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 Post subject: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnostics
PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:49 pm 
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I'm a 16 year old guy. I have a friend who is agnostic. She said she needs undeniable proof that a religion is correct before she subscribes to it. I am a catholic and I believe its the true faith, but when these questions come up I realize I don't have the knowledge to help convey it. Where do I start? I don't have the skill of explaining it.


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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:39 am 
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My first question to her would be "what evidence will you accept as 'proof'"?

We know from the Catechism 36 "Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason."11 Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God's revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created "in the image of God".12


The next paragraph
"Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches over and controls the world by his providence, and of the natural law written in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and fruitful use of this inborn faculty."

So, encourage her to sincerely determine what evidence she needs. Then, come back here and present her response. There are some brilliant people here to help you.

I would suggest you seek out Trent Horn's debates on atheism.

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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:47 am 
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Totally agree with kage. You can't proceed without knowing what she will accept. People here will be happy to help you with responding to her.

Here is a link to an oldie, but a goodie. You can use it for your own information and as an aid in answering the questions of others.

https://www.catholic.com/tract/pillar-o ... r-of-truth


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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:58 pm 
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Arguments won't accomplish anything unless you have actual arguments to respond to 'I don't believe because...' otherwise, you're just spitting into the wind. And frankly, the reasons people give are rarely the real reasons, usually, they are rationalizations offered to justify a non-rational decision that was made on other grounds. The best thing you can do is just be her friend, if she ever confides to you her real reasons, you can cross that bridge when you come to it.

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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:53 am 
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Doom wrote:
Arguments won't accomplish anything unless you have actual arguments to respond to 'I don't believe because...' otherwise, you're just spitting into the wind. And Frankly, the reasons people give are rarely the real reasons, usually, they are rationalizations offered to justify a non-rational decision that was made on other grounds. The best thing you can do is just be her friend, if she ever confides to you her real reasons, you can cross that bridge when you come to it.


I

I....


I..............


IagreewithDoom! *sigh*

And if you are given a clear objection and give a really, really good answer for it, chances are that your friend will simply turn and bring up something else rather than say "Okay, where do I join?" Most of the time, the reasons you get, as Doom said, are smoke screens for the real objection. In my case, as a smart-aleck, know-it-all atheist, the bottom line for me wasn't any concise objection, but rather that I KNEW that if I turned to Christ I would have to turn away from the immorality I loved, and I wasn't willing to do that.


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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:28 pm 
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And, remember to be peaceful and calm when you talk to your friend about the faith.

(That is a reminder to myself!)


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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:14 pm 
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Light of the East wrote:
Doom wrote:
Arguments won't accomplish anything unless you have actual arguments to respond to 'I don't believe because...' otherwise, you're just spitting into the wind. And Frankly, the reasons people give are rarely the real reasons, usually, they are rationalizations offered to justify a non-rational decision that was made on other grounds. The best thing you can do is just be her friend, if she ever confides to you her real reasons, you can cross that bridge when you come to it.


I

I....


I..............


IagreewithDoom! *sigh*

And if you are given a clear objection and give a really, really good answer for it, chances are that your friend will simply turn and bring up something else rather than say "Okay, where do I join?" Most of the time, the reasons you get, as Doom said, are smoke screens for the real objection. In my case, as a smart-aleck, know-it-all atheist, the bottom line for me wasn't any concise objection, but rather that I KNEW that if I turned to Christ I would have to turn away from the immorality I loved, and I wasn't willing to do that.


I can one up you. I agree with you both.

I finally quit arguing with non-believers and skeptics who, often, demanded that I prove, to their satisfaction, that what I believed was "true". I could never meet their standard, as whatever I offered, they rejected. As stated above, I finally determined that what they wanted was me to agree with their empty, depressing, arrogant rejection of belief ... and until I did so, they just raising the bar and changing the rules.

So, I quit. Except for the very few who were genuinely interested.

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Benedicamus Domino!
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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:41 pm 
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Highlander wrote:
I finally quit arguing with non-believers and skeptics who, often, demanded that I prove, to their satisfaction, that what I believed was "true". I could never meet their standard, as whatever I offered, they rejected. As stated above, I finally determined that what they wanted was me to agree with their empty, depressing, arrogant rejection of belief ... and until I did so, they just raising the bar and changing the rules.

