Strange Notions: Atheist and Catholic Conversations

Strange Notions

 You need to know about the launching of a new website, Strange Notions, spearheaded by Brandon Vogt who knows a thing or two about "new" media and the new evangelization. (Check out his book here: The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet)

After St. Paul preaches in the Areopagus in Athens to the intellectual elite, they respond saying "May we learn what this new teaching is that you speak of? You bring some strange notions to our ears, we should like to know what these things mean." (Acts 17:19-20)


With a website trailer like that, the adrenaline is already flowing just at the idea of a site that sets out to bring intellectual conversations between atheists and Catholics to an internet in dire need of it.

StrangeNotions.com is designed to be the central place of dialogue online between Catholics and atheists.

Its implicit goal is to bring non-Catholics to faith--especially followers of the so-called New Atheism. As a 'digital Areopagus', the site will include intelligent articles, compelling video, and rich discussion through its comment boxes.

The site is laid out in blog post format, with by-topic articles from a team of contributors presumably written with an atheist audience in mind.

The list of main contributors for the site is world class, with some of the best of the best as far as Catholic writers and thinkers go. In my humble opinion, this is one of the best lineups I've ever seen for a Catholic website of this nature.

I also like the extensive recommended books list that doesn't pull punches and is intellectually demanding.

I'm very interested to be watching this site unfold and participating in the conversations.

I do wonder, however, what will draw intelligent atheists to this site and the conversations and not just your normal trolls that lurk on Catholic websites. It would be great to see this website reach out to atheist bloggers and speakers to engage them in open dialogue in a way that goes beyond just the comment box. To have a thinking atheist write a response or article defending his position would add to the website's claim to be an open forum of reason and dialogue. Maybe even a HuffPoLive-esque Google Hangout would work well.

This is a site to watch and get involved with, learn a thing or two, and even send to your skeptical atheist friends challenging them to engage in dialogue with the authors and thinkers. Pray for this "digital areopagus", because it is a much needed space in the mission territory of the internet.

The Brains Behind It All:

Brandon Vogt

Brandon Vogt is an award-winning author, blogger, in speaker. In 2011 he released his first book titled The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet (Our Sunday Visitor). The book includes a Foreword by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, an Afterword by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and was endorsed by a several other cardinals, bishops, and leading Catholic thinkers.

Since then he’s established himself as an expert on Catholic new media and in May 2011, Vatican officials invited him to Rome to discuss social media. At the meeting, Archbishop Claudio Celli explained that the Church's mission today is to "open a conversation with the world." That's precisely what StrangeNotions.com is designed to do.

Fr. Mitch Pacwa Epic Debates

[youtube=http://youtu.be/E5VDG2nb5h0] I want to make sure all you great Catholics out there are aware of what is, in my opinion, a few of the best Catholic debates of all time - Fr. Mitch Pacwa on the John Ankerberg Show.

I learned a heck of a lot from Fr. Mitch Pacwa watching him handle these tough Protestant issues on the John Ankerberg Show, with a less-than-unbiased moderator.  Fr. Pacwa is so precise and clear; in the words of one of my professors "He's got a brain the size of France."

There are too many videos to post them all here, but to get the rest, go to youtube and type "Fr. Mitch Pacwa debate".

Go learn something!


Fr. Mitch Pacwa Debates Protestant about Mary


### What are your favorite Catholic debates?  Any other good ones on youtube?


Dr. Brant Pitre Talk on the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist


How would ancient Jews have understood the Eucharist?

This mind blowing talk by Dr. Brant Pitre on the Jewish roots of the Eucharist answers that question.  Prepare to have your little Catholic brain explode - you'll never look at the Eucharist the same again.

Just a little teaser for you as I read and write a super-review of his book "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist".

Faith and Reason: An Initiative of FUS

Franciscan University recently launched "Faith and Reason", an online Catholic resource with the mission of engaging the wider culture with the message of Christ.  Its name is inspired by Blessed John Paul II's Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio(Faith and Reason), and  Franciscan University hopes the website will help bring people to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and equip Catholics with a deeper understanding of how relevant and reasonable the Catholic faith is even in our post-modern culture.  From the site:

"From emerging issues in business and bioethics to questions of politics, art, music, and more, Faith & Reason will deepen your understanding of the world in which you live and give you the tools you need to engage the culture with truth and love."

The Channels section of the site features videos in all sorts of interesting categories: from Christ in the Marketplace, Media and You, Apologetics 101, Witnesses for the New Evangelizationand more. Be sure to check it out and pass it on to your friends.  It is important now more than ever for us to be equipped as Catholics with the reasons for our faith, because our Catholic faith is the MOST reasonable of them all and the most fulfilling! (Dare I say fun too?) As Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said:

"There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church."


"Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope." 1 Peter 3:15

*****If you want to help spread the New Evangelization and the Catholic Faith, post the link to the Faith and Reason website on your friend, relative, distant relations, and long time nemesis' facebook, twitter, and email.

Then comment below how many people you sent it to!

Here's the Link: http://www.faithandreason.com/ Or to send them to this article which points them to the website: http://catholicyouthminister.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/faith-and-reason-fus/ 

I challenge you to really branch out to people you might not normally send stuff like this to. Be an Evangelist!