Link The Gospel and Social Media by Jeffrey Miller July 5, 2012 written by Jeffrey Miller July 5, 2012 Sister Mary Ann Walsh, RSM has some solid suggestions for evangelizers using social media. 36 comments 0 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest Jeffrey Miller previous post A deeper freedom next post The dictatorship of sentimentality You may also like Monk Move March 17, 2005 We Have Come To Worship Him August 25, 2005 Is you is or is you ain't pro-Obamacare August 10, 2009 The Price is right (as usual) February 22, 2005 Election Novena (Day 7) October 30, 2004 Even priests have fantasies July 19, 2007 The New Yorker and G.K. Chesterton July 18, 2008 Why I am not a Deist December 1, 2006 Sixth Anniversary of “Anderson’s Law” March 21, 2013 Missionaries of Charity Nuns refusing to leave Baghdad March 19, 2003 36 comments salvage July 5, 2012 - 5:40 pm Once again, why does your god and its one true religion need people to spread it? Why can’t your god do it? Reply Kevin July 5, 2012 - 5:53 pm In the first place God does “do” it. Do you seriously think the teaching on faith and morals of Jesus Christ has survived for 2,000 years strictly because of humans? In the second place, humans aren’t robots. We can choose to help teach about God and God encourages us to help, according to our abilities. If a small child wants to help you cook in the kitchen do you get them a chair to stand on and give them a very real task, even if easy –or– do you give the child the back of your hand and a reprimand? What a heartless thing to ask. Why do you insist it’s an exclusionary either/or proposition, instead of dogmatically never allowed to be an all-inclusive both/and invitation? That’s some restrictive kind of train you want to be conducting. Reply Tom K. July 5, 2012 - 6:35 pm Salvage’s questions exemplify one aspect of what some call the “scandal of particularity” — that God should choose to reveal Himself, not to everyone all the time in an irrefutable manner, but in particular, discrete ways, to particular persons — even *as* a particular human being. And I’m sure Salvage understands the distinction between “A can’t do X” and “A doesn’t do X.” Reply salvage July 5, 2012 - 8:11 pm > Do you seriously think the teaching on faith and morals of Jesus Christ has survived for 2,000 years strictly because of humans? Uh yes? Ancient Egyptian teachings have survived for 6,000 years is that because Osiris has been helping out? Buddha’s stuff older than Jesus (and surprisingly similar almost like someone read it and then re-wrote it and said that Jesus said it) and it’s still around today. Ditto with the Hindu, Australian aboriginal, African etc. That’s all cuz of humans but Christianity is because of your god? And which faith and morals of Jesus Christ? The Catholic ones? The Protestant ones? The Coptic ones? The Mormon ones? They’ve survived but not intact, they’ve transformed quite a bit over the centuries. >In the second place, humans aren’t robots. Yeah, I can’t believe I said they were! What was I thinking?!?! >We can choose to help teach about God and God encourages us to help, according to our abilities. Are you answering my points because I don’t think I said anything about choice or robots. What I asked is why your god can’t tell people about itself itself. It used to in the old days, weird that it doesn’t anymore. >If a small child wants to help you cook in the kitchen do you get them a chair to stand on and give them a very real task, even if easy –or– do you give the child the back of your hand and a reprimand? So you asked your god to help out and it gave you the easy task of doing everything? I mean your god hasn’t built any churches, it didn’t form armies and march on the pagans of Europe forcing them to convert, didn’t build ships so that the various natives of the Americas could likewise be conquered. So to take your analogy it’s like the parent told the kids “Make a six course meal for the whole neighborhood while I stand around and do nothing”. >What a heartless thing to ask. I agree! Poor kids! But then again your god has always been a bit of a sadist. >Why do you insist it’s an exclusionary either/or proposition, instead of dogmatically never allowed to be an all-inclusive both/and invitation? Because your god could do it all with no effort and bring about the kingdom that you guys are always going on about? See that’s the strange thing about your god, it claims to be all powerful but none of its plans ever work out and it never seems to do anything. >That’s some restrictive kind of train you want to be conducting. Yeah, it’s like I’m telling people if they want to get on the train they have to love and worship me and if they don’t I’ll throw them into Hell. Reply salvage July 5, 2012 - 8:14 pm >And I’m sure Salvage understands the distinction between “A can’t do X” and “A doesn’t do X.” Sure but your god wants worshippers doesn’t it? I mean it’s number one on the 10 Commandments, beats out killing and everything! And your god could have everyone on the planet if it just showed up. So it’s more like A wants X but gets Y (who clearly isn’t up to the job) to make X happen even though A could do it in a second with no