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Feeling like I can't defend my faith

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by Searching_for_God, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. Searching_for_God

    Searching_for_God Wannabe Catholic Supporter

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    *You are in the Catholic Forum*

    This semester at school, I've encountered two people who have challenged my faith, and both times, I didn't feel like I could defend myself.

    The first time, it was a girl from this club on campus called the Elohist Club. Not really sure what an Elohist is, but she basically opened her Bible, then started talking to me about some bride of Christ that was supposed to appear during His second coming?? She cited some verses from the end of the Bible, and I had never heard of this, so I didn't feel like I could really oppose what she was saying. All I did was listen to her, and that was it. I didn't say that I agreed with her statements or anything, but I didn't verbally try to counter her arguments either. That didn't feel too good. The second encounter was worse, though.

    The second encounter happened yesterday. There were some people in the free speech area on campus passing out these thin magazines giving pro-life arguments, plus they were showing these big signs with the pictures of aborted babies on them. I really shouldn't have engaged with these people, but I walked up to one of them anyways and asked for a magazine since I was curious to see what it said. I then gave a short synopsis of how I ended up becoming pro-life recently and he said that I had an inspiring story. That's when the story took a sharp left turn.

    All of a sudden, he started trying to preach to me about the Good News. I mean, normally I wouldn't mind that much, but this felt like he was starting to push some kind of agenda, maybe, instead of staying on topic?? But I stayed anyways and listened. He questioned me on whether I had ever lied before, whether I had ever said the Lord's name in vain, and whether I had ever stolen anything in my entire life. His questioning my morals made me feel a little uncomfortable, but I answered truthfully to each question he asked with an affirmative "yes". He then said that I had already broken three of the ten commandments and that, if you break one commandment, it messes up the rest of the chain links, if you know what I mean. It's kind of like when you're sick. When one part of your body is sick, then the rest of your body is affected. That's basically what he was saying.

    Anyways, he then said that I didn't deserve to go to Heaven, that none of us do, actually, and that it was only through the Lord's kindness and grace that we could be saved. Then he asked me if I considered myself to be "born again". I said I wasn't sure, but that I was converting to Catholicism. That's when he started making all these icky claims about the Catholic Church. He said that Catholics aren't known for reading their Bibles, are wrong for thinking that you are saved through Christ AND good works (as opposed to only being saved through Christ alone), and that they follow man-made traditions instead of following only the Bible. I'm ashamed to admit that I fell into his trap of claiming that we are saved through Christ alone (only because I didn't feel equipped enough to argue with him), and as for the other two statements, I didn't agree with him but I didn't defend myself either. Instead, all I did was let out a skeptical "Hmm..." noise. Finally, at the end, after asking permission to pray for me, he put his hand on my shoulder, lowered his head, and prayed for me. I just stared at the ground the entire time he prayed and wondered what I had gotten myself into. Then I politely excused myself and went on my way to do some homework that needed to be turned in shortly.

    I feel very bad that I did not feel capable enough to defend my beliefs. It's one thing when you're behind a computer screen and can take the time to think out a good response, or if you're talking to someone in person with another educated Catholic to back you up. It's a whole other situation to be face to face with someone spreading falsehoods and having to talk to them alone with no sources prepared to back you up. Don't get me wrong, I understand my beliefs very well and am not going down this path blindly. However, I just don't feel confident enough in myself to stand on my own two feet when put on the spot like that. It's been that way since I was 13.

    When I was 13, I would often speak the truth, but due to certain adults who were spreading vicious lies about me and people who were eager to latch on to anything that would smear my name, I was never believed when I did speak the truth. In fact, I was even made to believe that I wasn't remembering certain events or facts correctly. Now, even today, I often find myself second-guessing myself, even on subjects that I am thoroughly educated on and am an expert in. :(

    I don't feel smart enough or prepared enough to defend myself most times. Even if I were trained in apologetics, I'd probably still find myself with no voice when the time came or if someone asked a question that went "off script". I'm pathetic and, honestly, I just hope that God isn't disappointed in me for not trying harder to stand my ground. :(
     
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  2. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    Try not engaging them. When someone starts in on their rantings just say "thank you, I'm good" and leave it at that.
     
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  3. Michie

    Michie Perch Perkins. Catholic reporter. ;) Supporter

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    Not all of us are apologists. And many who think they are are not apologists. Let your actions speak for you and do not engage. 9 times out of 10, all they care about is making thenselves feel better than you and being right. You can refer them to the Catechism or a priest. In the meantime, just say you live your faith. You do not use it to argue. The Holy Spirit will give you the words when it really matters. Until then, don't sweat the small stuff.
     