So, I quit. Except for the very few who were genuinely interested.


:yes: :amen:


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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:18 pm 
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Deus Vult wrote:
I'm a 16 year old guy. I have a friend who is agnostic. She said she needs undeniable proof that a religion is correct before she subscribes to it. I am a catholic and I believe its the true faith, but when these questions come up I realize I don't have the knowledge to help convey it. Where do I start? I don't have the skill of explaining it.


I'd recommend you read the Catechism. It's important that you know why you believe what you profess because unless you can state why, how do you know you really believe it? Not advocating that you doubt but that you educate yourself in your faith so you can be a blessing to those around you.

When your friend sees you learning the Faith and the changes such learning inevitably bring, she may decide that there's something to it after all.

Ultimately we can bring people to the Faith only by demonstrating in our own lives what we know as truth in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.

ETA: When I'm asked for "undeniable proof" of the existence of God I respond with, "Give me undeniable proof that the speed of light in a vacuum is 186,282 miles per second." When asked why I want to know, I respond with "it's science and by definition science is skeptical and everything is up for change." That usually makes people stop and think about what they're actually saying and bringing science into it (the secular God of all) forces them to examine their own question.

If they just huff and turn away they weren't really interested to begin with.

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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:22 pm 
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Deus Vult wrote:
I'm a 16 year old guy. I have a friend who is agnostic. She said she needs undeniable proof that a religion is correct before she subscribes to it. I am a catholic and I believe its the true faith, but when these questions come up I realize I don't have the knowledge to help convey it. Where do I start? I don't have the skill of explaining it.

She probably means evidence, not proof.

Proof exists in the form of well constructed arguments.

Evidence, to the modern mind and science in general is the purview of it's systems (scientific method for example) which can only provide physical/naturalistic results.

They've been used side by side for a long time in Catholic literature until some materialists decided to hijack the word to only apply to scientific systems.

Evidence usually only points in a direction anyhow.

I would start with that.

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Last edited by Dominic on Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:50 pm 
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Someone I know is convinced that religion is bad. Specifically, more people have died because of religious belief, or religious differences, than for any other reason. I was listening to a Catholic Answers Live program where a listener called in with the same charge. I forget who responded but he said it was not true. And if any contemporary religion was causing trouble, it was not Christianity.

Sometimes people pick up slogans and decide that "this is the way." One recent attempt to convince people to abandon God is called "Good without God." In other words, anyone can be a good person without belonging to any organized religion. In some ways, it is not easy to live out the Gospel but it is what we need for our salvation. Yes, we can be good but our end is not the grave. After we die, the judgment. And one more thing:

New International Version
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12


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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 4:23 pm 
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Amon98 wrote:
Someone I know is convinced that religion is bad. Specifically, more people have died because of religious belief, or religious differences, than for any other reason. I was listening to a Catholic Answers Live program where a listener called in with the same charge. I forget who responded but he said it was not true. And if any contemporary religion was causing trouble, it was not Christianity.

Sometimes people pick up slogans and decide that "this is the way." One recent attempt to convince people to abandon God is called "Good without God." In other words, anyone can be a good person without belonging to any organized religion. In some ways, it is not easy to live out the Gospel but it is what we need for our salvation. Yes, we can be good but our end is not the grave. After we die, the judgment. And one more thing:

New International Version
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12


well of course many people have died because of religious belief.

scripture itself records both the jews and the philistines(?) carrying the ark of the covenant into battle....


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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 4:41 pm 
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Amon98 wrote:
Someone I know is convinced that religion is bad. Specifically, more people have died because of religious belief, or religious differences, than for any other reason. I was listening to a Catholic Answers Live program where a listener called in with the same charge. I forget who responded but he said it was not true. And if any contemporary religion was causing trouble, it was not Christianity.

