Right-brained apologetics: Writer Francis Spufford

Francis Spufford has won several literary awards in Great Britain for his nonfiction works, which include I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination and a memoir of childhood, The Child That Books Built. In 2012 he published what he calls “a short polemic about religion”: Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense. One British reviewer described his case for faith as “rude, intelligent, and convincing.” The American paperback edition of Unapologetic was published this month by HarperOne.

Your book is not “apologetic” in the classic sense of presenting a rational defense of Christian belief designed to persuade skeptics. You explicitly focus on the emotional sense of Christianity. Do you think there is a place for the former kind of apologetics?

I’m not always intellectually convinced by particular moves that particular apologists make as they go about the traditional business of defending the integrity and plausibility of Christian ideas, but I absolutely accept the value of the task. It needs to exist in the Christian intellectual ecosystem and to be reinvented for changing contexts of ideas every generation, maybe every decade. I just don’t think it is the only persuasive tool we need, or that it is always the right one to reach people with.