Old News But Still Interesting: Vatican Plans Major Effort to Engage Non-Believers

I have been out of the loop; I completely missed this when it was news. Here’s a link to an announcement from the Vatican Information Service, dated March 18, 2011, about a formal dialogue between believers and non-believers.

LINK

Elsewhere, courtesy of Hemant Mehta at The Friendly Atheist, we learn that the Vatican’s desire to debate atheists comes with one catch: they are not interested in debating “polemical atheists” like Hitchens or Dawkins.

LINK

I, for one, don’t have a problem with the Vatican’s preference on this. I expect that the Catholic theologians in the debate were not ‘polemical Catholics’ but rather very serious religious scholars, so I respect their decision to try to get some balance between the two sides. I have no idea who the Vatican picked to represent atheism in their debates, but I certainly hope that whoever it was, it was someone with a strong background in the philosophy of religion.

Disclaimer: just before I clicked the button to “publish” the post, I remembered that just a while ago I posted an article engaging in shameless self-promotion of my debate with Fernandes. For the record, then, I want to make it clear I am not in any way suffering from “delusions of grandeur” and suggesting I think I should be debating top theologians from the Vatican. I don’t think I’m qualified to do that. The timing of these two posts was purely coincidental.

About Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11983601793874190779 Steven Carr

    Dialogue?

    Didn't people get the opportunity to listen to one of the Pope's speeches?

    'The Pope will address those present from giant screens set up for the occasion, explaining the significance and objectives of the Pontifical Council for Culture's initiative.'

    How do you dialogue with a giant screen?

    I might dialogue with The Adventures of Tin Tin tomorrow, as it is on a cinema near me.

    Or should I dialogue with Footloose instead?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05962018593312392087 Leo

    "I don't think I'm qualified to do that." Very modest… I think you are a great debater anyway … I would love to see another debate with you. Maybe Keith Parsons is a good option for these debates ? BTW I've only listened to one debate of him with Craig, are the others aviliable online , I would love to read/listen/see them too?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03040485938067728696 Daily Coffee

    I commend the Vatican for, at least, opening themselves to the opportunity of a debate and an opportunity to defend and clarify their beliefs. For once, the Catholic Church seems to be trying to step down from their esteemed Rome of sophistication to welcome a “dialogue” with the common man.


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