I am Catholic, sixteen years old, Michigander, and have about two and a half years of actual study. I have no choice but to forgive those of you who don’t take me seriously. Even so, I feel like I have to give a lot of you a lesson in evangelization:
The whole purpose of evangelization is to win your neighbor, not the argument. Even if you prove somebody wrong, they are not going to want to be come Catholic if your attitude is “I’m right, you’re wrong. Ha. Now, convert!” Socrates thought that we were purely rational, that if we knew something was bad for us we would not do it. As much as I love him, he was wrong on this point. If you have ever eaten chocolate, you cannot agree with Socrates here.
If you feel yourself getting frustrated and fed up, it is time to stop. You aren’t going to get any more polite this way.
You cannot expect your opposition to have an open mind unless you do. I am sick of people accusing others of being close-minded. They are saying the same about you. Listen to what they are saying and respond politely, even if you’ve already said the same thing six times in a row. Don’t be scared to open your mind. You know Catholicism is the truth, so open your mind and trust that reason will always bring you home.
Don’t call your opposition close-minded, or stupid, or ignorant, or deaf, or blind. This makes you look close-minded, stupid, ignorant, deaf, blind, and arrogant. We have had enough people acting idiotically (some renaissance clergy, etc.) to embarrass the Church. We do not need any more.
Above all, realize that whoever your opposition is, they are trying to find a reason or an excuse not to believe Catholicism (just as you are constantly trying to find a reason or an excuse not to believe Lutheranism or Islam or atheism). Don’t let them find that excuse in you. Pray and ask God not to let you say anything stupid. And, if you say something stupid anyway, apologize, and if you say something contrary to Catholic teaching, recant.
You will not get anywhere unless you remember that God loves atheists. God loves Protestants. God loves Muslims.
God loves them. Why can’t you?
Now, if you think this is all a good idea, then telling me so will not do you a bit of good. You have to actually use advice for it to be helpful.