‘Come, let us reason together’ Isaiah 1: 18
Is there an atheist in your life? Someone you love and have done everything in your power to pull into the light, to no avail? Maybe you don’t know how to convince them. Maybe you’ve been going round after round with them, but your punches never land, your arguments go in one ear and out the other. Maybe you’re starting to feel a bit like that angel wrestling Jacob all night in Genesis. Maybe you’re about ready to throw in the towel!
Then maybe it’s time to tag someone else to enter the ring.
We often feel like we have to convert the people we love. The truth is, only God converts hearts. Sometimes He chooses us to be His instruments, but, just as often, He chooses someone a little further from the heart of the one being converted. At times, it’s easier to hear what someone is saying when we aren’t in a daily relationship with them.
If you struggle communicating with an atheist loved one, introduce them to Brandon Vogt’s StrangNotions.com. Hopefully, this new site by the author of The Church and New Media will level the playing field enough for God to get a foothold into their heart.
Most atheists are either very intelligent (or, at least, think they are). They require a very high level of dialogue that can be plain exhausting for most of us. And the simple truth is, not every Catholic has the ability to argue apologetics effectively with an atheist. Not many are called to that particular work, but, those who are can now gather in one place to do polite intellectual battle.
This army of acclaimed and celebrated Catholic thinkers, are prepared to fight for the souls of your loved ones through kind and respectful discourse on Strange Notions. The crew includes Fr. Robert Barron, Dr. Janet Smith, Fr. Robert Spitzer, Christopher West , Jimmy Akin, Devin Rose, Jennifer Fulwiler, and (my personal favorite) Dr Peter Kreeft ,
Built on Paul’s Aeropagus Sermon in Acts 17, Strange Notions sets out to be a gathering place for reasonable and open-minded atheists and Catholics to come together and debate the great questions that so fascinate the heart and mind of humanity:
- Is there a God?
- Where did the universe come from?
- What is our purpose?
- Why is there evil?
- Can (has) science disprove(d) God ?
This site has been two years in the making by the masterful Brandon Vogt, who has been on the forefront of the new evangelization movement. Beautifully crafted and aesthetically pleasing, this is one of the best organized websites I have ever seen. It is jam-packed with information, yet everything is easy to find.
So, the next time you get in a stalemate with some atheist online, or find yourself exasperated with an unbelieving loved one, prayerfully put them in God’s hands and direct them to Strange Notions.
While currently Catholic-centric, the plan is to eventually invite atheist to fully contribute their own content. While everyone naturally will approach the debate from their own point of view, the site strives to be open-minded. After all, one shouldn’t expect the atheist to listen to a Catholic argument with an open mind if Catholics aren’t willing to extend the same courtesy.
The rules and tips section should receive an Internet Nobel Peace prize. If everyone followed theses guidelines for online discussions, the world would be a more peaceful place.
It will be interesting, indeed, to see if it achieves its goal of civil debate between such polar extremes. Strange Notions is definitely a site to watch. Let us hope and pray it fulfills its potential and becomes a successful and productive endeavor.
Copyright 2013 Jen Haganey
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