Robert Barron | – Bishop Barron on Not Dumbing Down the Faith: Answers to Young People's Pressing Religious Questions

Friends, at the Regional Congress 2.0 Teach event, I presented on the importance of not dumbing down the faith as we engage in religious education. Young people enjoy asking about and discussing the big questions, from God’s existence, to how to be a good and moral person, to the problem of suffering. A disconnect takes place when we meet these intellectual questions with watered-down catechesis. Instead, we must remember the central teachings of Christianity. We must present the fullness of truth, the reality of the Incarnation, and the good news of grace.


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About The Author

Bishop Robert Barron These are brief and insightful commentaries on faith and culture by Catholic theologian and author Bishop Robert Barron. The videos complement his weekly sermons posted and podcasted at

Comment (45)

  1. Maybe people Left because they got old enough to have Free will. It's not the Not believing. Its being treated like crap as a Catholic youth. Being chastised for asking questions. Then Your a doubter, The Catholic church I know with my mothers assistance instilled fear,, Every thing we did we were going to Hell. on a Good day we were going to Pergatory.. At least I had that going for me. But now I hear they did away with that. BS it either exists or it doesnt.

  2. Am your long-time fan, Bishop Barron. It's from you that I have come to understand well and most intellectually our Catholic faith. Though I have been a Catholic theologian myself, I had not understood much those theology courses that I had taken up, until your Word on Fire began. My questions had been answered and I have been able to go back to those academic questions that I had raised, and could now explain it my own way, of course without straying from the objective course of our Catholic faith, doctrine and theology. Thank you so much. Because of you, I have fallen in love more with Christ, with His Church which of course is the Catholic Church, with due to respect to the Protestant Christian deonominational churches. Thus, my "faith and reason" complemented but also blended into the singular objective truth of our faith in God. Finally, you, Bishop Barron, appear to me like Christ Himself. To me, you are chosen and loved so much by Jesus. Despite surely your weaknesses, I of course don't know them, you look like a saint to me. Keep it up, Bishop Barron. God bless you more and more!!!

  3. It's easy to disapprove simplified God. Not dumbing down our faith is so important. Don't allow non-believers to dumb down and redefine your faith so they can deconstruct it.

    I had an atheist try to tell me a catholic what catholics believe. Very dumbed down idea of God and then when he thought he had that idea of God established he attacked it. That was his intentional tactic.

  4. Man wish I was at reddit that time. My question is why the bishops and Cardinals are hiding the fact that Sister Lucia was martyr before 1960? Looking at pictures from her younger years, anyone with an eye can see they are not the same person. This is Fatima we are talking about. You guys reap the just rewards. The children are suffering because the adults did not learn their faith. Go 2029 chastisement.

  5. I would object to the notion that believing morals are subjective implies that we should be tolerant of conflicting moral beliefs or their consequences. For example, I think slavery is wrong because I find it morally-repulsive. Many people throughout history obviously did not find it similarly repulsive, so it's true that slavery was not 'wrong' for them. I don't think there is any objective truth that grounds one view or the other, but it doesn't change the fact that I find slavery viscerally repulsive. This fact is enough to justify being intolerant of slavery. I would also say that I would prefer it if there was an objective ground for my view, but I don't see how there could be any.

    I think maybe the idea that moral subjectivism implies there must be a degree of tolerance for conflicting morals stems from an attempt to understand the position from a perspective so absolutely infused with moral realism. My own subjectivism, at least, completely denies moral realism at the outset, and sees moral claims (e.g. "X is wrong," "Y is immoral") as nothing more than imperfect descriptions of a human's perceptions, themselves flowing from a mixture of that person's particular psychology and enculturation. So, in the strictest sense, saying "X is wrong" does not express anything, because nothing is [morally] right or wrong. But it is also an attempt to express that person's 'moral' perception of things, which is a really-existing thing. But the world is radically amoral.

  6. Holding to basic objective moral values doesn't make you Catholic — when speaking about morality — believing and struggling to abide by, and in, the nitty gritty teachings about sexuality, gender, and family does. This is what separates Catholics from normal. Furthermore, William Wilberforce and MLK weren't Catholic and, unfortunately, Roger B. Taney was an American Catholic who passed on the opportunity to abolish slavery. In order to sufficiently answer the relentless questions of young people today, you need answers as complex as the math your nephew is doing at MIT. — A Catholic in search of bringing the legitimacy of Catholic teaching back into the Academy.

  7. My study in physics is what brought me to christianity. The two are not competitors they are complimentary at best and completely inconsequential in other areas. So much of my faith is founded in science and objective truth seeking. Once the concept of a maximum multidimensional being was attained the rest was about finding what way would this being be represented within the Earthly physical reality. I've studied many philosophies and spiritual teachings and slowly waded my way to learn about christianity at 23 years old. And I can say I could write a book on the profound transformation in my life, these teachings and worship has made in my life.

  8. @Bishop Robert Barron: could you post the timestamps where each parts of your speech within the video begin? f.e.: Intro, 1. Question, 2. Question, 3. Question, Ending. And the book you mentioned at the beginning of the 1. question, which one is that that deals with about 24 famous arguments for the existence of god?

  9. On suffering/evil:

    The best explanation that I’ve ever heard on this topic comes from a quote in the film “A Hidden Life” by Terrence Malick. Franz Jagerstatter, sitting in a Nazi prison for his refusal to serve Hitler, stated, “If God gives us free will, we’re responsible for what we do, what we fail to do”.

    My interpretation of that profound quote:

    Good/evil is a continual choice throughout our lives, from moment to moment, that originates from our consciousness and free will granted by our Creator. The line between good/evil runs through every human heart (Solzhenitsyn) throughout history. The choice is ours to make. Such choice can lead to the salvation of souls or to their eternal destruction.

    Suffering, unlike evil, appears to us as random tragedy. A murder is a consequence of evil, whereas death from cancer is a seen as tragedy. Here too, in suffering, we have a choice. That choice lies in our ability of how we confront such suffering from tragedy. Do we lose faith, become cynical, and close our souls off to God and love from fellow human? Or do we take the path of Grace by embracing our mortality, maintaining our faith and love for God, and open our hearts to the glory of everything and everyone around us?

    Cynics question the outcomes of free will but never (that I’ve seen) ponder the alternative – what would humanity look like if God did not grant free will?

  10. You bring up the statistical correlation between dads going to church and their kids. It's sad that in today's world, 30% of American kids grow up without a dad in the home full time. That could easily explain why 30% of young people (and growing) have no religious affiliation.

  11. Father Barron, you are absolutely peaceful to listen to, excellent delivery and we are blessed to have your constant guidance for all of us towards our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you. God Bless

  12. Thank you so much, Bishop Barron. Discovering the Word on Fire during the most challenging time of my life – disaffiliation, pandemic – was a 380 degree turnaround, I praise and thank God for not giving up on me when I was giving up on me. The Covid 19 pandemic has plunged me to the darkest valley there could be (suicidal thoughts, eating disorder, abrupt weight loss). And then God hoisted me up and send me people like you Bishop. You ignited the thirst in my heart to know once more my God through my Catholic faith which I came to love and appreciate now because of you. My prayer is, may people who are now in the same dark pit where I was last year, be guided to you and to many other Catholic pastors and access. Sending my joy and love and prayers.

  13. As Aristóteles said A is A . Truth is non contradictory. The same physical laws that apply to the atom apply to the planets and the sun… You are very enlightened by the Holy Spirit.