It may seem a little odd for a Catholic…

It may seem a little odd for a Catholic… February 3, 2012

to be helping out an atheist blog, but since I believe the faith has nothing to fear from atheism (as distinct from atheists, who have demonstrated a remarkable capacity for murder in the name of their god), I think that one thing Catholics can do is always try to support and foster whatever is closest to the gospel in belief systems at variance with our own. So, given a choice between, say, a Muslim who warmly affirms Jesus as a prophet and who protests BBC blasphemies against our Lady and a Muslim who wants to kill innocent people, I will foster and support the good Muslim (while still, of course, pointing out that Jesus was more than a prophet).

Similarly, I will happily lock arms with a Protestant who opposes abortion or torture, or who argues for theism, the Trinity or the reliability of Scripture, while not watering down my commitment to the Catholic Faith.

And, for the same reason, given a choice between arrogant atheists with personality disorders whose spite prompts them to desecrate the Eucharist for the delectation of their fanboys, and atheists who are decent, thoughtful, interesting people who treat believers with respect and not contempt and vilification, I will support the good atheist. Which reminds me, Leah Libresco writes: is doing their annual nominations for favorite blogs in various categories, and I’m trying to get mine on the list for Favorite Atheist blog. A lot of the ones I’ll be competing with (like P.Z. Myers’s Pharyngula) have bigger readerships than mine and will pull a lot more nominations. But I figured what’s the point of being a blog with crossover appeal if I can’t get some support from Christian readers? I’d love for mine to make it through to the next round so it’s not too much of an epistemic closure-fest.

I’ve outlined how to vote here: and this might make a good pullquote if you decide to link to it:

Some atheist blogs speak mainly to people who are already atheists. That’s an incredibly valuable service; it’s a way to promote activism, aggregate news, and provide a safe space for people who may have been thrown out of their families and communities because of their views.

I’m going for something a little different here. This blog is meant to be a place for productive arguments and strange alliances between atheists and theists. In these comment threads, I can make common cause with a gnostic Christian while the atheists and Catholics have to team up to call him a heretic and me a lunatic [in the most respectful possible way]. And all of us are expected to defend the beliefs we hold, not just attack the beliefs we’ve rejected.

So if you’d prefer to see fewer belligerent jerks with personality disorders get rewarded for their appalling behavior and more civil conversations between good and decent atheists and Catholics (which can only be a win since the Faith has nothing to fear from atheist arguments, but plenty to fear from demagogue whipping surly mobs into an ignorant fury), I’d suggest you go support Leah, my favorite internet atheist.

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