Setting 'theological traps'

i read some of the threads on here, and see some of the
responses to things people say, and sometimes i think,
“this person is simply trying to get someone to say a certain
thing so they can jump on it to make their point”…

then Sunday, in the scripture reading, the Pharisees are
setting a trap for Jesus, by trying to draw Jesus into a
debate about some minute point of the law… in the bulletin,
the author, Paige Byrne Shortal, says “Certainly, there is
something sinister about these word games initiated by the
Pharisees”…

and it made me remember how many times i’ve seen
"questions" in these forums and thought, well, i know that
this person is not looking for friendly discussion, but is
trying to lure someone into a debate where they can use
an argument they have prepared…

guess i’m just wondering at what point apologetics becomes
adversarial baiting… and should we even bother feeding the
ego’s of the people who set these ‘traps’, or ‘shake the very
dust from our feet’ avoiding them…

anyway… i guess if i need to pose a question, it’d be… am i
the only one who feels uncomfortable when the discussion
becomes an obvious attempt to justify belief at someone
else’s expense?

maybe i’m just a theological wuss… lol

:slight_smile:

I think apologetics is adversarial by its very nature, but there are certainly things that can be done to limit it. I found an article on the CA main page fairly good at summing up my feelings:
How to be offensive (without being offensive)

I also posted something I think would be nice to re-read…
A good reminder…

God Bless,
RyanL

P.S.,
You may, indeed, simply be a theological wuss…;):p…it remains to be seen.

[quote=johnshelby]guess i’m just wondering at what point apologetics becomes
adversarial baiting… and should we even bother feeding the
ego’s of the people who set these ‘traps’, or ‘shake the very
dust from our feet’ avoiding them.
[/quote]

I’m trying to be more of a dust shaker, but it’s not always easy. :o

Of course, I can only speak from my own personal experience in aplogetics and theological discussions with those of other faith traditons. I never seek discussions or interactions as a way of “trapping” someone so that I may deliver a prepared arguement.

Indeed, I DO have certain “prepared” arguements. This comes as a result of years of preparation through many trials by fire, so to speak. After feeling “trapped” myself in numerous discussions with Evangelical friends and relatives, I found myself needing to come to the table prepared. And occasionally, I find myself in a position to invite them to the table. Not to trap them, but to engage them.

1 Peter 3:15 gives us such good instruction for how we are to defend the faith by “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Of course, offense (evangelization) and defense (apologetics) are different sides of this issue. But, we all (Catholics and Protestants) alike should come with prepared arguments. This is the first step in sharing our faith, no matter which side of the field we’re playing. The next step, however, is to always LISTEN to the other side. Answer the questions the other side is asking.

Turn the recorded messages off. Interact. I know, from my own experiences, that when I truly listen to the other side and consider their arguements (some are better than others, of course), I not only learn more, but I also am motivated to understand my own faith better.

As a parent, I think I have a different perspective on how sometimes leading someone to say a certain thing, so that I can make a point is a good thing. It is the essence of the Socratic method and it often works much more effectively than merely saying your peace and expecting the other person (child, for instance) to be receptive. By leading them into a discussion through leading questions, you are preparing them to begin thinking critically. You are giving them equal footing, whether or not they are equally prepared.

As a child, this method is often frustrating, but I can not think of a better motivator in seeking truth than to be totally stumped in the face of someone who is better prepared and more knowledgeable.

My point. . .Sometimes, we are to act as parents. Sometimes, we are to be children. Our driving force should always be love and truth.

[quote=JaneFrances]As a parent, I think I have a different perspective on how sometimes leading someone to say a certain thing, so that I can make a point is a good thing. It is the essence of the Socratic method and it often works much more effectively than merely saying your peace and expecting the other person (child, for instance) to be receptive. By leading them into a discussion through leading questions, you are preparing them to begin thinking critically. You are giving them equal footing, whether or not they are equally prepared.

As a child, this method is often frustrating, but I can not think of a better motivator in seeking truth than to be totally stumped in the face of someone who is better prepared and more knowledgeable.

