Tuesday, May 07, 2013

How to Win Hearts with Catholic Apologetics

Micah Murphy has an amusing and instructive post about the frustrating tactics we encounter in the New Evangelization.
Here we are in the midst of the New Evangelization and there are certainly other Pearls before Swine moments out there. Yet it must be possible for a person to prepare their debate opponent with some preliminary points so that they might be more ready for the Gospel. What are these Pearls before Swine moments and is there a way around them?
Note: I use the term “opponent” below technically, not uncharitably. Always be charitable to your opponent. You’re there to help them approach Christ.
And then there is a list of the most common tactics which we encounter.
Here is my answer:

As a pro-life apologist, I have encountered all these and more. But I am not discouraged, because Patrick Madrid once told me, speak to their hearts. That's where true conversion begins, and you may not see the change you make there at first, it may come only after years of reflection about what you and others have said, but if you speak to the heart, you are more likely to be successful at bringing about conversion down the road. Too often their pride keeps them from conceding your point in a debate, but God can penetrate that armor.
Don't forget God is already working on this person and possibly reminding them of your words (IF they were charitable!) over and over again, at opportune moments. That is why I read conversion stories, they give me hope, the person resisted truth for years and one day, one person's word or example was the straw which broke the camel's back.
This is why I met with infamous Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer in the quiet of his office on a Monday morning. I wanted to tell him my daughter with Down syndrome is a wonderful human being who enriches lives all around her, and to challenge his view that she has less value than an animal because of her IQ. I talked to Singer gently but firmly and left him with a copy of my book, 34 stories of Catholic parents who didn't want to raise Special needs children till God showed them what blessings they are (A Special Mother is Born). I still pray for Peter Singer a year later, and look for signs that God has done some work in his soul. Never give up, where there is life, there is hope God can reach a soul. We are only His instruments, He is the Divine Physician and Healer of the heart.

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