A Fellow Atheist Blogger Has Converted to Catholicism

Leah Libresco, who also blogs on Patheos’ Atheism channel and had put together the Ideological Turing Test, made a bit of a surprise announcement this morning: She’s converting to Catholicism.

I believed 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…

I have no idea what that means… or, frankly, what she’s talking about in the rest of her post… but somehow it translates to her believing in god.

It happens. Far less frequently than the other way around, but it happens. (A few years ago, a popular blogger called The Raving Atheist announced he was a Christian and changed his site to The Raving Theist.)

I won’t pretend to understand whatever she’s going through. But whenever you make a big announcement like that, it’s like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. It’s even harder to do that when you talk about religion so publicly. Anyway, I wish Leah the best.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

    “I’m still confused about the Church’s teachings on homosexuality”. Odd that someone wholeheartedly converts to a religion while even now still attempting to ignore its direct teachings. I mean, good luck and all.

    P.

    • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

      Well, clearly she doesn’t wholeheartedly accept everything about it. She finds that the Catholic understanding of God and morality accord with what she believes is true and is willing to see where that leads. I don’t agree with here conclusions either, but it’s an incredible act of intellectual honesty.

      • TheAnalogKid

        It leads to homosexuals being denied basic human rights, the cover up of child rape, telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies, things like that.

        • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

          That is the Catholic Church as it exists an an institution. That’s not at all necessarily the same as a Catholic understanding of god.

          • http://twitter.com/MissCherryPi Elizabeth

            By undergoing RCIA, Leah will become a part of that institution. How is that not an explicit endorsement?

            • Yossarian Orr

              Well, hopefully during the RCIA process she will become enlightened as to everything Catholicism teaches and will renounce this direction. However, there are a lot of RCIA programs that are liberal and don’t tow the line with what the Vatican officially teaches as true and right doctrine.

              • http://twitter.com/MissCherryPi Elizabeth

                Leah has been studying Catholicism for years. She knows what she is getting into. That’s why I am so boggled by her conversion. But I do wish her well. I know what it’s like to change religions, albeit much more quietly than Leah. It’s extremely personal, but if she is going to keep blogging about it, I am curious to know more.

                • Nordog

                   Given the state of RCIA these days, I suspect that she will know more about Catholic teaching that the teacher.

              • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

                Yes, and right now the Vatican is especially cracking down on such “liberals”, with American nuns and Irish priests being silenced, Irish seminaries being “reformed”, etc.

                P.

            • Nordog

               RCIA is just a class.  Anyone can learn what it has to say, even without agreeing with it.

              The Nicene Creed or Apostle’s Creed on the other hand, that’s an endorsement.

          • TheAnalogKid

            What’s the difference? She cherry picks what she likes and pretends the other shit doesn’t exist.

        • Nordog

           What basic human rights are being denied (and what is the “it” that leads to those denials?)

          • TheAnalogKid

            Are fucking serious?

            • Nordog

               If by “fucking serious” you mean to ask if I want you to be specific, then yes.

              What is the “it” that you say is denying basic human rights to homosexuals, and what are, specifically, the basic human rights being denied?

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

                The rights to pursue activities with other consenting adults that harm nobody else? Basically, their freedom?

          • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

            Marriage would be one of many obvious ones. And let’s not forget that the Catholic Church contributed to the fight against decriminialization of homosexuality in the first place. So the right not to be thrown in jail would seem to be on that list also. 

            • DG

              How does it deny that basic human right?  Are you suggesting that there is only one indisputable truth regarding which humans can be married and which can’t, and it is wrong and evil not to conform to that one universal truth that you happen to be 100% right about?

              • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

                I said nothing about “indisputable” notions.  Obviously something isn’t “indisputable” if people are, well, disputing it.  Nor have I asserted that I have 100% confidence in anything. That would be stupid. At the same time, none of that detracts from my earlier statement. 

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                How about the right to have sex without getting pregnant.  How about the right to have sex without getting AIDS.  What about the right to read a bible in the language of your choice.

                Granted, these aren’t so much ‘denied’ as ‘strongly discouraged’ and I will grant that the non-Latin bible one is a bit of a cherry pick on my part since it’s historical, but I still find it pretty amusing.

            • Nordog

               Is that what the AnalogKid was talking about?

              I’m not sure any marriage is a human right.  Nor do I accept that the Catholic Church “contributed to the fight against decriminalization of homosexuality” what ever that means.

              Again, specifics would really be great right about now.  But even if the Church supported laws against sodomy, that’s not the same thing as calling for the criminalization of homosexuality.  After all, homosexuality is not an action.

              And like marriage, I’m far from convinced that sodomy is a human right.

              • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

                “I’m far from convinced that sodomy is a human right.”

                Then you have no understanding of human rights. This is a basic issue of self determination; the choice of whether to engage in ‘sodomy’ as you so charmingly put it, is the choice of the would-be sodomites alone, and no-one else’s.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Personally I’m not big on people being able to kiss.  That’s clearly not what mouths were designed for.  And don’t get me started on what people do with their hands!

                • Nordog

                  “Personally I’m not big on people being able to kiss.  That’s clearly not what mouths were designed for.”

                  LOL!

                  Now that’s just crazy talk.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
                • Nordog

                   Reposting in new heading to escape the  tyranny of the single column.

