Friday, February 3, 2012

Catholic Quick Small Arms Defense,..

Speaking from experience, today's highly competitive marketplace requires fast paced answers to even complex questions. It would seem that our 'me' only society rooted in selfishness and instant gratification has also found its way into ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. That's right! You heard me correctly,.as an amateur Catholic apologist I've found myself in situations whereby I was called upon to give soundbite answers to rather complex formulas. (Imagine yourself explaining the Trinity to a Jehovah's Witness in under two minutes!!!) So,..That being said, I've decided to compile a relatively short list of apologetical material hopefully easy to understand, which could assist the Catholic in explaining his/her Faith. I am at once a personal trainer, pro wrestling fan , and transformers enthusiast so that being said, I will draw references from them and hopefully you will enjoy!

It's a hot summer day, and your entire family has just gotten together for a Barbeque. You favorite uncle has dropped by with his new girlfriend and you've noticed that he has begun to proselytize! Have you been saved? Born Again? As a Faithful Catholic, step one before engaging is praying to the Holy Spirit for guidance,..and here he comes!!!!


Obj 1. 'I used to be Catholic, but then I found Jesus. I don't need a pope.'

Ans: 'Praise be to God! I am so happy to hear that uncle x! But didn't Jesus Christ found the Papacy? (Matt 16:18, Jn 21: 15-17) Surely he must have intended something,..because if not he would not have changed Simon's name to Peter, or given him keys o bind and loose, as in Isaiah.

Obj 2. 'What gives the right to a priest to forgive sins? Confession to a priest!? Only God can do that!'

Ans: 'You're absolutely right! Only God can forgive sins, but he does it through his ministerial priests.
(Jn 20:23) Is it not safe to assume that the Apostles are not mindreaders? '

Obj 3. 'What's with all this Mary stuff? She can't save you! Only Jesus can!

Ans: 'Once again, your bang on! Only Jesus can save you! But as far as honoring Mary,..what does it say about all generations called her blessed? (Luke 1: 41-43) Even the Marian dogmas can be deduced from scripture. The Immaculate Conception for instance comes right from the opening Chapter of Luke. (Luke 1: 28) I'm sorry but your protestant bible incorrectly translates 'kecharitomene' from the greek into 'highly favored.' Not so! She is full of grace! The Cross happens at the end of the Gospel,.so my question to you, is how could she be full of Grace, if the passion hadn't occured yet?

**Romans 3: 23 means all capable of sin, the literalistic logic, that would include infants, the senile, the mentally challenged, which we know not to be the case. Mary was spared from original sin, not by her own merit, but by God.

'So uncle X, I'm really happy that you've decided to commit your life to Christ. Clearly His Grace has been working. I will, however pray that you return to the fullness of the Faith, a Faith which obviously you never knew! To conclude, remember that the Bible comes to us through the Church. The New Testament books which we know today were chosen under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as how they best fit into Liturgy. Its not the Bible and me theory, can't be! Look at the 27 000 protestant denominations always dividing.' At this point,..uncle X will defer and move on to another topic, yet seeds of evangelization have been planted.

The next day, you wake up, 4:45am, breakfast, 16 eggwhites, 1 piece of brown toast and by 5:30am, you're off to the gym. Its a good day,.we are doing P90x chest, shoulders and triceps. An old friend just joined and you see that he too has changed. His morals are concrete and he invites you to read the Qur'an,.to find inner peace the way he did. Once again, a silent prayer to the Holy Spirit and here we go!!!! Ding!

Round 2. ISLAM.

Obj. 1. 'As Christians, you can't explain the Trinity, it is illogical,.how can three be one? '

Ans. 'Dude, the Trinity of God is not thought of the way Devastator from the Decepticons is. It is not three gods forming one superGod. It is a relationship. God is one because truth is one. God is Love,.do you agree? (yes) So that being said, Love exists as the Lover, Beloved and Love between. Why because God has no potency.

Obj. 2. 'Allah is transcendant and cannot be explained. You as Christians confuse the message of the prophets. The Qur'an is the final revelation of God! There are no contradictions unlike the Bible!'

Ans. Really? Do you agree that God is absolute Truth? (yes). Therefore the Qur'an being the revelation of God must be absolute Truth? (yes) That makes the Qur'an eternal truth,..correct? Okay, then a few questions must arise,..Sura 1 begins with,..'In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful...' Do we not see the problem? If the Qur'an is eternal,.then is God eternally compassionate? In the silences of eternity before creation, who is God speaking to? If He is eternally compassionate, would he not need creation to sustain that particular attribute? Stemming from that point, how can God change his mind,.if He is eternal truth? Are Jews, Christians, Sabians saved? (Sura 5: 69) or are they damned? (Sura 98: 6)

The Bible is God's love story to mankind,.not a collection of verbatim literature as the Qur'an claims to be. '

Obj. 3. 'Jesus was only a prophet!'

Ans. By this time, tensions are running high,..'Look dude,.believe what you want, Jesus proposes never imposes, but that fact remains, that Jesus died and rose again. The tomb is empty! The very name 'Jesus' means God saves. His action, his WORD! Even the muslims acknowledge this,.(though they greatly misunderstand it!) Think about from the testimony of history. How many martyrs would willingly go to their death to sustain a fabrication!
(By this time, our friend has been rocked and will no doubt think about it for the rest of the day!)

Obviously these are two most likely scenerios we encounter as Catholics, whether it be in the metro (subway)or in the public square.   Myself,.I was a student of Religious studies and political science back in university, so I am quite familiar with the Qur'an and Bible.  At times we run into Mormons,..and a separate series is currently in the works regarding this unique movement.  For the modernists, and so-called progressive 'catholiks,'  usually an outside crescent kick to the side of the head will jog their brain back into position!  (ha!)  Seriously, this is usually where we have to establish universal Truths.  
                            (The Scapular,...Catholic dogtags!)

These short little skits are intended to help stem the attack of the non-catholic, especially two that will appear often. Just like in life where our body demands a physical workout, we need to engage in a Spiritual workout. Mine includes Mass, the Rosary, Daily Office and Lectio Divina. Keep the Faith! Finally if don't know the answer to a particular objection, say so! There is no shame in saying that you need to look it up for yourself. It not only shows humility but also a chance to satisfy your own human reason.

St Thomas Aquinas,...................ora pro nobis.


Mike said...

Love the skits. :-)

I have never dialogued with a Muslim before, so I don't know much in that regard, though I have dialogued quite often with Evangelicals.

Are there any particular books you would recommend? Thanks.

Optimusmastro said...

For an evangelical, just use Church Father and Biblical origins, a book I would recommend is 'Evangelical is not Enough' by Thomas Howard. Mike, these people are incredibly well-meaning and sincere Christians who make us as Catholics look like cowards. They live out their Faith and wear or their sleeves! Even the most rapid Fundamentalist at least has the balls to stand up for Christ, especially on pro-life issues and traditional marriage!

For Islam,.I would recommend a book by Robert Spencer and Daniel Ali,.'Inside Islam, A Guide for Catholics.' Here a guy like me is in his comfort zone,.because we come at it from a philosophical/metaphysical perspective..God Bless!

Mike said...

Thanks for the recommendations!

Yes, I agree about evangelicals and fundamentalists. (I used to be a fundamentalist). I was thinking more along the lines of Islam (sorry for not clarifying better), which I see you have also given a recommendation for. Thanks!

Jeanne said...

For the Trinity thing, I always compare it to a family. Mother, Father and child together make one family. Separately they do not. In the same way, God is God in the three persons. Like you say, Father, (lover) Son (beloved) and the love between them (Spirit).