A few years ago I was attending Artillery school in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. My pregnant wife had remained on the East Coast so that we could keep our base housing at Camp Lejeune, and so that I could focus on my studies. Not being the sort to go bar hopping with single men (my peers), for about the first month my weekends were frequently boring, and involved me driving to wildlife preserves, or sitting in the movie theater all day. I say about the first month because it took about a month before a college friend put me in contact with Andrew, an awesome and energetic young adult Catholic up in Oklahoma City (OKC), about an hour north of Fort Sill.
Andrew and I hung out almost every weekend for four months. I was quickly introduced to his family, his girlfriend (now his wife, and mother of their first child, Fulton), and the young adult catholic community in OKC. Meeting him was certainly a spiritual lifesaver, but the rest of that story must wait for another time. I bring up my friendship with him only to set the background for today’s post.
One weekend in OKC, Andrew’s brother invited us to a hookah bar. Not just any hookah bar, but a particularly hip hookah bar, where everyone dressed in non-name brand clothes to be different, and as a statement of their anti-da-man attitude, and fiddled on apple products while admiring the striped stockings of the employee who had shorts with pant legs of different lengths, the hem of both pant legs being frayed. Anyway, not the normal sort of joint Andrew and I would visit on our weekend. Why? 1st of all, we’re not hipsters. 2nd of all, the joint was absolutely unconducive to developing any type of friendship because it was so loud in there!
It wasn’t loud because people were talking, though. There was no silence to deafen us either. No, it was obnoxious, bass beating, computer age, techno remixed garbage blaring over surround sound. It was like someone had jumped into my head, and decided to use a sledgehammer to bludgeon my ear drums into oblivion. The music was suffocating, you couldn’t think, you could barely concentrate, and even yelling at the top of your lungs you couldn’t communicate. The music, and I use that term loosely, forcefully prevented conversation. Was this done intentionally? I think so. I think the noise/music was played loudly so that people could just disappear while pretending to have a ‘good experience’ with some ‘friends.’
But hipsters and how they can’t have real friendships is not the point of this article! The point of the article is to compare noisome atheists to the noisome noises of this anti-intellectual hookah bar.
As many in the Catholic Blogosphere know, a couple weeks ago my friend and fellow blogger Dr. Stacy Trasancos wrote an article titled “Can’t Even go to the Park.” A good article in my opinion, but a downright stupid, lame, inappropriate, intolerant, and buggered article in the opinion of tons of Atheists, many of whom probably barely read what Stacy wrote. Their response to her personal opinions was nothing short of irrational rage manifested by lewd spam messages, threats, ill-wishes, and name-calling. It is almost impossible to sift through the over 800 comments and find one from the ‘opposing team’ that presents a rational argument engaging the merits of Stacy’s opinion!
All I think about whenever I return to that post and attempt to sift through the comments are the 30 minutes Andrew and I spent in that Hookah bar. It’s all just so much noise, such overwhelming noise, and for what? The stifling of conversation, the inhibiting of a mutual search for truth through discussion, that’s what! That’s the effect of atheist rants devoid of any serious attempt to engage a Catholic’s reasoning about the natural world. Instead of trying to dispute primacy of the principles we hold as first, they attempt to stifle and crowd out conversation so there can be no dispute. Much like loud music at a club, or bar, the point of comboxing for many atheists isn’t discourse, or a search for truth, it is simply an opportunity to drown out the opposition in an emotionally charged noisome tirade.
Instead of attempting to systematically deconstruct the Catholic argument, all they do is mock, and jeer and avoid free and honest discourse. Bravo for a bunch of people who feel themselves to be free thinkers.