On being an apologist

These days it seems that some folk think that calling someone an apologist is an insult. Mostly I've seen accusations of Republican apologist, conservative apologist, black apologist, and most derisively a combination of those three. Let's take a look at some definitions of the word apologist shall we?
  1. A person who argues in defense or justification of something, such as a doctrine, policy, or institution.

  2. a person who argues to defend or justify some policy or institution

So, when did it become a bad thing to be able to argue for what you believe to be right? I'm a Christian (don't act like you didn't know). An important part of the Christian faith is being able to give an account of what you believe and why you believe it. I Peter 3:15 reads, in part, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (The rest of the passage speaks about giving your answer with gentleness and respect which we all forget to do from time to time but some are worse than others. But that's a topic for another post.)

According these definitions that makes me, and any Christian worth their salt, an apologist. In fact there is a whole branch of Christian studies called apologetics which focuses on presenting arguments for having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Apologetics is what many a Christian blogger engages in. Calling someone an apologist for [fill-in-the-blank] as an insult for arguing in favour of [fill-in-the-blank] is pretty lame when you actually know what the word means.

So those of you out there throwing around the term [fill-in-whatever-group-idea-or-belief-you-despise] apologist as an insult go crack open a dictionary and come back when you've got a clue. (Was that too harsh?)

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