Why Catholics Fail to Convince Modern People

I think it is because the modern world and the Catholic Church have different measures of progress - i.e, different yardsticks by which we show whether the world is getting better or worse.

In the modern world, convenience; plenitude; an increase of ability or power; an increase of information about the world; diversity of ideas; among other things, are considered measures of a better society.

Most (if not all) of these criteria of progress are either irrelevant or contradictory to the Catholic sense of progress. And when Catholics try to show the Church is progressive by the world’s metrics, it naturally fails because many of these metrics are at odds with the Faith.

For instance, it seems to me it would be wrong to ask whether the Catholic Church is more intellectually diverse than the world. The answer is obviously not; you have lost the faith if you hold certain positions, such as atheism. But that is because Truth is more important to us than a diversity of opinions.

So it seems to me the better discussions would be to question the secularist as to why we should care about his rubrics.

Is there any reason to care about non-Catholic measures of authority, progress, goodness, etc?

Would arguments be more compelling if they attacked the authority behind, or pointed out the existential irrelevance of, the modern world’s morals?

Yes, but these can be considered better measures of society for all people, not just a select group. It is true, though, that we are better off with a plenitude of food, for instance: famine is not as common in areas that have been “modernized” in such a way, which is good for everyone.

While most Christians agree on what it is to be moral and just, etc, we should realize that there are differences with others. It isn’t so much that we need to agree about theology, but it’s that we need to have the same moral standards in the long run (e.g., no moral relativism).

An attack of the authority behind morals might be better. These are attacking the very source of the morals! If, say, we could prove that all of “modern morality” came from disorder, chaos, and the dismissal of common sense, then that means that it has been effectively defeated: the “source” isn’t valid, it it even appears foolish to give validity to it.

Irrelevance can be superfluously dismissive in some cases. It is more the absence of a claim than a claim on its own. I think that irrelevance is circumstantial: it might work against some claims, it might work for others.

I think the very good reason is that we all live in a non-Catholic world. Of course you are not just welcomed, but encouraged to engage in conversation with the non-Catholics. The problem here is that there is a different vocabulary employed by the apologists. They use the same words as the non-Catholics do, but they assign a totally different meaning to those words - effectively talking past each other. The perfect example is one of the current threads, where the apologists are unable / unwilling to give a coherent and rational definition of “evil”.

The number one task would be to sit down and create a common vocabulary which could be used by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, so that there would be no more misunderstanding. This vocabulary could contain definitions for “love”, “good”, “bad” and “evil”… simple concepts. If only the church would initiate such a round-table discussion, and then make the proper usage of these words mandatory for the Catholic apologists (upon the pain of excommunication).

The only way you could be compelling would be to prove - beyond any doubt whatsoever - that the Christian God exists, AND he endorses what you say about him. The funny thing is that different apologists say different things about God, and they all insist that they are right and everyone else is wrong. Does not bode well for the future.

You are wrong. :dts:

The most compelling thing is not to prove God’s existence “beyond reasonable doubt”. The successful Christian missionaries over two millennia did not prove God’s existence by logic. Rather, they proved the validity of Christian doctrine by their life and by their deeds. So that the people saw the moral beauty and superiority of Christians, realized the deficiency of their own worldliness and accepted Christianity as the best way of life.

Modern people are just too attached to many of their misleading values and also full of false ideas, which they are not ready to easily part with. This is the root of the problem of communication. I have a friend, who is a nominal Catholic. And I witnessed with my own eyes how she was really curious and captivated every time I told her about my spiritual life. But after we had a talk about the Catholic teaching on sexuality, she was seemingly disappointed. I saw that the life philosophy she devised for herself was too incompatible with it. However, she seemed responsive to logical persuasion. Thus, there are some points of contention which do not allow people to come to terms with Christ yet. Judging from my own experience, if the person retains a will to learn more, he(she) will sooner or later abandon their delusions and embrace the Church.

Few people want t put in the “work” that is Catholicism.

Society is very “me” centered.

We are called to put “me” aside for others, as Christ did.
Dying to self, whatever you want to call it.
And lead a holy life.
A holy life is not terribly appealing to many. :twocents:

I think it’s because today’s Western World is too obsessed with “democracy.” For all of the democracy’s positives, it has a dark side too: pluralism & relativism.

Free societies attract people from all over the world, which leads to pluralism. And pluralism leads to relativism. Relativism leads to public increase of the 7 Deadly Sins.

Regarding the title of the thread: It may be that folks simply talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. The folks of any faith that I personally know may or may not know what their tradition teaches/believes but none of them that I’m aware of follow those beliefs past giving lip service to the tradition. They act no differently than anyone that I know to be a secularist, agnostic, atheist, etc… I’m speaking of people I know on a personal basis which may be different from others’ experience. Behavior is believable.

What morals?

What authority?

Without Christ and the Church, where would you find moral authority that even claims to be objective? And without objective morality, all is smoke and mirrors. :shrug:

That was then… this is now. And I simply do not see people in droves to beat on the nearest church door, demanding admittance. Actually, the number of Catholics is decreasing - according to the Vatican. So the missionary approach does not seem to work.

