First, my blog is primarily about my return to the Catholic church after being away for 25 years. I was involved in other churches during that time, but either didn't agree or didn't understand Catholicism even though I was raised in the Catholic church. It took the death of my mother in 2007 to bring me back and forced me to re-examine Catholicism's beliefs. I am both surprised and thrilled by how rich and satisfying Catholicism is, once I took the time to learn the reasons for her doctrines.
I say that to say this: I'm not going to allow my blog to be turned into a stomping ground for you to trod upon other people's beliefs. If you want to consider Catholicism or are seeking Jesus Christ, you are most welcome. But if you simply want to further elevate your own sense of self-importance by mocking Catholicism or it's beliefs, you're in the wrong spot.
I decided to delete a comment from an anonymous person, "Samuel Skinner" (who commented on "The New Breed of Atheism") because he (or she) did not have any contact information. Expressing your opinion is one thing, but "fisking" someone online while hiding behind a screen name is cowardly. Own up to your opinions by either having your own blog where people can respond to you or an email if someone wanted to ask you a personal question. I think the excuse of "oh, I don't want to be bothered with 'hate mail'..." is feeble.
If you have the boldness to challenge people on their beliefs, you should have the courage to handle the criticism when you receive it. As I told my husband, I give as good as I get. I knew what I was walking into when I challenged FSMDude. But it would seem that some atheists can't take the same challenges they so blithely dish out to Christians. As I said to Dom, be intellectually honest and I see no problem in debating these issues.
With "Samuel's" questions, I at first thought about responding to him in the same fashion, by answering each statement separately. However, after I copied and pasted his comments to a regular Word document, and noticing that his comments spanned two and a half pages, I decided against it. Instead, I will say this:
You, as an atheist and I, as a Catholic - are speaking two different languages. You need an Interpreter for what I'm saying because there is no way you can understand it. That Interpreter is the Holy Spirit. God is a triune God - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Just as the sun has three attributes (light, energy, heat) and water has three forms (water, vapor, ice), so God has three sides to Him. The Holy Spirit is God's communicator. He leads those who are seeking truth, to understanding. I can debate until I'm blue in the face, but ultimately, it will not be by my attempts that you come to any level of belief in Christianity. I am so ill-equipped for such a job that my part is almost inconsequential. All I can do is point to the Truth. You getting there is dependent upon two things:
1) An openness and willingness to discovering truth even when it conflicts with your ego and/or preferences. An honest vulnerability to God that includes the raw "If You are who they say You are, lead me to the truth" question.
2) God's choice in allowing you to see the truth through the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is nothing new to atheism. It was born in the Garden of Eden when the evil serpent said to Eve, "You certainly won't die if you eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil! In fact, God knows that if you do eat from it, you will be like Him, knowing good from evil." (Gen. 3:4,5) Atheism attempts to know good and evil apart from God. Man has forever tried to direct his own life without submitting to some unknown "high power" that could possibly require things that would make life rather a drag. And besides, you can't put God on a scale to weigh Him so He must not exist. (In my opinion, if I could weigh God, He wouldn't be much of a God. If I could understand Him in all His totality, He wouldn't be that great of a divinity.)
There are many questions and objections that you may have as an atheist. I understand. However, it's not as though atheists have cornered the market on critical thinking. Contrary to what some of you believe, Christians do not check their brains at the door when they enter church. In fact, some of the brightest, most intellectual people I've met have been Christians. As a matter of fact, our Pope Benedict XVI is no slouch in the thinking department. I dare you to read his Jesus of Nazareth. If you can slog through that book, you will at least have a head start toward understanding faith in God.
The first step will always be yours to take. God has been calling you ever since you were born to recognize His love for you. He entered our world as a baby in order to live the "human experience." Nothing in your life is foreign to Him since He both created you and lived through the same hardships. Jesus Christ came for one reason - to atone for your sin so you may approach the Almighty God and have eternal life.
There are many people praying that God would have mercy upon you and give you spiritual sight. Cloistered monks and nuns do just that. They have devoted their lives to praying for you while forsaking the world. I also pray with great fervor that you will know what it is like to be loved and cherished by the Source of All Love - God, through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, and through the power of His Holy Spirit. May you know the Truth, Jesus Christ, for He will indeed set you free.