“Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence” (I Peter 3:15). This course will equip students to explain and defend more persuasively the truth, goodness, and beauty of Catholicism through their words and deeds. Topics will include the perennially relevant traditional themes of natural, Christian, and Catholic apologetics, as well as more recent controversial issues.
There are three main questions in our course around which the many subthemes revolve:
- Does God exist, and what is His nature?
- Is there evidence to affirm that Jesus Christ’s claims to divinity are true?
- Did Jesus Christ found a specific visible Church that continues to speak on His behalf and transmit His divine life today?
In the first section of the course (natural apologetics) the arguments are normally philosophical and aimed at an atheistic, agnostic, or deist audience. In the second section (Christian apologetics), the arguments are normally historical and are aimed at a non-Christian theistic audience. In the third section (Catholic apologetics), the arguments are normally biblical and historical and are aimed at a non-Catholic Christian audience.
When you are faced with objections peppered with ad hominem arguments, you must exercise Peter’s exhortation to defend the faith with “gentleness and reverence” in situations that will test your patience. Unfortunately, in the real world of media and watercooler conversations, your interlocutors will not always treat you with the reverence you deserve. The capacity to explain your position with calm clarity can be as an important a part of your overall communication as the logical truth of your content.
Fr. Michael Baggot was received into the Catholic Church on the Easter Vigil of 2003, after a high school conversion from agnosticism. He then graduated summa cum laude from Christendom College with a B.A. in Philosophy, before working in Rome as a Resident Director for the school's study abroad program. In 2013, he received a Licentiate in Philosophy summa cum laude from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome. In 2017, he received a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology summa cum laude from the same institution. Prior to entering the seminary, Baggot reported on prominent bioethical issues as a writer. He spent his initial period of seminary formation near Cologne, Germany. He later worked as an assistant for the Curso de Hispanidad in Mexico City and as a teacher at Pinecrest Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, before returning to Rome for further studies. He has worked as the Correspondent of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights 2011-2019 and as a Research Scholar since 2019, during which time he has penned articles for the organization’s website and for the scholarly journal Studia Bioethica. In 2015, he began contributing to the journal of religion and public life First Things. In 2016, he began teaching in the Faculty of Philosophy at the Pontifical University Regina Apostolorum. In 2016-2017, he also acted as a tutor of the Sinderesi program that aids university students in the discernment of contemporary social issues. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Theology at Christendom College, Assistant Professor of Bioethics at Regina Apostolorum, and the Curriculum Coordinator of the Catholic Worldview Fellowship program for university students.