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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Comments

Celestial SeraphiMan

I've done my part to educate people by posting links to documents that show mainly the "positive" side of Catholicism, namely with links to papal addresses and items of a similar nature.

Ed Peters

Many, many years ago, I tried to stick up for CH. No more. Not for some time. Anyway, I'm writing a book: it called "Authors are not Great: How literature poisons everything" with chapters on Hitler's Mein Kampf, Stalin's Pravda, Ted Kazinki's Manifesto, Mao Zedung's Little Red Book, and Chris Hitchens' God is not Great.

Ed Peters

Oh yeah, and Dan brown's Da Vinci Code. Can't forget that work of literature.

Marie

Am I the only one who had to read the first sentence three times because I thought it said Archbishop Sheen was an athiest? I didn't get enough sleep last night!

Jackson

hahah Marie.

Carl Olson

I changed it for Marie's sake. And for the sake of Clarity, who may or may not be a reader of this blog.

Marie

Thank you for the change!
The mind plays funny tricks during finals week...

Jennifer F.

Catholics and other Christians need to take seriously the philosophical and even polemical arguments made by atheists, not to so much to put more strident atheists in their place, but to show, in a variety of ways, that Christianity is not only not contrary to reason, goodness, and order, but is an essential reason why they still exist today in the face of irrationality, evil, and chaos.

This is very well-said. However, this assumes that there's actually someone listening on the other end. I know that people of all kinds of religious beliefs close their minds to new ideas, but I never cease to be amazed at how closed and extraordinarily defensive the atheist crowd tends to be when discussing Christianity. As a former atheist, I try to share my realizations about the Church and Christianity with other atheists, and I am shocked by how often I'm met with insults and hostility. I think the biggest challenge is not getting the data out there, but just figuring out how to phrase it so that non-believers will listen.

Carl Olson

I think the biggest challenge is not getting the data out there, but just figuring out how to phrase it so that non-believers will listen.

A great point. I've also experienced the hostility of atheists. There are, of course, some people who simply will not listen, no matter how you approach them. But I think that as we learn more about what atheists believe and what we as Christians believe, we will have more to draw from in having conversations. For example, when I was a Fundamentalist, I couldn't do much more than say, "Hey, the Bible says there is a God! So why don't you believe in Him?" That approach, obviously, has some serious defects, not the least in assuming that atheists see the Bible as I do. But by using logic, philosophy, history, science, etc., we can offer food for thought. Yet, in the end, you can only lead the horse to water. You can't make him drink.

Jackson

"I think the biggest challenge is not getting the data out there, but just figuring out how to phrase it so that non-believers will listen."

There's a danger here. It seems to me that many heathens won't listen unless Christ and Christianity are packaged attractively, dressed up, essentially consumerized. Such is the state of our consumerist, Oprahist dictatorship of relativism. Not truth, but comfort, convenience, safety, inclusivity, etc. are the primary considerations for loyal subjects of this regime. Therefore talk of sin, the necessity for redemption from it as sinners, judgment, Hell must be left out of "sales pitch" even though these things rest at the core of Christianity. I think it's best to tell it as it is in every respect, both the "soft" and the "hard" truths, that, for instance, "there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved," that Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life" - THE way, THE truth, and THE life. As a former Nietzschean, I respected those who were willing to lay it all out on the table like this while I detested those who lacked the integrity and moral fortitude and conviction to do so. Potential converts deserve the whole truth, not merely the most attractive truths. I know you weren't saying otherwise, Jennifer, but I think this is the danger when a focus on packaging becomes paramount.

Matt

Use financial terminology ("Invest in Christ now and receive 100% returns over Eternity").

Or take a page out of Fidel Castro's book and use populist slogans. (Seriously, the man's run a Stalinist regime in Cuba for fifty years and he's beloved across Europe and America.)

Or someone could take those books and pick apart the arguments using real logic.

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