Skip to comments.Author of atheist blog announces she will become Catholic
Posted on 06/20/2012 5:39:30 AM PDT by Petrosius
Denver, Colo., Jun 20, 2012 / 04:17 am (CNA/EWTN News.- Blogger Leah Libresco, known for writing about ethics and religion from her perspective as an atheist, announced June 18 that she now believes in God and intends to enter the Catholic Church.
“For several years, a lot of my friends have been telling me I had an inconsistent and unsustainable philosophy,” the Washington, D.C.-based author of the “Unequally Yoked” blog wrote in a post announcing her intention to convert.
The 22-year-old Yale graduate says she came to believe “that the Moral Law wasn’t just a Platonic truth, abstract and distant. It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth. And there was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth.”
“When I was talking to a post-modernist friend afterwards,” Libresco said to CNA on June 19, “I told him, 'I guess you were right. (The concept of) “Truth” was a gateway drug.'”
“He replied, not very much in jest: 'Told you so.'”
In recent years, the writer and researcher had – despite her atheism – developed an interest in Christian accounts of morality, developed by authors like C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and Alasdair MacIntyre. Her blog, “Unequally Yoked,” chronicled her engagement with Christian theological claims.
Raised in a non-religious household, Libresco explained in a biographical statement that she “met smart Christians for the first time” during college. She was “was ready to cross-examine them” from her perspective as an atheist, but found there were “some big gaps in my defense of my own positions.”
“I realized I didn’t have a clear enough idea of what Christianity entailed to be able to imagine a world where it was true. I felt embarrassed and told my friends to take their best shot at convincing me.”
Through her blog, the atheist thinker looked to test her arguments against belief, seeking out “people to ask me tough questions and force me to burn off the dross in my philosophy.”
The odyssey was personal as well as philosophical, involving a romantic relationship with “one of these smart Christians.”
“I talked with deacons, priests, and Dominicans and attended RCIA classes – until I got kicked out,” she wrote in the biographical statement, composed before her conversion.
“Neither my boyfriend or I looked likely to switch teams in the near future, and, after two years of dating, we were at the point where a relationship that was incompatible with marriage seemed foolish, so, regretfully, we had to split up.”
But she continued “seriously exploring Christian claims,” in light of her own belief in philosophical concepts including objective morality. Her blog featured a “test” in which atheists and Christians swapped roles, composing answers to questions from the perspective of the opposing worldview.
Libresco's atheism finally ended after a recent Yale alumni debate, where a friend “prodded me on where I thought moral law came from in my metaphysics.”
“I talked about morality as though it were some kind of Platonic form, remote from the plane that humans existed on. He wanted to know where the connection was.”
Pressed to define the connection between humanity and the moral order, Libresco came up short: “I don’t know. I’ve got nothing.” Then she remarked: “I guess Morality just loves me or something.”
In Monday's blog entry, the “Unequally Yoked” author said her writings, hosted by the Patheos website, would move from the service's “atheist channel” to its “Catholic channel.”
Libresco said she had been using the Church's Liturgy of the Hours, as well as the ancient “Breastplate of Saint Patrick,” for most of her “prayer attempts.” Despite lingering “confusion” about some Catholic teachings, Libresco has begun RCIA classes at a Washington, D.C. parish.
The former atheist summed up her feelings about her announcement with a quotation from Tom Stoppard's play “Arcadia”: “It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.”
I'm sure your comment was directed to me.
I sense that by adapting a wait & see attitude regarding this blogger's statements I've unintentionally offended some posters. I'll know better next time.
She must not have read Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Dis is true
Read about C. S. Lewis, who was brought from atheism to Christianity by his friend Tolkien. (Although Tolkien may have been miffed by Lewis joining the Church of England instead of becoming Catholic.)
CS Lewis (and Anne Rice, as someone else mentioned) are not what I would consider “informed” skeptics.
I was raised in an evangelical home and have read most of Lewis’ work (everything but his academic literary criticism, I think) and he makes some very basic errors with regards to his reasons for rejecting other religions (he completely misconstrued Buddhism, for one) when he went through his period of trying to decide what was true.
What I mean by “informed skeptic” is someone capable of things like arguing both sides of the Kalam, explaining metaphysical vs. methodological naturalism, and so forth.
I’m surprised no one has brought up would-be apologist Josh McDowell.. another self-proclaimed “former atheist” whose hokey pseudo-intellectualism was something I ran into in the years before I ended up rejecting any form of Christianity that would be recognisable as such to a conservative/evangelical type.
The Antony Flew affair is one with which I’m sadly familiar.
Rumours surfaced as to his “conversion” in 2001 - 2004. Rumours which he personally refuted.
