C. Michael Patton at Parchment and Pen has 14 Examples of Really Bad Apologetics.
There are many good arguments (apologetics) for the truthfulness of Christianity:
- Historical evidence for the resurrection
- Historical evidence for the reliability of Scriptures
- Philosophical arguments for the existence of God, such as the cosmological argument
Some of the bad arguments for Christianity listed by Patton are:
- “I believe Christianity is true because I read this book where someone died, went to heaven, and came back.”
- “I believe Christianity is true because there are secret codes found in the Scriptures.”
- “I believe Christianity is true because I heard that this guy’s pancake was miraculously in the shape of Jesus.”
- “I believe Christianity is true because God spoke to me and told me ______”
I would add a few to the list of bad arguments, such as:
- Much of what comes out of the end-times industry. I stopped reading this stuff after reading 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be in 1988. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I haven’t even cracked the cover of the Left Behind books. Every few years, the arguments have to be changed because the predictions just don’t come true. (I write this as a premillenialist).
- Most of what comes out of the young-Earth creationism movement. I view much of this as unnecessary Biblically, not essential for a proper understanding of sin and salvation, and an unfortunate barrier to faith for many, especially scientists. (There are also some bad arguments that I’ve seen come out of the old-Earth/ID movement, but not nearly as many).
- Much of what comes out of the “Biblical archeology” movement.
People can come to genuine and lasting faith in Christ through bad arguments. But many are turned away needlessly by bad arguments as well, and we cannot have a pragmatic “the end justifies the means” approach.
Ultimately, faith is a work of God. I cannot claim to have come to faith in Christ by my own wisdom. Theologically, I know that if I have faith in Christ, it is a work of God. But God does use sound arguments as part of drawing people to himself.
Grace and Peace