There’s that old Jedi phrase “Search your heart, you know it to be true.” That is kind of what I want this thread to be about. I am open to suggestions. What kind of rhetorical device; what manner of discussion, line of questioning, logical statement; is there out that could gently (but without directly trying to manipulate) bring the people we are discussing the faith with to “apply” the logic of the faith?
Because I have seen people complain elsewhere on this site that they will come out with “solid” “knock down” or “air tight” arguments only to be shocked when the next day the conversation picks up as if the logical argument had never been mentioned.
Some have questioned the sincerity of the non-Catholics they share religious discourse with and I too have been perplexed by a seeming lack of attention to detail when talking with non-Catholics friends, but this has happened so many times with so many different people, that I have come to the conclusion that the problem may not be with their sincerity, depth of religious fervor, or intelligence. I realized this was especially true when I realized that I was also guilty of the same during my own conversion!
Here is what I think is happening: there is no application phase. What is an application phase? Well, anyone who teaches languages or studies languages knows that your typical class is divided into parts: a warm-up/review part, an introduction of a new concept(s) part, and a final part where the students are asked to apply their new found knowledge in a practical setting. This typically involves something like a role play that focuses on getting the students to test drive a given set of vocabulary, grammar patterns, or cultural nuance.
Apologetics happens on the fly for most of us. The environment is not controlled – it is open and subject to catcalls from the peanut gallery who try to laugh you out of the room for proclaiming something as simple as the Church’s teaching on contraception. Because of this, things get said (or read, or heard) and they do not get a seriously tested. During my conversion, I had the benefit of frequent contact with my girlfriend who was also converting. She was drawn to the Church. I was repulsed by it. But our conversations often “forced” me to think it out.
And once I tried the logic, I was surprised how strong it held. After a while, I realized the logic of God’s Church was crystal-clear, unified, self-supporting, and always consistent. I would not have come to this moment had I not been coached to test the logic.
I know the rational aspect of the faith is only one part of the universe of Catholicism, but it is so powerful, I have every “reason” to believe that anyone who tests it, will be moved by its clarity and universality.
Let’s develop some apologetics techniques to encourage people to enter into an application phase where they mull over the idea, contrast it, compare it, attack it, and see how perfect it is!