I can't convince them!


#1

I’m a terrible apologist. I just know what I know. But I’m frustrated none the less because there are 3 important people in my life, not to mention a whole slew of others, that cannot accept “religion”, Catholic or not. They believe in God…a creator of all that’s wonderful in this universe, but when it comes to personal savior, etc. the consensus is that it’s all man made foolishness. The Bible is made up. The ancient scribes wrote stories. The Church was invented to keep people in line. Liturgy and prayer are all in vain.

I’ve tried to explain it all using Scripture, but they remind me that we aren’t even sure Scripture isn’t just made up by people with time on their hands. I try to show a correlation to the Old Testament prophecies to Christ. Then they accuse me of being deluded. Argh!! I get absolutely nowhere. These are good people, but I’m at my wit’s end. Even my Christian mother has some odd notions now.

What is the definitive answer to getting someone to believe that a) the Bible is Truth, the inspired Word of a caring God and b) all these scholars over all the centuries didn’t just make up their versions of soap operas, and had something real and important to pass on to us?


#2

Even the demons believe in God. Just look up James 2:19 to confirm that. It is sad that people think mere belief in deity is enough. It isn’t. I suggest you buy some books on the subject and read up on how to respond to their arguments. There is plenty of evidence for the historical accuracy of the Bible and evidence for its divine authority as well. I can’t provide specifics, most of the folks I deal with are Protestants and so the question just doesn’t come up. I’ll pray for you and them.


#3

For a shorter guide, I recommend Catholic Apologetics Today by Fr. William G. Most. I’ve read this and it was a wonderful starter on the subject. The evangelical Lee Strobel also has a couple of good books on the subject. I read his The Case for Faith and The Case for a Creator. I thought they were pretty good and they seemed to lack any anti-Catholic sentiments.


#4

The definitive answer is that you can convince them of nothing. God gives them grace to respond and they have free will in the matter. The Holy Spirit may take a long time to work in them, or they may obstinantly refuse the grace forevermore.

You have done nothing wrong, and are not a “failure” because they refuse to accept the Truth or investigate it seriously. It is not a matter of you being a “better” apologist.


#5

I would suggest that you keep loving these special people in your life and keep them in your own personal prayers.

Lead your life by example.

Faith is from God and God alone.

Be His light in their lives.


#6

deb4,
You’ve planted the seed, now let God provide the growth in His good time. Keep them in your prayers and strive to provide a good example.


#7

If they find that you are the only person in their life that has “True Joy”, even though you are Catholic, they will be drawn to the source of that joy. It’s a long process, but the fruits of your labors will be there.

The only way, as explained previously, is to trust that the Lord will work through you and others to bring these lost sheep back into the fold!


#8

Scripture Proofs:

THE BIBLE’S MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE:


#9

Search google for “historical evidence of Jesus”, and you should come up with several sites listing evidence from secular writings from the time. Many histories mention Jesus, and many of these were written by people who had vested interest in disproving his divinity. Prove his existence outside of scripture, then ask if what the Bible says isn’t true, why are people still following him, with Christianity the world’s largest religion, with a third of the world’s population. (half of whom are Catholic)
Bless you for trying to bring them to Christ


#10

Catholics/Christians can’t prove that any of it is true either (even though many try…). The belief you speak of (the bible, the church, or even God) is primarily a matter of faith and faith isn’t something that grows very well through lectures or arguments.


#11

Deb, I totally understand your frustration. As has already been said here, seeds have been planted; but part of the difficulty in bringing them to growth is that many people are unable actually to think and reason, preferring the latest fad to Faith (to say nothing of denying that there is Truth to be found!) and so what you have presented to them falls on very shallow ground. The illogic that has closed off their hearts from understanding can only be overcome by a great working of the Holy Spirit.


#12

I was just like your “important” people. Thoroughly “deist”, except perhaps that I didn’t think of the Christian God as “foolishness”,… just “one interpretation” of “The Universal God’s” being and work.

I’ve tried to explain it all using Scripture, but they remind me that we aren’t even sure Scripture isn’t just made up by people with time on their hands. I try to show a correlation to the Old Testament prophecies to Christ. Then they accuse me of being deluded. Argh!! I get absolutely nowhere. These are good people, but I’m at my wit’s end. Even my Christian mother has some odd notions now.

Perhaps you should check out the Bible yourself as regards “leading a horse to water”…?

They must find their own NEED to move from the “non-person” God of the Deists, to God as a real trinity of persons.

That NEED for me was the fact that the God of the Deists cannot hear or DO ANYTHING within the world, and certainly couldn’t help ME.

The concept of a “God” that can’t actually DO ANYTHING in the world He created suddenly hit me as the most ludicrous idea I’d ever held.

If you’re gonna believe in God at all, then what sense is it to believe in a completely “incapacitated” “God”…?!

What is the definitive answer to getting someone to believe that a) the Bible is Truth, the inspired Word of a caring God and b) all these scholars over all the centuries didn’t just make up their versions of soap operas, and had something real and important to pass on to us?

First they must be in the position of being humble in the face of the power of God.

