Research Report: What Motivates Interest In Apologetics?

Summary or Keywords

Apologists have often asked how we can “get more apologetics in the Church.” Typically we’ve pursued the question as a matter of “give them the resources and they’ll find out they like it.” Even worse, we’ve treated it as if we could argue people into liking argument. In reality, though, it’s not an apologetics question, it’s a motivation issue.

Using a motivational/social science approach, drawing a sample from apologetics Facebook groups, Ratio Christi, and elsewhere, the current research explores motivations that have sparked interest in people who have an interest in apologetics. Findings show that the best predictors of that interest are 

  • An intellectual bent
  • Serious questions
  • Access to answers
  • In a relationally supportive environment

Church and prior biblical convictions had surprisingly little effect in motivating persons' interest in apologetics.

Tom Gilson
Allen Shoemaker, Julie Reese, Mia Langford
Why We Believe
Spiritual Formation
Ministry Strategy
Religious/Social Research
Publication Year
Resource Type
Text-Based Resource
Minimum Familiarity Level
Somewhat Familiar With the Subject
Curriculum Level
Groups that would be especially interested in this resource
College Students

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