Gasoline; match. Apologetics 101b

Posted June 22, 2017 10:04 pm by Isten Joe

If someone is pouring gasoline over you, don’t light a match.
Let’s face it, there are provocateurs out there who take a twisted delight in assaulting believers with the spear of their own unresolved baggage. Instead of opening up that case to sort through that baggage, and conversing in a civil manner, there are those who swing said baggage around like a baseball bat, inflicting as many bruises upon their chosen opponent as possible, possibly because they don’t want to be free of said baggage. Perhaps their known pain is preferable to the possibility of freedom, a freedom which requires them to let go of their deep seated anger. When anger becomes your anchor, do not be surprised when you are dragged down to the bottom of an ocean of misery.
A natural response to a verbal assault is to fight, flee or freeze up when confronted by a bully. Like all bullies, those who have an axe to grind (against the foreheads of Catholics), generally speaking, fear exposure. They have their insecurities like anyone, but they choose to throw up a massive smokescreen by hitting first, verbally, as in the case of the bully apologist. The bully apologist has no argument, no defence, so he swings wildly in order to distract from the issue.
If one chooses to defend oneself against verbal assault (gasoline) by becoming reactive and heated (by striking a match), do not be surprised that you will not only feel worse (having burst into flames) but know that you have given said bully exactly what he wanted. He wanted you to loose yourself by fighting back in anger (with a lit match). The result was you got burned, and he gets the satisfaction of having won by default by proving, to his somewhat mixed-up way of thinking, that you are a hypocrite. Little does that bully realize, however, that he is no less a hypocrite. Having brought you down, he elevates himself. He elevates himself at your expense. His sin was to cause you to fall, much like Satan takes delight in the fall of a sinner. All hypocrites delight in pointing a finger away from their own faults to prop up the pretence that they are morally superior. Their “superiority” relies on the fact that they do not hold themselves up to any standard from which they can fall. They admit no fault because they have no virtue to which they can compare their behaviour. It is easier for the bully to see another person’s faults because he cannot stand to look in a mirror and see his own faults.
Grace is available for you to help you measure your response to those who attempt to toss Catholicism and Catholics under the bus. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom.

Observe the behaviour of those who challenge you and remember, they need the love of God. Do not try to win an argument for the sake of winning an argument. Use the knowledge you do possess to answer as best you can. If you do not have an answer to a question, and if someone is bullying you for an answer, insist that they ask a a properly intended question rather than targeting you. Speak in a calm voice, the voice with which you want them to address you so that ideas can be heard and not drowned out by “fists” and fury. Some questions take time to answer. Invite the person to come to Mass and to follow up with another conversation in a timely manner. Make time for holy conversation.

Ask questions. Ask the bully apologist if he thinks his ideas are perfect, or perfectly expressed. Ask him if his position/belief is truly satisfying—”How’s that working for you?” If he is satisfied with his life/behaviour/approach, ask “Why?”. If he is not satisfied with his life/behaviour/approach, ask “Why not?” Be prepared to follow up with a thoughtfully worded observation that verifies or challenges his assumptions based on whether or not his disclosure is consistent, i.e., truthful.

“Forgive me for saying so, but your behaviour seems out of step with your answer. It seems to me that if you are truly satisfied with your own beliefs, you wouldn’t badger another person in order to prove your beliefs.”

A discussion can be rigourous and charitable if people agree that mutual respect is essential to the exchange of ideas. Ideas can and should be challenged without resorting to badgering and condescension.

Consider for a moment that the bully apologist is sincere and wants a real answer, but he or she has difficulty admitting a need. You must be prepared to find him or her an answer. As mentioned above, some questions require time to formulate a coherent answer. Do your homework.

If, however, the bully apologist is not prepared to listen to you, you may have to excuse yourself from the encounter. You may have to conclude with a question or two:

There is questioning for the sake of finding an answer. And, there is questioning merely to disprove, in which case no answer is likely to satisfy you. Which is it? What is your motivation?

Leave time for a response. Leave room for God to work. Do not conclude that because “success” did not arrive according to your schedule that nothing good will come from an encounter. At the very least, by being challenged to “give reason for the hope that is within you” (1 Peter 3:15), you are being refined in the Faith. The Holy Spirit draws all closer to Himself in His way.

Pray for the bully apologist. Ask God to provide him/her with opportunities to reexamine his or her approach to life’s big questions, and that God may grant him/her the peace only God can give.

Open this link in a new window ... .

Send this to a friend