                • Nordog

                   Don’t be too off put by my word choices here.  After all, the discussion is one of criminalizing homosexual behavior which, and such criminalization usually manifest as anti-sodomy statutes.

                • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

                  “Don’t be too off put by my word choices here.”

                  I’m not. The choice of vocabulary was interesting but mostly incidental. The point you were expressing is still simply wrong however.

                • Nordog

                   LOL…

                  I’m reminded of a sign over my wife’s desk:

                  “I would agree with you but then we would both be wrong.”

              • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

                Criminalizing basic urges that humans have is criminalizing the people when one knows full well that they aren’t going to be able to resist. People are going to have sex, and making criminal penalties against it has a pretty obvious result. As for evidence of the Catholic Church’s behavior, its stuff like 
                http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/2008/documents/rc_seg-st_20081218_statement-sexual-orientation_en.html Whether you personally think certain people have a right to engage in consensual behavior that doesn’t harm anyone really isn’t that relevant. If you think so due to religious reasons then that would require a much larger discussion that isn’t terribly possible in this context given the way the Patheos forum operates (message quickly get moved into very tiny columns making extended discussion difficult). But yes, as far as the non-religious and the progressive religious are concerned, the right to be left alone to do what one wants in one’s own bedroom when it doesn’t harm people does exist. 

                • Nordog

                   “But yes, as far as the non-religious and the progressive religious are
                  concerned, the right to be left alone to do what one wants in one’s own
                  bedroom when it doesn’t harm people does exist.”

                  Well, yes, I agree with this.  I just think that this right allows for many things that in and of themselves are not necessarily human rights per se.

                • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

                  Ah, in that case the issue likely just stems more from the definitional issue of what you and I mean by “basic human rights” rather than a substantive difference necessarily.

              • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                I guess it depends on how you define a human right. I consider all rights to be granted by men- that is, there are no natural rights. Legally, rights are as granted by the Constitution and legislation, subject to the interpretation of courts.

                In the U.S., marriage has been defined as a “basic civil right of man” by the Supreme Court (Loving v. Virginia, 1967). That decision, which did not explicitly define marriage to be between partners of opposite sexes, is likely to play heavily when the matter of same-sex marriage ultimately makes it to the Supreme Court.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                Marriage is a basic civil right. The Supremes said so in Loving v. Virginia.

              • alconnolly

                 Equal treatment before the law is a human right. So as it pertains to marriage as a state recognized contract conferring specific legal rights and responsibilities, denial is denial of equal rights and therefore human rights. As far as some church having their own definition of marriage completely separate from government legal recognition, with no consequence, they can go ahead and be bigots all they want.

              • alconnolly

                 I hope that once the evidence is given (links to follow) you will vociferously denounce the behavior as cruel and inhumane, and openly reject official catholic behavior that supports this. Here is one link: http://changingattitude.org.uk/archives/4714
                especially take not of this paragraph: 
                “Belize’s evangelical, Anglican and Catholic churches have united to
                oppose the application. They are expected to set out their objections in
                a pre-hearing review on Friday and will seek to introduce evidence that
                homosexuality can be “cured”, having retained their own ‘high-powered’
                legal team

                In a joint statement earlier this summer, the churches in Belize
                declared: “In every country that has granted a new ‘right’ to homosexual
                behaviour, activists have promoted and steadily expanded this ‘right’
                to trump universally recognised rights to religious freedom and
                expression.” The Catholic bishop Dorick Wright, the Anglican bishop
                Philip Wright and the evangelical Rev Eugene Crawford have said: “The
                people of Belize will not surrender our constitution, our moral
                foundations, and our way of life to predatory foreign interests.” Or how about this article from TIME: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1863465,00.html?iid=tsmodule Note the the church claimed their opposition to the statement condemning the criminalization of homosexuality was over fears regarding gay marriage, but that was not what the statement was about. The claim is similar to me saying I cannot support a statement saying someone should not be criminalized for a belief system, because of fears that it will lead to decriminalizing acts based on that system. It is a non sequitor which reveals their true motivation.

                • Nordog

                  Until I read the UN declaration in question I can’t form an opinion on the matter.  I do however have a low opinion of Time’s reporting in general, the UN specifically.  Regarding your other link to “evidence” I’m hard pressed to find the time to read what gay activists in the Anglican Church have to say.

                  I may or may not personally approve of the UN declaration.  I certainly disapprove of criminalization of homosexuality.

                  Though one of the oldest tricks in the book is to have a bit of legislation, or a declaration, or some such that calls for something good, but has something in the details that is not so good.  But one must take the thing as a whole.  Rejecting the whole because of a part is not the same as being against what most of the whole is about.

                  In other words, just because I’m against criminalization of homosexuality it does not follow that I’m for the UN resolution.

                  Nor does it follow that because I may be against the US resolution that in such a case I would be for criminalization of homosexuality.

                  To borrow a phrase, the devil is in the details.

                • Alconnolly

                  Ok so you ask for evidence of catholic attempts to fight decriminalisation of homosexuality, about ten seconds of google shows an article in which CATHOLIC (and Anglican) leaders actually hire a top legal team to specifically fight decriminalisatio, and you respond you can’t be bothered to read it. I link to a Time article and you say it is not evidence because you have not read the opposed declaration with no statement saying you intend to read it because you are alarmed that the church may be fighting for such a horrific cause, leaving the reasonable assumption that like the other article you are not really concerned enough to review the evidence. How exactly are these actions consistent with sincere desire to seek the truth of the matter. Your original dismissal of the accusation implied you found the accusation to be quite serious.

