Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dealing With Intolerance

A day after I post on the incident in Florida, I found an incident which hit closer to home in which an individual thought he would take a none too subtle swipe at Catholic beliefs in response to an article by another blogger (who is innocent here… let me make that clear).

The comment was none too insightful.  It was the usual hysterical claims from an ex-Catholic that Catholic practices are really barely disguised pagan worship contrary to the Scripture.  Ironically, this individual failed to notice that what he was calling pure Christianity was in fact a heavily culture-influenced version of early 20th century Fundamentalist Protestantism which he adopted.

I suspect such individuals tend to be converted because they do not understand what they believe, and then when confronted with an anti-Catholic challenge they assume that because they do not know the answer there is none

The question which comes to mind is how does one deal with this type of uninformed intolerance?

It cannot be silence.

One of the minor saints whose memorial is today (the major memorial is for St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine) is Saint Poemon, who once said “Silence is not a virtue when charity calls for speech.”  This is a very real issue.

There are times when I just want to throw up my hands and say “To hell with this, it isn’t worth it…”  But when calumnies are made, we must speak out for the truth, lest someone think that our silence means there is no answer.

The hysterical anti-Catholic belief holds that Catholics follow a corrupted Christianity introducing pagan customs in and making them into doctrines and dogmas.  They will make use of the post hoc fallacy, claiming that because a certain pagan culture followed certain forms and the Catholic Church followed certain forms the Catholic Church must have adopted these things from pagan culture.

In contrast, they claim they follow the Bible pure and simple as it was meant to be followed.

Now sometimes, when dealing with an individual of reason, even if disagreement remains, they will be respectful and say that even though they disagree.  The bigot will assume that everything contrary to his belief is wrong, and if you knock down one point, will move on to the next, and will never consider the possibility he misunderstands what he hates.

Quiet and reasoned discourse is the optimal response.  However, this won’t work with a verse slinger.  They operate under the principle that pagan belief X is similar to Catholic belief A.  Therefore they apply Bible verse Y to Catholic belief A and say this proves Catholic beliefs are false.

Against such a mindset, one will not convince an individual to reconsider.  All you can do is to point out the errors and hope others will not follow the anti-Catholic into the ditch.

Most importantly we can pray for them.

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