Trent Horn, one of my favorite Catholic apologists and speakers, came to St. Michael's Catholic Church in Lincoln yesterday. I got to attend his talk with my sister and brother-in-law. What a fun way to spend a Saturday morning! (A Christian apologist, from the Greek word meaning "to give an account," is a person answering Paul's call in 1 Peter 3:15 to always be ready to give a defense of the faith.)
Trent is a regular guest on Catholic Answers Live. As I've mentioned several times before on the blog, Catholic Answers Live is a dynamo call-in radio show. It airs for two hours Monday-Friday. The show has a range of topics related to Catholicism. When Trent Horn is the guest, the hosts kiddingly say they "discriminate against the Catholic guests" and ask only non-Catholics to call-in. The show topics include:
- "Why are you pro-choice?"
- "Why do you reject Catholic morality?"
- "Why believe in Jesus?"
- "Persuasive Pro-Life"
- "Why Are You An Atheist?"
- "Arguments for (and against) God's existence"
(Click on any of the above links to listen to podcasts of the archived Catholic Answers shows with Trent Horn.)
I love it when Trent Horn is on Catholic Answers because of his unique ability to defend the Faith. When many Christians get riled up by the vitriol spewed at them from those that call themselves pro-choice, atheists, or anti-theists, Trent remains calm. By using the Socratic Method (asking a whole lotta good questions), Trent gently and lovingly exposes the weak or false beliefs of the caller. While many callers do not hang up convinced of the Catholic worldview, many thank Trent and Catholic Answers Live for offering a venue to discuss these matters in ways that are rarely achieved elsewhere. In fact, many of the callers say that they are leaving the call with more questions and that they look forward to talking again.
Yesterday at St. Michael's, Trent shared a talk that he called a "Beginner's guide to defending your faith." Before the talk began, he greeted the guests and signed his materials in the vestibule. A few of our GodTeens call themselves atheists, so I thought it would be wise to get Trent's DVD and book Answering Atheism. I noticed he had a DVD called "Why Believe in Jesus?" too, so I asked him which would be better for our GodTeens group. He said that he believed in getting the materials to as many people as possible, so he said that he would give me one for free if I bought the other. So, I got them all! He graciously signed the DVDs and book for me.
I love how he signed the book's title page:
I wonder if Trent regularly listens to Fr. John Riccardo too, because Fr. Riccardo regularly says that Sirach 2 is going to be to focus of the eulogy at his funeral Mass. It was endearing to meet Trent in person and get to talk with him for a few minutes. I even got to ask him what he, his wife, and Pope Francis were giggling about in his Facebook cover photo. Ha!
Trent's talk gave all of us helpful insights into how to defend the faith rationally. When we get stumped, he recommended these 4 steps:
- Pray, pray, pray!
- Ask the person, "What do you think?" about the topic you're discussing.
- After they've answered, ask, "Why do you think that?"
- If you're still stumped, say, "Let me think about it, and I will get back to you."
I appreciated the practical tips on how to defend the faith. I felt like I had gained a handy dandy toolbox for handling the tough questions that get hurled my way, especially with our GodTeens.
Trent took some time to answer questions at the end. I raised my hand and said, "Let's say you are leading a small youth group, and a few of the young people struggle with anger toward God and doubt in His existence because of their childhoods. What would you say is the most convincing argument for a young person that God loves them and that they should have a relationship with Christ?"
I loved, loved, loved Trent's answer. I have to paraphrase because I can't remember every word he said, but the gist was this:
- First, give the rational defense of God's creation of the world. God's creation of the world and our existence demonstrates His love.
- Second, reflect on Christ's Passion, Death, and Resurrection. God is omnipotent, so He didn't have to send His Only Son to die for us, but He did. Aquinas reflects on God's choosing to send Christ and have Him die on the cross. God's choice to send Christ on our behalf is a visible, tangible way for us to remember that He loves us enough to do that (pointing to the crucifix).
Thank you for coming to Lincoln and for sharing your wisdom with all of us, Trent! You, your ministry, and the Catholic Answers apostolate are in our prayers!