This USUALLY means that they need to have there egos battered into submission. In other words, they need to SUFFER. Then, perhaps, they will be amenable to the entreaties of the Holy Spirit.

Until they can see beyond their own “superhuman-ness”, they simply will not change.

The best way that anyone can help others see God, through Jesus, via that Holy Spirit, is to show them what Jesus has done for you and through you.

Set a meticulous example.

Be a saint. Martyr yourself to their chides and derision.

Perform the miracle of genuinely smiling and being joyful while taking their arrows of scorn.

Sometimes that will make them reconsider.

And take them to Church. A lot. And if they don’t go,… kindly chide them for being afraid to stand by their own opinions in “enemy territory”, as you do, everyday, in the world.

Mahalo ke Akua.

E pili mau na pomaikai iaoe…! Aloha.


#13

Okay…time to do some homework. I suggest reading Mere Christianity by CS Lewis as soon as possible.

When you finish that, there will be other books for you…


#14

A few other thoughts:

Why is it that very few, if any, outsiders are persuaded by apologies? They often give the impression that nobody who is informed, rational, and sincere could disagree with them. So why don’t they work? Apologists seldom have a good answer to this question because there are really only two alternatives: the apology fails to convince either 1) because it is unpersuasive, or 2) because outsiders defeat the truth, usually by reasoning incorrectly and drawing the wrong conclusion, or by seeing the truth but not accepting it. In other words, there is a defect either in the apology or in the “apologee,” and since few apologists present an argument they believe is defective, they are more or less forced to blame the apologee for failing to see, or to admit, the truth.

[size=2]The problem with blaming the apologee is not only that it is self-serving, it is also gratuitous. What evidence is there that the apologee is not smart enough to follow the apologist’s reasoning, or not sincere enough to want to know the truth, or not honest enough to admit it? The only answer the apol­ogist can give is that if the apologee really were rational and well inten­tioned, he or she would agree with the apologist. Needless to say, most people are not impressed by this line of reasoning.
[/size]
How often do *you *read material that tries to persuade you that your reli­gious beliefs are wrong and that other beliefs you reject are true? Unless you are yourself an apologist scouting the opposition, the chances are that you’ve never studied an apology to which you were an outsider. If apologies are actually intended for outsiders, they have to judged colossal failures.

What do you think when you read the “truths” of the Islamic faith or of the Mormons?


#15

Hi deb4, are you praying for them? have you brought up their case to prayer chains?


#16

You know - when I re-read my post, I was :rolleyes: Of course I can’t change them. I know that. I’ve said it myself to others. And I’ve read some of the works mentioned by some of you. (I was trying to think of Strobel). I’m looking forward to reading the manuscript evidence, for myself if not for the others. In any case, I thank everyone for their thoughtful answers.

I do try to be an example, but I’m afraid I could be better. As far as apologist debates go, especially on message boards, wow…my eyes glaze over after awhile. I really give you :thumbsup: , those of you that enter the fray. I have never had the inclination to visit a forum that talked about the Muslim faith, much less Mormon, Buddhist, Hindu etc. I was blessed to be born into a Christian family and country. I never even knew any Muslims or Buddhists growing up. I just knew I was in the right place, and was thankful for that. Yet these people that I love, absolutely and positively know they are right. I can spout C.S.Lewis, Augustine, or the very words of Jesus all day, and they’ll tune me out…
…until they hear their own still small voice. In the meantime - prayer availeth much.


#17

My husband was led back to Christianity (and ultimately, to the Catholic Church) by the writings of C.S. Lewis, especially Mere Christianity. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend doing so! Perhaps you can give it to your athiest friends to read, too.

Good luck!


#18

I wonder if Jesus thought this when we hung Him on the Cross??? He gave it His best…Those who have ears ought to listen…:confused:

NEVER give up. The Holy Spirit will guide you and you just plant His seeds. The rest is up to God. They need to be where they are right now for a reason unbeknownst to us…God Bless :slight_smile:


#19

I think St. francis said it best. " Preach the gospel and if necessary use words.

Most importantly Prayer and Example.

Peace, OneNow1


#20

It sounds like the people you are refering have bought into materialistic/progressive philosophies. They see religion as backward and obsolete. They may believe religion had its purpose in the old days when people were “ignorant.” But now we are an “enlightened” world and don’t need these “fairy tales” anymore. Of course, this philosophy itself is a very prejudicial and ignorant way to think. But keep in mind these people you know have probably never seriously questioned their philosophy/worldview.

I recommend a few books that helped me a lot. This recommendation is for you, not for them (they probably would never read books like this anyway.) But these books may give you some information to counter their attacks on the Church and to counter their erroneous modern day materialistic/progressive worldview.

Architects of the Culture of Death (Paperback)
by Donald De Marco (Author), Benjamin D. Wiker (Author)
amazon.com/Architects-Culture-Death-Donald-Marco/dp/1586170163

How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (Hardcover)
by Thomas E. Woods Jr (Author)
amazon.com/Catholic-Church-Built-Western-Civilization/dp/0895260387/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-7731750-1740019?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173752541&sr=1-1


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