                • Nordog

                  I love how you can read my mind and have discerned what I imply (as opposed to what you infer) and what really lurks in my reason for making a given statement.

                  Like I said, I see no necessary problem with being against the UN resolution itself, nor does opposition to it equate with pushing for the criminalization of homosexuality. 

                  But then in an atmosphere in which I’m accused of wanting to control women’s wombs because I refuse to contribute money to buying someone else’s abortificients, I am not surprised  that the distinctions I make here are accepted.

                  In any event, Time magazine is a rag, and I pretty much oppose anything out of the UN on principle.

                  So, if you think this is some great rhetorical victory for you inasmuch as I refuse to read up on all the twaddle you cite, all I can say is congratulations.

                • Alconnolly

                  Not seeking a rhetorical victory, just pointing out the clear decision you made to request evidence and specifically refuse to even read evidence when presented. You keep ignoring the article that shows specific catholic church leaders hireing a legal team to oppose decriminalisation of homosexual behavior. You accuse me of inferring that which is not implied, and then go off on a rant about abortificants which was not even brought up, as though this was somehow part of my mindset. Ok keep telling yourself you are looking for the truth, want evidence, and then refuse to review evidence that may put your holy church in a negative light.

                • Nordog

                   Restarting this subthread to avoid the column squeeze.

      • Volunteer

        Then she isn’t Catholic. You don’t get to pick 3 things you like and dump 7 you don’t. Catholicism isn’t a pick-your-own orchard. Why come out and claim conversion to a specific doctrine if you don’t follow its teachings?

        • anodognosic

          I think we atheists, not believing in theology, tend to overlook its importance in favor of the politics of religion. To some extent, this is a symptom of the Religious Right’s project, because they have made religion synonymous with politics. But there are basic theological differences (in terms of conceptions of God, humanity, the universe etc) that are actually meaningful to believers, and thus it is possible to belong to a sect while rejecting certain political teachings of its hierarchy.

        • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

          Yup, precisely why I am baffled one can go directly from atheism to Catholicism. I mean to go from not believing in the existence of _any_ God to such a specific, precise and dogmatic belief system(with a particular, in my mind, prurient obsession with sexual matters) is such a huge leap, I presume the person _must_ have gone through intermediate stages of deism, mild Xtianity, etc without either admitting it or even realising it.

          P.

          • Nordog

             It happened to me.  I went to bed an agnostic/atheist and woke up a Christian.  Took a bit to decide to contact the RC for instruction, but I know I couldn’t go to the evangelical and pentecostal groups.

            Despite all the denials, Catholicism does have a long intellectual history.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Do you believe in transubstantiation?

              • Anonymouscatholic

                Yes.

                • Joecushley

                  Why?

              • Nordog

                 Yes.

                • matt

                  Could you please explain how/why?

                • Nordog

                   Not easily, and not at all for anyone who sees faith as irrational woo to begin with. 

                  Let’s just say that it’s a secondary point of faith that follows other, more fundamental aspects.

                  Also, let me say that it must be the single greatest doctrine to cause ridicule, but without it the Catholic Mass is meaningless.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I think part of the ridicule comes from the simplicity.  It’s an easy yes/no question.  I think original sin is more deserving of ridicule, but it’s more complex and we’d end up in a single column long before we came to a conclusion.

                  Thanks.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

                  Meaningless? So is protestant communion (where they don’t believe in transubstantiation) less meaningful than Catholic communion? Why is believing in the symbol of it meaningless? Why does it have to be literal? It seems very silly to say that mass is meaningless without the literal transformation when there obviously is no literal transformation.

                • Kodie

                   If they know they are eating crackers and drinking juice, it’s just not real.

                • http://profile.yahoo.com/SH5Y2EVWTCTIZM4HQSMC2Z4IWQ Nicholas V

                  Oh, of course. What could be less irrational than believing in things in even in face of contrary evidence?

                • Duke OfOmnium

                   Which, of course, begs the question that the catholic mass is NOT meaningless.

                • Nordog

                  An atheist would likely claim that it is particularly meaningless.

            • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

              “I went to bed an agnostic/atheist and woke up a Christian.”

              I’m guessing you don’t mean that literally….

              P.

              • Nordog

                 You have guess incorrectly.

              • Nordog

                 You have guessed incorrectly.

                • Edmond

                  So, there were no thought processes involved?    No logic or reasoning of any kind?  Did you at least have a dream of some sort?  Was this an arbitrary change?  What motivated it?

                  When you woke up, with the belief that NOW you understood the nature of the universe, were there any steps you took to make SURE?  Did you verify your new position to confirm it, before adopting it?  Could you SHARE this verification process?

                  Being an agnostic means being able to say “I have no way of knowing if that exists”.  If you moved AWAY from agnosticsm, then you must feel that now you DO have a method of knowing if supernatural things exist.  What method is that?  How were you able to confirm this new knowledge, so that you could get PAST being agnostic about it?

                • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

                  I honestly cannot fathom that.

                  P.

