Whether you’re a religious education teacher, a DRE for a parish, or even a parent, you may have been asked one or all of the contemporary Catholic apologetics questions below. Though some are existential in nature and some scientific, you don’t need a Ph.D. in Physics, Theology, or Philosophy to help others find the answers they are looking for.
Here are just five questions that we suspect you might get because they are questions that Fr. Spitzer and Magis Institute for Teachers and Catechists receive all the time.
Catholic Apologetics Question #1: Has Science Disproved God?
If science was to use its own methodology, it is not possible for science to disprove God. Scientific methodology states that scientific evidence must come from observational data that is within our universe. Consequently, because God is beyond our universe, science cannot disprove God. Ask yourself: How can you prove something that is outside of our universe by using a methodology that only relies on evidence from our universe? The answer is simple: it is not possible. Now, while science cannot disprove God, it can say something about if there is a creator. In fact, science is moving towards theism. Fr. Spitzer explains why in the video entitled “Has Science Disproved God?” here.
Catholic Apologetics Question #2: Aren’t Most Scientists Atheists?
Contrary to modern media’s claims that most scientists are atheists, statistics show that this is simply not true. In all actuality, 51% of scientists are theists, while only 41% identify as agnostic (simply do not know) or atheist (do not believe at all). Furthermore, 88% of physicians are religious believers, and 67% are moderately to highly affiliated with their religion. In fact, 73% of physicians believe in miracles!
Why would there be such a high percentage of scientists and physicians that have a belief in God? Fr. Spitzer explains in our Most Asked Questions video series that it is because scientists and physicians are rational, reasonable, and scientifically oriented people. Due to the fact that they cannot see anything in science that is rationally opposed to religion, they recognize that it is rational that religion is in line with science. In fact, some of the most renowned scientists are theists: Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Max Planck, just to name a few. In short, having a belief in God is rational.
Catholic Apologetics Question #3: Why Would an All-Loving God Allow Suffering?
In a world of suffering, it is hard to believe that an all-loving God would even allow such pain. The truth is that love is the path to salvation, and suffering is what actually prepares us to be loving. So, if suffering prepares us to be more loving, then there are two questions we need to ask and answer:
- Why would God allow human beings to do evil and cause suffering to other human beings?
- Why would God allow the blind forces of nature to cause human suffering?
The answer to number one is free will. God allows human beings to cause suffering to other humans because if we were perfect and all-loving humans, then we would be programmed to be perfect and all-loving. We would be more akin to robots than human beings with free will. Essentially, we want our loving behaviors to come from within us and by our choice. We don’t want to be programmed robots. God wills the same intention for us. God allows our love to come from us, which means that we also have the capacity to be unloving (cause suffering). He created free creatures whose love is chosen by them and not Him.
The answer to number two is that we, as humans, necessitate an imperfect world because we are given free will. In fact, free will allows us to mature, learn to make sacrifices, and bring out the best in us. Suffering caused by the blind forces of nature helps us to develop love and humility.
For more on the benefits of suffering, watch “Why Would an All-Loving God Allow Suffering?”
Catholic Apologetics Question #4: Do I Really Need a Church To Be Happy?
The concept of individual spirituality is deceptive because there are as many paths to spirituality as there are people, and they cannot all be entirely correct. So, the question we must ask is, “What do we want from spirituality?” Essentially, we want to be in communion with a transcendent reality that allows for an afterlife. We must then ask, “How do we best seek communion with the transcendent reality to move toward salvation?”
Fr. Spitzer says the only way to get close to the fullness of truth is to directly receive this truth from God. We are not God, and, therefore, we cannot find our way to God unless God shows us how to find Him. Religion then, not spirituality, has the source of revelation (fullness of truth). Where do we go for this source of revelation? We go to church.
How do you get started on this plan to find a church? What religion is best? Fr. Spitzer breaks down the answer in the video “Do I Really Need a Church to be Happy?”
Catholic Apologetics Question #5: How Can the Bible Be Reconciled with Science?
The Catholic Church has already reconciled the Bible with science (all the way back in the year 1943). Reconciliation occurs when you allow for scripture to remain scripture and science to remain science. Why? Because they both have their own purpose and methodology.
The purpose of science is to give an appropriate description and explanation of the physical universe. Science’s methodology is an empirical, mathematical method that is rigorously tested. The purpose of scripture is to provide sacred truths necessary for salvation. Scripture’s methodology is the use of literary genres such as metaphor, stories, etc. Science has no intention of giving answers of salvation, just as the scripture has no desire to give answers about the physical universe.
When the creation stories in the Bible were written, the Biblical authors were countering rival myths. Therefore, the authors used the same type of metaphors to describe the following truths of salvation:
- There is one God
- Everything else is a creation of God
- Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God
- Matter is good
There is a recurring argument that the bible is literal and not metaphorical. In one of our Most Asked Questions videos, Fr. Spitzer discusses the two views of Biblical inspiration (the dictation view of inspiration and the co-participative view of inspiration) within his argument that scripture is, indeed, metaphorical.
Resources for Answers to Students' Apologetics Questions
Looking for more answers to Catholic apologetics questions? Check out our Most Asked Questions series sneak peek here. There you will find ten of the many questions that Fr. Spitzer gets asked the most. For full access to our Most Asked Questions video series, become a Magis Institute for Teachers and Catechists member or sign up to receive a Certificate in Contemporary Apologetics through our Magis Institute for Teachers and Catechists.