[quote=RSiscoe]As a layment, I believe our primary duty is to give a good example (which will often draw people to us). We are not required to hand out tracts, or preach on the streets, etc. But, if we are living our life as we should, and thus giving a good example, people will often be curious and ask us questions about the Catholic faith. It is very good if we are informed enough to explain things to them in a kind and charitable way. Therefore, it could be an act of charity for us to learn enough about our faith so that we will be able to explain things to those who ask us…
So, in my opinion, our primary duty as laymen is to live a good life and thus give a good example to those around us. In addition, we should know our faith well enough to be able to give a good and reasonable answer to those who approach us.
I agree that we dont have to hand out tracts or go door to door, but I have never had anyone ask me about the faith. As for the learning as much as we can, I have had the same thoughts, but when I look around I always see the people without the degrees and bookshelves of apologetics who are the ones feeding the hungry and other charitable works. I cant escape the feeling that if I went through life and never tried to tell someone about the Gospel then I have faild a key part of the Gospel. What would make someone come up and ask you? What would make any old prot denomination see any difference between you and themself?
The passage that I always think about is the one where Jesus says go in and tell them the good news, but if they dont listen to you then shake the dust off your shoes when you leave the city.
Because we do not know if God is punishing them or not. It may well be that God has brought them to us so that we could help them. We are only called to do the best we can in each situation; never to judge the subjective state of the person.
I was thinking on a more global scale for this question. It ties in with #3. Did God create hindu,islam,buddah, etc to confuse? I was thinking along the lines of a blanket punishment over a large area. I had the same thought on the tsunami e-letter a few weeks back. It seemed to me that God was punishing a huge number of people. I can understand we need to act on the safe side, but when huge things like natural disasters or war strikes its almost like they were damned from the get-go and we are the lucky few.
That is not for us to know. St. Augustine once said: “why did God choose me?”. he then replied by saying “I don’t know why God chose me, but since He did I better do something about it”. In other words, “I don’t know why God chose me, but I am going to be the best Catholic I can be.”
We don’t know why God brought us to the truth, and not others. Sometime we think others were much more worthy of being brought into the true Church (I know I often think that). But God has His reasons. It is not for us to know. All will be revealed on judgment day.
For now, just do your best in each situation and leave all else to God.
St Augustine was out teaching and spreading the Gospel in that region of North Africa. He isnt a saint for nothing, he earned it. His writings have been a light for many centuries and peoples. I guess all we can do is our best, just live a quiet Christian life.
I see where the EENS concept/teaching comes from, you cant go through life thinking that all religions are the same, a person should be convinced there is one truth and many phonys. The problem is that out of 5billion people and 1billion of them are Catholic, but only about 1 million truly understand the Catholic faith. This leaves 99% of people deprived of the truth based on many factors ranging from ignorane to false prophets/religions. And yet the 900million Catholics were lucky to fall within the boundarys of EENS, when they never try to be the best Catholic they can be, just born in the right place. I feel unworthy all the time knowing that I have the internet and library to learn the Truth, when all those other people around the globe are living hard lives and never get the chance to hear about the Saints or Apologetics. The only place that apologetics and education really work is in technologically advanced countries, and most countries are poor and uneducated. Does God throw them in the trash? I have a hard time accepting this.
As a side note, I was also thinking about what percentage of people have to be saved to make what Jesus did worth it. If He died and only one person went to Heaven then didnt Satan win this game? If a majority dont get to Heaven then how did Satan not succeed? I read all this stuff on how each life is precious, (I dont know if any ECF’s talked about this) but I hear a lot of what JP2 said attests to that, yet in the end the human is a pawn and if they arent one of the lucky ones they are forgotten to history. And EENS is nothing more than the luck of the draw.