Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Friday, 23 March 2012

Evangelization or Trolling?

I am going to be charitable and assume that at least some Catholics actually want to spread the gospel. There are those who would prefer not to but that's another post for another time.

I have been reading Reasons for Hope, a primer on apologetics published by Christendom College Press. It reiterates some basics of rhetoric that might bear repeating. The task of the apologist can be divided into three elements... logos, pathos and ethos. Each of these is necessary to the task of persuading the listener to take the message seriously. Much of what passes for apologetics is really preaching to the choir so these elements are not always present.

Logos is the substance of the message, the reasoned argument. Pathos is the emotional appeal of the message or its persuasive quality. Finally ethos is the essential trustworthiness of the messenger in the eyes of the listener. You can begin to see how this relates to a blog. What you are exposed to here is a block of text. You cannot see my face, look into my eyes or feel the emotions that I feel as I write this. All you get is the logos with virtually no pathos or ethos. No one is going to be convinced of anything by reading a blog.

Look at the short message under the masthead. The word "fellowship" describes what we are doing here and the only reason it works is because we know each other and can supply the missing elements from our shared experience. We really are preaching to the choir here and we should recognize that fact. After all, we all need to be encouraged, supported or even corrected on occasion. Unfortunately many bloggers seem to post only when they are angry or disgusted. Given the fact that the object of their anger is likely not reading the blog, what is the purpose of this? Sharing these things tends to reinforce them and the feeling of standing there with a crowd of sympathizers, even a virtual one, can be a powerful inducement to persist in the emotion.

By the way, I run a movie night on Fridays and last year on Good Friday I showed The Passion. Feel free to be outraged.

1 comment:

Freyr said...

Actually I'm thinking of running The Robe this year. There are so very few movies which involve the crucifixion.