People don’t choose to believe or not to believe; they choose between beliefs. Thus, the apologist’s task is in some ways easier, and in some ways more difficult, than it would be if people chose between belief and pure agnosticism. The Christian is not obliged always to be on the defensive; he can go on the attack. We imagine when defending one dogma after another that there is some natural, unproblematic fallback (“not believing”) to which anyone can default if our arguments fail. In fact, the rival–at this time, there is really only one–involves its own questionable metaphysical and ethical commitments. The rival is itself incarnate in flawed human beings and has its own history of crime and corruption. For someone confronting a choice between the two belief systems, an argument against the rival system is ipso facto an argument for the plausibility of Christianity, and an argument for Christianity is ipso facto an argument against the rival. Conversely, all the propaganda he imbibes from news, entertainment, and academia in favor of establishment Leftism inclines him against Christianity, which it identifies as the oppressor civilization.
The best works of apologetics (such as those of Pascal, C. S. Lewis, and Chesterton) usually have a very definite rival belief system in mind. Confronted with a different rival (e.g. Islam) their arguments would have little relevance or force. C. S. Lewis, for example, assumed that the rival is metaphysical materialism coupled with moral relativism/nihilism. His arguments today are neither better nor worse than they ever were, but they are less effective now that the rival, while still atheistic and inconsistently materialistic, has embraced moral puritanism and scapegoating. Indeed, today any nonmoral perspective on racial or Christian-Jewish relations (e.g. explaining conflicts in terms of divergences of interests or competition for scarce resources rather than to white, Christian malevolence) provokes outrage. An argument for the existence of objective morals no longer strikes at the heart of the enemy, not the way an argument against the idea that the world is divided into oppressor and victim classes would.
When I ask myself why I am a Christian, the first thing that comes to mind (not the most logically demonstrative but the closest to my heart) is not an argument or a piece of evidence, but a sense of revulsion, revulsion at the idea that loyalty to fathers and kings is for suckers, and that reverence toward ancestors and sacred objects is for fools. This is the vulgar and insensible attitude I see at the heart of the rival Leftist system. Rejecting it wouldn’t help one decide between Christianity and Confucianism, but at the moment Confucianism is (perhaps unfortunately) not one of the live choices facing Western man.