Case closed? Not quite..
He stated in 04/05 that he thought abiogenesis, the Kalam, and schroeders improbability arguments had turned him to deism.. a statement which he again retracted later that year, saying he had been “mistaught” by Schroeder, an eminent physicist, and worryingly claimed he could not even recall writing the letter in which he wrote “the kalam cosmological argument is a sound argument.”
He then wrote an article called “my conversion” in Think which is so confused and unclear it makes no real claim for the existence of God at all.
Flew was then paraded around by Christian apologists (Strobel, Habermas, Phillip Johnson etc) who, despite growing evidence that he wasn’t of entirely sound mind, cited his repeatedly contradictory statements on things like abiogenesis and the kalam as some sort of victory.,
He died in 2010 of (surprise!) dementia.
The Flew affair says far more about the craven nature of publicity hungry Christian “apologists” than it does about Flew himself. Unfortunately he never managed to explain in a coherent way what he believed and why and contradicted his own assertions about abiogenesis in the new preface to his book “God and Philosophy.”
A.N. Wilson I’ve never heard of. I appreciate the offer and I’ll respond after doing a bit more research. Thanks!
I wonder if Anne Rice was ever truly in Christ. In retrospect her conversion seems more like an emotional exercise, a celebrity faith "experiment" or a vain attempt to recapture something she lost in her childhood. The "Christ" she knows may very well be a figment of her imagination.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I pray that she is for real.
“I'm a fallen Catholic...”
Perhaps you meant fallen-away Catholic, but on the chance that you didn't, you may be certain that every Catholic is a “fallen Catholic.”
That's why we're Catholic.
“The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners alone. For respectable people, the Anglican Church will do.”
- Oscar Wilde
jboot, you are making some hasty generalizations I believe. What makes us a member of the Body of Christ? Is it adhering to a specific church’s teachings or is it faith in saving grace and a relation with Jesus? I don’t plan to further discuss/argue with you and especially the athiests on here. But you have judged with certainty someone that you really don’t know.
If you would like to know about Rice, the information is easy to find. I was intrigued after I saw her testimony on iamsecond.com. Then I saw a book at the library she wrote “Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt”. Except for what I assume is Catholic theology about Mary, the book was very good, telling the story from Jesus’ boyhood perspective. Her path to being a Christian was addressed in the prologue I think, of that book. Thank goodness the ultimate judgement is not ours to make, agreed?
Actually meant both. Fallen and fell away. Through a very good friend he showed me through his actions with a family tragedy, good humor and strong faith that just maybe I could somehow be worthy of being in his Church and calling myself a Christian.
I'm a man with a bad temper, quick mouth, self centered, hypocritical and prideful. I do believe in Christ and pray every night that just maybe he can help me find my way. I fall, I get up and I keep on trying.
The Catholic church is a beautiful and great institution that has men who are not perfect running it. It's been infiltrated by communist, homosexuals and men/women of dubious values.
However my parents, grandparents and relatives believe and live as Catholics. My grandfather fought as a teenager and young man to defend the Catholic faith in Mexico. I just have a hard time personally with hypocrital priests, nuns and church leaders. As a hypocrite myself, I don't like the competition. You are correct sir, the church isn't a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners. I'm in need of an intensive care unit.
I do not presume to say "Anne Rice is damned" because I do not know. But neither can I say that she is saved. I believe that anyone who can repudiate the church so thoroughly (and so publically) as she has is in a precarious place. It is telling that she has returned to writing the erotic horror stories that she repudiated when she converted just a few short years ago. 2 Peter 2:15-22 comes to mind.
As do I. Imagine the people she could reach.
You may be interested in G.E.M. Anscombe, the analytical philsopher. Not because she was a person who converted from atheism --- not quite -- she converted from genteel agnosticism when she was still an undergrad at Oxford ---but she did refute logical problems in C.S. Lewis, once in a very famous debate at Oxford in which she was said to have "demolished" him.
Anscombe had many sides, and was able to see questions from many different angles. Her husband (Peter Geach, a philosopher at Leeds) said she could "see around corners" intellectually. She devoted her formidable intellectual skills both to defending Catholicism, and ruthlessly demolishing many logically erroneous or deficient pro-theism arguments emanating from Catholics and other Christians.
Yes she did, who do you think she meant by,
“It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth. And there was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth. ?
It sounds like you try with all your might to imitate Christ. you're not a saint but then very few of us are -- even the saints :)
May God bless you on you journey
interesting — on her blog she says “This is also the precis of why I didnt just pick a nice religion like Deism or UU or certain Protestantism, as some commenters have asked. I didnt think they seemed coherent and consistent enough.”