Pharyngula

Someone explain this to me

The Vatican claims to want to talk with atheists, so they’re having a conference. How nice.

The Vatican announced a new initiative aimed at promoting dialogue between theists and atheists to be launched with a two-day event this March in Paris.

The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture will sponsor a series of seminars on the theme of “Religion, Light and Common Reason,” at various locations in the city, including Paris-Sorbonne University.

The odd thing is that I don’t know of any atheists who’ve been invited, nor has the Vatican made any mention of who will be there. So who is this for? Are they going to actually bring in some of the argumentative atheists who have deep differences with religion, or will they just stock the place with atheist-butteries and nice atheists who love the church?

And what will they do there?

The events will conclude with a party for youth in the courtyard of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, followed by prayer and meditation inside the cathedral.

Oh, right. Two days in Paris and we’re going to hang out in a medieval church and pray. If they want to have a dialogue, they should split the events between religious la-de-da, organized by the Catholics, and secular indulgences in the fleshpots of the city, organized by local atheists. Then we’ll see which worldview wins.

But this isn’t about learning anything about how us atheists think. It’s about converting us, and is fundamentally inimical to atheism. It’s definitely not about “promoting dialogue”.

The pope has made turning back the tide of Western secularism one of the major campaigns of his papacy. The Vatican last year established the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization to focus especially on promoting Christianity in Europe.

Good luck with turning back secularism by burying yourselves in an old stone relic and mumbling at Jesus, fellas!