Underlying Reason for Not Converting


#1

I think at times I may have been going about this “apologetics” thing all wrong. When I got interested in this, (around the time I was in high school) I studied all the arguements and the refutations to those. I tried to memorize certain verses, or chapters (Matt. 16 and John 6!!!)

However, when I would debate with a protestant/non-Catholic, there seemed to be someting that I was missing. I could show a non-Catholic all the proofs needed for a logical conclusion on a point: but they still would not be in agreement. Or it they did agree, they would not be willing to move forward. Why?

I know that change is hard. Is that the reason? When one finds out they it is possible they are dead wrong on a certain point, they do not know how to react. So they don’t. They act like this brief revelation (that there entire church concept is wrong) never happened. They go merrily on their way.

If you do not know the non-Catholic too well, then they can get away by saying, “Let me check with my pastor, and get back with you”. Fair enough. But it is my experience that they rarely do this. For example: just recently I was asked about purgatory. I promptly gave them my regular response, then a Catholic Answer tract! I had also showed some verses to them. They said “You’re right, there it is! Degrees of sin!” They said they would go back to their church and “Fellowship over it”. When I checked back with one of them (a co-worker) he said they had briefly mentioned it but couldn’t remember what Catholics called it (it being purgatory). Keep in mind I had given him material on “Purgatory”. These two had been presented with something that was in the Bible and they had no way of explaining it. Still, they have not explained it to me. If the positions were reversed, I would research it until I DID have an explanation.

So what do you all think? Some people I have gone over the same points again and again and they still refuse to address them. So what is the core reason, the main motivation for not changing? Is it pressure from family? Culture? Friends?


#2

all of the above. I printed out a sheet on why my protestant friends could call priests Father, yet they said they would not. They were encouraged by eachother, by their belief that they had a right to worship wherever they wanted, and the feeling they would loose thier friends


#3

There will always be people who are more devoted to their religion than to God.

:bible1: "Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’ " Matthew 13:14-15


#4

i was talking to some one the other day (a convert to catholicism and an amazing apologist who has written books and everything) and i asked him why his father in law hadn’t converted yet. he said something that made sense. he said, “the church scratches where he has never itched.” i thought that rather profound. some people have never needed to know the full truth or experience Christ in the way catholics do. they stick with what they’ve been taught. God is the one who draws men, not our apologetic arguments.


#5

[quote=cassman]I think at times I may have been going about this “apologetics” thing all wrong. [snip]

However, when I would debate with a protestant/non-Catholic, there seemed to be someting that I was missing. [snip] They would not be willing to move forward. Why?

I know that change is hard. Is that the reason? When one finds out they it is possible they are dead wrong on a certain point, they do not know how to react. [snip]

[snip]… recently I was asked about purgatory. I promptly gave them my regular response, then a Catholic Answer tract! I had also showed some verses to them. They said “You’re right, there it is! Degrees of sin!” [snip]…These two had been presented with something that was in the Bible and they had no way of explaining it.

So what do you all think? Some people I have gone over the same points again and again and they still refuse to address them.
[/quote]

I think the key is to not get caught up in results. It’s easy to self reflect. Jesus didn’t win every soul. Over half of His desciples left Him never to return because they couldn’t believe in His teaching on the Eucharist. Jn 6:66. If God can’t convince them face to face, then how can we worry about being better communicators than God? Pray for them.

The seeds you planted may take years to germinate. And then again, they may have fallen among weeds and will be choked out. Don’t worry about it. In the mean time, do as our first pope recommended. Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you and do it with gentleness and respect. That’s all any of us can do. Leave the rest to God. And pray.


#6

:amen: to that! About 15 years before I ever heard the Catholic Church calling my name, I had a wonderful Catholic boss. One day we were discussing how she came to be a Catholic. She was raised in the Bible Belt as a Methodist. She met a man in college who was Catholic and converted before they married. “So,” I said, “you converted because you were going to marry a Catholic?”. She replied, “No, I became a Catholic because they had all the answers.”

That one sentence troubled me for years. I never had the nerve to ask her to elaborate, but I pondered quietly what in the world that statement could possibly mean. Slowly, God gave me the grace to understand.

This sweet lady died before I started my conscious journey to the Church in 1998, but I believe firmly that she never stopped praying for me. Now I have the privilege to pray for the repose of her soul, and look forward to meeting up with her some day to say, “Hey, guess what!..”


#7

So what do you all think? Some people I have gone over the same points again and again and they still refuse to address them. So what is the core reason, the main motivation for not changing? Is it pressure from family? Culture? Friends?

I think you hit it before when you said you knew change was hard. I also think that it’s probably somewhat fruitless to try to use apologetics on someone who is very comfortable where they are. I say somewhat fruitless because I know seeds can always be planted, even if the person doesn’t seem receptive.

I truly have to admire people that convert to Christianity from a completely different religion that has been ingrained in them since childhood. I couldn’t imagine…even if Christianity were wrong, and some other religion were actually the truth…it’s all I’ve known since I chose to accept it. I couldn’t imagine just up and denouncing it even after lots of thought and study and stuff.

But getting back to your point, it seems to me (though my experience is quite limited, admittedly) that Protestants who are very comfortable with their churches, with the people in their church, with their pastor, with what the church teaches, etc. are far less likely to respond to even the most compelling arguments than Protestants who are actively seeking, who are, IMHO, a little fed up with some things, or who are curious and open to something different.

I may be totally wrong. That’s just my two cents. :o


#8

For me, the hardest part of my path to conversion is not doctrinal, but familial. There are a handful of Catholics in my extended family, whom I’m not in contact with, and the rest are not even Christian. Part of it is a fear of isolating myself from them, and a fear of betraying the family and culture I was brought up in.

That said, they’re the hardest part, but what they don’t know isn’t going to stop me. I have other, more mundane problems hindering me right now. Hmmm… wonder if there’ll ever be such a thing as an online RCIA program…


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