|You are here: Home >Catholicism Index >Introduction to Catholic Apologetics, and Responses to Anti-Catholicism Index >My Thoughts on Catholic Apologetics||
(Last Updated: 04 Jan 2002 )
Catholic apologetics is a subset of general Christian apologetics, which is the science of defending the Christian faith; and I'd say that that is probably more important in the grand scheme of things, because there are a lot more non-Christians out there than there are non-Catholic Christians. But all truth is God's truth, so we have duty to present whatever it is we are called to present; like St Paul says to the Corinthians, we're supposed to become all things to all people so that we might by all means save some. So Catholic apologetics is about presenting the truth claims of Catholicism, usually where they conflict with those of other Christian organisations, or with quasi-Christian cults.
Now there's at least four good reasons that I can think of to get involved in defending the faith.
I think Catholic apologetics is easier in some ways than, say, trying to explain Christianity to an atheist, because with our separated brothers and sisters we share most of the same basic data - the Scriptures. And we have this bond of charity as well - we're both trying to outdo each other in love (or at least we should be). Since we have the Bible in common, we'll use that a lot as we go through this workshop.
One thing I want to emphasise right from the start is that attitude is everything. Apologetics is about presenting the truth in love - it's not about winning arguments. Whatever we do, we should be doing it for the greater glory of God. Spiritually, it's often better for us to lose an argument than to win one, because then we get a good lesson in humility (I'm speaking from experience here).
And we should remember that things aren't always as cut-and-dried as they might appear. I've seen a lot of stuff, especially on the Internet, where Catholics are defending the faith but saying things like how dumb all those stupid Protestants are for not being Catholic, and how it's so obvious that the Catholic Church is right and you'd just have to be willfully bad or just downright stupid to not be Catholic (it goes the other way too, of course). But one thing I've learned is that things are never as simple as they seem, and there's lots of reasons for the positions people hold. They aren't always good reasons, but there's no slam-dunk argument that will compel someone to become Catholic. Catholicism is much more of a world-view than just a set of beliefs, so it always looks a lot clearer from the inside.
We need to remember that non-Catholic Christians
are our separated brethren. They are our brothers and sisters in
Jesus Christ (even if they don't think we are theirs). We shouldn't
be making fun of them or questioning their motives, we should just be charitably
trying to deal with the obstacles that keep them from full communion with
the Church Christ established.
Except where specified otherwise, the contents of this website are © copyright KiwiCatholic.com. Articles may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express permission from the author.