Least persuasive argument used by Catholics?

I am interested in what are the worst arguments readers have seen from Catholics affirming Catholicism. Not professional apologists, some of the worst ones are used by amateurs like me, who reason with their uninformed gut feelings.

Here are some nominations:
“30,000 Protestant denominations”. This argument has been used 30,000 times on CAF. I don’t say it is invalid. I say it is unpersuasive. I can’t imagine some dedicated Methodist or whatever reading that, and saying “30,000 now? My gosh, I thought it was only like 10,000. But on the basis of this new data, I must reconsider unified Rome’s claims”. Yup.

“Luther taught the North Pole was in the South” (or that he made some other outrageous error, or did some deceitful act, to show weakness of character, paranoia, regret starting the Reformation, etc, etc.)
The Lutherans on CAF, for instance, know Luther better than I know my wife. JonNC knows Luther’s horse better than I know her; the word “her” referring back to the word “horse”, not “wife”. No Lutheran, not one in 500 years, has been influenced towards Rome by such arguments.

What are the least persuasive arguments you have heard?

I agree with you that the 33k denominations, and Luthers character arguments are not persuasive.

I will add proof texting James 2:24 to use against sola Fide.

Attacking the inerrancy of canonical scripture to support the inclusion of deuterocanonical books.

Demonstrating that there was oral tradition in the first century as a basis against sola Scriptura.

Attacking the veracity of Protestant doctrine that does not accord with Catholic doctrine.

Using Catholic writings to persuade Protestants that the Catholic Church is the One Church Jesus spoke of ( many Protestants understand the " invisible church" as meaning believing Christians from all denominations and Christian branches.* That *is the Church that the Protestant understands Jesus as speaking of).

Broad generalization of Protestant beliefs.

Can we change this to include BOTH least persuasive and MOST persuasive???

That Protestants worship the Bible, hate Mary, and believe that they can just sin all they want, just because they believe in Sola Fide. (To be fair, these may be knee-jerk reactions to some Protestants accusing Catholics of worshiping Mary and treating them with contempt just because they disagree with their interpretations of the Bible.)

I have never seen the arguments you posted save for the bolded.
There are some protestants that believe that one can “back-slide” and fall into a life of decadence and still be saved albeit a lower place in heaven. On the other side there are those that believe that if one does that, they were never saved in the first place.
Yet which invisible church does one take this disagreement to?:slight_smile:

I agree with you here. Personally I would not use this argument rather because I do not know its accuracy but more so, I am not sure how the figure is being derived at. I have read link explaining it and it mentions the Catholic Church has 230 denominations. So there is something not right about it.

This argument is usually used against Sola Scriptura regarding individual interpretation. That would be valid as it resulted in different interpretations but saying 30,000 Protestant denominations is probably an exaggeration.

That Protestants are not Christians?

Generally speaking when Catholics are not convincing in their argument (apologetic) here (Non-Catholic Religion section) is because of lack of expertise and academic credential on the matter. The few who do are more of the exceptions. However, there are some Protestant posters who are trained ministers or pastors and thus can back their statement theologically and with reasonable scholarship.

There are of course posters from both divides who come to troll and proselytize; and their argument often sound hollow and unconvincing. These usually are picked up quite fast and banned.

As for Bible discourses, usually Catholics and Protestants stand on different premises. Catholic read the Bible together with Tradition which is non-existent in Protestantism. On paper the Catholic argument can look rather weak especially if the Tradition is not explicitly stated in the Bible – like purgatory and some of the Marian dogmas. All they (Protestants) need to do is saying that the doctrines are not found in the Bible.

Protestants literal interpretation however can look very dry and legalistic.


I have noticed that opposition to Catholicism can slide into a Mary-phobia on the part of Protestants.

:smiley: You have a great sense of humour!

I haven’t heard too many bad arguments for Catholicism, but any ad hominem argument would have to be up there.

More effective, I suggest, might be James 2:22. Synergy is the key notion. James uses the verb synergeo to assert that faith and works co-operate, act jointly.

Paul, incidentally, uses the plural noun *synergoi, *meaning co-workers, in connection with God and man. I don’t remember the chapter and verse but I think it’s in 2 Cor.

There are instances where it’s the other way around. “Thou art Peter and upon this rock …” Catholics say that Jesus means exactly what he says while Protestants (some Protestants, anyway) will hunt through the pages of some magisterium of their own to find a way around it.

Similarly with “This is my body,” “This is my blood.”

The 30k argument is invaild completely and actually hurts the person doing the argument. Within the 30k + are Roman Catholics, Irish Catholics, Melkite Catholics…etc.

I would also say that when it comes to praying to the saints, people often use dead relatives as an example. It is a talking point the many Protestants will roll their eyes at because it doesn’t make sense.

I appreciate the thought here but this is an argument that is not convincing. We aren’t Mary-phobic (which means a fear of Mary) but speaking for myself, I see nothing to convince me that the doctrines of Mary are correct.

I’m not debating the doctrine now - I’m just returning to the OP. :thumbsup:

I’m not sure this is specific enough, but when Catholics use generalizations about Protestant beliefs citing one fundamentalist concept as though it is universally believed. Such as all Protestants believing Sola Scriptura.

I think Protestants make a mistake in disregarding a belief simply because it is thought to have its roots through the Catholic Church such as auricular confession which was both instituted by Christ and mentioned in James.

Thanks for the link.

I think that is a great idea…post least and most effective.

Most would be the teaching on the Eucharist in John 6.

For me it’s the “We are the One true Church” argument. Not that catholics don’t believe it’s true, but it is just unconvincing to me.
I like this exercise but I realise that some of these arguments even though unconvincing to us may have and did convince others to enter the catholic church.

That is very true!! These are very subjective because, as you say, some do convince Christians to join the Cathlic Church. I would say the more general a point is being made the less effective it is. I appreciate those posts that do link a reference for a statement than those that use a very general statement with nothing to back up its credibility. And I am probably very guilty of doing that!!

God bless all!


That’s a very important point. Make sure you know who you’re debating with. Tell an Anglican that he believes in sola scriptura and you’ll just get laughed at.

I did not read the other posts so I don’t know if this was already stated, but the first topic that quickly popped into my head was that the people of Roman Catholic Church are unified in their beliefs and that the “33,000” **Protestant **Denominations are not, due to sola scriptura.

What most do not realize is that this argument is invalid and why well-known Roman Catholic apologists still quote this number often makes me question their trustworthiness and/or scholarship. First off, the number (33,000) is often quoted blindly meaning that the one quoting the number is simply repeating what they heard from someone else without actually researching where the number came from. If they researched the number and where it was found they would see that the list of “denominations” is comprised of Protestant denominations as well as Orthodox Christians AND Roman Catholics (Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other apostate religions are included in the list too). Second, as far as “unity” within the Roman Catholic Church goes, I presume one can search this website and see that it isn’t always the case. I’m not saying Roman Catholics **shouldn’t **be unified. I’m saying I don’t see evidence of it being true.

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