Apologetics for Dummies


I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not very cerebral. I don’t know the terms in many documents that I try to read, PLUS I have a disability (that’s what I’ve always called it) where I forget many things that I’ve read after spending hours trying to remember them. Now, I could tell you off the top of my head little tidbits of info, but I’d be danged if I remember why and where I learned it, therefore not being able to provide proof.

All this being said, with the type of “disability” I have, I’m still cornered and having to do apologetics here and there (especially these days with our Pope’s death, all eyes are on catholics). I am fortunate that I can come here and learn what everyone here things of certain situations. I’ve had to do so on many occasions because I just don’t know how to answer… but it would not help me when I’m cornered in real life.

How did you all learn to be so wise? Does anyone know of any good books where I could learn step by step? What about all these documents? Does anybody else here that does apologetics have my affliction? If so, how do you deal with it? And finally, can someone please explain what a “Straw Man” is?

PS: Thank you so much everyone for being here to answer questions, you are a source of great info!


From fallacyfiles.org/strawman.html:

“Straw man” is one of the best-named fallacies, because it is memorable and vividly illustrates the nature of the fallacy. Imagine a fight in which one of the combatants sets up a man of straw, attacks it, then proclaims victory. All the while, the real opponent stands by untouched.

So all I have to do is make a point that appears to be the point I am arguing but really isn’t, and then knock it down.

The cerebral stuff in Catholicism is interesting, but don’t worry too much about it as far as being right with God or anything like that. Remember how Jesus prayed:

And again,

[quote=Luke 10:21]At that very moment he rejoiced (in) the holy Spirit and said, "I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.


There are many, many folks much more learned than I am in theology who seem to be full of anxiety and bitterness. I’d never trade places with them.



[quote=AlanFromWichita]There are many, many folks much more learned than I am in theology who seem to be full of anxiety and bitterness. I’d never trade places with them.


Being able to defend your Faith and being a boor don’t necessarily go hand in hand! :slight_smile: Neither do you have to be Cardinal Ratzinger or Thomas Aquinas to know enough about your faith to defend it effectively, but charitably.

I suggest not trying to learn it all at once, or even a little about everything. Concentrate on on topic at a time and immerse yourself until you are comfortable with it (or sick of it), then move on.

For example, say you want to bone up on objections to Mary and the Marian doctrines. Go to the tracts section of this website and read all the tracts they have on the subject. You can also go to the website of Catholics United For The Faith and check out their Truth Tracts on the subject:

Then look into another resource like the Beginning Apologetics series little volume on Mary:

After you’ve gone through this, maybe tackle a good apologetics book on the subject like the one by Fr. Mateo:

All through this process you’ll run into the same Scripture verses, Catechism and Church Father’s quotes you will begin to recognize them right away. Soon you’ll be, if not an expert, reasonably well versed on a number of topics.


Thank you both!

I’m off to “school” . Great advice… now I guess I’ll have to figure out what I want to start with, but at least I have a starting point with steps to do it in.

Also thank you for the lift, I needed someone to come and give me the little push and vote of confidence that you have given me. I may not be the brightest bulb, but at least I have some steps to help others not notice that about me. And I now know that I don’t HAVE to be the brightest to be loved by Him.


If memory is a serious problem for you, I suggest building up a little address book of web sites where you have found good arguments on the various themes of apologetics. When someone challenges your point of view, be as honest with them as you have been with us. Kindly invite them to go to this or that web site, where they will find an excellent argument for whatever Catholic teaching is in dispute.

If they are sincere in their search, they will go there. If they are not, they perhaps were not sincere in arguing with you and maybe were more interesting in one-upmanship than anything else. So you have not wasted your time or caused them to get more entrenched in their position than ever.


[quote=Fidelis]Being able to defend your Faith and being a boor don’t necessarily go hand in hand! :slight_smile:

That’s an excellent point.



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