Sometimes people pick up slogans and decide that "this is the way." One recent attempt to convince people to abandon God is called "Good without God." In other words, anyone can be a good person without belonging to any organized religion. In some ways, it is not easy to live out the Gospel but it is what we need for our salvation. Yes, we can be good but our end is not the grave. After we die, the judgment. And one more thing:

New International Version
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12


Many believers and non-believers need reminding that Our Lord Jesus Christ told us that we would be hated because of Him.
They are distracted by this life only. We are meant for eternal life if we follow Him, love Him, and our neighbor.


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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:17 pm 
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More people died in the last century due to religion than any other century in history. The religion?

Totalitarianism. Which still exists and is killing people in its Socialism and Communism denominations. A common dogma of these religions is the absolute rejection of God.

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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:33 pm 
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where did elenamarie go? she showed up after being absent for quite some time with a flurry of posts, then she disappeared....odd

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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 5:43 pm 
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Deus Vult wrote:
I'm a 16 year old guy. I have a friend who is agnostic. She said she needs undeniable proof that a religion is correct before she subscribes to it. I am a catholic and I believe its the true faith, but when these questions come up I realize I don't have the knowledge to help convey it. Where do I start? I don't have the skill of explaining it.


Does she need undeniable proof that something, anything is correct before before she subscribes to it, or does she save that particular high bar for "religion"?

I would point out the fact that there is no such thing as "undeniable proof" of a lot of things which she subscribes to, e.g. much of physical science itself is entirely provisional and subject to falsifiability, therefore it doesn't provide anything close to undeniable proof.

Second, I would posit that her statement is itself something that she cannot prove to be undeniably true. To rephrase it as a question, "Where is the proof that the only thing that we can accept as true are those things which are undeniably proven?" or something like that. I guarantee you that she operates on a whole host of unproven assumptions that she accepts as true, we all do, we call them axioms, first principles, or a-priori value-judements. They're the things that we use to interpret the world around us.

I won't say that she's being intentionally dishonest about how she's approaching this subject with you, but I don't think that she's really gone deep enough into just what exactly it is that she's saying, and is maybe rather just repeating something that she either believes is profound or that it is something she finds sufficient enough to forearm herself from what she sees as an uncomfortable conversation.

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 Post subject: Re: NEED HELP holding my own against non catholics and agnos
PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:10 pm 
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Deus Vult wrote:

[quote]I'm a 16 year old guy. I have a friend who is agnostic. She said she needs undeniable proof that a religion is correct before she subscribes to it. I am a catholic and I believe its the true faith, but when these questions come up I realize I don't have the knowledge to help convey it. Where do I start? I don't have the skill of explaining it./quote]

I would be inclined to delve deeper into her world view. Everyone has a world view which shapes their perception of reality. Even when someone claims not to subscribe to a particular world view you will still find that they live their lives according to a set of beliefs.

It seems to me that most people today are Naturalists. That is, they believe that the material is all that there is & they reject any notion of the super natural. That being the case they reject the notion of God & the need for religion. The Naturalist will tell you that the universe is all there is, that the universe is eternal & that all that exists was created by the universe. They will also profess that the universe & all that exists is meaningless & that the reason anything exists at all is down to CHANCE. Now your friend & I suspect most "naturalists" may not have delved deeply enough into their own world view to know that this is what subscribing to Naturalism implies but it never the less is the case.

When you have a better understanding of your friends world view you can set out to demonstrate that her world view is incoherent. If indeed she is a naturalist you can point out that science has shown that the universe is not eternal, that it had a beginning & it will have an end. Further more if we are the mere product of chance & our life has no meaning how much confidence can one have in their ability to rationalise about anything at all let alone about a world view.

As a Theist/Catholic i can Know because my Father who made me is all knowing.
As a Theist/catholic I can love because my Father who made me is all loving.

BUT if my creator was an impersonal universe that is not all knowing & all loving & merely exists by chance how can I the product of such a creator know or love ??

When your friend is confronted with the incoherency of her world view ask her where she gets off demanding so much of you!

I would then go on to explain that the best explanation for why there is something rather than nothing is THEISM, and the best answer to theism is JESUS CHRIST who revealed himself to be God & proved it by rising from the dead which is a historical fact.


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