Is it harder to debate/speak with atheist, Muslims, Protestants or other Catholics? Any success stories regarding defending or evangelising to others?
I am guessing by “who” you mean other faiths and or denominations?
I have found that the hardest to have discussions with are fundamentalists. (No suprise there) and quite often they are ex-catholics. I have had a great deal of success talking with evangelical protestants, not in converting them, but in getting them to understand that the Church isnt the whore of Babylon nor is the Pope the anti-christ and all the tradition anti-catholic lies they have been told are just that, lies. I have found that they are more open and not as hostile as the fundamentalists are. Not always the case though.
Case in point my fiance was an evengelical christian, prior to her converting to Catholicism, however her fundamentalist father has not taken the conversion too well at all.
Muslims. They give no credibility to the Bible wihch is where our faith comes from (but it’s a two way street: the Quoran holds the same position for Christians)
Mormons are pretty easy, and Protestants are the easiest.
At the Passover meal the Jews pray “better Pharaoh than Laban.” Strangers are less threat than false friends; false friends are better than betraying relatives.
I strongly feel the answer to your question is: Other Catholics.
My experience, compounded by a very distressing discussion just yesterday, is that there is no other group so strongly anti-catholic, then a catholic who has no idea of what thier faith is about.
My discussion became so distressing I was almost convinced that the entire idea of catholicism is false simply because the vast majority of catholics are no more “catholic” then an individual from another faith or an individual from no faith at all.
Christ said, Satan will not prevail against His church. Which of course means if Satan does prevail, the concept of the Christian God is meaningless. I’d pose the question (in lew of the conversation I had yesterday as well my catholic experience in general) is, Has Satan prevailed?
I don’t think Satan has prevailed because I think if Christ’s church has not withstood the test of time, it’s not because Satan prevailed. That would give credence to the idea of Christ.
I’d lean more towards the “idea” that since there is little evidence of a true church (as we understand the church to be) that the situation is not that Satan prevailed,but rather, there is no Christ and therefore no Satan.
How do we define “prevailed”? If there is one fool left who believed in Christianity, has Satan not pervailed? There may be more then one, but Catholicism is certainly a minority. I’d suggest a vast minority. I’d suggest, an almost significant (relatively speaking)presence in the world. ( I know there are 1 billion but of that 1 billion how many know what is means to be catholic?) I think it can be reasonably argued. that Satan (or lackthereof,) has prevailed.
It was one very discouraging conversation as you can probably tell from the content of this reply. I am asking myself, “Am I the fool”?
First, ex-Catholics. Then, non-denominational Christians.
Some are so burning with hatred for our Church that you can’t even discuss non-religious things with them without them telling you you’re going to burn in Hell for all eternity. That’s been my personal experience lately.
Right now I would have to say it is the JW’s, because every since I didn’t shut the door on them and spoke to them they have been stopping by every week or so. And also I would have to say a friend whom I am discussing my faith with, since my friend is a baptist with dispensationalist belief.
Other than that, I would say it would be anyone who is “anti-catholic” and has been schooled in the “anti-catholic bible” teachings.
Our faith comes from the Apostles, and pre-existed the Bible.
My humble 2 cents are to focus on falling away Catholics.
Why? Get them back IN, and the rest will work itself out in due course.
Lukewarm Catholics. IMHO, the **real need **.
Atheists. First you have to convince them God exists, then you have to show them that Catholicism has the fulness of Truth.
If you would start a thread with this as the topic, I would happily join you there as I think this is an issue of great importance! God bless!
I follow a pretty straightforward, what you may call “real” Catholic approach, but I still understand that many who do not practice the faith as I do, still practice it in a Catholic way.
But to your most biting claim, that so many non true-catholics seem to prevail…the Church is correct whether the people are or not. It’s like the pope said: Christianity may see a time where all that is left is the faith in houses again, mass being celebrated in dining rooms, etc. This does not disqualify the faith, if not the people.
Back to my first point, though. Catholicism allows for a certain amount of disagreement and poor education. This is not to say that people can do what they want; it means that people must be educated in their faith before they are held completely accountable, especially when it comes to ideas that are not naturally logical but require directed reason to be made clear.
I’m not speaking of abortion and gay marriage. I mean more in the sense of tradition that not all have been exposed to. If someone is following the faith to the best of his or her knowledge, then unless someone helps to educate them, then they will be doing right under the provisions of Catholicism.