fuss or bother. And this makes sense to you? Reply Panda Rosa July 5, 2012 - 8:29 pm Keep it up, Salvage, just keep it up. Reply Tom K. July 5, 2012 - 9:24 pm “Sure but your god wants worshippers doesn’t it?” Not particularly. Whether or not you believe it, Christian theology isn’t accurately captured by the soliloquies of a sullen seventeen-year-old told that in *this* house, mister, we go to church on Sundays. Reply salvage July 6, 2012 - 8:23 am >“Sure but your god wants worshippers doesn’t it?” >Not particularly. … So… your god doesn’t want worshippers? Then why all the evangelizing? You want other people to worship your god? It’s all about you then? And anyone who doesn’t worship your god gets thrown into Hell so it wants to do that? Reply Panda Rosa July 6, 2012 - 12:46 pm Salvage, you’re making less sense than usual. Reply salvage July 6, 2012 - 1:01 pm Really? Let me try again but since the subject matter, theism, doesn’t make much sense to begin with it’s hard. A thing that theists often do it try and convert people who don’t believe in their god, this is called evangelizing, with me so far? Now this is a hard thing for people to do, I’ve often wondered in the whole history of Jehovah’s Witnessing if they ever knocked on the door of a non-believer and convinced them otherwise. The laws of averages demands that it’s happened but it must be quite rare. So, it’s difficult, can you agree with that? But if your god did it? Like if Jesus were to appear at the UN, float over to the podium, hold out bloody wrists and declare himself King, well who could argue? CNN carried the story, Jesus does 60 Minutes, cures a few diseases and boom! Welcome to planet Earth now with a whole lot more Christians. I imagine that would net at least 90% of the population. That is what your god wants right? It wants people to love and worship it yet it does nothing to make it happen. So what part of that are you not understanding? Reply Tom K July 6, 2012 - 2:44 pm It’s kind of funny, but I’ve noticed that the more questions someone asks in a blog comment, the less he cares about the answers. Reply Peter Rother July 6, 2012 - 2:48 pm Dear Administrator, Don’t sweat the attacks on your site. Consider it a blessing of your fidelity. Christus vincit. Peter Reply salvage July 6, 2012 - 2:51 pm So that’s why you cant’ / wont’ answer them? Not sure if that makes sense. Reply CatholicSkywalker July 6, 2012 - 5:16 pm Please keep in mind that salvage is not interested in real dialogue when it is offered. A rant in the form of an interrogative is still a rant. I have students like him who use questions not as tools for gaining wisdom, but weapons to try and take down an opponent. I am not saying that arguing with salvage is useless, per se. Sometimes I will respond vigorously to a closed-minded student even though they will not accept reason. I do it for those who witness the debate so that those open to reason can see where it leads. It is also important to keep in mind that sometimes the words we say that we think are ineffective, really do reach the mind and the heart in time. No one is beyond hope. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have the joy and happiness of Christ that I do now. In the same way, I think there can be value in responding to salvage. But do not expect a reasoned point to be returned with a reasoned response. Let us continue to pray for our brother, salvage, and wish him happiness. Reply CatholicSkywalker July 6, 2012 - 5:26 pm Regarding Sr. Mary Ann Walsh’s post, I thought it had a lot of good practical advice. My only hesitation is that the use of images, while potent, cannot replace logic and reason. Images appeal to the heart. Arguments appeal to the mind. Both are necessary to be sure. But if we use images in place of arguments, then we are lost to irrational sentiment as the basis of our evangelization. CS Lewis was fond of using analogies to explain the faith, and it is very effective in the classroom. His analogy of Purgatory to the dentist still sits with me. But Lewis always said that analogies are explanations, not arguments. They don’t prove THAT a thing is true, just HOW it could be true. I am not saying Sr. Mary Ann Walsh is advocating that images replace arguments. But it is a danger that should be addressed. Reply Roberto July 6, 2012 - 6:34 pm CS: Sister said that there is a place for more logical arguments (e.g. in scholarly work), but that in social media images are more effective. Chesterton said something to the effect that a crazy person does not lack logic, rather has ONLY logic. We humans pride in our use of logic, yet understand it little and rely on it at the cost of ignoring what makes us human (the emotional world). Moreover, the Christian faith is not primarily a logic-based philosophy (although it is that too, and a strong one at that, notwithstanding the claims of those who do not understand philosophy), rather it is a spiritual faith in a person who did (and does) indeed use images all the times. Mind you, I do not dismiss the point you are making. I understand the danger you are pointing to, I am only trying to expand and clarify on it. Reply CatholicSkywalker July 6, 2012 - 11:07 pm