Comfortable talking with Protestants, uneasy with Non-Christians?

Hey CAF,

I have started noticing that I am quite comfortable when talking with Protestants about the faith, since no matter how much we diverge on we share a great love of Christ and the Bible… but I am somewhat intimidated when I talk about Catholicism/Christianity with non-Christians or read their websites attacking the Faith. :shrug: Anyone else have similar thoughts? How did you overcome this?

I guess I just need to get used to the more basic fundamentals of the faith and the problems with atheism.

Peace,
Phil

With atheists you need to speak the language of logic and science, and be familiar with the evidence in favor of theism:

(1) the scientific evidence: the Big Bang, thermodynamics, the open universe, and so on. Here’s an explanation of the basics.

(2) the philosophical evidence: particularly the First Cause/Prime Mover, as set forth by Aquinas. Here is an article that provides an overview and also explains how to reconcile evolution.

(3) the human-rights evidence: the concept of inalienable rights (something that atheists unwaveringly support seeing as they don’t want their right to be atheist taken away) presupposes God. If rights come from a man, a group of men, or the state (which in a democracy is just the people) then the source of the rights can take them away. Rights are not inalienable unless they come from a source superior to man, i.e. God. Know the Declaration of Independence cold.

You also need to familiarize yourself with the history of the atheist regimes of the 20th Century. Bottom line: Atheism has utterly failed to produce any sort of good in the world. All officially atheist countries have collapsed (the USSR and its satellite states) or reluctantly embraced theism (China). There are no “secular democracies;” every democracy has God in its founding documents or has otherwise publicly funded or supported a particular religion.

You basically need to prove that theism is reasonable and atheism is not. Based on the above you should have no problem doing so.

I think an important thing to keep in mind is differentiating between aggression and reasonable criticism. Many non-Christians don’t mind Christianity but for one reason or another, have reasonable objections to it, often objections for which Christians haven’t provided a satisfactory answers. Of course, that doesn’t mean those answers can’t be satisfactory for you, or that you can’t have a say because they raise a very serious question–understanding your own position, like you said, is very important. But as long as the criticism’s respectfully it’s easier not to take the criticism too personally.

Since religious faith is so personal, it is understandable one might feel intimidated or uneasy talking about one’s own faith to a person with different beliefs. As they say, stay away from religion and politics (and talk about the weather, especially if you come from Minnesota!). But I think it depends on the individual, as is true in so many instances, as well as the situation, since there’s often an appropriate time and place for most everything. If a person of another faith is receptive and sincerely inquisitive about your own, I see no reason why an honest and probing discussion cannot take place. The same applies to atheism, provided the non-believer is interested in learning about your own religious beliefs. Just remember the cardinal rule of charity in your discussion.

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