                • Occam

                  I’m not sure everybody who declares him/herself to be an agnostic/atheist truly understands the meaning of those terms.  Perhaps Nordog was initially a person that just had no religious inclinations — not necessarily a skeptic or rationalist, just somebody for whom religion was not a part of his life. So when he “woke up a Christian,” it wasn’t like he threw away an entire body of reasoned thought — he simply went from having no religion, to having a religion.

                  I personally went through an “areligious” period (after years in the Catholic Church) before I eventually considered myself an agnostic atheist.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  He’s dropped hints on here before.  I’d love to hear the whole story some day, but I think he was a little more deliberate about his agnosticism than that.  Perhaps not to the degree of most of the regulars on here, but not that he’d just never bothered to think about it either.

                • 59 Norris

                   Rich, would love to sit down with you to some brews and cigars and tell you the story, or at least chat about whatever comes up.  If you’re ever in LA have Hemant give you my email address.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  You can leave a comment on my mostly dormant blog linked to my profile here if you want.  I’m sorta-maybe-kinda thinking of taking my son down that way this summer.  Maybe I can take in FSq and Richard Wade as well.

          • revaaron

             I think you’re overlooking two things:

            1. Most Catholics- including most priests- don’t buy the Vatican line 100%. Don’t get me wrong- I think it’s a bit silly to belong to a religion which you don’t fully buy into, but you’re going to be hard pressed to find any religion or sect with NO disagreement between members and official doctrine.

            2. She believed in something very, very close to god(s)- I’ve always gotten the impression that she believes in virtue ethics, Platonic realism, and an objective Moral Law. Only a matter of time until you think of what WLC always says about a moral law implying a law giver.

        • Bob Becker

          Can’t say how it is now, since I grew out of  my Catholicism shortly after becoming an adult, but back in da Brooklyn of My Yout, very nearly every Catholic I knew [and I knew a lot of them, beginning with my whole family, three generations of them] was a “pick and choose” Catholic.   My Mom [Church every Sunday and holy days of obligation, confession, communion, Friday meat fasting, the whole nine yards] would just announce about some points of  Church teaching, “well, that’s just silly. I don’t think that’s so.”   

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1026468321 facebook-1026468321

          Conversion is an on-going process — one that she just started. She isn’t in fact Catholic yet, but just starting her journey towards that. It’s a shame you’d knock her off the road before she gets all the way there because she isn’t starting with full acceptance. 

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            But getting “all the way there” involves embracing homophobia. Shouldn’t we hope that she never gets to “full acceptance” of RCC doctrine?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/SH5Y2EVWTCTIZM4HQSMC2Z4IWQ Nicholas V

             No, it’s a shame that someone capable of rational thought would embrace nonsensical horseshit with despicable political affiliations. She’s free to follow that road wherever it goes, but she’s not immune to criticism for it.

      • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

        “Well, clearly she doesn’t wholeheartedly accept everything about it. ”

        It’s normal for many Catholics born into the faith, and therefore culturally Catholics, to still regard themselves as Catholic while ignoring teachings they have moral problems with. That’s simply because they feel very emotionally invested in it. A huge proportion of Irish Catholics, as shown in polls, disagree strongely with its stance on sexual morality.

        But it’s another thing entirely to decide to identify as Catholic from a position of atheism when you don’t accept all its teachings. I mean, there are other Christian churches to choose, so one has to presume Leah agrees with the church’s sexual teachings if that’s what she choose to identify as.

        P.

        • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

          Indeed. If, for example, she accepts everything the Roman Catholic Church says except literal transubstantiation and papal authority, then she would be an Anglican.

          There are enough christian denominations to be able to find one to fit pretty much any set of beliefs, so it’s not unfair to assume that someone chooses the denomination whose beliefs best fit their own.

          • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

            It really is unfair, since all we know so far is that her conception of moral epistemology works best with a Catholic understanding of god. It’s especially unfair since there’s no need to assume such uncharitable things, we can just ask her. She likes to argue, I’m sure it’ll come up.

    • http://profiles.google.com/michael.laporte Michael La Porte

      Interesting timing, also given the NYT piece with Keller agreeing with Donohue that a la carte Catholics ought to bail from the RC Church.

    • vexorian

       Being confused about the church direct teachings is like a prerequisitye to be a Catholic.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I would find a more deistic position easier to get my head around.  But it does raise a ton of huge curiosities for me.  Like this is a rare occurrence that we need to take advantage of to study.  What were her before/after positions on evolution?  Transubstantiation?  Original sin?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I’ve heard some explanations that try to bake morality into the natural world by reaching for evolutionary psychology.  They argue that moral dispositions are evolutionarily triumphant over selfishness, or they talk about group selection, or something else.  Usually, these proposed solutions radically misunderstand a) evolution b) moral philosophy or c) both.  I didn’t think the answer was there.

      and

      I’m stillconfused about the Church’s teachings on homosexuality

      • melizer

        “try to bake morality into the natural world”  This is so offensive.

  • Gus Snarp

    Yeah, sometimes atheists convert to religion, even Christianity. But Catholicism? Really? This isn’t a joke? Moral Law? Catholicism?

    We can say that “once a Catholic, always a Catholic”, so that those who don’t believe in Transubstantiation can still be Catholics, if we want to. But how can a reasoning person actually look at Catholic doctrine, Catholic policy in the world, and choose to say that they believe that?

