Is it a waste of time to defend Catholicism in comments sections of internet news stories?

One of the things that really frustrates me is that whenever there is a Catholic story in the internet news (yahoo, Huffington Post, you name it) the comment sections are filled with anonymous posters who spew anti-Catholic venom. I have tried to engage them in intelligent back-and-forth, but it inevitably breaks down to uncivil responses. The anti-Catholic sentiment probably runs 5 to 1 over those who can or will defend the faith.

Is it a waste of time trying to discuss any serious matter on the faith with these people?

It is very discouraging, but drives me crazy to see these lies go unchallenged, and see so many “thumbs-up” on what they say.:frowning:

Probably, In general, people who frequent those sites are looking for sensationalism, not necessarily hard truths. :shrug:
On a related issue, it drive me bonkers when there’s a true crime story on TV, and it’s a preacher of some other Christian denomination, and the intermittent scenes feature Our Lady, a Crucifix, a Holy Water Font, a rosary. etc.
Like they don’t even try to portray the story correctly. 'Cause all people who commit crimes are Catholic. :mad:

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is always and everywhere a waste of time. But often it is. Internet comboxes on mainstream news sites are not generally the best place for genuine, fruitful dialogue to take place.

If it were smaller scale sites with a core group of common commenters whom you could engage in discussion over a longer period of time, that might be worth it. But for those major news stories with thousands of drive-by comments, I think it’s more akin to casting the pearls before swine (not to call those people “swine”, but rather to draw the comparison to Scripture :o). Any pearls you throw out there are more than likely going to be trampled under foot.

Many people are familiar with that old editorial cartoon about the guy who cannot go to bed yet because “someone is wrong on the internet.” It’s a common impulse to want to set the record straight, especially with regards to the faith we love so much and hold to so dearly. But there’s only so much you can do. Usually, our time is better spent elsewhere.

Not to say you cannot spend some time doing it sometimes. But go into it with realistic expectations. And know when to walk away and shake the dust from your sandals.

I sincerely doubt whether it is a very good way to evangelize. Most of these folks are just trying to " count coup. " When they get done they tweet their friends to come and see how clever they have been. So if you are interested in this type of thing just be satisfied with stating the Church’s teaching as clearly as you can and let it go. You will never know if you have done any good at all.

Just look at these forums. You see much the same thing going on. I don’t post nearly as much as I used to because I have learned that most people just want to argue and press their own point of view. They really aren’t interested in the truth of an argument.

Linus2nd

In my experience, the kind of people you find in comment sections aren’t interested in truth. They are interested in trolling and scoring cheap debate points. They often employ fallacies (most commonly straw-man arguments) to assert their claims. Most of the time, these people have their minds made up regarding the Church. Nothing you say will sway them. If you do choose to engage them, NEVER let them get under your skin. Always keep your cool and be as charitable as possible. If you find yourself getting angry, just close out the window, say a prayer and take a few deep breaths. Put it in God’s hands. You did your part and there is nothing more that can be done. I always find it is a welcome relief to come into these forums where there are so many who love Jesus and the Church.

As a fellow “comment board Crusader”, you will be in my prayers!

Its painfull to read, isn’t it? Once in a while I see someone who took the time to defend the faith, and its a breath of fresh air. But I could never muster up the desire to write in those places

I don’t think defending the truth is a bad thing, course I know where you are at because I join into those discussions sometimes. All you can do is walk away with the satisfaction that you have been a faithful disciple in spreading the truth.

Let me give you this advice that was given to me. Before you even turn on your computer, pray… And when you get off your computer. Offer it up to God in prayer so that you don’t let it harden your heart …

I also have a crucifix and a rosary on my desktop, so I remember that this is about God not myself and I turn to God will help me and keep me in balance in all areas of my life.

Yep,
however, whenver, on a television movie they need an exorcist it is ALWAYS a Catholic priest that is called to do so. (Of course not all of these are shown in good light). True evil needs the true Church to cast it out.

St Michael the Archangel defend us in battle.
Mary.

