A small group of my parishioners went off to encounter the local Secular Society, to join in a debate over Darwinism. What struck my people was how fundamentalist were Brighton's secularists, they characterised all believers as fundamentalist Creationists but most had no way of reasoning beyond the "big bang", they couldn't deal with a first cause, or an efficient cause. Even on Darwin himself most were a bit shakey, few had read his Descent of Man, some were a little uncomfortable with Marx's criticism of him. I am told that on the whole our peoples contribution to the debate was actually welcomed, so much so they were invited to the next meeting.
I was told that during Fresher's Week at Sussex University 220 first years signed up to the University Secular Society, I haven't heard how many signed up for the various religious societies. I am struck by how young people want to discuss religion, wherever I go religion seems to be a subject for discussion. What most religious people are badly prepared to discuss are those things the non-religious want to discuss, those fundamental questions that science just can't answer or where science merges into religion.
There are pretty basic things we need to define, such as what we mean by the term "God", the origin of matter and the laws of nature. What goodness is, what is a good life, the nature of morality, for us Catholics unless we are willing to dialogue with people at these crucial points, we might as well be talking about angels dancing on pinheads. It is these fundamental questions that bothered classical and medieval mind that still perplexes people in the workplace, in the pub or on the train.