    Catholics believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.
    They believe in the immaculate conception of Mary.
    They believe that crackers ACTUALLY become the flesh of Jesus (and wine blood).
    They believe that the Pope utters infallible doctrine straight from God.

    They teach that birth control is a sin and should not be available, let alone use.
    They teach that women cannot be priests.
    They teach, in Africa where AIDS is widespread and treatment hard to find, that condoms don’t prevent AIDS or even contribute to its spread.
    They teach that homosexuality is a sin and gay people should not be able to marry.

    And she finds this religion to be the embodiment of moral law?

    This is another Turing Test, isn’t it?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      Exactly…that’s the most confusing part. I could easily understand someone going from atheist to thinking that maybe there is a god. But it seems strange to convert to a specific denomination, and especially one that believes so many specific, stupid things.
      Seriously, why the fuck Catholicism??

      • DavidM

        @Gus and Julie: It’s good to admit it when you’re confused and you don’t understand, but one clearly gets the impression that you and many of Leah’s critics prefer it that way, at least when it comes to being confused about Catholicism. At least Mr. Mehta, the “friendly atheist,” is nice about Leah’s change of mind. That kind of respect and open-mindedness really is a kind of embodiment of ‘moral law’ and a credit to him.

        • Gus Snarp

          I wasn’t confused before, but having read this comment, I am now because I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m not the least confused about Catholicism, and I’ve no need to be open minded about it. I might have given some quarter to the Church before they began their crusade against American Nuns, but since they’ve attacked the one portion of their organization that is actually committed to morality, I’ve absolutely no sympathy left for them.

          • DavidM

            With due respect, I think you’re the worst kind of confused: belligerently and obliviously confused. The very fact that you insist that you have no need to be open-minded in dealing with the beliefs and arguments of an obviously very intelligent and thoughtful person like Leah Libresco demonstrates your conundrum (and my original point) very clearly… whether or not you are able/willing to recognize it.

            • Gus Snarp

              I honestly don’t know what Leah believes, much less what you believe, but I do know what the Catholic Church teaches as well as what it lobbies and advocates for. If you can actually point out how I’m confused about that, let me know, but as long as all you’ve got is general confusion, I’ll continue to assume that I’m right.

              • DavidM

                You claim the right to be closed-minded based on an absurd justification, therefore you are confused (or maybe, more precisely, intellectually vicious/immature).

                • Gus Snarp

                  What exactly am I supposed to be open minded about? It’s not as if the Catholic Church is secretive about their beliefs or about their actions. I have weighed the available evidence and found the Church to be morally bankrupt and hypocritical, and I’m far from the only one to reach this conclusion.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DUA7IVPY2555AJF6HAAMNWHYVE MarioG

                  Gus Snark, take a chill pill. You are wilfully hung up on the minutiae of Catholicism rather than the essence of what Christ taught. Virtually nothing on your list was taught by Christ. HE taught that the most important thing was to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it. Christians who do otherwise are violating his primary tenet. The rest is fluff.

                  You may not believe in a God, but how about the second part? Do you have a problem with that? Do you have anything that comes close? What embodiment of moral law do you espouse that you list all the man-made beliefs and ignore the central tenet of Christianity?

                  BTW, do you really believe that condoms “prevent” deadly HIV/AIDS with any reliable certainty? Are you kidding me? Do you want gays in committed relationships to have legal rights that flow from such a committed relationship, or do you want to re-define the meaning of “marriage” in the English language for political expediency?

                • tan

                  Gus,

                  Oh My Gus! There is a flaw in your judgement. You are off tangent.  Church is like government.  There are the structures and laws and there are people in the structure running it and there are  citizens living under it.  The structures and laws may be perfect but the people running the structures and implementing the laws  may mess with them and citizens disobeying them.  Which of these are you judging as morally bankrupt: the structure and laws or the people?  May I ask you to cite a structure  or a law of the Catholic Church which is hypocritical and morally bankrupt and without second thought I will leave the Church.  No need for you to cite hypocrites and immoral people in the church.  There are many. The Institutional Church was established for them.  “I have come not for the righteous but for the sinners”.  Is your judgement fair?

          • crs

            First of all, Mr. Lack of Confusion, the Church didn’t begin a crusade against American nuns. They called to account one particular national organization of nuns who were organized by Pontifical Right–the LCWR. The LCWR is not an independent entity happily doing its thing but was created by the authority of the Vatican itself. It only exists because the Pope gave it permission to exist, and it remains under his direct authority to this day. Have you ever seen a Chief Executive of a company or a nation tolerate public dissent in his/her direct employees? Was Steve Jobs supposed to just let Apple employees badmouth the iPhone? Is Obama supposed to just let members of his Cabinet say that his policies stink?

            • Gus Snarp

              What, did someone tell Bill Donahue about this thread so he could unleash his flying monkeys?

              Yeah, sure, he has every right to under the structure of the Catholic Church. Doesn’t change the fact that they’re more moral than he is, that they’re doing more work to help the poor, end war, end the death penalty, and generally make the world a better place and that he went after them for being insufficiently anti-gay and anti-woman.

              You guys sure like to argue on meaningless details while missing the bigger picture.

