By Margery Eagan
Spirituality columnist of Cruxnow.com
You go hear even a semi-famous Catholic speaker. More often than not the event is free, the auditorium is half full, and almost everybody’s old.
But last week in a Boston suburb, the Chevalier Theater, 2,036 seats*** (actual attendance was 863), packed ’em in. Downtown Medford’s parking lots overflowed. Cops directed traffic. It cost $35 a ticket and I’d estimate the average age was 30.
The speakers? Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, two prominent proselytizers for the so-called “New Atheism.”
I guess you could call the evening evidence of what the Pew Research Center on Religion and Society reported last month in its latest faith survey. Christianity, including Catholicism, is tanking in America. The number of non-believers is rising. Nearly 1 in 5 adults identify with no religion at all. And the biggest non-believers are young men and women like the ones who cheered and laughed and had a great old time at the Chevalier hearing two gray-haired guys go on about the ridiculousness of believing something based on nothing.
Let me say right now: As a Catholic who ricochets wildly between blissful moments of faith and complete and utter doubt, I found the whole experience unnerving. 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.
***-Edit Made By RDFRS
Continue Reading Using Source Link Below