Defense of Simple Faith?


#1

I am curious as to how one can justify his or her belief in the Catholic Church if that person does not have a full knowledge of it.

I realize that not everybody is a born debater, but I’ve become increasingly more conscious of the demand to reason why the Catholic faith is the best, considering all of the other options. Simply saying that it is “the Church Christ originally established” doesn’t seem to hold any water with anybody – especially not the thoughtful atheists I talk to who, of course, don’t believe in God in the first place (I say thoughtful as opposed to the ridiculously close-minded).

What is the acceptable thing to do? Shrug off the other arguments and remain confident that you are right, or risk confusion with the influence of a good argument?


#2

You do not have to fully understand something to appreciate it- although you appreciate things more when you know more about them.

If debate isn’t your thing, don’t engage in it. Trust that you are right when it comes to the Faith. It is very difficult to debate an atheist, because there is very little common ground.


#3

The better approach is to explore, and to approach this exploration not for the sake of others, but to confirm and realize your own beliefs. Everyone has a natural desire to be closer to, and to learn more about, God.

He was asking about faith, not appreciation. In that case, I’d say that having faith without fully knowing something is blindness, at least to a degree. And as for me personally – I want to be as un-blind as I can be. :wink:

If debate isn’t your thing, don’t engage in it. Trust that you are right when it comes to the Faith.

I appologize if this offends, but that sounds utterly ridiculous to me. What reason is there to trust that you are right in your faith unless you have real reason to know that your faith is correct? In other words, what if he’s wrong? He should trust that he’s right because you say so? What if you are wrong, too?

Many Roman Catholics, many protestants, and many others probably trust that their faith is correct. And yet, objectively, a lot of them have to be wrong about that.

It is very difficult to debate an atheist, because there is very little common ground.

It’s very difficult to debate anyone, unless they are open to discussion and are willing to learn or change their views. This is a two-sided process, however, so remember that it might not be the atheist making the debate more difficult than it should be – it could just as well be you.


#4

It’s very difficult to debate anyone, unless they are open to discussion and are willing to learn or change their views. This is a two-sided process, however, so remember that it might not be the atheist making the debate more difficult than it should be – it could just as well be you.

The arguments of the atheist were logical, but they still don’t seem to totally convince me.

Actually, now that I think of it, through talking to him I have found out that I believed many things that weren’t in complete accordance with Church teaching when I did the research. Sometimes I was actually way off…

Still, the breakdown of the many things I thought were right is unsettling.


#5

The Church is a community, not a philosophical proposition. Whilst a handful of members are philosophers, most are not very well educated and not interested in such things.

However the moral law is written on men’s hearts. People know at bottom that premarital sex is a bad thing, for example, even if they cannot articulate their reasons for thinking so, It follows that if a simple person adheres to us “because I don’t agree with all that sex on TV”, his membership is not worthless or merely a sheep-like following of fads.

If you don’t believe that God exists then the observation that the Catholic Church is the institution established by Jesus will not, in itself, be very meaningful. However atheists usually offer other arguments, such as “how come this Jesus person left no clear teachings, if He was God?”. If we’ve established that the Catholic Church is the original one, you can say “well I think we can agree that the Protestant churches are really just a distraction from the issue. Now which teachings would you say are unclear?”


#6

Dialouge with an atheist or with anyone is not a matter of convincing another to think as you do.

Hearing and listening, this is the part often overlooked.

Somehow too much speaking or “retorting” gets in the way.

By all means speak, if you have heard and listened first.


#7

Certainly hope his arguments never convince you that there is no God!!

Perhaps this atheist is the means God chose to use to bring to your attention some of the erroneous beliefs you had that were contrary to Church teaching. :slight_smile: It may have forced you to think about subjects you would otherwise have ignored. His ways are marvelous.

Nita


#8

Apostolic succession is certainly not a small consideration here—it is not unreasonable to presume that if the church Christ founded went astray, Christ would abolish it. And yet here it is. In fact, apostolic succession and the magisterium it confers is so strong as to require vigorous efforts from schismatics to explain it away.

It is not necessary to be St Augustine or St Thomas Aquinas to be a good Catholic. Indeed, many of our saints were not great theologians, nor great defenders of the faith, but rather great exemplars of faithfulness and piety. I suspect they were less guided by reason than by conscience in so doing.

And with a sufficiently-developed conscience, arguments and reason cannot stand against your faith. If I feel God deep within my soul, what argument, no matter how slickly carried off, will sway me that He does not live?


#9

Hi Max,

To be a believing Catholic, you only have to be able to say this prayer :

Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe that thou art one God in three Divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; I believe that thy Son became man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths the Holy Catholic Church teaches because Thou hast revealed them, who canst neither deceived nor be deceived.

Practicing apologetics is another matter. One must first of all remember that no one ever won an argument. So the object of apologetics is not to win but to engage in a charitable testimonial of our faith.

Becoming a “professional” apologist takes a lot of preparation, and is not for everyone. Most non-Catholics have a lot of wrong ideas about the Church. Just setting them straight on what we believe and do is already a big achievement… and you don’t have to be an “apologist” to do it.

Verbum


#10

You should read Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. I’ll try to paraphrase one of the ideas he expressed so beautifully in this book.

The most logical and rational person is often a madman. He or she is perfectly, logically, and rationally convinced that everyone is out to get them. Their world is logical, but it is a very small world.

In the same way, the atheist lives in a perfectly rational and logical world, but again, it is a small, deary, and depressing world. Just read up on the lives of most atheist writers, and you will see this confirmed again and again.

Chesterton expresses it much better than I have.

Ut


#11

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