              • crs

                The Church believes what it teaches is divinely revealed. Not open for negotiation. It believes that people who follow the advice of these sisters *will go to Hell*. You know what Hell is, Gus? Eternal fire and all that? Right. Well, seems to me, *whether you agree with the Church’s morality or not*, it is being entirely consistent in disciplining these people who are promoting actions that are immoral and cause damnation.

                Now the LCWR. They purport to be the nice tolerant liberals that they are. They do not believe these things are immoral and will result in Hell. Fine. Well then *what the heck are they doing in the Catholic Church*??? When I couldn’t say the Creed anymore in good conscience, *I left*.

                There is an objective question here. Is the Church right or wrong about Hell? If it’s wrong, then I wouldn’t want to be near it, much less in it. But if it’s right, then it’s the LCWR are actually abominably anti-gay and anti-woman, because they want to trade a tiny bit of earthly pleasure for an eternity of living death.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

                  Ohhh I see. The church stop these nuns from sending out a loving, tolerant message because if people follow these nuns’ teachings, they will go to hell. So the church can continue to fight against women and gays to keep them out of hell.
                  Where have I seen that before…?
                  Oh yeah, every interview with members of the Westboro Baptist Church. The reason they do what they do is to warn these sinners that they will go to hell if they continue to act this way. In fact, they believe that they are the only true Christians because they love gay people enough to warn them and try to keep them from hell. Meanwhile, all the people who accept gay people actually hate gay people because they’re allowing the gay person to stay gay and go to hell.
                  That is where your logic leads. As long as the church believes in hell, they can continue to oppose gay rights for teh gay’s own good.

                • crs

                  Of course that’s where it leads! Did you hear anyone say different? Why on *earth* would the Church care about the issue unless it were putting people’s souls at risk?

                  So strange how adolescent logic has crept into society at large: “You won’t let me stay out late because you hate me and don’t want me to have any fun!”

                  Yeah, that’s it. I don’t want you to have any fun. /sarc

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                   Bingo.

              • Brandon

                (laughed out loud @ “flying monkeys”)  You sir, are a breath of fresh air in what has become a rather smelly trash heap of  a society…continue being exactly the same person please :)

        • alconnolly

           It seems from your comment you are catholic? If so your statement “respect and open-mindedness really is a kind of embodiment of ‘moral law’.” Should make you run as fast as you can from the catholic church. I think even the pope and almost every cardinal would agree that the catholic church is not about open-mindedness. So if that is a kind of embodiment of moral law as you said. It implies the catholic church is diametrically opposed to moral law, right?

          • DavidM

            So your claim is that the pope and every cardinal all agree that the CC is not about open-mindedness? I am Catholic and I’d love to see some actual evidence for that claim. The pope is a fricking brilliant former university professor – you seriously think he would make the kind of dumb, ignorant, CLOSED-MINDED ad hominem arguments that many of Leah’s critics are so obviously enamoured with?? Wherever did you get that idea? Is it that the pope disagrees with you, therefore he must be closed-minded??? That would be a really dumb argument. I would love to see you (or anyone else) try to actually make a sound argument in support of your position (FYI, a sound argument is one with true premises that actually give support to one’s conclusion). 

            • Gus Snarp

              No, the Pope would never make a closed-minded ad hominem argument:

              Even in our own lifetimes we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny.

              I mean, unless you considering falsely claiming that the Nazis wanted to eradicate God from society and comparing modern secularists and atheists to Nazis to be a closed-minded ad hominem. Which I do.

              • crs

                Falsely and ad hominem my eye. It was called the Kirchenkampf. The Nazis gutted the Christian calendar, Christmas traditions and carols, and repopulated them with pagan and Nazi imagery. Christmas became the Solstice, St. Nicholas became Odin, the star of Bethlehem became a swastika. Ratzinger saw all this happen in front of his two eyes. Where were you at the time?

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

                  It definitely was not Christianity as you know it today. But they did use God and Jesus to justify their actions.  But to say it was atheists that did all that is extremely ignorant. All atheist organizations and secular schools were banned.

                • crs

                  Except he didn’t say the atheists were Nazis at all, did he? He mentioned the British fighting the Nazis and then generally the “atheist extremism of the 20th century” …i.e. the Communists and the secularists in Mexico and other places.

                  So fine, toss out the Nazi-atheist comparison, since they were more neo-pagan than anything else. But you’re still stuck with the avowedly atheist Communists and the Maoists and the Khmer Rouge, so I’m not sure how much good it does you.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                   Uh, BOLLOCKS.

                  Hitler was clearly a Christian — just read Mein Kampf! Listen to his speeches!

                • Nordog

                   Are you saying that the following didn’t happen?

                  “The Nazis gutted the Christian calendar, Christmas traditions and
                  carols, and repopulated them with pagan and Nazi imagery. Christmas
                  became the Solstice, St. Nicholas became Odin, the star of Bethlehem
                  became a swastika. Ratzinger saw all this happen in front of his two
                  eyes.”

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  I’m saying that’s Christian propaganda designed to mislead people about Hitler’s religious preferences.

                  He was — and this is historically PROVEN — a CHRISTIAN. End of.

                • Nordog

                  So, you allow that in fact…

                  The Nazis gutted the Christian calendar, Christmas traditions and carols, and repopulated them with pagan and Nazi imagery. Christmas became the Solstice, St. Nicholas became Odin, the star of Bethlehem became a swastika. Ratzinger saw all this happen in front of his two eyes.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  No. I do NOT allow that, because that claim that Hitler “gutted the Christian calendar, etc” is NOTHING MORE THAN CHRISTIAN LIES.