I just read what others here wrote, and allow me to offer a perspective different from most. Keep defending the faith! Do it with patience, courage, and the love of Jesus Christ. Once upon a time, I was one of those internet trolls. I said horrible, hateful things, just for the “entertainment value”. I would quote Bible verses as if I knew what I was talking about. Really, I only googled passages and pretended to be well versed. Ironically, the only time I ever claimed to have read the whole Bible was as an atheist. Now as a Christian, there are still some Old Testament books I haven’t read. But there were many unnamed defenders of the faith I need to thank. They challenged me and made me think. They were examples of Christ working through them to find me. “Kill” them with kindness. Kill their hatred and their unbelief. But don’t draw battle lines. Defend THE faith, but not your faith. Don’t offer to pray for them, it only feeds what they went to the story for in the first place. They are there looking for validation of the narrative they already hold. To them, you are unsophisticated and willing to believe anything. They want to be able to see you get angry or give the appearance you are unintelligent. Nothing is a greater threat to their preconceived notions then when we allow Christ to work through us. When we can be humble and loving, it starts to break down walls. I know because those that acted that way toward me shattered my illusions. The nice thing about defending the faith that way is that you’ll never know in this life the impact you’ve had on another person’s soul. Those that helped me will never know what they’ve done for me. God knows though. When I defend the faith from those people that are like I once was, my hope is that I’m doing something pleasing to God.

I stopped posting about religion anywhere but here.

The problem is that you have a lot of evil out there spreading false information about our Faith and knowingly doing so many times. On top of that, people that run such forums or comment sections allow people to attack Catholics without being sanctioned for it. However, if you get a little fiesty in the conversation as a Catholic you’'ll likely get banned.

“The Huffington Post”, especially, is quite liberal. So, I would expect people there to be anti-Catholic, and I doubt you will change them.

I think your time would be better spent in almost anything else, something constructive.

Further, the negativity there would probably get to you, eventually.

I’d say to pick your battles. :twocents:

Thank you for posting this! It is very inspiring. Praise be God!

Yes it is. I’ve stopped viewing the comments section given the amount of ignorant anti-Catholic (as well pretty much anti-anything) rants and comments. Hence why I’m on this site so much. That and civility is enforced here (speaking from multiple personal experiences:blush:).

Oh, yes. Where do I begin? My blood pressure rises just thinking about the vile and hateful things that are posted about Catholics on every article on Yahoo and Huff Post. I have tried debating these hate mongers. It’s useless. Their minds are twisted against any mention of the truth. But I still try. I spend a lot of time fighting heresy on the internet! I’m trying to limit my responses now to blatant lies about the Church that I can prove are wrong.

The worst of these are ex-Catholics. I don’t have a clue what could have happened to those people to make them so filled with bile.

Those comments bother me. But what really gets me are the comments on some Catholic news sites and so-called Catholic news sites.

What a beautiful and unexpected reply. You have really made me rethink the way I should conduct myself online. I’m not as nasty as most but I could certainly be kinder.:thumbsup:

I used to defend the faith quite regularly on a specific national news web site. Can’t say if I changed anyone’s mind, but I learned a lot about Catholicism and made some good friends with other posters who also defended the faith. Interestingly, that particular site no longer allows posting. I like to believe that we are the reason for that. In addition to the posting, we spent a good amount of time sending emails to the moderators.

DGB

Yes.

I used to defend the faith and challenge the pro Israel comments and articles until I realized I was just being a troll, either way and wasting my life.
now I just move on.
Don’t forget either, popular news articles are written to a 6th grade level. That is the standard. Its not like a scientific paper.

I think one way of addressing it, that might be fruitful is to “reply” to a post, by simply saying “that is not true” and including a link to a page in the Catholic Encyclpedia, or another Catholic site that addresses the issue in question, then leave it at that.

Haters can hate if they want, but a few people might check out the link and learn something!

Providing information is helpful, fighting doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

You have very low odds of actually reaching the person you interact with. It’s the Internet equivalent of Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, but you may have impressed a lurker.

My recommendation? Give a quick explanation of the authentic Catholic doctrine or view of whatever the story is about and then move on.

Your time would be better spent at Catholic Answers!:thumbsup:

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