Through Apologetics... I'm suddenly told I'm "reading into it too deep"


#1

As I’ve begun presenting Catholic apologetics to my now ex-girlfriend, a non-denominational, she has begun saying that I am reading into Jesus’ simple truths too deeply, and that my faith should be that of a child etc etc something to that effect.

Long Loooong story short. I’m Catholic, she’s not. She attacks Catholic faith, I defend it, she things my methods of defense (history, tradition, Greek, the Bible itself) are me just reading into things too deeply.

Any thoughts on how to counter such a frustrating rebuttal?


#2

“When I was a child, I thought like a child…” Heh.

Well, that would be funny but it won’t make you popular with your girlfriend. Maybe you need to focus on sharing your faith more, or talking about the beautiful and heartwarming things about the Catholic interpretation. And maybe you just need to do a little more witnessing without words. Be humble and loving.

Good luck, though. I’m afraid she’s feeling very threatened by your erudition.

Maureen


#3

Introduce her to a pious old Catholic (preferably illiterate, though you might have to travel far for that) who goes to church as often as possible and kneels in front of the Blessed Sacrament muttering the Rosary. She’ll probably say that this is mere superstition. What fundamentalists call “the faith of a child” is nothing of the sort. They are quite happy to have an over-intellectualized faith, it’s just badly intellectualized. They mistake bad reasoning for simple faith.

If you (not you personally) want to just believe, then I can respect that. But if you’re going to use your mind, for God’s sake (literally!) use it as well as possible!

Edwin


#4

Catholic scripture study has the advantage of almost 2000 years of scholarship. We don’t have to start from “scratch” so to speak but can take advantage of the writings of the earliest Christians who received their teacing from the Apostles and their immediate successors.

Non-Catholic Christians can’t do that because if they studied the writings of the ECF, they would realise early Church/Christians were all Catholics.

I’m suspecting that some of them realise that and fnd the mere thought too scary. From what I have heard, they are not encouraged to read the ECFs in full, only selective passages. I also suspect that is the reason there is so much emphasis on Sola Scriptura.


#5

How many Catholics have “read the ECF’s in full”? People on this board are generally familiar with the snippets in Catholic Answers tracts, and that’s better than most Catholics or Protestants can claim. I think you are holding up a double standard.

Edwin


#6

I would suggest that you continue to provide thoughtful and complete responses to your girl friend. This must be done carefully and with love and respect.

Share your faith with joy. Share your faith with the enthusiasm of the merchant that has found the pearl of great value in Matthew 13:45-46.

Pursue your faith in prayer. Pray with your girl friend.

Witness to your love of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Be extremely appreciative and understanding of her Baptist faith. Rather than arguing against her faith merely explain and defend your faith against her attacks.

Do everything in charity.


#7

You’re in a tough spot, since she clearly wants to have things both ways… Why not simply observe what a wonderful, rich, childlke faith one can have when one is watched over by Holy Mother Church, which is in turn watched over by God. Don’t argue, don’t let her argue. Just rejoice in your childlike Catholic faith.


#8

The truths of the faith are “simple”. If you chose to focus on common ground - the essential truths about God, creation, the Fall, the Incarnation - then things don’t need to be complicated. But, if she chooses to attack your faith, then you have to break out the heavy artillery and explain the richness of the Catholic worldview.

Some Protestants aren’t even aware of the philosophical and theological presuppositions they make all the time. They simply move from one issue to the next in a “simple” ad hoc way. I think it’s best to avoid the jumping from topic to topic and try to establish Catholic distinctives like Apostolicity (authority), sacramentality and mediation.

You may, too, point to times in history where the Church needed to invoke philosophical principles to defend important truths like the divinity of Christ, the Trinity etc.


#9

If she “attacks Catholic faith”, then clearly her faith isn’t that “of a child”.
Are there any particular Catholic beliefs she disputes? Or is it just the usual “I know Catholicism must be wrong, so as soon as you disprove each objection I’ll just keep bringing up another and another”.
If she calls herself “non-denominational” (ughh) how can she have any objection to any particular denomination (which she presumably thinks the Catholic Church is, although it’s not)?

I expect that a well-informed orthodox Catholic woman would have more sway with her, (a) because you’re a man and women often react defensively to what men often see as simple linear logic, and (b) because the discussion is probably complicated by her feelings arising from her former romantic attachment to you.


#10

Faith can never conflict with reason
Truth cannot contradict truth

What does she want? The easy way? Or the way of the Cross?


#11

Anyone who has read one of the 6.023x10 to the 23rd power threads on Peter and the Rock would know that non-Catholics have no qualms about calling in an army of pointy-head academics writing reams of paper explaining that the inflection of a single word proves that Peter is not the Rock. So much for perspecuity. :rolleyes:

Scott


#12

Ask her what it is she doesn’t believe and why. Nine times out of ten, they will say this or that isn’t in the bible. Then once you prove to them it is in the bible, they will argue that our interpretation is wrong. She will get more frustrated because you will rock the foundation of her belief system. Once you get this far, I have found success by distinguishing inspiration and authority. Remember that the holy spirit inspired the writers and protects the actual written word in the bible, the church protects the interpretation, also with guidance from the holy spirit. There has to be an authority because the holy spirit cannot contradict itself. One argument is salvation through faith. The holy spirit can’t on one hand say all you have to do is believe and your salvation is never lost. And then the very next second say if you do not continue your commitment to faith salvation can be lost. Also not every person’s on interpretation of the bible can be correct at the exact same time. If you want to use some word play remember Jesus created a singular church not a religion. Christianity is a religion; Catholicism is a church, just as Lutheranism is a church. In 1 Tim 3:15 “ if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.” The church is the pillar of truth, so if I am looking for instruction on the truth, it cannot contradict itself. Sorry this came out so long, but I have this same struggle with my wife who is protestant, so I understand some of the problems you have or will run into. I am somewhat of an apologetics enthusiast so if you have any other question I will answer to the best of my knowledge or find the answer for you. I have learned that the best way to evangelize others is to lead by example. It is hard for anyone to take you serious if they feel that you are not credible. Remember to be a doer of the word, because hearers deceive themselves.


