Catholic Answers Summer

summer

As many of you know, I recently moved back from Seattle to my old stomping ground of sunny San Diego. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get back in time for the Catholic Answers Summer Series where the speakers from the local apologetics apostolate give talks at different parishes around the Diocese. Fortunately, they’re available online!

Tim Staples: Behold your mother, Defending your faith
Jimmy Akin: Understanding the Book of Revelation
Karlo Broussard: Defending truth in a relativastic culture, God still matters
Patrick Coffin: Apologetics for chickens
Christopher Check: The Galileo Affair

Questions: An apologist’s best friend

Questions

questionToday I wanted to talk about an apologetic strategy I use a lot: asking questions. You see, regardless of the topic, be it abortion, Christianity or Catholicism, there is always the temptation to spend most of your time telling someone what they should believe. People are rarely very receptive to being told. When I’m in that mode, it becomes very easy for me to become pompous and prideful. Questions help prevent this.

Rather than telling someone what they should believe, I find it is generally much more effective to ask the person what they believe and why. This communicates to the other person that you care what they think and you want to know more. Even though you are talking less, you have guiding control over the conversation through the questions that you ask. Not only that, but if you ask questions, it will probably encourage your friend to open up and ask you questions about what you believe. This allows you to follow the advise a wise priest once told me: “It’s best to start giving answers only once they’ve started asking you questions”

I would suggest that the goal is to ask questions which reveal the flaws in that person’s worldview. Once these are revealed, you can then present your own perspective, thereby giving you an opportunity to demonstrate the cohesiveness of your own world view.

“He who asks questions has control”
– Socrates (387 BC)

A while ago, Aggie Catholics put together a great list of questions to ask when you’re evangelizing

David Bentley Hart

A couple of months ago a reader mentioned David Bentley Hart, an Eastern Orthodox Christian philosopher. I’ve been listening to his lectures online and been quite enjoying them:

Devin’s Book Bonanza!

Devin Rose over at Heroic Virtue Creations is currently running a giveaway. Simply enter your name and email address to win thirteen of the best Catholic Apologetics books out there. Not only that, the more you advertise the competition on social media, the greater the chances of you winning!

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 11.15.32 AM

This Week’s Best in Catholic Apologetics

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to advertise This Week’s Best In Catholic Apologetics:

apologeticsThis website aggregates a collection of different apologetics articles written by bloggers during the past week. They’ve regularly featured my various apologetics posts and sent web traffic my way. Some reciprocal advertising was well overdue. Mea culpa.

William Lane Craig and Catholicism

If any of you have watched or listened to debates on atheism, you will have, no doubt, come across William Lane Craig. He is an analytic philosopher, Christian apologist and the driving force behind ReasonableFaith.org.

If you’ve ever heard him debate, you’ll know that he’s very clear, calm and persuasive. In fact, noted Atheist Sam Harris described him as “the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists”.

It was therefore with great curiosity that I listened to an interview where he discusses Catholicism:

The interview was rather interesting. Catholics were praised for seeming to read the Bible more these days, and Craig spoke about Catholic liturgy in exalted terms. On the whole he was pretty positive about Catholicism, although he of course still disagrees on certain points, otherwise he wouldn’t still belong to a Protestant denomination.

Objections

In the interview he raises two objections to Catholicism. The first is a classic, Justification. When speaking about this topic, Craig fails to understand how Catholics can speak about the involvement of works in salvation, yet at the same time assert that we are justified by grace.

The other issue raised was another old favourite, the Blessed Virgin. The interviewer, Kevin Harris, tripped up early on, saying “There was a move a while back to really elevate Mary, to almost equality with Christ, co-redemtrix. I don’t think that ever got off the ground in the Catholic Church, but there was a move there…”. This is misleading on two points. Firstly, although it’s not dogma, you’ll still find that title used a lot in reference to Mary, even although it isn’t as established as other titles, such as Mother Of God. Secondly, co-redemtrix does not indicate equality with Christ, simply that Mary has a role in redemption, much in the same way a pastor who leads a person to Christ participates in that person’s redemption.

On both of these issues, Craig seems to find a gap between official Church teaching and the belief of the Catholic faithful, some of which I find understandable.

I’d invite you to have a listen. What do you think of the interview?

Wise Words on Wednesday: Good Argument

argument

The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress

– Joseph Joubert

1 2 3 4