By Josh Low
World renowned Catholic apologist (defender of the faith) and speaker for Catholic Answers, Trent Horn specialises in teaching Catholics to defend the faith in a gracious and persuasive manner by using sound arguments.
Having come to Perth recently to present talks covering various topics across the city, Mr Horn sat down with The eRecord to talk about life, faith and apologetics.
Having been raised without religious influence, Mr Horn explained that he was led to answer his own objections to Catholicism based on scientific reasoning.
“Being a convert, I had to answers these objections on my own when I converted from being non-religious to being Catholic 16 years ago.
“After going through these objections myself, I discovered I had a passion and knack for teaching and sharing with others how to answer these objections and explain the faith,” he said.
He engaged in apologetics full time in 2012 and has been serving as a staff apologist at Catholic Answers since.
With the word ‘apologetics’ derived from the Greek ‘apologia’, meaning ‘to give a defence or a reason’, Mr Horn said the goal of an apologist is to put forward reasons in an attractive or appealing way, and to answer objections put forward by critics of the faith, engaging their arguments to show that the faith is sound.
“1 Peter 3:15 says to always be ready to give a reason or the hope within, but to do so with gentleness and reverence.
“That’s really a banner verse for my life as an apologist. I believe it’s important to present evidence for things and be able to explain why Catholics believe what they do and why it’s reasonable, true, good and beautiful,” he said.
Mr Horn said presenting the truth in a gracious way was important, so that the only thing offending people when the truth is presented, is the truth itself and nothing said or done by the person delivering the message.
“People have done this multiple times to me; coming up to me and saying ‘you offended me’.
“I would ask, ‘is there a way I could have said my message in a different way using different words so that you would not be offended?’
“Sometimes they’ll offer solutions that involve changing my message, so I would ask them how I could rephrase what I said with the same message to not cause offence,” he said.
“They’d say there isn’t another way, so by that I’d hope they’d be able to see that it’s not me that they’re necessarily offended by, but the truth itself; the message I’m proclaiming, defending and putting forward.”
Mr Horn explained that people have always resisted God, right through from the Old Testament to today’s society.
However, he said spreading the truth of God and doing so in love, knowing that people will be offended by it, was ‘a call for all Catholics in being ambassadors for Christ as written in 2 Corinthians 5:20.’
“People have a resistance when the things they care about most in life are threatened,” he said.
“We have to understand that when we present the Gospel and people say they are offended or show resistance, it should not be a sign of failure on our part.”
He added that if one desires to stand up and defend the Catholic faith, it is of utmost importance to rely on God and the Holy Spirit to move in one’s heart and the hearts of those who hear the message.
“It is essential to always pray, knowing when to speak and when not to speak. A good apologist knows when to be silent as well.
“I would also encourage that person to learn about the faith themselves and be accurate in understanding it and how to answer common objections to it.
“That’s what we do at Catholic Answers, so if one wants to learn more I’d recommend visiting our website at www.catholic.com and read articles and listen to podcasts from our radio show and to help getting started on that journey,” he concluded.