I have received some criticism over the years for the work that I do. “Why do you talk to those people?”, they ask. “We have the Truth, what good is there in talking to them?” they say. “Their teaching is false/idolatrous; we should have nothing to do with them!”, etc. Okay, often the objections are not put quite so bluntly, but that’s the gist of it.
Today in Cathnews there was a link to this article in National Catholic Register on the New Evangelisation. There is a video embedded in it of Scott Hahn and Fr Barron – but I haven’t watched that yet. What got me was what the author of the article, Matthew Warner, wrote at the end after the video:
I especially liked Scott Hahn’s quote he gave at the end when answering how we engage in this “New Apologetic”?
Answer: By forming strong friendships with Marxists, atheists, and radical feminists so you’re not just refuting arguments, you’re responding to friends.
That really hits home. And that’s one of the reasons I love new media. It gives us a great opportunity to break out of our isolated bubbles and go out and put a personal face on those we disagree with. Personalism. When we get to know those we disagree with – whether it’s about faith, politics or anything else – we are far more likely to attempt to understand them before we coldly demonize them from afar. That builds communion. That opens minds and allows the Holy Spirit to work miracles. And that is our simple task.
The blog is very much about apologetics, but I have no time for polemicism. I like to see all our commentators here as friends around the after-dinner table passing round the port bottle. The New Apologetics must be the apologetics of love, not enmity.
Hence it must also be a dialogical apologetics. Dialogue is what I do for my bread and butter (some people find this hard to believe!). I love to make friends with people who have different ideas to me – as long as they are really interested in searching for the truth and living by it that is. I would rather spend time in conversation with a Buddhist, or an Atheist, or a Muslim or a Feminist who actually seriously is seeking the essential things of life, than with someone who has no interest at all in reflecting upon their life and its meaning and what it means to live and to die well.
In my work and in my leisure, I am not interested in winning arguments. I am interested in “responding to friends”.