wrote on the fundamental role “being known” plays in one’s act of knowing. That is, my coming to know something is not reduced to the Cartesian “I think, therefore I am.” Just as important is the reality that each individual is confronted by reality – by others, by the physical world, etc. We are not able to completely abstract ourselves out of culture and tradition (as Descartes tried to do). Rather, we are shaped by the culture and tradition in which we live.

This culture and tradition makes up what I’m calling place, which also includes one’s geographic location and social setting. Where one is and was (i.e. if one lives in a different location from where they were born) plays a significant role in what issues they face on a regular basis. Place also determines what worldviews and religions one encounters through their neighbors, co-workers, and fellow citizens. These issues and questions force the individual (either reactively or through reflection) to come to terms (at some level) with what they believe or know about them.

Apologetics is not immune to the impact place has on the act of knowing and what one believes. Continue reading

Knowing and Being Known: Introductory Thoughts

I did not begin studying philosophy until I was 4 years into my Masters degree (which took me 8 years and 11 months to complete). For the longest time I viewed philosophy as a discipline for really smart people. However, as I look back on my life, I believe I didn’t give philosophy the time of day because I thought it was boring — a musty relic of academic disciplines. I was spontaneous (or so I thought)—I didn’t want to be “stuck” in one place; rather, I wanted to travel, to see the world, and to be invested in something bigger than myself. Philosophy did not fit the bill.

Little did I know at this time, though, that the questions and longings I had were (in part) philosophical in nature. The last two years of my college career was a period of deep anxiety and, at times, depression.[1] I recall a prayer that I repeated rather often during this time of my life—that I would know God. I longed to know God beyond the mere intellect; however, I didn’t know how else to say what I longed for other than stressing the word ‘know’ to entail a fuller, substantive, and deeper sense of knowing God. Continue reading