I know someone who is hard to talk with about faith. He asks important questions about my faith, but also responds with pseudo-intellectual or new agey questions about my answers to me.
Could you give an example of one of his questions?
I heard a talk on apologetics that the best way to evangelize is to let them evangelize you.
First ask them if they believe everything written in the Bible. That usually sets a pretty good trap for them.
Ask them questions about their faith and when they answer with a non catholic answer say:
"That sounds pretty good, can you show me in the Bible exactly where it says that? They usually can’t, of if they do, it will most likely be scripture taken well out of context.
Then say, “I see, as a Catholic I completely agree with that passage, but how do you take into account the part that follows? That seems to contradict what you are saying, and it’s written right here in the bible.”
“But you said you believe everything in the scriptures didn’t you?”
That “New agey” stuff just isn’t in there.
Listen to this Apologetics Primer (From John Martignoni, President, the Bible Christian Society)
Are you assuming that the person the OP is talking to is Catholic or a Christian? I’m Catholic and I can play pseudo-intellectual and either way I would not respond affirmatively to your first question. So, I’m not trapped. What’s your next move? Better be a good one because you’ve already lost a lot of ground with me.
Trapping is not a good method to evangelize.
I would begin by not thinking that his responses are pseudo-intellectual. I’m curious why you think they are pseudo-intellectual.
He asks you questions about your faith (which is why I question the “pseudo” part.) He could be genuinely curious or just a jerk who raises questions just to stump you. Either way, turn the tables and ask him about his faith. Don’t feel the need to counter his answers; at least not all or most of them and be genuinely interested and ask more questions for clarity. Don’t judge. Live the gospel. If he is truly seeking he will provide the opening for you to tell him the reason for the hope within you.
I meant only to convey that if you establish that the person believes everything in the Bible, he will have to think about any scripture you may bring out that counters his assertion. I most certainly would never say, “There, I’ve trapped you!” I’m talking about creating room for thought.
And with apologies, I was assuming a non Catholic and of course there you have me…
I was considering that if the person seemed new agey that the bible might not have authority with them either, whether all or parts of it. I’ve observed too many Christians try to use the Bible to argue their point with atheists or pagans, and instead of being persuasive has the opposite effect.
And I really didn’t think you would say “I’ve trapped you” but I’ve been on the receiving end of a silent “gotcha” which ended any more dialog.
The questions that I consider important are things like "Why does God need my worship, who am I to him? "
I’ll respond with an explanation like that He doesn’t need it, but that we do it because we love Him, and that we’re people made in the image of God, etc.
Then I’ll get a response like "Who are we, what are we, how do I know where my body ends and something else begins? " he’s also brought up things like The Secret (that was a long while ago).
What kind of relationship do have with this guy? Friend, coworker? Are you invested in the relationship, do you generally like this guy and his company? Is he a decent person, even if a bit flaky (I don’t know that he’s flaky - he could be so many things…)? If he’s a decent guy, if you don’t mind the questions and conversations then invest a bit more and ask him questions about his beliefs. Not challenging questions, but interested, curious questions. In part, it will take some pressure off of you to have all the answers; plus you might get a better idea what he wants spiritually, if anything. Some people just like to hear themselves talk and ask questions they really don’t want answers for. If he’s one of those then don’t be surprised if he doesn’t like having the tables turned.
We’re family but I’ve preached a bit when I was a protestant and just came off all wrong back then, so I’m a bit cautious about talking about my faith these days, and he’s not exactly the most open to finding out about it since he hasn’t really had a good dialogue about faith before, as far as I know, so he seems to believe religion is faulty logic to help through the struggles in life or something.
First rule of evangelism with an atheist is never start by quoting scripture. That would indeed be pointless and generally end any chance you have of making a convincing argument.
So I was assuming a conversation with a non catholic, (usually) a sola scriptura practitioner and asking them to review and think about all the words, not just the ones that seem to agree with their own beliefs.
I was also assuming that “new agey” meant one of those denominations with a lot of lights, smoke, loud music and hands in the air that makes you feel good about yourself for a few hours after you leave the church.
But I could have been wrong…
Ah, yes, I guess there are some churches (denominations) that would seem new agey but now I think we might be describing different things. For example, there could be a church that is Christian but incorporates a lot of New Age spirituality or maybe it just looks that way. My boss is a non-denominational Christian with serious prosperity gospel leanings. She is a big believer in “speaking it into being” and becomes quite agitated if someone acknowledges something negative. I have thought for a long time that what she appears to believe and the beliefs of “The Secret” are very, very similar. She would deny that her beliefs are New Age in any way, but rather very biblical.
Also, there could be a Christian who has embraced some New Age practices. Some Catholic groups have adopted New Age practices.
I’m curious about your description of “lights, smoke, loud music and hands in the air” since I don’t have any experience or any real knowledge about that.
People closest to us are often the most difficult to evangelize but if he’s family you can invest more in him than a coworker because he’s always going to be in your life in some way. Time to talk to God about him instead of the other way around. I think what I suggested earlier still stands.