Jen at Et tu is answering some new questions about a familiar topic: atheism. She's participating in an interview with Jason at The Cynical Christian and offers some great answers to his opening questions.
I could have written similar answers, in several cases, as I identify with so much of what Jen says both in the interview and on her blog. Though I did have some Damascus road moments along the way, a great deal of my conversion journey, like Jen's, had to do with digging in to the intellectual meat of the faith, and getting at the truth. Or, at Truth. I had a powerful desire to know and to follow what was true, wherever it led me. I didn't particularly want it to lead to Christianity,and certainly didn't want it to lead to Catholicism, but then, I wasn't in charge of the answers. I was just the questioner. And I wanted answers that made sense.
One thing Jen mentioned particularly struck me. She said, "One of the things you see a lot in those circles is a heavy emphasis on intelligence," and that was definitely something that influenced my rejection of Christianity as a belief system. It simply seemed to me that the most intelligent people I knew did not believe in God. Christianity seemed too simple-minded, to put it bluntly. The irony, of course, is that my own simple-minded approach was to casually dismiss an entire, ancient belief system based purely on my limited perception of it. And it's also ironic that in Catholicism I've since encountered the greatest thinkers and most profoundly intelligent men and women I've ever had the pleasure to know on paper (and, in some cases, in real life.) The idea that faith and reason are not in opposition to one another was an exhilarating discovery.
I hope to contribute to Jason and Jen's series a bit here and there, and I'm happy that Jason contacted me to ask if I'd like to get in on the discussions. It can be so easy to dismiss the beliefs of others when they seem so foreign to our own. Whether it's the Christian or the atheist being dismissive doesn't really matter -- we've all done it. I'm heartened by attempts to stop dismissing and start really talking. So, I'll be talking more about this soon. And listening, too.