Margery Eagan recently covered an event featuring Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett for Crux (a Catholic publication affiliated with the Boston Globe).
She was hoping they’d conform to the nasty stereotypes she had of atheists… but that wasn’t the case at all:
I’d hoped both men would be humorless, strident, militant, even obnoxious. Then I could go home feeling confident in my faith. Instead they were funny, charming, and quite likable. I went home deflated. I looked up everyone who’s debated them or contradicted them and argued for the wondrous mysteries of the divine. Then I feel asleep in a funk.
Also interesting were her conversations with audience members after the event was over, especially since many of them were raised Catholic:
There was an hour-long, book-signing line after last week’s lecture. So I asked some of those waiting patiently about the New Atheism’s appeal. Some common answers: It’s much more rational than angels and God-made-man. Too much of organized religion is corrupted by money and power. And cradle Catholics said just what you’d expect: They are unable to remain in a Church that treats women and gays as less-thans and sex as evil. Pope Francis may be a nice guy — and on the right side of climate change — but it’s not enough.
Like I said, it was a tough night.
It’s a very honest piece — which is rare to see, especially when you’re talking about people who believe you’re wrong about something so personal. But Eagan (even though she went as a reporter) did something a lot of people are simply unwilling to do: She listened to what the atheists had to say so she could judge their words for herself.
Turns out the anti-atheist rhetoric she heard before didn’t match up with the people she met in person.
Shocking, isn’t it.
(Image via YouTube. Thanks to Scott for the link)