Every Objection Deserves an Answer

October 14, 2013 | 6 comments

There is a phenomenon that occurs sometimes in apologetics where the answer to a particular question will be met with a response from other Catholics asking why the apologist bothered to answer it in the first place. Someone may say, “Why are you giving this person a platform by responding?” or “This objection is so ridiculous it is not worthy of a response!”

I am met with these reactions often, especially when I write on the subject of mythicism (the belief that a historical Jesus never existed), but it happens in reaction to other apologetic arguments as well.

I sympathize with people who respond this way, and in the spirit of my blog post title, I think their questions also deserve a response.

Every objection to the Catholic Faith deserves an answer, and I have what I think are three very good reasons for leaving no stone unturned:

Reason 1: People have different levels of education.

I am not fazed anymore when I see arguments on the Internet claiming that Jesus is a rip-off of some older pagan god. This is because I have studied these types of claims from every angle I could conceive of. But it was not always this way.

Many years ago I was influenced by a conversation with someone close to me. This person was college educated and seemed well versed in many subjects. He was the first to introduce me to the idea that early Christians may have cobbled the story of Jesus together from pre-existing pagan myths. I was young and impressionable, with only a high school education.

It was the work of apologists like Ronald H. Nash, those at Catholic Answers, and others who opened my eyes to the falsity of these claims. But where would I be now if they had decided the claims were too absurd to merit a response?

Reason 2: Absurdity has a massive platform.

The invention of the printing press has made it so that virtually every Christian household has access to the Bible, but it also allowed for the Black Legend of the Spanish Inquisition to spread and persist down to our own day.

Similar things can be said about the Internet. Access to information has become much easier than traveling to the local library, but it has also opened a floodgate of bogus claims. The best way to combat error on the Internet is to expose it, and the only way that is going to happen is through published responses.

As I pointed out in my first reason, we can’t assume everyone has the same level of education on any given matter. And so when you blog (and I encourage every Catholic who can write to do this), your counterargument may be the first to plant a seed of truth in the mind of someone who is hostile to the Church.

Reason 3: God wills that all men be saved.

1 Timothy 2:4 says God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” It’s not up to us to pick and choose who is worthy of responding to. Some objections to the Catholic Faith are more sophisticated than others, but regardless, we are all called to “always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15).

I share the frustrations of many who see arguments against the Church that are based on falsehood or misunderstanding, but it’s our job to meet these people where they are and share the gospel with them as best we can.

Jon Sorensen earned his bachelor’s degree in 3D Animation and Visual Communications in 2004 from Platt College, Ontario. Before coming to Catholic Answers, he worked in the automotive industry producing television commercials and corporate video. He has also produced motion graphics for several feature-...

Comments by Catholic.com Members

#1  Billy the Kid - Staunton, Virginia

I feel partially responsible for this post; I asked you this verbatim not two weeks ago!

Nevertheless, your responses (both to them and me) have been excellent.

October 14, 2013 at 6:13 pm PST
#2  Sharon Petrakou - Rosanna, Victoria

Good article Jon. I wish Nash had his book on Kindle.

Re Reason 1, many apologists respond to questioners with academic languages and resource suggestions which are above the educational level of the questioners. It is quite easy to arrive at the caller's educational level by the language they use and how they frame their questions and thus frame a reply and suggest references e.g. articles and not books written by philosophers, appropriate to the caller's level of understanding.

October 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm PST
#3  Jon Sorensen - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Sorry about that, AJ. I try to write my blogs from experience and this topic seemed like a good one. Not aimed at you directly.

Sharon, I am with you on Nash's book. My only complaint about it is that he stops short of defending against later pagan influences. Makes sense though. He's not Catholic. I would love to write a book like that from a Catholic perspective.

October 14, 2013 at 9:22 pm PST
#4  Robyn Wallerich - Westcliffe, Colorado

Jesus was real! It makes me sad to read and hear people say that he wasn't. He taught us to love one another and help those less fortunate than ourselves. If he were here today, he would be so sad to see the violence and hatred committed in his name. God is Love. Jesus knew that.

October 15, 2013 at 10:30 am PST
#5  Todd Farris - Mattoon, Illinois

Robyn, you said it in such a simple and profound way that really gets to the heart of it. I would like to believe that the hatred and violence that is committed today isn't in His Name, but is committed despite His Holy Name. People know the Truth of the Church, yet continue to live violent and sinful lives. The supposed atrocities committed by Christians in the past against Muslims or Jews has been greatly inflated, and unfortunately this has been used against our enemies to prove that Christianity condones violence. This, of course, is untrue but is still used against the Church. The internet is a true blessing, and also a terrible curse.

October 15, 2013 at 11:47 am PST
#6  Jill Dembroff - Visalia, California

Like the persistent widow, I'll keep bugging Catholic Answers to respond to the claims of the growing Hebrew Roots movement which will entail coming to understand what they believe and how they defend against the first round of Biblical arguments which I submit they do quite handily. There is a Protestant website which takes them on - joyfullygrowingingrace.com - but the reasoning there is, well, Protestant. The HR claims seem absurd, but there is an internal consistency to it once one accepts that the commandments Jesus tells us to obey are those of the Mosaic Law. So, please consider looking into what they teach and helping me answer the claims of a relative who, so far, has fended off all the Biblical arguments I can muster. There is a 'gap', of sorts, between the rules which the Jews of Jesus' time needed to obey and those which we are now under and whether it's a whole new law or relying now on the 'principles' behind the Mosaic Laws, whatever, I need to bridge that gap. If this is a 'dumb objection', well, that's why I'm asking here --- because it deserves an answer! Thank you!!

October 25, 2013 at 5:56 am PST

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