Is It a Sin to Not Defend the Faith?

To put this in the most accurate context, I’d like to remind readers that I’m only sixteen.

Anways, my family had invited a neighbor for a visit tonight. He’s a very close family friend so I was quite happy to hear he’d be visiting. The visit, however, quickly took a bad turn as he wanted to talk to me specifically about Catholicism and Christianity in general. He’d brought some flash cards and decided to teach me what he believed to be the “truth.” The “truth,” evidently was some sort of New Age teaching with the blasphemy factor up 200%. He tried to tell me typical anti-Catholic teachings, but he also tried to tell me that each person can become equivalent to the Father and that Lucifer was actually female and originally the Father’s wife… among other things.

The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t prove to him he was wrong. The problem was that I just nodded my head and said nothing. I was just afraid to say anything and I’m not sure why. Midway through his lecture, I just wanted to cry because I felt like a traitor against the Lord for not saying anything. I tried to throw small hints toward my parents in the room to bail me out of the situation, in a sense, but it was to no avail. Ultimately, I just waited till he was finished before I retreated to my room.

My question is as the title asks, but I also wanted to know how I should have handles the situation.

No, I do not feel that it is a sin not to defend the Church. Our real mission is to bring more light into the world by influencing others with our actions.

LOVE! :heart:

I feel so badly for you. Are your parents Christian/Catholic? Why did they just sit there and watch him tell you all this? Maybe you just sat there and nodded your head because you were shocked and didn’t know what to say. This is a neighbor/friend whom you like and enjoy seeing and it sounds like he kind of threw you for a loop with something totally unexpected. If I were you, I would speak to your parents about this. Tell them how you feel. Not knowing this man, I can’t really say if he would have been open to hearing anything you might have had to say to him in rebuttal. I would definitely pray for him. Tell you parents that you will not listen to another “talk” from this man, and if he tries to talk to you again about things like this, you should say, “I am very firm in my belief that what the Catholic Church teaches is the Truth,” and walk away. I hope some others can give you additional advice. God bless.

Being caught blindsided like that is never fun. I think in the situation you describe, you handled it very well. By keeping you thoughts and comments to yourself, you exhibited a high level of maturity and politeness. The person who did this to you on the other hand was not what I would call very respectful towards you. How I would handle this from this time forward is to set a strict boundary that wont allow this type of behavior to continue, i.e. I’m more than happy to speak with you BUT not about religion. Ever. What you believe or should believe as a Catholic is based on over 2000 yrs of history and Tradition.

There is nothing wrong with discussing other peoples beliefs and Catholic Answers has a whole slew of apologists who do just that, they defend the faith. If this person is that intent to debate somebody, give him the name of one of the great apologists on this site and let him take them on.

Just remember, that if you are pushed into a corner and can’t get away, say the rosary to yourself and asked the Blessed Virgin for her protection. She will never let you down.

God Bless

Your first priority should be to guard and strengthen your own faith. At your age, it may be risky to engage (that is, to argue with) a sophisticated challenger who may be experienced in the art and psychology of persuasion. The passive approach you took may be the best for now. As you get older and wiser, you will be better prepared to speak out in defense of your faith.

If you feel badly about what you did (or did not do), perhaps you should tell or ask a priest about it. You don’t necessarily have to go to confession. You could just ask him how to respond gracefully when people try to convince you of their beliefs which are sometimes quite far from your own.

I am praying for you. May the Holy Spirit strengthen your faith and bring you peace.

What an odd situation. Yay neighbor is coming over for a visit to use flash cards to proselytize??? Weird

Freischutz. Your “something’s wrong here meter” was correct.

You are not ready to theologically go “toe to toe” with this guy.

At age 16 please don’t try to.

DO tell your folks you are uncomfortable with this shenanigans (were they there for the whole thing? Do they KNOW what all occurred?).

DO pray for protection for yourself. I would feel utterly defiled too if I sat and was subjected to that kind of verbal abuse. Ask your Priest about it too (preferably in the Confessional–not because you committed a sin in this, but because your sins that you have otherwise committed may make you more susceptible to internalizing these types of ideas. The graces you receive in the Confessional will protect you).

I would get some holy water from the Priest too, sprinkle it throughout your home, and not subject myself to listening to this guy in the future.

Later on (with lots of preparation and prayer) when these diatribes come up with others (and they will in the future), you may be much better prepared to handle it. For now, I would suggest no.

I am paraphrasing (?Mary Kay Clark?) . . .

Paraphrase: “I would allow young people to venture into the proverbial lion’s den only when they have the gifts of Daniel.”

Right now you are not ready for that at age 16. Later with much grace, prayer, and study, you will be prepared for such theological altercations.

God bless.


PS Good work having the humility to ask about this Freischutz. You are wise beyond your years.

Mark Twain once said: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

How very arrogant of him! Also quite calculating on his part - I think he chose to put this on you and not your parents because of your youth - he probably figured you’d be less likely to challenge him, and perhaps more impressionable as well.

If he does it again, just say “I’m sorry but I’m really not interested in any of this. Can we change the subject?” If he keeps going then just walk over to your parents.