#13

A child is completely dependant on the parent for everything.

but ask any parent, that doesn’t stop the child from CONSTANTLY exploring and learning. the desire to grow in intelligence is the hallmark of human children. constantly examining, exploring and discovering…

much like the spiritual life of a Catholic should be.


#14

Well it’s a good thing she’s your “ex” now.

Faith of a child means that one should be trusting of the truths that are presented to him, but also know the authority that presents the truth is trustworthy and as a child be always willing and eager to learn more of these truths.

The Bible? That’s our family album. A forlorn-faced picture of Great-Uncle Jeb about to sit down for a picture portrait cannot tell how funny it is that Grandpa Billy was off-camera about to pull that chair out from under him. How do I know that’s true? Grandpa Billy tells it to me every time I visit while showing me Great-Uncle Jeb’s picture. I believe my Grandpa.


#15

Live your life. The life well led is the best tool of Catholic apologetics.

Women also do not by and large argue as men do. If she is now your ex-girlfriend (my condolences), she likewise brings a lot of baggage to any discussion with you on this or any other issue. It’s understandable and quite human.


#16

Actually, she may be on to something. The question is, can she grow beyond it?

I went through a number of years when I probably thought very much as she did. Black and white. Bible based. Are you saved? It was a very satisfactory approach to God and faith when I was an adolescent. When you are that age, things are black and white.

As another poster added, “When I was a child, I thought as a child.”

Catholicism, however, is ultimately, in its richest expression, a faith for adults. We may raise our smallest children in it, we may seek to insure their salvation by doing our job as taught by the Church, but when one grows up, one comes to Catholicism as an adult – spiritually adult, intellectually adult, psychologically adult. It is a faith with blacks and whites (metaphorically speaking), but also with a myriad of grays and a rainbow of colors. God the Father. Jesus. The Holy Spirit. The Blessed Mother. The Apostles. St. Peter. St. Paul. St. Augustine. St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Ignatius Loyola. St. Theresa. St. Theresa Avila. Mother Theresa. There are so many spiritual helpers – spiritual geniuses – angels and saints and priests and bishops and popes. We could spend a lifetime trying to get a grasp on what is out there for us to learn about what seems very simple – God’s love for us.

If you come to God simply, you get part of God. Maybe you get all you can handle or all you need. But you miss a blessed richness.

Unless she sees that richness somewhere – in you, perhaps? – she has no reason to grow. Sadly, from what you have described, it appears she may have some real resistence to this kind of spiritual growth. Or maybe she really is looking for answers to her questions.


#17

What a fantastic analogy! :thumbsup:

Peace,
Dante


#18

Consider just these few passages from scripture:

[LIST=1]
*]Acts 17:2
As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
*]Acts 17:17
So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.
*]Acts 18:4
Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
*]**1 Peter 3:15
**Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. [/LIST]Now, explain to your ex-girlfriend that you have the faith she knows is important…what you want is to understand clearly the REASON for the faith you both share.

Children aren’t known for their ability to reason…that is for adults…and you need meat not milk.

Thinking is hard work, and many people don’t want to make the effort.

Hope this helps. :tiphat:


#19

As a convert from Baptist to Catholic, I was amazed at the treasures found in Catholicism. “Reading too deep”? On the contrary, the deeper you go, the more treasure you’ll find.

I think it’s similar to how different people can look at a work of art, or a classic automobile, or a football game, or most anything. Some people only choose to enjoy the most basic aspects. Others want to know more about it, and thereby gain a deeper appreciation for it.

My wife has started studying painting, and looks at a work of art with more understanding and appreciation of the expertise of the artist than I can.

I used to play tennis, and I am more amazed at some of the shots made by the professionals than she is.

My son used to play football, and therefore has a deeper understanding of the game than do I.

Hopefully, you will inspire others to “dig deeper” into the Scriptures if they see the joy you get out of it. If they don’t now, maybe they will later. I wouldn’t try to force it though, or try to impress them with your knowledge. Just be ready to answer questions when they arise.


#20

I’ve gotten the exact same thing from a non-denom. There is no single answer and others have posted fine replies.

#1 - always remain humble when you try teaching.

#2 - I also don’t think you should be frustrated. She can’t respond to your exegesis…she can only say “you’re reading into it”. She cannot tell you why you are wrong. You should see her response as a compliment. Her denial is something she has to deal with. And she has to proceed in life never really “knowing” why you were “wrong”… Hopefully you have planted seeds.

You can continue to be a fruitful example of the fullness of faith to her in your daily life without getting into religious discussions…but if she closes her mind to the truth, you can always pray for her.


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