why is this?

one thing which is really troubling is that christians are terrible at arguing for their faith (i.e. the existence of God)
i mean i go on forums where its atheist vs christian debates, and im sad to say the christians get brutally owned most of the time. the christians usually resort to fallacies like using the bible, and appealing to emotions etc. VERY RARELY do i see christians using GOOD arguments like the cosmological argument.
even when i was a deist, i was smarter than these christians. because even back then i was able to defeat atheists in a debate. i was still able to prove the existence of God fairly easily. now that im back into the faith my arguments for the existence of God are still the same. but im shocked at how little my fellow christians know. i mean you think God would have given them the wisdom to properly argue for his existence so that they wouldnt humilliate themselves everytime.

its at the point where its really testing my faith. why are so many christians so bad at arguing for God?
everytime i see an atheist debate with a christian im almost forced to take his side. since most christians just argue “well its true because the bible says”.
why dont christians use good solid arguments like the cosmological argument, platos demonstration of the soul, etc. guys, proof of God is out there, why arent you using them in arguments?

Excellent question!

I think that there has been a horrible lack of sound catechesis for the past 40 years, and we are seeing the fruits of such neglect.

Another factor is that much of the apologetics instilled in Catholics today is geared toward defending against Protestant challenges rather than atheist challenges. The starting point is Scripture and a belief in God.

I think that many atheists are good at arguing because they blindside modern Catholics with philosophy and science, and Catholics don’t know where to start.

Dr. Peter Kreeft is a good starting point for Catholics wanting to engage atheists in debate. He starts with good philosophy and works toward the Divine.

yes peter kreeft is one of my favorites. i also like william lane craig and cliff knechtle from “give me answer” (even though he is protestant).

Perhaps one problem is that Christians try to “prove” their beliefs with words, rather than with deeds. We should say :“this is how a Christian lives and behaves” rather than “this is what a Christyian believes”. The meaure of faith should be action and deeds and thoughts, which should flow from what we believe.

Also, why do we always find it necessary to argue with atheists? I could never understand that. If someone challenged my faith, I would simply respond, “This is who I am, and how I choose to view the world and eternity.” The other person can hold their own views.

Other people, in your personal opinion, are “bad” at “arguing for God” and this “tests your faith?”

You “defeated” atheists, did you? I wonder how many of them agree?

At any rate:

Our job is not to defeat anyone, our job is to show forth the face of God and be transformed into the image of His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Part of that in a discussion is to enlighten and share our faith. ** Defeating people would be the very last thing any Christian should want to do**.

If your faith can be tested by this competition you have invented, it’s your own faith you need to be examining, not other folks methods of engaging atheists on forums.

BTW, Christians is capitalized in standard English useage. So is Catholic when it refers to the Church or those belonging to her.

I agree with JulieMae…back when I was in college getting my bachelors in philosophy and reading This Rock (that long ago when Catholic Answers was known as This Rock), I wanted to be the hammer of heretics and argued frequently in the courtyards (we didn’t have the internets back then) till I was blue in the face. And it never did me anygood but lead to many sleepless nights thinking about what I should have said to “win” the argument. Until I realized there was no winning. So I gave it up. Now I just try to live my faith. If anyone is curious about it, more than happy to share. But no more arguing for me.

someperson555, maybe that’s *your *calling.
The Body of Christ has all kinds of members. The eyes can’t do what the hands can, but the hands need the guidance of the eyes. The heart can’t do what the feet can but a person can live without feet, and can’t live without a heart. If you have the mind and the will to enter debate, pray, and do so. Even with eloquent words, you cannot change someone’s mind unless the Holy Spirit is active in that person.

well most of them dont agree, but that is because they refuse to see the light of reason. they obstinately cling to their materialistic and scientistic dogmas. still, they probably know deep down that im right.

but atheists dont care about that. they dont want to ear about “love” and virtues. to them these things have no meaning. as windmill pointed out. they are using philosophy and science (albeit flawed philosophy), therefore we must counter with philosophy and science. (yes science can be used to give evidence for God).

the reason this tests my faith is because i cant understand how people can follow Catholicism, but remain so unwise.

i know that, i just dont bother with capitalization most of the time. im not writing an essay for my english class, this is a forum on the internet. :cool:

then you misjudged me. i maintain a humble and respectful attitude when debating with atheists and agnostics. i think it is possible to change someones mind. its just so hard to change an atheists mind partially because of his experience with religious people. i honestly dont blame some of them. there are Christians out there who actually say silly things like “God is meant to be taken on faith”. which is not true. i think we Christians could convert a lot of people if we’d only refine our knowledge of philosophy and theology.

