Did you engage in Holiday Apologetics?


#1

Did you have any apologetic or general religious discussions with family or friends over the Thanksgiving Holiday? These discussions, epically with close family, can be the most difficult apologetics to practice.

My sister visited from out of town and we got in to a discussion about her beliefs. I’ve known for a long time that she’s fallen away from the Catholic Church after being raised in the faith and attending Catholic grade and high schools. She’s currently attending The Church of Science. This is not Scientology. It is a Pantheistic / Gnostic / Spiritual religion that uses science for authoritative base. I found their web site which had this description:

This science necessarily starts with the proposition that we are living in a spiritual universe whose sole government is one of harmony, and that the use of right ideas is the enforcement of its law.

The Science of Mind is built on the theory that there is One Infinite Mind which of necessity includes all that is, whether it be the intelligence in man, the life in the animal, or the invisible Presence which is God. In it we learn to have a spiritual sense of things. This spiritual sense of things is what is meant by the Consciousness of Christ. To be able to discern the spiritual idea back of its physical symbol is to use the mind that Jesus used.

She has many residual incorrect ideas of what the Catholic Church teachs from an apparent poor catechis. She says she’s open-minded and has been in search of truth for a long time but I’m not sure the open minded-nesses includes Christianity. She said the Church degrades women and teach a controlling god that rewards a person for doing what he wants and punishes a person for doing what he doesn’t want. She also believed that God demands worship and remembers our parents teaching that we must stay Catholic or we’re going to hell. I tried to explain that she understands as Church teaching is incorrect and I wouldn’t want to be Catholic if that Church taught those things.

I agreed to watch a video, “What the bleep do we know?”, which was a two hour overview of their beliefs. They base their beliefs on one Infinite Mind they call God but they didn’t give any logical explanation of how or why they believe this being to be they way it is. She agreed to read Mere Christianity and to get back to me with any comments or objections. I suggested that book precisely because it was by a non-Catholic author and it would be a good starting point to reintroduce Christianity.

Please pray for her and me. Has anyone else talked with someone from this church? Any suggestions on how to approach the situation? Thanks.


#2

If you were able to get her to read one book then maybe she will read more. I would keep talking to her and probing in a friendly way of where those beliefs come from. This is a good situation in that she seems willing to listen, which is great. Keep that door open and have patience as many people identify themselves partly by their beliefs so don´t confront her by saying the beliefs are wrong. Sometimes people will take that as an attack on them so lead them to the truth, and let God take care of it.

Point out reasons and feed as much good info as you can into the conversations.

I am right now visiting my in-laws and a couple of them are evangelical christians now. I have to be cautious about how I speak as they are going through a family crisis and are very emotional about their faith.

God Bless
Scylla


#3

[quote=Maranatha]She said the Church degrades women and teach a controlling god that rewards a person for doing what he wants and punishes a person for doing what he doesn’t want. She also believed that God demands worship and remembers our parents teaching that we must stay Catholic or we’re going to hell. I tried to explain that she understands as Church teaching is incorrect and I wouldn’t want to be Catholic if that Church taught those things.
[/quote]

Okay. The Church does not supress women, it simply recognizes that men and women have different roles in society. God does reward people for doing what he wants, and vice versa, but what God wants is NOT arbitrary. All points of the Natural Law are just that: natural. If someone fornicates, it is not a sin simply because God forbids it, rather God forbids it because it is against our nature. When we go against our nature, we damage it. To continue with the current example, a fornicator loses his ability to establish a real relationship. Frankly fornication does a lot more to supress women than the Church.

Worship is expected of us because it is part of our nature. What happens if we ignore God? We become entirely secular and will be driven by our own whims. Such a person will be luke-wark at best, and Rev tells us that he will spew the luke-warm out of his mouth.

Finally, you MUST be Catholic to go to heaven. That being said, some people will find that they were members of the Catholic Church without realizing it, through baptism by desire. If your sister left the Church because she misunderstands it, then she could be okay. From what you’ve written, though, I’d imagine what holds her back is an outright detestation of authority. She will probably reject Catholicism even if you convince her of the doctrine.

Basically just pray a lot for your sister. Pray that she will be humbled in mind and will.


#4

But it is Church teaching that God demands worship and we must stay Catholic or we’re going to hell.

The sad fact is, it looks like she is knowingly going against her conscience. She has openly rebelled against the Church.

But for you to agree with her that such a teaching is undesirable, such that you say you wouldn’t want to be Catholic if the Church taught those things (which it does), then how are you Catholic?

We must come to understand why the Church teaches what it does, and not rebel or deny it outright. It is natural for us in our ignorance to not understand clearly at first. We must strive with good will, trusting in God’s goodness, to understand it aright.

