Apologist's stumbling block


Any ideas on overcoming a person’s pride?

As a convert to the Catholic faith, I had to swallow a lot of protestant pride, and admit I was wrong… on a lot of things it turns out :wink:

I find myself now on the other side of the fence, doing my best to share my Catholic faith with protestants, presenting what in my opinion is a truthful, convincing apology for the Catholic faith yet I am still troubled in overcoming the pride of the person I am speaking with.

Any ideas in helping to overcome this? I realize that the largest factor is prayer. And that this truly is the province of the holy spirit, but I can only imagine if I could find a way to help disarm pride, and soften hearts, my message could be more effective.

I am reminded of a protestant apologist I really like, Ravi Zacharias. He tells a story when he was over in Russia, presenting a case for Christ to a bunch of high-ups who had their own belief sets. At the end of his talk, a bunch lined up to speak to him, and the very first one said “Mr. Zacharias, I believe what you have told us today is the truth, but it is so hard to believe after sevenety years of believing a lie.”


I think there are at least two approaches:

  1. Humility. Christians of all stripes know we’re supposed to be humble. We are taught to beware pride, and it’s a common theme in many a Protestant sermon. If in our interactions with them we are unfailingly humble, that functions as a very effective, if unstated, argument for the Catholic Faith.

  2. Doubt. Pride is often a defense of doubt—it fills in the gaps. The gaps still exist, and if one notes where one’s interlocutor most evinces prideful rather than reasoned argument, you know where they have the most doubt. Consider anywhere one feels the need to trumpet one’s alleged credentials, for example.


P P P!

Prayer, Patience, and Perserverence.

I believe what you have told us today is the truth, but it is so hard to believe after sevenety years of believing a lie."

Some can not handle the truth. The mind is weak for some. Decades of programming the mind with specific data cannot be undone for some. I tried on my sister, and she almost had a nervous breakdown.

I can only suggest presenting the material in a logical and common sense approach.

It’s a daunting task to say the least.


The best antidote is honest self-knowledge. Remember how you once were and the troubles and struggles you had. Remember that it was the grace of God that enlightened you–it was not your own doing–you cannot boast.

As the Apostle writes:

Titus 3:1 Admonish them to be subject to princes and powers, to obey at a word, to be ready to every good work. 2 To speak evil of no man, not to be litigious, but gentle: shewing all mildness towards all men. 3 For we ourselves also were some time unwise, incredulous, erring, slaves to divers desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared: 5 Not by the works of justice, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the laver of regeneration, and renovation of the Holy Ghost; 6 Whom he hath poured forth upon us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour


[quote=dcharlesworth]Any ideas on overcoming a person’s pride? As a convert to the Catholic faith, I had to swallow a lot of protestant pride, and admit I was wrong… on a lot of things it turns out :wink:

Welcome home! :hug1: Between you and I, I believe there are reasons for pride. Disfunctional reasons, but reasons nonetheless. And I don’t mean to give professional advice, but ask yourself this:

Given a world view in which an individual feels himself to be threatened (by an authority figure) and alone, how easy is it for him to admit he can be wrong?

Long after the threat has passed, the individual may respond to new stress by looking for the source in the nearest available authority figure. Is this authority figure not often the Church, since the Church is everywhere?

The individual may not be aware that circumstances have changed and that new stress may not necessarily be threatening. Therefore, he may continue to deploy outmoded and counterproductive coping mechanisms for every little thing that arises. Unless he realizes this, how easy is it for him to admit he can be wrong?

The first thing that needs to happen is to reinforce the reality that he is not there then, but here now. Here, now he has choices. There, then he has no choices because they are done and gone.

Choice is a direct function of knowledge.

The Catholic Church, contrary to the bias against Her, defends knowledge and free will.


One major problem that most people have is thinking that they themselves can convert someone. You may speak for hours and “win” the debate, but they have to accept the Holy Spirit for them to truly realize they are wrong. All that you can do is accurately convey Catholic doctrine and dogma, and be charitable towards those you talk to; the Holy Spirit does the rest.


Peace and all-good!

When I speak with a non-Catholic, I first do a lot of listening (to him). Then I speak to him as a person (without name tags).

Honesty, sincerity, humility and prayer also play a big role.

May God bless our labors abundantly!

Ave Maria!



Someone who posts here at CAF has a signature line that says, "“Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”

(This has been wrongly attributed to St. Francis but it is in line with his writings.)


One other note—reason only works when someone is reasonable.

Some people come to faith because it appeals to their reason, some to their heart, some simply because people they know and respect belong to it.

It is important to know which of these is dominant before discussing such things. We have all run into people upon whom arguments fall like leaves. They do not engage arguments, because they have an emotional, not logical, attachment to their faith.


FINALLY, another Ravi fan. I’ve heard him in person and read his books. I consider him to be the legitimate successor to C. S. Lewis. :thumbsup:



Uh oh, I use that saying a lot. Anyone know who said it? I really really want to know.



Yea, he is my fav for sure. Just in the middle of the Grand Weaver his latest. Make sure you subscribe to his two podcasts Let My People Think, and Just Thinking.


The best way to share one’s faith is to allow it to transform you so deeply that others say “Wow, what is it that makes you act as you do? I gotta have some of that!”

The best way to bypass their pride is with honest humility. Allow yourself to be a conduit for the Holy Spirit. It is not your job to change minds, hearts or souls, only to be obedient and allow the Spirit to work through you.


Honest question, here: how do you know Zacharias wasn’t referring to a group of Catholics he spoke to? Is Zacharias accepting of Catholics as true, valid Christians?


I don’t think I’ve ever heard him insert denominational concerns into any of his work. As a matter of fact I don’t even know what denomination he is himself. Never heard him mention it. You really should check out at least his philosophical apologetics. He really is brilliant.




I don’t think that it matters a whole lot if he was speaking to Catholics or not. I believe in the context he was speaking to atheists. I have in fact emailed Ravi Zacharias International Ministries because I wanted to know their stance on Catholicism. They basically had a pretty diplomatic answer, saying that they do not espouse any denomination in particular, although Ravi did go to Trinity Evangelical Seminary. They also said that they recognize Catholics as a legitimate faith, and do have Roman Catholics on staff.

It is interesting, because he does talk a lot about truth. And how important it is. I think he places value in doctrinal issues, though his apologetics defend more the Christian umbrella, and the person of Jesus Christ. He was also the first guy let in to speak to the Mormons at the LDS tabernacle in Utah, since 1899… No small feat! The topic he spoken upon was infact truth. I have heard him a few times refer to Augustine in saying that you do not judge a worldview by its misuse and abuse, but in fact by its original founder. And has oft been known to quip about denominations as “obinations” allbeit in a joking sense.


He is also a weapon to defend the Christian fatih from eastern religon. Having spent roughly the first half of his life in India, he very well understands the eastern mindset. He can see both sides of the fence, not somthing many at all can do.


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