Is this a level or are you 16?

but atheists dont care about that. they dont want to ear about “love” and virtues. to them these things have no meaning. as windmill pointed out. they are using philosophy and science (albeit flawed philosophy), therefore we must counter with philosophy and science. (yes science can be used to give evidence for God).

No, son, you don’t have to “counter” them at all. And they don’t recognize evidence they don’t wish to see any more than you do. So what is the point?

the reason this tests my faith is because i cant understand how people can follow Catholicism, but remain so unwise.

I think you just have an incorrect view of what wisdom is. You think it means being the smartest person in the room. It doesn’t. You want to be right. You want to be acknowledged as the smartest. That’s worshipping a false God.

i know that, i just dont bother with capitalization most of the time. im not writing an essay for my english class, this is a forum on the internet. :cool:

It’s about respect. We capitalize the word out of respect for Christ. We are Christians. We capitalize the name of our Church for the same reason: the Catholic Church is the visible presence of Christ on earth. I also fail to see why you should not present yourself and your ideas, in terms of respect for yourself, as well as possible. Otherwise, why should anyone take seriously what you say? How hard can it be to type a letter and use the shift button?

A forum on the internet, and I have been posting about theology and science online in forums since before you were born, is simply an interface between people. What you do here, what you say here, how you present yourself here, in a public, international forum of bright and serious people, matters. If you aren’t going to take it seriously and do it as well as possible, why bother at all?

Ahhhhh, brother, I don’t judge you at all. Just sharing my experience with you. This is wisdom I’m trying to impart to you that I have learned the hard way. Trust me, I understand that many Catholics are poorly catechized and ill prepared to explain their faith. But in my experience, these debates lead nowhere but to frustration. The participants are very rarely open to honest dialogue in order to come to a greater understanding.

But some people are called to be on the forefront as someone here mentioned. I’ll leave debating to them. If this is your call, may I impart some advice.

1). take the time to write correctly. It will make your argument stronger. Sloppy writing comes from sloppy/lazy thinking and you will do yourself a disservice as your ideas/arguments will less likely be taken seriously.

2). Avoid the common mistake that those you are criticizing make, which is to only understand our side. Do be an effective apologist, you must not only understand the basis for our beliefs but know and understand their arguments better than they do. My wife is working on her PhD in theology. She is a new feminist and will come up against a lot opposition from radical feminists in her career. But she is brilliant (while I am merely old and wise) so her plan is to study the radical feminists until she knows them better then they know themselves. For instance, it’s not just enough to understand the Church’s teaching on male ordination, but to understand why they push for female ordination. And to truly understand them so you don’t end up in the fallacy of setting up straw men. Because when you take the time to understand the other sides point of view, you realize that although the Church has always taught that women should be treated with respect and equal dignity, because we are fallen, we haven’t always followed through on that and so there is a lot of hurt and resentment out there which must be overcome before you can make progress in the discussion.

Anyways, getting longwinded, because I’m having trouble sleeping, and I’m watching Serenity and once you start that movie can’t stop…and if it’s on, I’m compelled to watch. That’s my advice based on my experience. Feel free to take it or leave it. I won’t debate its merits, just want to save you the frustration I experienced when I was close to your age and thought myself oh so clever. There is no winning.

Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. But what does them clinging to their own dogmas have anything to do with yours?

but atheists dont care about that. they dont want to ear about “love” and virtues. to them these things have no meaning. as windmill pointed out.

Well, too stinkin’ bad! :wink: Lots of people don’t want to hear the Truth, 'cause it would mean that they’ve got to change or otherwise shake up their comfy little worlds. Doesn’t make it any less the Truth, though.

they are using philosophy and science (albeit flawed philosophy), therefore we must counter with philosophy and science. (yes science can be used to give evidence for God).