So, yes, we must worship God, and we must do so as He tells us. If we don’t then we will destroy ourselves. The bad angels did not worship God, and therefore did not obey. Neither did they enter heaven.

And yes, we must remain Catholic to avoid hell. But we must be Catholic in heart. Those who reject the truth reject Christ. Many subconcious decisions only come to light when we are under pressure. These denials will come out full force when facing the Truth. God does not coerce us. If we once freely denied His truth, our denial remains. Facing God does not make the denial go away, it only reinforces it - unless we are actively doing penance and begging for mercy.

hurst


#5

Sort of. For the second year in a row, we prayed grace before the Thanksgiving meal. As my wife and I are the lone Catholics in our clan of pagans, it was a small victory. The cool thing was, it was one of our non-believing relatives who suggested we say a prayer before the meal.


#6

[quote=Maranatha]Did you have any apologetic or general religious discussions with family or friends over the Thanksgiving Holiday? These discussions, epically with close family, can be the most difficult apologetics to practice.

[/quote]

We visited my Mom for Thanksgiving. She invited some of my other siblings and their families over, but they could not make it. We did talk about religious issues, but my Mom is already a practicing Catholic, so that probably doesn’t count.

Of my siblings, very few are even willing to discuss religion or Church issues - certainly not to the extent it is discussed here. It can be touchy because not everyone agrees with the Church, and are themselves not practicing - when they should be. Some have even told me they had written it off.

I don’t think “apologetics” could really be exercised with family very well. At least not with mine. People have to be searching for answers for apologetics to be helpful. I now find it more natural to simply share from a personal standpoint what I have experienced in my spiritual life. I was able to do this well with some of my siblings, and they listened because I answered their true question: how am I doing? This respects the purpose of the visit. If they are searching, then they themselves will ask further questions on that topic. It is not as if they don’t know about the Church - we were all raised Catholic. Still, it is very sad in a way. It is very much an example of us being caught up with living in the world. I recommend them to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s prayers.

hurst


#7

It’s funny how some say we supress women, yet we get accused of worshipping one all the time.


#8

I discussed theology with my protestant cousin. It was just a general discussion on various issues. He doesn’t necessarily agree with the Catholic faith, but he is pretty open to it it seems.


#9

It wasn’t ‘Holiday Apologetics’ since Canadian Thanksgiving was six weeks ago, but I did enjoy some religion/spirituality discussions with my self-admitted pagan cousin.

She is a wonderful, brilliant woman who had a typical ‘mainstream’ Catholic upbringing: Church on Sunday occassionally and little else. Unfortunately, her husband had a typical ‘Dutch Catholic’ youth and thus detests the Church and views Catholicism as necessarily divisive and judgemental.

When she was in her early to mid twenties, she experimented with several diffferent spiritualities. She spent time with the Branch Dividians in Hawaii (was even invited to visit their enclave in Waco, Texas a week prior to its infamous destruction) and finally signed up to be Ba’Hai, before taking the safer, less tumultuous road of modern agnosticism (in her opinion).

Now, like her husband, she feels Catholicism cannot be ‘un-judgemental’ because it is self-validating, that is we cannot be truly ecumenical since we believe Christ is the only way to God. All of this is quite natural of course, given the state of popular Canadian society, but she is concomitantly aware of the destructive nature and falsehoods of mainstream, buffet spirituality (like that promoted by the film ‘What the bleep do we know?’).

I have urged her to look deeper into matters of Cartholic doctrine and dogma and then to compare them with what she knows of other religions. More later.


#10

No, but I really wanted to. After the disaster of my telling my family about attending RCIA last year (and quiting it), I figured I wasn’t up to confronting not only my parents, but my elder brother and his wife. (I’m in RCIA again - and not going to let anyone in my family drag me down again)
My brother and his wife were at my parents and he started in on the Bible Study group he’s with (BHS). He’s always trying to get me to join it.
My mom asked about Catholics in BHS and my brother goes into that they don’t join because there just isn’t enough of Mary. I soooo wanted to let him know the more likely reasons. (it’s thinly Anti-Catholic, not to mention very Baptist in interpretation, not Catholic). Sorry I let the apologetics team down. Next year, after Easter Vigil and when I’m stronger in my Catholic Faith, I’ll be happy to stick up for us. :slight_smile:


#11

[quote=Cairisti] My mom asked about Catholics in BHS and my brother goes into that they don’t join because there just isn’t enough of Mary.
[/quote]

That’s a legitimate reason. :slight_smile:

Welcome & God Bless!


#12

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