Kevin Gregorek from Catholic Culture e-mailed me and invited me to take a look at Jeff Mirus’s piece “Friendly Persuasion.” My readers know I’m no particular fan of apologetics as such. But I was intrigued by the threefold aspect of logos (content) ethos (credibility) and pathos (persuasion).
Dr Mirus gets into a good discussion of pathos and its pitfalls. I have one thing to add to his admiration of Jesus and Jesus’s ability to inspire faith and trust from his lived witness of service and devotion to the Father.
The Church teaches–as Jesus did–that simply living the Christian life is a substantial witness to the faith. It is the hallmark of the Christian faith, the biblical witness of “See how they love …”
In a book, an article, or a blog, a person can practice apologetics with good content, a credible reputation, and with charm and persuasion. What is missing is the lived witness, and not just the virtue of it. To be convincing believers, non-believers and doubters need to see Catholics warts and all (because we all know we all have them). We don’t sink ourselves (necessarily) by making mistakes, but in how we recover from them, and give, over a lengthy period of time, an example that shines in spite of our errors.