No, we counter with peaceful smiles and going right on with our business: defending the weak, helpless and unborn, giving alms, going to Mass, partaking of the Sacraments, and thereby spreading the Kingdom of God all along in our own little spheres of influence. I mean, really, look at someone like St. Francis of Assisi, and all the people he helped to convert and talk to…d’you think he was a learned man, mighty in science and theology? :wink:

the reason this tests my faith is because i cant understand how people can follow Catholicism, but remain so unwise.

Lots of trouble with this statement. Did Jesus call only those who were wise in the ways of the world to follow him? Did he call ANYONE based solely on the measure of their worldly knowledge? Did he say, “Go thou and talk circles around those in the world, make them SEE reason?” Nope, he sure didn’t. He taught his Disciples, and thereby us, to lead primarily by example: “Take up your cross, and follow me.”

i know that, i just dont bother with capitalization most of the time. im not writing an essay for my english class, this is a forum on the internet. :cool:

Ah, but practice makes perfect. :cool:

some people dont have the knowledge per say that atheists do… atheists can throw out alot of facts that can seem overwhelming for a christian who isnt as factually knowledable, dont foret the enemy is always seeking to destroy someone, so he can plant doubt and what not… it is not safe at times… and i even find myself having to take a step back and reanalyzing… but … i generally dont have a problem with atheists… faith will keep your arguments valid and strong… and there is nothing wrong historically with facts of the bible…

i have read our holy father ratzingers defences on wikipedia to many arguments and let me tell you he or anyone of his calibur would put atheists to sleep!! actually… he would do much better and convert them! god bless him

level? i dont know what you mean by that… actually im 21. :blush: yes, i know i do act immature for my age sometimes. and the reason that sometimes i cant articulate as well as others is because i pretty much neglected english. i went straight into mathematics and social sciences. but i digress. anyway onto my responses!

well, if you dont want to counter them, then i dont see why you think you can force your social views on them at the same time. this is one of my biggest problems with my fellow Christians, they expect non believers to just adopt Christian morality and they dont even try to give them solid reasoning as to why. you cant expect an atheist to agree with our stance on gay marriage, since to him its a non issue. and hes actually right from his point of view. since if there is no God, then things like gay marriage, euthanasia, etc really arent immoral. thats why its important to convert them.

well i know what wisdom is. its “right judgment”, the ability to discern. i do have that desire to be the smartest. i do have an ego problem which im working on. but i know what wisdom is lol.

I

ok, point taken.

thats the problem, they dont have the knowledge. as i pointed out to juliemae, you cant expect them to take us seriously if youre not even willing to give them proper evidence for your views. i really do understand atheists when they think that religion is fake. they were probably never given a valid argument for God’s existence. it is our responsibility to learn our doctrine and be well versed in it. look at the communists. they know their ideology front to back start to finish. a communist could tell you the difference between trotskyism and leninism. but many christians probably cant even name more than a couple of early church fathers.

I am happy to see that being a young person you are trying to make a difference. I admire that.

Tho I would agree with you that so many are not acquainted with church history, we have to understand that many young people do not want to know, or even do not have the opportunity to know. And also times have changed the environment in which we live.

For example, before Vatican II, the average catholic was just taught the rudiments of their faith, and the sacraments with no thought at all about defending it, much less against defending it against atheists. The protestand and catholic churches as a pattern, stayed to themselves. So the problem then did not exist for the most part for the average catholic. So they were not taught to defend their faith.

Then after Vatican II, they were taught that everyone was brothers and sisters and that conscience reigned. So again, not much need to defend their faith.

But now, things have changed with modern and immediated communication between everyone. So ideas now are no longer just peronal but shared whether it is convenient or not. Unfortunately, we are caught unprepared for this onslaught of communication where noone can be sheilded or protected. Open war has been declared on all ideas, and everyone is included, whether ready or not.

This is why we first of all need good apologists, to defend and promote the rich teachings of our faith, not only to pass it on to others, but also to defend weakly catechised catholics and christians so they do not fall for false teachings of others who are clever and would mislead them. We need strong apologists now. Not later. We can not have too many of them, not to convert but to help our own christians understand the real truth and remain in the truth.

We always talk about Peter, the head, as the sign of Christ’s church. That is how we know where Christ is, that is, where Peter is. But Peter’s other role is not spoken of very much, but it is very important, that is, Jesus said to Peter, “strengthen your brethern”. That is what is needed today, to strengthen our brethern.

Just some thoughts.

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