Unbelieving Friends


#1

All my friends are agnostics or atheists. Several of them are fallen-away Christians (one having fallen away very recently). The one Christian friend I have is a Baptist. I have no Catholic friends.

How should I approach my friends? I was once asked, at a dinner “Well, you’re the only Christian here. Do you know something that we don’t?” I don’t remember saying anything significant, although I should have. To be honest, having unbelievers for friends is a little draining…


#2
  1. Study Christian apologetics

  2. Show them the gazillions of unexplainable miracles. Theres a post on the spirituality section with some

  3. Try not to get into theological discussions. If they all gang up on you, don’t argue. Thats hardly fair. Whoever is right doesn’t matter all that much sense you aren’t trained in Christian apologetics. They’ll beat you with sheer numbers.

Thats all my advice. :confused:


#3

maybe the fact that 1/6 of the human race is CATHOLIC is testament enough, and maybe “you do know something that they don’t” lol.


#4

To avoid tension getting in the way, it’s often best to use a third party to introduce the faith. This doesn’t have to be a person… it can be a book, tape or CD. The Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Kreeft & Tacelli is a good one for atheists.

You can also check out Peter Kreeft’s featured writing website:
peterkreeft.com/featured-writing.htm

It now has audio, too.:thumbsup:


#5

I can totally relate. For years we moved all over the country and all I had were non-believers for friends or non-Catholic fundamentalist friends (most of whom didn’t believe I was even Christian).

My advice is to be true to your love for Christ and the Church. Your non-Christian friends will see a peace in you that will attract them to want to know more and your non-Catholic friends will see that Catholics love and follow Jesus. This was true for me and then God rewarded me with some very good friends who share my CAtholic faith. (Just one example - My husband and I lived next door to a Baptist couple who liked us a lot but came right out and told us they did not think we were Christians because we were Catholic. I was very hurt because I liked this couple personally a lot. My husband said we would just live our faith. Occasionally something would come up about a passage we had looked up in the Bible or something else and normally my husband would asked for the Baptist interpretation from them and say how we defined it as Catholics (I remember this particularly with St Paul’s “levels of heaven”). We lived next to them for two years. When we were moved again, our neighbors came to us adn told us how we had really changed their impressions of Catholics and they acknowledge that they had been given misconceptions about the Church. We still keep in touch with them. They send us protestant books and we send them Scott Hahn and others. I feel we made a step for unity.


#6

Thank you for your replies.

Well, it’s a little difficult–one is a thorough-going postmodernist, and some others are steeped in anti-Christian university propaganda (such as there being “hundreds” of gospels). But, I’ll try my best…maybe God will ease my time in purgatory because of this! :wink:

The Augustinian


#7

Being young and in the university years, you will find many who are questioning and trying to find what they really do believe. Perhaps a few years from now will be when you help some of these searchers come to the truth. God’s time is not always ours. Don’t feel like you aren’t being affective because the change doesn’t occur today. You never know what seeds you are planting that perhaps you or someone else will help grow later. The important thing is to get the seed planted! Be faithful to your beliefs and God’s truth even when it makes you uncomfortable (that will especially help with purgatory - sorry I don’t know how to insert the smiley face). My favorite quote is from Mother Teresa - “God does ot require that we are successful; He requires that we are faithful.”


#8

Maybe you can try the Prayer of St. Francis approach.

Instead of trying to be understood by them, get them to reveal what their thoughts are on various issues, drawing them out by remaining non-judgmental. Oh Master grant that I may never seek … [so much] to be understood as to understand.

The more you draw him out, the more he will reveal his strengths and weaknesses in his reasoning to you and to himself.

This doesn’t mean you agree with them, you tell them it is interesting and then ask questions like, “well, that is very interesting but how do you deal with this?” If they run up against a brick wall, don’t push them or gloat. Simply smile inwardly, say something distracting, and maybe raise a beer mug as a toast. OK, so maybe you don’t drink beer.

It’s also OK to say, “that’s interesting, that’s not how we believe, but I think I can hear what you are saying.” Just don’t take the position that you are Judge and Jury for their ideas just because you happen to be a member of the team which holds the Truth. If you resent them or pity them for their false beliefs they will detect it.

Alan


#9

[quote=The Augustinian]To be honest, having unbelievers for friends is a little draining…
[/quote]

You are so right. It works the other way, too. When I was an unbeliever, having believers for friends was also very draining.

I’m just glad that when I did finally settle down it was with a wonderful Catholic woman. I can’t imagine how draining it would be to try to be a devout Catholic when your other half isn’t.

Alan


#10

you should join them and become a thorough-going postmodernist.

oh it’s so much fun. But you’ll never know until you become one.:stuck_out_tongue:


#11

Become a postmodern! God forbid, that should I lose my faith, I should have the added misfortune of losing my reason as well. Catholic or no, I regard Holy Church as my mother (may God strike me down if I try to leave) and would remember Her fondly as such even if I left her arms to wander the barren wilderness. I will be more Mencken (who sympathized with Catholics) than, say, that blowhard incroyable Derrida (RIP).


#12

Mencken, that vitriolic evolutionist and literary critic? You’d be more like him?


#13

[quote=Superstar905]maybe the fact that 1/6 of the human race is CATHOLIC is testament enough, and maybe “you do know something that they don’t” lol.
[/quote]

I wouldn’t open that can of worms. There are things that more than 1/6 of the human race believe and participate in that any believing Catholic would be horrified by. Play the numbers game and you will lose every time.

cheddar


#14

[quote=cheddarsox]I wouldn’t open that can of worms. There are things that more than 1/6 of the human race believe and participate in that any believing Catholic would be horrified by. Play the numbers game and you will lose every time.

cheddar
[/quote]

Try me. Let’s hear it.


#15

[quote=The Augustinian]…
I was once asked, at a dinner “Well, you’re the only Christian here. Do you know something that we don’t?” I don’t remember saying anything significant, although I should have. To be honest, having unbelievers for friends is a little draining…
[/quote]

This reminds me of my own experience, and it really led me deeper into the faith. I have a very good friend who is not a believer, and though it can be draining, he’s also a boon to my faith because it challenges me to really understand what and why I believe. He once asked me “Well, what’s the meaning of your life then?” and I really didn’t have an answer. That incident gnawed at me for months and forced me to look for a deeper understanding of the faith. Now I can answer him “To live as God wills me too.” This ‘suffering’ mayserve to transform you!


#16

[quote=The Augustinian]All my friends are agnostics or atheists. Several of them are fallen-away Christians (one having fallen away very recently). The one Christian friend I have is a Baptist. I have no Catholic friends.

[/quote]

Dear Augustinian:

After much hardship in this department too, (my 2 best friends were “gay”, two left their husbands( and 1 was completely into “new age”, I was very dissolutioned when discovering why should they understand me? My values were totally different than them. Finally I woke up.

I say friend, look and see how you much you need to GET some Christian friends. If not, your values, morals, just the way you see life are not the same, and you will be soooo unhappy.

God Bless~


#17

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