I’m amazed at the intelligence of our younger generation. However, I’m not amazed at their lack of wisdom. While they may be smart and ask and have answers to many questions, their answers seem more scripted rather than well thought-out. In other words, they lack the wisdom to challenge their beliefs and consider counter-arguments.
In trying to debate people like this, coming up with facts is often not effective. I have my facts, and they have their facts (really their facts are more opinions that may only hold a shred of truth.) They haven’t been trained to debate, to really listen and question and seek further enlightenment.
Because of this, trying to argue a point often fails since they seem intent on holding onto their beliefs rather than approaching topics with an open mind and seeking wisdom.
How do you argue your point with people like this, especially when trying to convince them of an important church teaching (such as marriage only between 1 man and 1 woman, the reasons not to use artificial contraception, and many other points?) It’s almost impossible since “their beliefs” triumph over reason, rational thought and common sense.
One day I came up with (or rather God likely implanted into my thoughts) an argument that is essentially foolproof (unless the person with whom you’re having a discussion doesn’t believe in God or the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.) The argument is simple, to the point, and really can’t be debated.
Here it is-God is our father, and as our father He loves us and wants what is best for us. At some point we have to trust that God has our best interests at heart. Do we trust Him? Will we follow Him? Will we take up our cross or simply do what we want to do? Isn’t that what Adam and Eve did, simply doing what they wanted to do and refusing the cross of self-denial? So if we believe in God, and if we believe He wants what is best for us (both in this life and the next,) and in His all-knowing and all-wise ways He knows what makes us the most happy, then we are called to follow Him even if we prefer another, more harmful choice.
Another way to describe this is from Dr. Ray Guarendi’s book, Thinking Like Jesus. As he writes, “If the Catholic Church is my mother, then, like a loving mother, She knows what is good for me and what will hurt me. I am not Her obedient child when I follow Her only when I agree with Her; I am Her obedient child when I follow even when I disagree, trusting in Her wisdom over mine.”
It really is that simple, and if someone is open to developing wisdom, just as we might trust an authority in a certain field to know what is right, we must try God as THE expert in His field-humanity.