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  4. Multifavs

    Multifavs Artist & Plushie-Maker Supporter

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    You know, this is something I had problems with myself not too long ago, but only on CF and not in real life. I felt that I had to defend my beliefs at every opportunity and it was wrong of me not to. But I've learned that, as Michie said, not all of us are made for defending the Faith. Every member of the Body of Christ is made for something different - some are made to defend the Faith and others are made for other things.

    I totally agree with Michie's post - don't worry too much about it and let the Holy Spirit guide you when it's necessary to speak out. God knows that some of us are not made to defend the Faith as He made us to do other things for the Faith. Something that you can do without having to argue is to pray for these people silently.
     
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  5. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother?

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    The truth is that not everybody is cut out to be a big defender of the faith or an evangelist or whatever. That's no reflection on you. What matters is your faith, your God-given abilities and how you nurture them.

    The reality is that some fundie thinks he's clever because he stumbled across some old Jack Chick talking points and thinks he "scored points" or something for his side. It's not worth feeling discouraged about.
     
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  6. MariaJLM

    MariaJLM Crazy Cat Lady

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    I'm awful at defending my faith too. I'm aware of that, but it's okay. Not all of us are called to be academics or theologians. People who have a deep academic understanding of Christianity may not be better Christians necessarily. It just means they know a lot. I have personally witnessed many of these people being pompous and outright condescending towards others.

    On the flipside, we have incredibly holy people who have a deep understanding of Christian spirituality and how to apply it to our lives. Many of them are saints and many of them also have very little formal education.

    Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that different people have different callings and different fortes.
     
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  7. Dave G.

    Dave G. Well-Known Member

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    Scripture cuts like a two edged sword.
     
  8. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sometimes those wielding Scripture as a weapon will get cut by it if they are attacking the faithful.
     
  9. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There are many Protestants who relish the idea of attacking Catholics. They hone their skills and try to trap us. Don't worry about it too much. Some day you will know more and may be able to stand up to them. Take your time and build a solid foundation of truth. Pray for them. Then don't worry. Many of them are actually insecure and rather shallow. Others are growing in depth and may end up Catholic in a few years.
     
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  10. Rhamiel

    Rhamiel Member of the Round Table

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    You are young in the Faith

    Read the Bible and read books by Saints, pray more, you will grow and learn naturally
     
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  11. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    That's ok! I'm not a very good evangelist or apologist, either! There are many ways to draw souls to the Church, though. You have a sweet, kind heart. That can do more to win souls than knowing a lot of facts, or history. Love Christ, grow in holiness, pray, the rest will follow.
     
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  12. Dave G.

    Dave G. Well-Known Member

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    Sure can, that's kind of what the two edged sword is about, one might convict with a word and the same passage might convict the convictor ! Absolutely, been there done that. Non the less it cuts and it's true, irrefutable truth . But steel sharpens steel, so it isn't such a bad thing in the end.

    The OP was hit with a vulnerability, more study needed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
  13. football5680

    football5680 Well-Known Member

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    It takes time and a lot of research before you can properly defend the faith so don't get discouraged because you are unable to do it right now. Protestants don't go off the script, they just use the same arguments time and time again. Eventually you will learn them all and they are simple to refute.

    In most cases, simply reading the context of the verse they are quoting refutes the argument so that is usually a good place to start. Even when you can defend the faith online, it may take you a little more time to be able to do it in person because there is more pressure and a shorter time frame. You just need to be able to recognize the argument that they are making and know what counters it. Eventually you will get to the point where you will know exactly how they will respond so you can just go ahead and make their argument for them and refute it just to speed the conversation along.
     
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  14. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  15. GodsGrace101

    GodsGrace101 Well-Known Member

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    Check this out:
    The speaker makes good points that you'll be able to use in speaking to others about Catholicism.

     
  16. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother?

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    Something else. I'm a convert, class of 2015. The Catholic Church is a really beautiful thing which has totally changed my life.

    I won't turn my faith into a battering ram to smash other people in pointless arguments just because some fundie out there has an attitude problem. I have family members even now who occasionally bait me on Catholic stuff and petty squabbles are a waste of time.

    I'm not saying that Catholics shouldn't defend their faith. But there's a big difference between answering somebody's sincere questions and getting down in the muck. Forgetting that difference never goes unpunished.
     
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