Can we all get along?

The Vatican knows how it wants this “bring in the atheists” party to go. It wants it to go well for the Vatican.

“The aim is to help to ensure that the great questions about human existence, especially the spiritual questions, are borne in mind and discussed in our societies, using our common reason,” Cardinal Ravasi said.

See? Like that. It wants atheists to pretend to think that the Vatican uses reason when it discusses the great questions about human existence.

Ideally, Cardinal Ravasi said, the conversations begun by this project should resemble not a “duel” but a “duet,” with believers and non-believers offering complementary ideas and helping each other to refine their views.

See? The non-believers are supposed to pretend to think that Vatican ideas are “complementary” to secular ideas and that the Vatican can help atheists refine their views.

No doubt it will have chosen its non-believers carefully. The non-believers I know don’t think for a second that the Vatican is a reason-based institution or that its ideas are “complementary” in any meaningful sense. The Vatican, like the Templeton Foundation, apparently wants to borrow some of the respectability of rational people and ways of thinking while maintaining its own anti-rational ways.

If they invite you to the party, I urge you to decline.

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