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Apologetics is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse.

Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their beliefs against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called Christian apologists. In 21st-century usage, apologetics is often identified with debates over religion and theology.


The term apologetics derives from the Ancient Greek word ἀπολογία). In the Classical Greek legal system, the prosecution delivered the κατηγορία), the accusation or charge, and the defendant replied with an apologia, the defence. The apologia was a formal speech or explanation to reply to and rebut the charges. A famous example is Socrates' Apologia defense, as chronicled in Plato's Apology.

In the Koine Greek of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul employs the term apologia in his trial speech to Festus and Agrippa when he says "I make my defense" in Acts 26:2. A cognate form appears in Paul's Letter to the Philippians as he is "defending the gospel" in Philippians 1:7, and in "giving an answer" in 1 Peter 3:15.

Although the term apologetics has Western, primarily Christian origins and is most frequently associated with the defense of Christianity, the term is sometimes used referring to the defense of any religion in formal debate involving religion.

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