Guest Post: An Atheist’s Challenge to Catholics

I had a reason in my last post for focusing on the role of the Internet and going out of my way to discuss Catholic Answers as a resource primarily for Catholic-Protestant discussions: I wanted to set up this message from a friend whom I met later in my career as an Internet apologist. I’d really like to see some discussion about this issues and questions he raises. Are there online resources that he hasn’t discovered? If not, is there anyone interested in this sort of project?

______________

I’m a undergraduate studying for my degree in physics. I used to be a Christian once but I lost my faith during college. I didn’t become a raving new atheist and I was never satisfied, I only knew that I didn’t believe in God anymore. So lately I’ve begun to really examine the rationale I have for that, and what sorts of arguments there is for Christianity in general, and even Catholicism in particular. Needless to say I started out as a protestant. When I go around the web, and look up resources on whether God exists, its always been easy to find a plethora of apologetic articles about the existence of God and the resurrection. But most of the articles that I come across have mostly been from protestants. I have never used protestant as a search term to find them, there simple seems to be more websites by protestants that deals with these things. That’s not to say that Catholics haven’t written anything on the existence of God. However I’ve noticed that there’s a lack of an apologetics website by apologists who reach out to atheists. In comparison its very easy to find a Catholic website dedicated to arguing why protestantism is false. Yet not one that tries to convince an atheist, or even just secular minded people in general. I’ve gottten some respect for the amount of work that Catholics can put into their theology. A lot of the apologetics websites I’ve found have been a bit superficial in their approach in comparison.
So I’ve considered that catholic theology students might be in an excellent position to join forces and make a website that makes the case for God’s existence, and Christ’s ressurection. I asked a Catholic friend about this (in an accusation about evangelistic laziness that got a bit ungracious on my part), and his response was “That would mean writing a new Summa Theologica, I’m too humble for that.” I am definitely not asking you to outdo Thomas Aquinas. The articles can deal with any argument, as long as they stick within the confinement of arguing for the basic truthes of Christianity. I think the internet could use something like that. I would love to see it done.
Another blog about how a certain opera displays a particular character quality, or an analysis of a literary work, or another blog dedicated to showing how Catholicism-is-not-like-Protestantism, won’t help my quest. However a website with articles dedicated to demonstrating the basic truths of Catholicism (not just why Sola Scripture is insufficient and Tradition is important): Why we know that God exists; Why he is this particular God; How we can be confident that Christ was raised from the dead; How we know that God is triune, etc.. The basics of the Christian belief, but by catholic apologists.
The type of arguments can range from trancendental, to arguments from experience and evidence based approaches, but they ought to be discussed rationally. The format of the website is not important. In principle it could be a blog, as long as the blog is made easy to navigate, so that you don’t have to fish backwards in the archive section to dig out articles.

Do you think something like this is a good idea? Does something like this already exist, but I’ve simple not been able to find it?

I’ll finish on a provocative note. As big as the Catholic church is supposed to be, its presence on the web, when it comes to apologetics doesn’t seem proportionate. Unless I’ve been missing something, it seems protestants are far better at explaining why anyone should be a Christian in the first place, putting the arguments out there to be easily accessible, where to go for more indepth information, books to read.. I have never come across anything like that from Catholics except a few scant blogs dedicated to writing to other catholics, and a few apologetic sites dedicated to either arguing for sedevantism, or against sedevacantism, or why Catholicism isn’t Protestantism, how Catholicism is superior to Protestantism, why protestants ought to become Catholics and why Protestantism is a bad idea. If Catholics are doing any missionary work, it seems to be dedicated either to people in foreign countries, their children, or protestants.

What about us atheists?

Anyone can contact me at: leonhardprintz@gmail.com

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2 thoughts on “Guest Post: An Atheist’s Challenge to Catholics

  1. You make a good point: it does seem that there are more websites created by Protestants giving these fundamental apologetic arguments than there are Catholic ones. I’m not sure what the reason is. I would be very interested to hear why you think there is a need for Catholics to make such a website. Do you think that there will be a difference in the types of arguments offered? That seems unlikely to me. I would love for someone to correct me, but if you are familiar with the arguments out there for God’s existence and for Christianity, I don’t think we have much else to offer you. Do we need our own website because atheists are being converted to Protestantism by their websites, and we need to take some of the market, so to speak? (Really no offense meant by the analogy – people are not commodities.) Or is it just the principle that this is something Catholics should be doing, and aren’t?

    Reply
  2. If there is a difference in type of argumentation offered, I think it might spring from a deeper engagement with the Catholic intellectual tradition. We have the capacity not just to use Aquinas’ arguments, but to understand him as part of a living witness to Christ. The logos of the argument may not change much if at all, but the pathos and ethos are more likely to be noticeably different.

    Reply

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