Roberto, Thank you for your comments. And I agree with you. Reason, devoid of a good will, is not enough. What I found in the classroom is that the appeal to images and the heart can attract a student to the beauty of the Gospel. But if I don’t give them that solid foundation in the rationality of the faith, then that initial enthusiasm tends to evaporate. But even above this, you are right in that the Christian Faith is primarily a deeply personal relationship with the Lord. Reply salvage July 7, 2012 - 8:28 am >Please keep in mind that salvage is not interested in real dialogue when it is offered. A rant in the form of an interrogative is still a rant. It’s so neat the way you decide what is real and what is not, but that is of course part and parcel of being a theist. If you went with the standard model of reality your god would sadly find itself non-exsistent. >I have students like him who use questions not as tools for gaining wisdom, but weapons to try and take down an opponent. And by not answering them you win! > Sometimes I will respond vigorously to a closed-minded student even though they will not accept reason. Darn me and me complete refusal to believe that a 6,000 year myth could be true! Why can’t I accept that very reasonable premise? Hmmm, well you don’t acept that Norse myths are true right? So can you tell me why they’re not true and yours are and then I won’t be so close-minded! Oh, wait, someone who does believe in Thor and Odin could accuse you of being close-minded couldn’t they? Hmmm, I wonder what that means! > I do it for those who witness the debate so that those open to reason can see where it leads. You keep saying reason but you’re not backing up your opinions with any. Are you sure you know what that word means? >It is also important to keep in mind that sometimes the words we say that we think are ineffective, really do reach the mind and the heart in time. No one is beyond hope. Ah, yes, subliminal brainwashing! That is something that I believe cults find much use of. >If that were the case, I wouldn’t have the joy and happiness of Christ that I do now. So your god makes you happy? How? Does that mean it’s real? Did you know that’s what Marx meant when he called religion the “opiate of the masses”? It’s like theism is a drug that numbs people to the harsh realities of life, which is fair enough, gosh knows I’ve indulged but to be in a state of contestant stupor? Hmm, tempting but probably not a good thing. > But do not expect a reasoned point to be returned with a reasoned response. Yeah, I never explain any of my points! Nope, no reasons there. Hey do you know that to protect delusions people will straight up ignore reality, like even if it’s in words on their screens part of their minds will simply refuse to acknowledge them. >Let us continue to pray for our brother, salvage, and wish him happiness. Still wonder what effect prayer has beyond the prayer. Does your god act on them? Will it do some sort of magical mind control on me? Will it mind control other people to intersect me? Or would it have done it anyway anticipating your prayers? And in your prayers why do you have to tell your god how great it is? Doesn’t it know being a god and all? Does it have an ego that requires constant fluffing? I had a buddy like that, he was a bit of a jerk specially to women… hey just like your god! Reply Panda Rosa July 7, 2012 - 12:19 pm Always with the feather, Salvage, always with the feather. Do you rally want an answer or just keep preening about your superiority? Reply salvage July 7, 2012 - 12:33 pm I really want an answer as I always do and always ask for and once again, where have I claimed “superiority”? Can you provide an example? I don’t think I’m “superior” because I know there are no such things as gods, I think I’m more sensible. But tell me this, do you think you’re superior over Muslims and Jews? They have it all wrong and you have it right, right? Reply Matt July 7, 2012 - 12:40 pm >But tell me this, do you think you’re superior over Muslims and Jews? They have it all wrong and you have it right, right? I can’t speak for Muslim theology, but Catholics for the most part look at the Jewish faith as a sort of “Theological Grandparent”. We have much in common and expect for Christ as Savior, would agree on many areas of belief. The Mass takes it’s rites and rituals almost exclusively from ancient Jewish worship (or so I’ve come to understand). I would imagine that if a Jew would sit in on a Catholic mass, he would find many familiar things about it, especially the readings from the Old Testament and the Psalms that are song. Reply salvage July 7, 2012 - 2:20 pm >I can’t speak for Muslim theology, but Catholics for the most part look at the Jewish faith as a sort of “Theological Grandparent”. Sure and Judaism’s “grandparent” would be the Babylonian pagan religions. Just as every war spawns the next one every religion is an evolution or melding of previous ones. > We have much in common and expect for Christ as Savior, Well that’s a pretty big sticking point isn’t it? Bit like saying soccer and Football have much in common but really you can’t play one with the other’s rules / rituals can you? >would