                • Sir Mark

                  Hey, kitty, what’s wrong with lying? It’s all meaningless anyway? There is no Truth so there are no lies. You’ll soon be nonexistant. The Catholics will be nonexistant. Humanity will be nonexistant. Who cares?

                • crs

                  Riiiiight wmdkitty. It’s all Christian lies and propaganda. This never happened:

                  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/how-the-nazis-stole-christmas-1846365.html

                • Nordog

                  Never underestimate the power of frothing bilious bigotry.

                • tan

                  A Black Sheep

                • Sean

                  Hitler only used terms like “the lord” in political speeches when he thought it could persuade. In private he denigrated Christianity as the other side of the Jewish coin and lamented that Islam did not concour Europe becuase it was better suited to the German spirit . But that’s just Albert spears writings and if you have not mAde it that far you know very little about hitler and the nazi regime.

                • crs

                  Of course he was. And what kind of Christian? Was he an obedient Catholic? A devout Protestant churchgoer?

                  No. He was a flaming liberal Christian. A positivist Christian who believed in Christ as a preacher, fighter, and community organizer. Who believed the original true Christianity was hopelessly corrupted by the Apostle Paul Who rejected the Old Testament.

                  Anyway, Hitler wasn’t the only Nazi was he? The whole movement was positively shot through with neopaganism and race occultism.

                • Sean

                  Hitler was not a liberal Christian. He was raised catholic, became an atheist which he remain until he survived an assassins bomb at which time he came to believe he had been chosen by fate= ” universe”(impersonal force akin to Einsteins view of god.)

            • alconnolly

               You really think the statement that “the cc is not about open-mindedness” is controversial?  Lets try this ask the pope or a major catholic emissary “is the cc about being open-minded?” See if your answer is an unequivocal “of course that is what the cc is all about how well you understand it!”

          • tan

            alconnolly,

            You are correct. The Catholic Church is not about open-mindedness as far as moral law is concerned. It is because moral law cannot be compromised otherwise it gets twisted, subjective, and losses its purpose.  That is for  our good.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          I am confused about her change of mind and her choice to go to Catholicism. I am not in the least bit confused about Catholicism, which is why I cannot understand why she would choose it.
          It’s one thing for someone who was raised Catholic to stay a cultural Catholic. And I could understand why an atheist might start believing in God. But I cannot for the life of me figure out why an atheist (who knows about the horrible teachings of the Catholic church) would want to become Catholic. She believes in God; okay. The next step would be to figure out exactly what she believes and find a church that reflects those beliefs. She says herself that she’s confused about the church’s teachings on homosexuality. So why would she be willing to join a church that she knows is homophobic? The Catholic church is a really messed up institution and she should know better than to give her support to them.

          • small by comparison

            “The next step would be to figure out exactly what she believes and find a church that reflects those beliefs.”
            There is an anti-church quote which is true, and which applies here in the opposite direction. Modified, it would respond: “When you choose a religion based on its overlap with you, what you are really doing is worshipping yourself.”

            • anodognosic

              Honestly, I don’t see the alternative. I mean, it depends on what you mean by “overlap with you”–I suppose it might be true if it’s catering to your every whim and desire. But if you’re not choosing a church by your sense of what is good and true, then pray tell, how they hell do you choose a church?

              • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

                As I understand it the most preferred method is being arbitrarily born into one.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

              So to be truly humble, you should choose a belief that overlaps very little with your own thoughts? So why are you not a Scientologist or a Jehovah’s Witness? If someone is converting from no religion to a religion, they’re obviously going for the one that fits most with their own beliefs, which is why her choice to go to Catholicism is baffling.

          • DavidM

            That’s fine, but again I reiterate my original point. You seem ill-disposed to dispelling your confusion, and happy to instead self-righteously steep yourself in it. That is not a mature response to confusion.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

              And you continue to self-righteously claim that we don’t know what we’re talking about because we disagree with you.
              You’re obviously confused about my opinions and are making no effort to dispel your confusion.
              …see? That’s not a very mature way to argue.

            • Miscreant

               Dude, you are SO out of line. From what I read, neither of these 2 ever said they were confused about catholicism, or catholic doctrine, yet that’s all I get from your posts. ATTACK! You guys are confused.” Maybe you’ll attack me next, but IDGAF about your opinions. Having admitted to being catholic destroys any credibility you may have had (with me, at least). Catholic dogma is as irresponsibly homophobic as it is ludicrously hypocritical… Misanthropic wouldn’t be too far out on a limb, for me. Maybe you need to be reminded of the definition of  “closed minded”: adjective having a mind firmly unreceptive to new ideas or arguments…” How many times–how many years–have they resisted (stayed unreceptive), repeatedly stayed the (clearly incorrect) course, only to finally acknowledge, and apologize for their mistakes? Well, let’s see; The Starry Msgr was published in 1610, they lifted the ban in 1822, cleared Galileo of any “wrongdoing” in 1992, and in the year 2000(!) two fucking thousand, they apologized. THAT is what I would call ABSURD. It’s just the most famous example, but as you are well aware, there are many, many more. I rest my case. David, you are trying to defend an indefensible institution, & position. BTW: I thought the same thing as the people above. “ok. She changed her mind. Cool, I get that. But… Catholicism!?? REALLY??? Self righteously steeping in this “mature response” to your vitriolic hysteria.