If you were my son, I would sit down with the neighbour and let him know that he is always welcome in our home but he is never to discuss religion with my son again.

What rude behaviour from a guest in your home. Even if he is a good family friend, he overstepped the mark.

I would never dream of whipping out the Catechism and badgering my Muslim friends teenage children. Let alone with their parents in the room. It’s just not good manners.

Having said that, the others have given some good advice here. Approach your parents and let them know how uncomfortable he made you feel.

In the meantime, learn more about the faith and Catholic Apologetics so that when you are an adult and feel confident you can engage others.

A 16 year old who has been taught to respect adults, is generally not equipped to stand up to them in religious debates.

Even Peter denied knowing Christ 3 times. We are only human. We need grace to fight battles. We also need experience.

Now, with this experience, you have a chance to pray and think about how you would like to respond next time.

John Marie Philomena

The advice goes for every aspect of life. My advice is to have boundaries for yourself. While it may not have been a great idea to start a debate, you can be firm but polite that you don’t want to discuss religious matters. Of course, from what I gather, he might have asked “Why not?” and try to drag you back into the topic he wanted to tell you about. You have to reaffirm that you don’t wish to have that kind of conversation. If you’re like me, you’ll have to fight your nature in order to muster the will to do it decisively, or to do it at all.

People like that come up with all kinds of nonsense, i find it actually comical. Lucifer was a female, and the Father’s bride?!? Until they had a falling out, and Lucifer had her name changed and took with her one out of three of all their children.

He’s older, apparently, with more life experience. You are not equipped to take him on in a debate, yet. If you tried, though you have the truth on your side, you could still lose due to your inexperience.

So, you were fine. Our Lord knows your heart. Also, you were caught off guard.

However, if your parents are Catholic, tell them what happened.

If this happens again, say you are Catholic and since you disagree, ask that they change the subject, to avoid difficulties. If he refuses, don’t even wait till he finishes his argument. Say you have some homework you’d like to do. Leave the room.

Another option, if your parents are Catholic, go to them, and say you are not prepared for a religious debate due to your youth and inexperience.

If you want to remain on friendly terms, you will probably need to set up a “truce”.

You must agree that the subject of religion will be “off limits” from here on out. Tell him you disagree, and to change the subject.

And the parents allowing it is even more odd. I would never allow my child to be blindsided like that! That person would have been out the door, immediately!

You did nothing wrong. Why on earth did your parents allow this? You shouldn’t have had to “throw hints.” I would never have allowed my child to be badgered like this. That guy would have been out the door the minute he started this nonsense.

Seriously, I would ask they why they let this happen. Not in a confrontational way, but in a “I don’t understand . . .” way. And if this person tries this again, just politely say, I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in New Age stuff."

I will let you in on a secret. Not everyone is like you. Not everyone has your backbone and your personality. Take it from someone who is weak with no personality, what you have is a great richess. Very precious. Being around people, especially difficult people ,*** is ***hell for someone like me.

I think I would of been stunned into silence to. Probably would of just got up and walked away.
Next time I would just tell him I’m not interested.

Your parents were probably as stunned as you were - I would have a talk about it with them - I’m suprised that they haven’t spoken to you about it. Wouldn’t get an invite from me again.

I spoke to someone once who was claiming Mary was God and Jesus was really Julius Ceaser - seriously - I destroyed him my telling him Julius Ceaser died 40 or 50 years before Christ walked on the earth and never heard from him again. He had it all outlined and even had a web site with all this stuff.Probably still does - highly doubt he mentions Julius Ceaser anymore - he would of had to change his whole story after I spoke to him.

I imagine you could easily do the same with this guy with some preperation there would be holes everywhere with the absurd story he brought forth - doubt he will listen - hes a nut case obviously - just don’t fight with him - walk away if need be if you come in contact with him again - sometimes its best just to show someone your back.

This isn’t a case of defending the faith - hes a nutcase.

Thank you all. Your input and prayers (for both me and my neighbor) are well appreciated.

My parents aren’t at all religious, so I can understand why it wouldn’t upset them. Still, I’m going to inform them how uncomfortable it made me.

I took a look on the internet and I think this guy follows the - Its time now for 4u - site - looks like some guy trying to start his own version of religion - hes combined several religions and stories to come up with his ideas - I’m not going to put a link - he comes accross as a nutcase to me. I’m sure hes taken a lot of abuse on you-tube.Just another person who is claiming to be a prophet with the truth.I don’t know who would fall for this kind of stuff.There are hundreds of sites like this with all sorts of people with crazy ideas.Best not to entertain them.

Like I said this is not a case of defending the faith - don’t even worry about it.Give him you back next time, and pray he comes to the truth.

Hon, I’ll let you in on a secret – it’s hell for me, too. But nobody badgers my child. In my house. Right in front of me. That’s outrageous.

I like to be called “hon”:slight_smile: Sorry, I misread, I’d gotten the impression that self-assertion came easy for you. I didn’t mean to sound rude, but rereading my post, i think i did. Apologies, hon.:smiley:

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