agree on many areas of belief. Hmmm not sure if “many” is quite right, not even monotheism as Christianity has at least two gods and that Catholicism three (that is one I know but still three) and countless demigods such as Mary, the apostles and saints. They have been ascribed supernatural tendencies afterall. > The Mass takes it’s rites and rituals almost exclusively from ancient Jewish worship (or so I’ve come to understand). Nope. There you are very wrong, the Mass is rooted in Roman pagan rituals for the most part. From the baptism to the communion these are all from ancient Rome. I was raised Jewish and my best friend when I was a kid was Catholic, I went to a few of the ceremonies and I can assure you that they were quite alien to me. What freaked me out the most was the no food deal. We’re half way through Mass and I ask my buddy “Where are the caterers?” “Huh?” he replied. “The cakes and tiny samiches? The punch and cookies? The nosh man, where’s that being set up?” He looked at me like I was mad, no food, after Church they’d go out to brunch. Culture shock city. Christianity is a melding of Judaism, ancient Roman paganism , Egyptian “mystery cults” and Far East Buddhist philosophy (do unto others etc.). There truly is nothing new under the sun. I suggest you read the relevant volumes of “The The Story of Civilization” by Will Durant if you’re really interested. Each book cover s the history of several geographic regions, it’s an unbelievably ambitious, fascinating, and comprehensive series. It traces religion from the Neolithic to our modern age, well to the1930s-60s at any rate. But rest assured as Christianity splintered from Judaism they made sure to make it as distinct as possible, aside from the very broad strokes of the Old Testament there is little in common. Which makes sense considering the Christian god is going to throw every Jew into Hell for not abiding in Christ. Like “dead wood” is how Jesus is said to have put it. Reply Matt July 7, 2012 - 3:30 pm And thats what I get for talking to a troll. Learned my lesson. Reply CatholicSkywalker July 7, 2012 - 3:31 pm Matt, Do not forget that salvage knows very little about the Christian faith when he goes on his rants. Notice his failure to grasp the most basic article of the faith, monotheism, and his ignorant use of the word “demigod.” Please keep that in mind should you choose to continue engaging him. I have heard of cases you posited, where Jewish people would attend a mass and were surprised to find common Jewish prayers (“Blessed are you Lord God of all creation, for through…) woven into the mass. Reply salvage July 7, 2012 - 4:52 pm > And thats what I get for talking to a troll. Learned my lesson. … Wow. You got a history lesson complete with a highly respected source so that if I’m in error about you can call me on. Nah, easier to call me a name. Just like Jesus you are. Also difficult would be learning stuff as that’s Kryptonite to theism because what if salvage is right?!?! That…. that would mean… that there isn’t a god taking an interest in your life, watching out for you and getting ready to reward you for your faith! And that simply would not do! Life is far too scary to face alone. >that salvage knows very little about the Christian faith Really? Can you show me what I got wrong? >most basic article of the faith, monotheism And the Father Son and Holy Ghost are what again? Three that are one but also separate yeah? Of course Christians can’t even decide on that one, lead to some very nasty wars. Which side did Jesus cheer? Well yours of course. >ignorant use of the word “demigod.” dem·i·god (dm-gd) n. 1. Mythology a. A male being, often the offspring of a god and a mortal, who has some but not all of the powers of a god. That would describe Jesus no? You do know he wasn’t the first? That was a very pagan thing, even mortals got in on it. Julius Caesar was a decedent of Venus, in fact most of the Roman pagan Emperors were related to one god or another. Well not in fact but you get the idea. b. An inferior deity; a minor god. That would be Mary, you pray to her right? She performs miracles yeah? Has magic powers to appear to small children and make the sun go doolally? I know, I know, it’s all the OTHER religions that are like myths yours isn’t because… hmmm actually you guys refuse to explain why that is. Maybe this time? c. A deified man. Saints are what again? 2. A person who is highly honored or revered. That would be Mary, the saints and apostles no? Facts! They are stubborn things huh? Words! Isn’t it crazy how they mean stuff even when you don’t want them to? >Blessed are you Lord God of all creation, for through Well yeah, and that would be the same for Muslims, and prayers to Greek gods and all the rest. What else are they going to say? The broad strokes such as the one’s your god’s ego demands are the same but the specifics? Well radically different. It’s fascinating they way you guys dodge the truth and choose to know so little about the faith your profess. But hey, you’re not alone: American atheists and agnostics know more about religion than professed believers By Cory Doctorow at 6:25 am Tuesday, Sep 28 A new Pew survey on religion in America