Monday, April 13, 2009

Proper response to improper comments about the Catholic Church and Christianity

As I've listened to more and more Catholic Answers Live and learn more about my faith, I also learn more about interacting with others. As Christians, we must always give an account for our beliefs and to defend them, but must do it with love and kindness, as Peter tells us in his epistle, in the Bible.

How do we react to slander and blasphemy? I may not be an expert in this subject, but I have learned some things throughout my life. Let me know if you have learned anything by posting a comment on my blog.

1) Do not encourage uncharitable or unkind words. This is very important. Sometimes we see a false dicotomy between speaking out very boldly and noticeably to defend our beliefs and not defending them at all. There is a middle ground however. You must not formally cooperate in evil or encourage it. A good idea I think is if someone says something that's anti-Christian, you don't need to stand out and chastise them, but just do not respond. If it was a joke, do not laugh, if it misinformation, just leave. Make it noticeable that you are not entertained by their comments, but you don't need to give them a public scolding.

2) Whenever possible, tell people something positive about your faith. You can do this subtlely, without starting off with "Christianity is the way to God because...". For example, if someone asks you what you did on the weekend, you can mention that you went to Mass, and list other things as well if you want. Or if someone is sick, mention that you will pray for them.

The point I am trying to make is that in order to evangelize, you do not have to wear an enormous crucifix around your next and only talk about God and your faith. You can evangelize subtlely. Never sacrifice what you hold most dear, and never participate in unkind words toward your beliefs. Always bear witness to the hope that is in you. Having said this, if you feel you are called or feel brave, you can always go out of your way to talk about the love of Christ. If you want to tell people about your faith and to defend it clearly and loudly, by all means, go ahead. Remember, many Christians were killed for their beliefs, so being mocked is not so bad.

Do not take an all or nothing approach. Do whatever you can to spread the good news.

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