I always do very bad in an apologetics discussion or just correcting a misconception about the faith. It seems like I know what I want to say and why I need to say it but I can never get it to come out the right way. Just today I had the very easy correction of my teacher thinking that indulgences were a “get out of hell free card”. I wanted to tell her it was a remission of punishment of sin in purgatory and they had no effect on “getting out of hell free” because the people that would be getting indulgences would already be on their way to heaven. Except nothing seemed to come out of my mouth. I was afraid of saying something wrong and completley being jumped on by all the other people in class. Of course, even if I do say something I usually am not able to come back with responses that fast or I seem to be lost in what I want to say. Maybe someone gets what I am saying. Anybody else have trouble with this?
You are describing me 15-20 years ago.
Since then I have done a lot of reading and listened to maybe a hundred or more tapes.
Then, after I discovered Scott Hahn I started studying to defend the Catholic Church Teaching from Scripture.
THEN, I started on the Early Church Fathers etc…etc…
It’s a lot more interesting than watching TV.
Next time you are stuck, tell the person you are not very good at explaining these things but you will get back to them with an answer.
Write it out in bite sized chunks (like this post) rather than a huge block of text. It makes for easier reading.
Then, be prepared to discuss certain points. Do you have a Scriptural Help Sheet? You will find one here cr.ashlux.com/
Thank you - those cheat sheets are absolutely brilliant - I’m printing them out.
If you want I will practice with you…
I will act as the non-catholic, just PM me and I can give you some practice on defending the faith…
I had that problem. You don’t need more smarts, you just need practice with public debate. What you outlined is factually correct but it’s unwieldy from a debate standpoint. Here’s how to win in three easy steps.
Step 1. When you correct a teacher in public, do so humbly. Even if you know that they’re totally clueless, be charitable about it or you’ll end up fighting their pride. When you interrupt, address them as though they’ve made a minor slip up so they have a chance to save face. It also serves as a headline to grab the attention of the rest of the class. Here’s some punchy headlines:
*]No, not hell, purgatory.
*]No, indulgences don’t help with hell, they help with purgatory.
*]Indulgences do not get people out of hell – they get people out of purgatory.
*]Actually no. Indulgences remit the temporal effects of sin. They have absolutely nothing to do with getting out of Hell.
Remember to speak slowly. When you shout a long distance you have to shout very very slowly. The same thing applies to addressing a classroom, especially if you don’t have a wall behind you. Speak slowly or you won’t be understood.
**Step 2. **Now it’s back in their court. Either they accept what you said and move on, dismiss it as irrelevant and move on, or disagree with you.
If they accept what you said and move on, let them. But next time, come up with a more interesting headline so you can draw them into a real discussion.
If they dismiss your claim as irrelevant, you have to explain why the distinction is real. This is the trickiest because it’s so easy for modern man to tune out the finer points of Theology. Dumb down your response so that it doesn’t ‘look’ technical. The goal is to make it so blatantly obvious they can’t pretend to miss the point. Making it simple enough to understand is not good enough. If you get ignored too much, try saying something more aggressive like “Not true!” or “Incorrect!” to get a rise out of them.
You can also hold your tongue and wait for them to bring up an example where the the distinction is important.
You could also try saying that since the point is so minor, what’s the harm in using the correct word?
If they disagree, congratulations! You have a shot at teaching the faith. Go slowly. They’ll get tired of learning before you reveal all of Catholic Faith to them so there’s no sense in rushing. Just teach them point by point until they’re full.
Step 3. Smile the whole time.
[size=][FONT=“Palatino Linotype”]2nd Timothy 2:15 Carefully study to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
The Bible Christian Society
The Catholic Home Study Service
San Juan Catholic Seminars
The Catholic Answers Online Library
The Compendium Catechism of The Catholic Church
Confidence comes with knowledge my friend and as the Japanese say, “Never use 100 words when 10 will do and never use 10 when one will do.” Put a high premium on your input. [/FONT][/size]
Thank you for the outline Steadfast and links everyone. Like most of you said it is really my public debate that needs help even though I still don’t know as much about the Faith as I should.