By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor
There’s a program coming up that will give Catholics who wish to enter into dialogue about their faith an opportunity to do so without having to be an expert and without provoking an argument.
Starting May 7, St. Catharine Parish, Holmdel, will present a six-session series on “How to Talk About God With Anyone, Including Your Kids.”
The goal of the program, said Deacon Chris Hansen, facilitator and director of discussions, is to enable Catholics to address a variety of topics in a “winsome way.” Noting that there are many Catholics with family members, friends and even casual acquaintances who carry with them worldviews that are often at odds with the truths contained within the Catholic Church, Deacon Hansen said that in response, “most Catholics feel unprepared and inadequate when it comes to answering these questions.
“Worse yet, we become defensive and argumentative when these topics arise so we avoid them entirely,” he said in sharing his own experience in having had numerous discussions on a variety of topics with dozens of active, church-going Catholics and Protestants as well as non-believers and those who are “spiritual but not religious.”
Emphasizing how addressing questions about the faith comes down to technique, practice and the way in which one approaches (or provokes) the topics, Deacon Hansen said the conversations can either become enlightening, which lead to faith, or heated arguments, which only solidify misunderstanding.
“We have been told that we need the New Evangelization but we probably will not get it until we have learned to practice a new, non-threatening, non-confrontational apologetic conversation, which is what this [series] is all about. Bottom line is unless we learn how to have pleasant conversations, rather than heated arguments about matters of faith, we will continue to turn questioners off and encourage non-believers in their non-belief. Knowing that the answers to our questions are here, in the Catholic Church, makes all the difference in how we approach, address, invite people to “Talk About God with Anyone, Including Our Kids,” said Deacon Hansen.
The series will run on the following Mondays: May 7, 14, 21, June 4, 11 and 18 in Rooms 16 and 17 in the church’s educational wing at 108 Middletown Road. Morning sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon and repeated in the evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. The format features video presentations by Catholic scholars and apologists/evangelists including Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles; Dr. Scott Hahn and Father Mike Schmitz as well as supplemental information cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Time will be allotted for discussion questions and opportunities to practice on employing the material presented.
The schedule of dates and topics are:
May 7 • “Understanding Millennials and Gen Z Worldviews” and Bishop Robert Barron on “How to Argue About Religion.”
May 14 • “The Three Questions Leading to Civil Conversation,” apologist/author Greg Koukl.
May 21 • “Does God Exist? Does He Care?” with Bishop Barron; “The Purpose of Suffering • The Problem of Evil and Suffering” with Father Schmitz, and “The Problem of Evil and Children With Cancer” with Dr. Frank Turek.
June 4 • “Has Science Disproven God?” with Bishop Barron on “Scientism and Evolution.”
June 11 • “Has God Changed from the Old Testament to the New Testament?” with Father Schmitz on “Has God Changed?”
June 18 • “How Can Jesus Be the Only Way to God? Isn’t That Intolerant?” with Father Schmitz on “Aren’t All Churches the Same? and “Can All Religions Be True?” with Dr. Turek.
There is no fee to attend the series but participants are asked to register in person in the parish office or by emailing [email protected]. Participants are asked to bring a pen/pencil and copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, if possible.[[In-content Ad]]