We must not judge our fellow Catholics without knowing their education (the catechism says this about many sins); and we should not judge our church based on attendance or the saintly qualities of its members.
The Church holds the treasures promised by Christ, and holds the true apostolic tradition which brings us authentic sacraments. This is where the Church has value. It’s fruits are its saints, and the salvation offered to its sinners.
That being said: although many are stubborn and uneducated to what is Catholic, the difficulty lies not in convincing them, but showing them the Spirit of Catholicism through your sanctity.
And to answer the original question: harder to defend? We can defend it. To anyone. Anytime. Anywhere. But can we live it? Not them; not the person who is embarrassed about confessing so puts it off for a year; can we personally live it ourselves? Can we will sainthood?
this is a beautiful post.
My response to the OP…you dont have to defend your faith to anyone, just live it.
Words, doctrines, apologetics, outfoxing another in verbal debate…interesting, even fun sometimes, but so what? Does the best “arguement” win? No, transformed lives need no defense.
If I see an exemplary life, I will come asking the person what they believe, they won’t have to find a way to get me to listen, I’ll be asking them to show me what they know.
Jesus didn’t have to knock on doors, they followed him by the thousands, hungry for his word…because of what they saw in his life.
I think Catholics who are caferia Catholics are the difficult to convince because for one they are Catholic and they diagree with the teachings of the Church.
For Protestants, they aren’t required to believe what we believe so there is no issue there. I do hope Protestants at least try to understand why Catholics have doctrines that we hold there.
Caferia Catholics are the most lukewarm group of Christians who think more of themselves rather tha listening to God’s Church found in the Catholic Church.
As Fr. Corapi said something like this in his talks. "There is song call “I did it My Way.” He further say you can’t do it your way. There is only One Way, and He is Jesus Christ.
I’m paraphrasing since I don’t remember the exact words he said. Like I said Caferia Catholics are more difficult than Protestants.
I would said atheist, becoz they simply believes other God are also the same as Jesus Christ, no difference. My mum is a good example…very very hardened in heart…it will takes years to convince her. So have to pray for her lol:D
I think it would generally be hard to come up against the knowledgeable Muslim and atheist.
The muslim because in my opinion it is easier to defend the concept of God being one person as well. And also the fact that Christianity is divided.
Atheism because first you have to prove to them the credibility of the Bible and I mean where do you start. The Creed, Jesus, The Fall? Also, from there point of view, I can understand why some of those who have no religious history or belief think the Church is just another religion or cult, just as we would view JW’s, Mormons etc. and be loaded witht the sceptism of why would we would be right.
Truly as St. Paul said, No one can call Jesus Lord without the working of the Holy Spirit.
Most of it depends on the individual you’re dealing with, and how combative they are. By and large, though, I’d say that Fundamentalist Protestants and militant atheists are about equal, the first because they’re usually hardcore anti-Catholics, and the second because they tend to be cynical, smug, and mocking, and many times outright hostile to Christian morals.
Agnostics are easier to deal with, as are “mainstream” Protestants.
Muslims are a different story…I haven’t dealt with many, but if the few that I have are representative, they tend to be simply close-minded. You can talk all day, and they will listen silently, then dismiss you as an “infidel” with a contemptuous wave of the hand.
just wondering if there’s any real difference in practical terms between atheists and agnostics with respect to getting our catholic view across.
some atheists are what i consider principled atheists, that is, they are nonbelievers by conviction and therefore can be expected to take a more combative stance when engaging a religious person in conversation.
whereas the more common type of atheist is what i would call a practical or lifestyle atheist. they may say they believe in god, but they decline to investigate any conventional religion and live as if god did not expect anything from them.
i originally thought that since so many people i know fall into this category, they would be more approachable as they at least profess a belief in god, however tentative. if you believe in god, i thought, then the idea of going to church – especially that of an ancient faith authentically rooted in the premodern world, such as catholic christianity – wouldn’t seem so outlandish.
but my experience so far has been that this group tends to be suspicious of and even hostile to organized christianity, and they feel they have good reason to be. the fact that they say they believe in god or are agnostic doesn’t provide the point of departure, or foot in the door, that i had hoped.
their reservations about christianity often have to do with a perceived conflict with their lifestyle or political loyalties. plus they firmly believe that our church is a man-made institution, and so one christian church is as good (or bad) as another. mind you, these are often people raised halfheartedly as catholics i’m talking about.