Dealing with condescending Protestants


A woman at work found out I was Catholic and ever since…has been trying to trap me in conversation about how Catholicism is wrong. Work related environmental rules aside, in the past I’ve never wavered in places where I was put on trial. I’ve spoken at length with Jews, Mormons, even Muslims. Each try throw in a little conversion talk, but I spot it pretty quick.

This lady though, she basically told me there’s no Biblical basis for the communion of saints, the Virgin Mary, or Purgatory. She relayed a passage of Mark 16:38 (i think), talking about the veil that was lifted on Jesus, therefore he is all that is needed.

I don’t know if I’m just venting, but anyone else deal with condescending Protestants?

You could tell her that you appreciate her concern but this is an inappropriate topic for work and to please stop.

If she doesn’t then alert the management that she is pursuing inappropriate conversations at work.

Sounds snarky, not condescending. I agree with House. Ask her to stop, then report her to your HR.


Dealing with condescending Protestants

I guess my short answer would be: the way I deal with them is the same as if they were condescending non-Protestants.

Your employer should have a policy in place regarding this. I’d ask. Did you receive a handbook when you were hired?
Ask her to stop.
Document, and walk up to H.R.
I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate you trying to discredit her beliefs. You deserve the same courtesy. It’s work.

To be honest, she is harmless and the situation is harmless. I’m not going to report her to HR or tell her to cease. I’d rather work next to her than an atheist.

My dilemma is how best to deal with the “You may be Catholic, and Catholics are Christians…but you are still wrong” attitude.

I work with one who is a member of one of these megachurches and while she is not that bad, when she does speak about “my church” she tends to go on and on and on. I think this makes her 2nd or 3rd baptism because this church forces new members to be re-baptized. The “pastor” is VERY MUCH cult like. Sad but boy do they draw in the people.

Check the bookstore here at and buy “Catholicism and Fundamentalism”. Tell her you’d be happy to discuss any topic after she’s read the chapter.

Well then tell her maybe she is right and ask her which protestant denomination is the correct one. When she tells you hers then invite a different protestant into the conversation, show them their differences and then you can walk away slowly unharmed. Repeat as needed! :smiley:


As her co-worker, only you can decide whether she is “harmless” or not. But before deciding not to refer this issue to HR, you might want to think about the NEXT person, specifically the next Catholic, she might work next to, how much that person might be disturbed, and whether that next person would be able to handle the situation as you can.

The best way to deal with it is not to.

Really, this is entirely inappropriate for a work environment. You’re being paid to do a job, not engage in religious debate. Even if it takes place on breaks or at lunch, it still infringes on your concentration on your responsibilities. It is not a harmless situation.

Explain once and for all that you do not wish to have this conversation at work and after that ignore her comments. There is nothing to be gained by engaging her. She’s very happy and content in her ignorance. Remember the saying, “Never argue with a pig; you just get dirty and it confuses the pig.”

I would study and once in a while give her some knowledge. That will give her an un welcomed upper cut.

Personally, I would brush-up on defending the faith, then take her to lunch and school her. Maybe God is putting you in theses situations for a reason.

This lady, the same as any Protestant, has no biblical basis to believe the Bible is inspired. The only reason the Bible is inspired is because the Catholic Church declared it to be so when the Church selected the books to be included in it and declared them to be inspired . Ask her why she’s using the sacred book the Catholic Church authorized and gave her and using it to criticize the Church that gave it to her. Maybe conclude by saying "we’d like our book back, please, since you’re mangling its meaning.

I deal with this quite frequently. If you want to engage her, you could remind her that her that the Catholic church is the authority that compiled the Christian Bible, and that the Bible itself doesn’t say that “only the Bible” should be used by the church–so we are not limited by what is explicitly in the scriptures and what is not.

But overall, the best way to handle this might be simply to treat this person with patience and respect, to demonstrate the quality of your Catholic faith by the way you conduct yourself at work (easier said than done, right?). If your religious discussions become a distraction at work, it might be necessary to politely establish clear boundaries–“I don’t want to talk about this at work anymore” is a good way to get your message across.

That reminds me of a humorous exchange I once had with my wife (Baptist raised, now Catholic). In jest, she said, “At least we read the Bible” to which I quipped, “Yeah, after you stole it from us.” She replied, “Well, we wouldn’t have been able to if you would have picked it up once in a while, you ought to be grateful that we cleaned all the dust off!”

Say 'thank you…"

And hand her a copy of the catechism.

Or better still, hand her a copy of the Watch Tower, “Dianetics” and the Book of Mormon.

Trust me, she’ll stop.

Diana, who doesn’t get the 'you may be Mormon and Mormons are Christian…but you are still wrong" attitude. I get the “Mormons aren’t Christians and you are going to hell because you believe this and that and the other thing” (which we invariably don’t believe in the first place)

…and I get it from Protestants, Catholics and non-believers of every stripe.

So I do know how to stop her.

Tell her that you prefer not talking about schisms and splinter groups vs. Catholicism.

Yes, this is something I’ve faced ALOT. Because you are coworkers, in a work environment, I would not “bite the hook” in anyway or try to discuss theological issues in such a context. She is crossing some serious professional boundaries by imposing her religious values into the work environment in a way that is disrespectful of your faith tradition. It’s not like the two of you are friends having a respectful ecumenical dialogue. She’s outright trying to convince you that whatever you believe is WRONG. Does she go to Muslims and tell them that Muhammad isn’t real?

“Seek first to understand, not to be understood.” I’d listen to her, smile and thank her for sharing her perspective. She is an example of an immature Christian who is overzealous to “save” people according to her own limited worldview. Jesus Christ never twisted anyone’s arm to have faith in Him.

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