finds that atheists and agnostics are more likely to be well-versed about different religions’ beliefs and practices than people who profess a belief in those religions. boingboing.net/2010/09/28/american-atheists-an.html See? That’s why atheists reject religion, because we know it and realize just how silly it is. And that’s why you lot won’t make an effort to find out the facts, too afraid of the truth. Sad and funny all at once. Reply Tom K. July 8, 2012 - 1:31 pm “Sad and funny all at once.” Well said. Reply salvage July 8, 2012 - 3:36 pm Ah! I see what you did there, you took what I said and made it like it could be said about me! Touché! Now why not take that razor sharp witty intellect and explain to me why your god needs mortals to do stuff that not only could it do itself but used to? Or explain why Mary and the saints and the rest aren’t demigods or anything else I’ve obviously gotten horrifically wrong? Reply CatholicSkywalker July 8, 2012 - 4:37 pm This a passage from CS Lewis’ “The Last Battle” Aslan raised his head and shook his mane. Instantly a glorious feast appeared on the Dwarfs’ knees: pies and tongues and pigeons and trifles and ices, and each Dwarf had a goblet of good wine in his right hand. But it wasn’t much use. They began eating and drinking greedily enough, but it was clear that they couldn’t taste it properly. They thought they were eating and drinking only the sort of things you might find in a stable. One said he was trying to eat hay and another said he had a bit of an old turnip and a third said he’d found a raw cabbage leaf. And they raised golden goblets of rich red wine to their lips and said ‘Ugh! Fancy drinking dirty water out of a trough that a donkey’s been at! Never thought we’d come to this.’ But very soon every Dwarf began suspecting that every other Dwarf had found something nicer than he had, and they started grabbing and snatching, and went on to quarrelling, till in a few minutes there was a free fight and all the good food was smeared on their faces and clothes or trodden under foot. But when at last they sat down to nurse their black eyes and their bleeding noses, they all said: ‘Well, at any rate there’s no Humbug here. We haven’t let anyone take us in. The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs.’ Reply salvage July 8, 2012 - 5:41 pm Isn’t it interesting how a fantasy story can make such a superb parallel to your religion? Still great books, I’ve given a few sets to kids, they’re a gateway to Lord of the Rings and sci-fi and fantasy in general. Reply Tom K. July 8, 2012 - 10:12 pm “Now why not take that razor sharp witty intellect and explain to me why your god needs mortals to do stuff that not only could it do itself but used to?” Because it’s not possible to explain something to someone who thinks he already knows. Reply salvage July 9, 2012 - 5:45 am Yes, that must be it. Reply CatholicSkywalker July 9, 2012 - 12:16 pm Tom K. I think you are correct. A question should be asked to gain knowledge, not to win an argument. I remember I was debating a priest and he asked me, “What does it take to change someone’s heart.” I answered, “Grace.” He responded, “No, you’re not answering my question.” “No,” I responded, “It takes grace to change a man’s heart.” “That’s not true,” he said, “it takes love.” Now, I know what he was saying, and I see his point. But the problem with his question was that he already thought he knew the answer. Rather than try to understand my answer, he attacked/dismissed it. I could not explain my thoughts to him, because he was not interested in engaging in dialogue (answering questions, etc). So again, I think your insight is good. Reply salvage July 9, 2012 - 12:23 pm Uh huh. Why is your god real and all others not? I don’t know the answer to that question, I only know that there are no such things as gods. The fact that y’all refuse to answer it is the answer. Reply CatholicSkywalker July 9, 2012 - 2:43 pm “The fact that y’all refuse to answer it is the answer.” -Well said. Plus I thank you for showing us the logical contradiction of your thought. Wishing you happiness… Reply salvage July 9, 2012 - 3:42 pm And that’s why your god is real and the thousands others fake! How lucky you are and how unfortunate all those others for being born into the wrong religion / culture / time. Hmmm, then again they would say that your god is the fake one and theirs real… huh, wonder what that means? Reply Panda Rosa July 11, 2012 - 2:56 pm It’s one thing to argue about false gods versus the true one. It’s another thing entirely to argue for the existence of the gods at all; if you don’t believe in any deities whatsoever, then it’s not going to matter which ones are “true” or not. If no answer I give can be the right one then after a time I give up out of weariness. And if you already know the Right Answer it becomes a frustrating game where we have to guess what it is. It’s like that classic dilemma: “Honey, what’s wrong?” “NOTHING.” and you know you’re doomed. BTW, fantasy can have a bigger affect on a child than you’d like, Salvage, ask any Fundy, they HATE the stuff. Reply Leave a Comment Cancel Reply Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.