My point. . .Sometimes, we are to act as parents. Sometimes, we are to be children. Our driving force should always be love and truth.
[/quote]

Very insightful.

[quote=JaneFrances]As a parent, I think I have a different perspective on how sometimes leading someone to say a certain thing, so that I can make a point is a good thing. It is the essence of the Socratic method and it often works much more effectively than merely saying your peace and expecting the other person (child, for instance) to be receptive.
[/quote]

Excellent post and good points. There was an article a few years back in This Rock about using questions to teach. If this method seems like a trap and works as such, it is only because truth is brought out in the process. If it does not work, then at least thought goes into the response, as opposed to a canned answer.

One thing that may look like baitng is the way the same questions keep re-occuring, and of course, have the same answers.

[quote=JaneFrances]Of course, I can only speak from my own personal experience in aplogetics and theological discussions with those of other faith traditons. I never seek discussions or interactions as a way of “trapping” someone so that I may deliver a prepared arguement.

Indeed, I DO have certain “prepared” arguements. This comes as a result of years of preparation through many trials by fire, so to speak. After feeling “trapped” myself in numerous discussions with Evangelical friends and relatives, I found myself needing to come to the table prepared. And occasionally, I find myself in a position to invite them to the table. Not to trap them, but to engage them.

1 Peter 3:15 gives us such good instruction for how we are to defend the faith by “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Of course, offense (evangelization) and defense (apologetics) are different sides of this issue. But, we all (Catholics and Protestants) alike should come with prepared arguments. This is the first step in sharing our faith, no matter which side of the field we’re playing. The next step, however, is to always LISTEN to the other side. Answer the questions the other side is asking.

Turn the recorded messages off. Interact. I know, from my own experiences, that when I truly listen to the other side and consider their arguements (some are better than others, of course), I not only learn more, but I also am motivated to understand my own faith better.

As a parent, I think I have a different perspective on how sometimes leading someone to say a certain thing, so that I can make a point is a good thing. It is the essence of the Socratic method and it often works much more effectively than merely saying your peace and expecting the other person (child, for instance) to be receptive. By leading them into a discussion through leading questions, you are preparing them to begin thinking critically. You are giving them equal footing, whether or not they are equally prepared.

As a child, this method is often frustrating, but I can not think of a better motivator in seeking truth than to be totally stumped in the face of someone who is better prepared and more knowledgeable.

My point. . .Sometimes, we are to act as parents. Sometimes, we are to be children. Our driving force should always be love and truth.
[/quote]

oh, if only everyone… lol

thanks…

:slight_smile:

That is a good question and I have recently come to a much better understanding of what true apologetics is. In the begining I would use (or misuse) apologetics to show how the other side is wrong on a given point.

I priest that I am friends with teaches an apologetics class in a Catholic high school was telling a group of us how they are required to keep the classes non controversial because they have non Catholics at the school and would not want to offend them. My question for him was; how do you teach Catholic apologetics to non Catholic students without offending them?

He explained that apologetics does not necessarily say anything about the other points of view on a certain topic but simply explains what the Catholic belief is and why. For the first time it occured to me that Catholic apologetics does not have to be argumentative. We can just tell someone what we believe and why without bating them into an argument or denying their beliefs.

[quote=martino]That is a good question and I have recently come to a much better understanding of what true apologetics is. In the begining I would use (or misuse) apologetics to show how the other side is wrong on a given point.

I priest that I am friends with teaches an apologetics class in a Catholic high school was telling a group of us how they are required to keep the classes non controversial because they have non Catholics at the school and would not want to offend them. My question for him was; how do you teach Catholic apologetics to non Catholic students without offending them?

He explained that apologetics does not necessarily say anything about the other points of view on a certain topic but simply explains what the Catholic belief is and why. For the first time it occured to me that Catholic apologetics does not have to be argumentative. We can just tell someone what we believe and why without bating them into an argument or denying their beliefs.
[/quote]

well, i wish i were better at stating my belief, then just keeping
quiet… lol

:slight_smile:

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