But I would think that God giving a personal :thumbsup: to the Catholic church would carry weight. Especially if he were surrounded by an army of angels, who would wield flaming swords.

Among the many people I personally know there are only nice and kind people. There is no way to tell who is Catholic and who is not. Catholics have no “dibs” on “moral superiority”.

There can be no communication as long as there is no common vocabulary which helps mutual understanding. And the word “moral” is one of those words, where there is no consensus regarding its meaning.

But surely you’ll recognize that this is a two way street?

If the good behaviour of catholics prove that Catholicism is true, then the evil behaviour of catholics - such as the rape and torture of children and the subsequent coverup - prove that Catholicism is false?

Personally, I don’t think someone’s moral character proves anything about the validity of their arguments. Arguments have to stand on their own merits. And I agree with Vera_Ljuba that apologists should get their definitions right. If not even apologists agree among each what or who God is, then why should I believe He exists?

I find personally that when one puts in the work in understanding Catholicism and still disagrees with it that the person who puts in the work then gets labelled “obsessed” and is dismissed. It’s an unwinnable situation.

I think you make some good points and agree that more criticism of say secular measures of authority need to be made. One problem with this is that so much of secular morals and authority have some connection to Christian thought and so it may seem like you are arguing with your own ideals. ‘Equality’, ‘Freedom’, and ‘women Rights’ for example have a strong basis in Christianity even if non-Christian groups have distorted the meanings of these words.

I would stick to and promote the Catholic use of these words and point to the distortions.

I would also be a student of history and point out where the Catholic church played such a vital role in what has become the very best of western culture.

I am conversing with an anti-Catholic now and when he realises that much of his values and proud history have their genesis in Catholic history his attitudes have softened, he has made a deliberate aim to read more about Christian history from an objective viewpoint and he cannot then help but to challenge the authority of his own thoughts an values.


People who say something like this generally do not want to be converted. No amount of argument will persuade them. They would not believe even if someone had risen from the dead.

God already gave a personal endorsement of the Catholic Church - Matthew 16:18. It is not of the attitude of God to repeat the same thing over and over to those, who do not believe.

Conversion involves a critical view what constitutes “nice and kind people”. :wink:

What were you hoping to win … the conversion of Catholics to atheism?

Everyone knows what moral or immoral means. It means behaving in such a way as to hurt or harm oneself or others. You yourself in another thread offered a definition of evil as intentional inflicting of gratuitous harm on others. That’s a partial definition. But it shows you are not totally ignorant of what morals are about.

All the laws of any nation are based upon moral or immoral premises.

How could you argue that is not true?

If you believe that someone’s good character proves Catholicism, then it seems to me you must also accept that a bad character disproves Catholicism. And because there are both good and evil men within the Church, we’re not one step closer to judging the validity of Catholicism. So even on its own terms, character is not a good measurement for truth. But even if the Church was made up entirely of good men or entirely of evil men, that still wouldn’t prove or disprove Catholicism.

Secondly, ofcourse evidence and arguments can persuade me, because what is true and what is false doesn’t depend on whether I like it or not. There are lots of things I accept as true, even though I dislike them. The low temperature outside for example. Or the fact that my computer can’t run the newest games.

There is something to be said for living one’s faith before proving it in the abstract. We ask “What is this…?” only when we’ve experienced it first. “The glory of God is man fully alive.” We see God in that, and only then want to understand Him.

But, yes, only fully once we have reassigned our poor existential priorities.

Peace. :thumbsup:

That’s true, innit? So many secular values are the result of Catholic love of the world, in a divinely inspired lens. But they were usually pastimes, secondary to the core of our faith - salvation, in a word. Science, for example, is only good in light of the fact that God made the world, and it is good and declares His glory, as much as the Scriptures and sacraments.

Perhaps the history, though, is an effective way to go about it, though. Hmmm.

OTOH, his argument buttresses your point - the separation of Christians is a scandal, and why many are not Christian.

Also, a good man without a reason for being good is what Catholicism is not. We must provide a defence for our faith.

Precisely! They believe what really is an illusion - unless they return to the faith!

Not persuasive for those who don’t accept the Bible. A personal revelation would be much more effective - preferably happening in every Catholic church - in the mother tongue of the audience.

Why not? Doesn’t he have the “time”? Or doesn’t he care? The original question was, why can’t the Catholic apologists convince the non-Catholics about the “supremacy” of Catholicism.

Of course I find it immensely amusing that YOU (personally) claim to have some exclusive knowledge of what God’s attitude might or might not be. I think a touch of humility would be in order. :slight_smile:

Do you still play Age of Empires? :stuck_out_tongue: Or Rise of Nations? I could use a guy to play against…

I think JP’s point is, however, that no one will consider even learning about what beliefs might be true if it does not also make a person more attractive, more intriguing.

And I would say, in some ways, secular minds such as yourself are resistant to attraction, intrigue, or curiosity about Catholicism - usually because, I believe, our goals are different, sometimes even contrary.

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