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.