Responding 5 ‘Difficult’ Statements

1. “There’s no such thing as absolute truth. What’s true for you may not be true for me.”

Isn’t that, in itself, a statement that’s being made absolutely? In other words, it applies some rule or standard to everyone across the board — exactly what the relativists say is impossible. They have undone their own argument simply by stating their case.

2. “The Old and New Testaments contradict one another in numerous places. If an omnipotent God inspired the Bible, He would never have allowed these errors.”

Such a statement is generally followed by a list of Biblical “contradictions.” However, claims of contradictions make a few simple errors. For example, critics fail to read the various books of the Bible in line with the genre in which they were written. The Bible is, after all, a collection of several kinds of writing…history, theology, poetry, apocalyptic material, etc. If we try to read these books in the same wooden way in which we approach a modern newspaper, we’re going to be awfully confused.

3. “I don’t need to go to Church. As long as I’m a good person, that’s all that really matters.”

This argument is used often, and is pretty disingenuous. When someone says he’s a “good person,” what he really means is that he’s “not a bad person” — bad people being those who murder, rape, and steal. Most people don’t have to extend a lot of effort to avoid these sins, and that’s the idea: We want to do the least amount of work necessary just to get us by. Not very Christ-like, is it?

4. “You don’t need to confess your sins to a priest. You can go straight to God.”

The Sacrament of Confession has been with us from the beginning, coming from the words of Christ Himself:

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23)

Notice that Jesus gives His apostles the power to forgive sins. Of course, they wouldn’t know which sins to forgive if they weren’t told what sins were involved.

5. “If the Church truly followed Jesus, they’d sell their lavish art, property, and architecture, and give the money to the poor.”

While the main buildings are called the “Vatican Palace,” it wasn’t built to be the lavish living quarters of the pope. In fact, the residential part of the Vatican is relatively small. The greater portion of the Vatican is given over to purposes of art and science, administration of the Church’s official business, and management of the Palace in general. Quite a number of Church and administrative officials live in the Vatican with the pope, making it more like the Church’s main headquarters.

As for the impressive art collection, truly one of the finest in the world, the Vatican views it as “an irreplaceable treasure,” but not in monetary terms. The pope doesn’t “own” these works of art and couldn’t sell them if he wanted to; they’re merely in the care of the Holy See. The art doesn’t even provide the Church with wealth; actually, it’s just the opposite. The Holy See invests quite a bit of its resources into the upkeep of the collection.

The truth of the matter is that the See has a fairly tight financial budget.

Source: Deal Hudson. “12 Claims Every Catholic Should Be Able to Answer.” Crisis e-letter (June, 2003).

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