Brandon Vogt, author of The Church and New Media has opened a new site called Strange Notions, that’s meant to be a forum for debate and discussion between Catholics and atheists. For some reason, it seemed like the readers of this blog might be interested. Here’s how Brandon describes the site (and explains the name):
StrangeNotions.com is designed to be the central place of dialogue between Catholics and atheists. The implicit goal is to bring non-Catholics to faith, especially followers of the so-called New Atheism. As a ‘digital Areopagus’, the site includes intelligent articles, compelling video, and rich discussion throughout its comment boxes.
Strange Notions gets its name from St. Paul’s speech at the Areopagus in Acts 17:16-34. There he proclaimed the Resurrection to the intellectual elite of the ancient world, who responded by saying, “you bring some strange notions to our ears; we should like to know what these things mean.” StrangeNotions.com helps those asking the same thing today. Open-minded atheists will encounter reasonable arguments for God and his Church, maybe for the first time in their lives, and like St. Paul’s listeners they’ll leave intrigued by these strange notions.
As the site expands, it will have more of it’s content written by atheists (interviews, debates, etc), but right now it’s fairly Catholic heavy. Obviously, Brandon has more contacts on the Catholic end, so feel free to use the comments to recommend bloggers and writers he should reach out to. This is a chance to try and make disagreements a little more concrete, instead of trying to debunk Christianity broadly, and having Catholics complain, “But you’re not talking about us!”
Oh, and I’ve contributed one original piece so far, that’s basically for any atheists who think the notions on the site are something ‘rich and strange’ and might be compelling enough to prompt conversion. Here’s an excerpt from, “If God Exists, Then What?”
What will happen after I convert?
I would say that the terrifying and wonderful thing is that you’re in direct, personal contact with the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. Every moment of wonder you’ve experienced as the resolution chord booms in a symphony, every moment of humble awe as a stranger or friend went out of their way to show you love (or every moment of surprise as you discovered the depths of love you were capable of giving), and every moment you felt the sudden relief of pieces falling into place (whether doing a puzzle, writing a math proof, or reaching the denouement of a mystery novel) were all shadows and images that were trying to point you toward God, the Person they resembled.
Think of what you would do if you were trying to teach someone a new language. First you’d point to objects and declare the nouns that corresponded. You might be able to act out verbs. And, after a while, your student might begin to pick up grammar by trial and error.
God shares himself with us through these glimpses of the transcendent. He meets us where we are, and tutors us in the language we speak. But, as you cleave to Him and His Church, you begin to have the opportunity to speak back and learn what was always meant to be your natural language.