It could be your uncle, brother, sister or distant cousin who makes these same old tired arguments about your faith so dearly held. Believe me; we have all been there at that wedding table, Christmas dinner or Aunt Betty’s 80th birthday party. The drinks are going down nicely, just enough to give the atheist uncle some intellectual courage to blurt out to you how much he hates your Church.
I’ve often heard arguments like, “The Catholic Church is so hypocritical. Look at the Pope sitting there, preaching to the poor from his golden palace. How on earth could you ever think about being part of such a religion?” You’re a person of faith, but you’re well aware that you lack the intellectual capacity to respond. You either react with insults or don’t respond at all. A part of you even wants to agree with him. It’s a well-tailored argument he’s been wearing at every family gathering. Like his ugly outdated suit, the discussion has become worn and tattered; it’s time to help him take it to the trash.
Let’s get into addressing these arguments beginning with the first. Some of these arguments present themselves in different ways.
“The Vatican shouldn’t be preaching to people about the curing of poverty when they live in a palace. If they sold everything they possess and all the gold in that castle on a hilltop of theirs, then may I’d be willing to take them seriously.”
The Vatican, it’s sacred treasures, and entire architecture was donated by its members rich and poor. The architecture speaks of mans talent in his efforts to glorify God not just with his heart, but his hands also. Selling our valuables and selling off treasures that were built to glorify God, will not cure poverty. Secondly, while maintaining its sacred treasures and grand palaces made for the Lord, it remains the biggest NGO statistically in the world. Examine what the Vatican has spent in the last 2000 years on the poor. It doesn’t even come close to what it’s sacred treasures and buildings are currently worth. If we want to look at the bad guy, look no further than the multi-billion profit made in the porn industry. Men are objectifying women for their pleasure, profiting from it and building themselves palaces that the poor dare not enter.
The problem with some people who can’t respond to your answer is that they must come up with more arguments to justify themselves. We will now look at a few more cases they develop for their challenge against the Church.
“Priests should be allowed to marry. It’s just not healthy for a man not to want to have sex with other women. If they were allowed to marry, then maybe all them paedophiles wouldn’t exist.”
The concept that we should act upon a born instinct as natural is incredibly fallacious. Science has indicated people are born pyschopaths and others naturally inherit alcoholism. This instinct does not mean these persons should indulge in their passions simply because they’re “natural.” Humans are born natural, but because we are born feral, there is a need for us to tame the Lion within. Christians achieve this with the Grace of God. Sexuality practised within his supernatural plan for our salvation is something we live out either in marriage or a celibate lifestyle. When this occurs, we are no longer slaves to the natural but the supernatural, which is what our original state is. God didn’t make us sinful or wild; that’s something we did through our disobedience.
Finally, statistics have proven that more paedophiles happen to be in same-sex households and heterosexual ones as opposed to the priesthood.
“Adam and Eve are not real neither does God exist. Have you not seen these evolution theories? It’s all a big fairytale but hey, if it brings you comfort.”
Evolution does not explain the cause of the world, which is God. Neither do any of these theories have a shred of evidence that Adam and Eve were not a reality. The problem with evolution is that it has failed time and time again to come up with a succession of remains to prove it’s personal assertions we came from apes. The only plausible evolution theory is that our skeletons and skin evolved to adapt to their environments. This kind of method is consistent with the story of Adam and Eve, of which no scientific study has ever managed to contradict. The theory that we all came from an ape or evolved from a blob of tissue? That’s the most significant fairy tale of the century but hey, if it brings you comfort.
“If God is so good, why does he permit evil?”
Speaking of fairytales, Aladdin and his genie in the lamp is a perfect example here of a story that can sometimes mirror the truth. The genie can grant him three wishes, but one thing he cannot do is make someone fall in love with him. A woman has to do this of her own free will.
The agreement God made with us at the beginning was similar. He endowed the angels and humans with free will to choose him or not over evil. Why didn’t he make us without free will so that we may never choose evil? The reason for this is because God wants people to love Him freely. He cannot bring Himself to force another to adore him, so he gave us free will.
Our first parents abused that free will chose evil and so it is because of them and us that suffering exists in the world today. It is not, therefore, God who permits evil but humans. All God is doing is honouring his first agreement with us. Now we have to deal with an unchangeable reality that suffering is here to stay. Hey, if you don’t believe in God then how on earth can you ever ask such a question and not expect a supernatural answer?
“The Church discriminates against women; why doesn’t it allow women to be priests? They can do just an excellent job as male priests.”
The Church is not a place that celebrates only equality but also rejoices in inequality and the fact that God made us differently, calling us to different missions. Some women like Joan of Arc he entrusted with rescuing France. She became a martyr and example to all that wish to follow Christ. To other women, he revealed Himself and made doctors of the Church who challenged even Popes on the existing state of the Church at its time.
Men have been chosen to act in persona Christi by Christ Himself. He gave them this theological role because that was his desire while he delegated to women other divine purposes. Power-grabbing in the house of God is not a usual practice at all. Only Jesus gets the best seat in the house while the rest of us, no matter where we go, are always at the lower end of the table.
These arguments are designed to be long enough to give a sufficient answer. Although they are at the same time short, are only developed with short conversation in mind and the intellectual capacity of uncle Joe. It’s also a good idea for us to continually refine and hone our skills in debating our faith in the public. It’s always nice to have an answer for the hope that is in us even if such responses fall short. I do hope this article will be of use to you if not send you on a quest to pursue other ways in which people have responded to these arguments.
Are there any arguments here that you’ve heard and I’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.
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