What does this mean, "apologetic question". For example in this statement:

Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions

"Apologetic" sounds like apologizing for something, but I don't understand how can you ask a question and at the same time be apologetic. I looked up apologetic in a dictionary and searched for example uses on Google but I couldn't find a good explanation.

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    It's just a question asked with an apologetic tone. For example, "This might be stupid, but did you mean to write 2 + 2 = 4 instead of 2 + 2 = 18?" – Qaz Oct 8 '14 at 19:23
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    Clerk to hospital patient: 'Would you mind telling me your date of birth? – WS2 Oct 8 '14 at 19:26
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    It probably depends on the context, and Qaz and WS2 are probably giving examples that are more common, but it's possible that the use of "apologetic" might mean "defensive," because there is an alternative meaning for the word "apologetic" which means "the formalized and comprehensive defense of a position (often religious)." – Calphool Oct 8 '14 at 19:41
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    Can you provide more context, @janos? – Henry74 Oct 8 '14 at 21:39
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    What @Henry74 said. The "apologetic question" has a fairly restricted sense in the context of (particularly, Christian) theology and philosophy, but it can be much looser in more general contexts. – FumbleFingers Oct 8 '14 at 22:37

I think, given the specific comparison of speak in statements versus speak in apologetic questions you should interpret the meaning thusly:

If someone is making religious apologetic statements then one is taking something that the religion believes is true and turning it into a question. For instance:


Statement:  Bhudda's teachings are truth
Apologetic question:  Are Bhudda's teachings truth?

Statement:  Bhudda taught us an enlightened way to live
Apologetic qustions:  Is the path of Budda really an enlightened way to live?


Statement:  God exists
Apologetic question:  Does God exist?

Statement:  Jesus was the son of God
Apologetic question:  Was Jesus really the son of God?

This process can be extended to everyday life:

Statement form:  After work I'm going home
Apologetic question form:  Am I going home after work?

Statement form:  I'm Batman
Apologetic question form:  Am I really Batman?

Statement form:  We are currently living in a yellow submarine in the land of submarines
Apologetic question form:  Where are we?

I think the basic advice is that, just as apologetic questions turn something that is believed to be a true statement by a certain religion into a question, anything can be presented as either a statement or a reverse (apologetic) question, and the advice is to present it as a statement not as a reverse (apologetic) question.

This advice can be very helpful in all sorts or areas, such as sales:

Statement form:  My product will add ten years to your life!
Apologetic question form:  Do you agree that my product may be able to lengthen your life?

Such as politics:

Statement form:  Pulling all our troops out of Iraq is the right decision!
Apologetic question form:  Do you think we should leave a residual force so as not to create a
power vacuum that could invite a hostile force to take over?

Such as acting:

Statement form:  I'm Batman!
Apologetic question form:  Do you think I make a believeable Batman?


An apologetic is a reasoned defense for a belief.

Christian apologetics is the defense of why we as Christians believe what we do. The biblical basis for this is 1 Peter 3:15:

 “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Apologetics addresses questions like:

■What evidence is there for God outside the Bible?

■How do we know the Gospels are really eye-witness accounts?

■Was Jesus really God?

■If God is real, why is there so much evil in the world?

■Hasn’t evolution disproven God?

  • and do you have any reason to believe that this meaning is relevant to the question? – Colin Fine Oct 8 '14 at 22:25
  • They seem to me questions that someone might ask of an apologetic, as opposed to 'an apologetic question'. The latter, in the case of a religious apologetic, might be something like 'What evidence is there for the absence of a creator?' – WS2 Oct 8 '14 at 22:36

Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information.

ἀπo = apo = from
λογῖα = logia = words.

There is precedence in the frequent use of the phrase apologetic statement - statement made in the defence of a set of ideas, beliefs or science.

I do not think there is much precedence in the use of the phrase apologetic questions. It is highly probable that the person(s) who wrote or spoke the phrase had committed some sort of malapropism because it does not make much sense to be able to defend your beliefs by issuing questions.

Rather it would make more sense, as is often practiced in science, jurisprudence and engineering, that you conjure a null hypothesis to your beliefs, and then issue questions to force the defence of the null hypothesis. The null hypothesis is a set of opposites to your beliefs, such that your beliefs are validated by proving its null hypothesis untrue or unlikely.

What the speaker or writer might have meant could be Socratic questioning.

Socratic questioning (or Socratic maieutics)1 is disciplined questioning that can be used to pursue thought in many directions and for many purposes, including: to explore complex ideas, to get to the truth of things, to open up issues and problems, to uncover assumptions, to analyze concepts, to distinguish what we know from what we don't know, to follow out logical implications of thought or to control the discussion. The key to distinguishing Socratic questioning from questioning per se is that Socratic questioning is systematic, disciplined, deep and usually focuses on fundamental concepts, principles, theories, issues or problems.

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