              • crs

                Clearly incorrect? Oh yeah, sitting in your cozy 21st century chair, sure it’s “clear.” Back then it was a different story. The Sidereus Nuntius came out, and they asked Galileo….well, if the earth moves where is the stellar parallax?

                “Uhh…..uh….”

                No answer. If the earth moves, there HAS to be a stellar parallax. Period. And that wasn’t discovered till 1838.

                By the way, when are the atheists going to apologize to Abbe Georges Lemaitre? They were so “clearly” wrong in preferring the Steady State Hypothesis, were they not? “Big Bang” and “Cosmic Egg”…ha! Who’d believe that nonsense!?

          • crs

             Julie- your statement about “The next step would be to figure out exactly what she believes and find a church that reflects those beliefs.” is exactly the *wrong* thing to do. It’s the theological equivalent of the a priori hypothesis. The minute you do that, you prove you don’t believe in an objective truth at all, you only believe in a subjective yourself.

            It’s not like converts prove the Church right on every single doctrine. The conversion happens when you come to believe that the Church is a truth-telling thing. At that point, even if you personally disagree or don’t understand, you admit maybe you don’t have all the answers and you try and learn something.

            Which, I might point out, is exactly what a good scientist does in the face of a seeming contradiction.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

              So how exactly do you figure which church (if any) are telling the truth? I’m guessing that you have reasons why you go with one church over another because some churches’ doctrines don’t make sense to you. How do you figure out which one is objectively true? What are your reasons for not being Mormon? Why don’t you just admit they have the truth (because they say they do) and then even though you disagree, see if you’ll learn something.  
              And there is a huge difference with science and religion. Scientists figure out things as they go. They come up with hypotheses and theories based on what they have researched. A scientist would never say “This is absolute truth. Believe it, or you’ll burn in hell.” The church insists they have absolute truth. Scientists are willing to admit they are wrong. I distrust anyone who says they have absolute truth.

              • crs

                How do you figure out anything in this life? You study it and test it. Granted, it’s kinda hard to test theological concepts. You can’t empirically test whether God is a Unity or a Trinity. But maybe you are living a certain way and realize…you know what…this is *supposed* to be making me happy but it’s not at all. And so you stop doing that thing, and you suddenly find yourself agreeing with what some church was preaching all along. Huh, you say. That’s weird. And then it happens again. And again. And you start noticing a pattern–that every bit of wisdom you acquire, the Church had before you did. At some point, you just realize, you are better off listening to the Church than yourself. You begin to see the Church as a truth-telling thing, and you begin to conform yourself to Her, rather than conform Her to you.

                And religions make all kinds of historical claims as well. Why am I not a Mormon? Partly because I find the Mormon account of history singularly unconvincing. They make claims about the early Church that can be tracked back through history. Well, I read the Church Fathers, the earlier the better, and heck if they don’t sound Catholic.

                And there’s not so much difference between science and religion as you think. Science has a dogma that’s not provable but must be believed. It’s the belief in an ordered universe. If the universe has no order, if it’s just random stuff that happens, then science is dead on arrival.

                Also, religion is, for many of us, is a grant experiment in Life itself. I can confirm with reasonable certainty the Church’s teaching on sin because I’ve lived it and I’ve seen how it operates on me intellectually and psychologically. I don’t believe in Catholicism because I was told to. I believe it because it works and I’ve seen it work, the same way an engineer believes in mechanics because he can successfully build a bridge.

      • tan

        Hi Julie,

        Why the fuck Catholicism?   Because all roads lead there.  It is our home.  In that home we find the Father who provides for us, the Brother who sacrifices for us, a Mother who prays and protects us. 

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          More like the Father that rapes you, the Brother that covers it up, and the Mother who pretends its not happening…

          • Nordog6561

            Oops, your bigotry is showing again.

            Stop the H8; start with yourself.

    • Nordog

       “Catholics believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.”
      True.

      They believe in the immaculate conception of Mary.
      True.

      They believe that crackers ACTUALLY become the flesh of Jesus (and wine blood).
      True, but also that each particle of both the bread and wine are entirely the body, soul, and divinity of Jesus.

      They believe that the Pope utters infallible doctrine straight from God.
      It’s a bit more complicated than that, with restrictions, but basically, yes.

      They teach that birth control is a sin and should not be available, let alone use.
      Picky Parsing here, the teaching is that deliberate use of artificial contraception is sinful.

      They teach that women cannot be priests.
      True.

      They
      teach, in Africa where AIDS is widespread and treatment hard to find,
      that condoms don’t prevent AIDS or even contribute to its spread.
      True.

      They teach that homosexuality is a sin and gay people should not be able to marry.
      Parsing again.  The teaching is not that homosexuality is a sin.  States of being are not sins, actions are.  The teaching is not that gay people should not marry, but that, by definition, marriage requires one man and one woman.  What one allows and prohibits has no bearing on the nature of marriage.  Or at least, that’s the teaching.

      So Gus, I would say that for the most part I agree with you, generally you do know what the Church teaches, at least on these topics.

      • DavidM

        Sorry if you were being sarcastic, but no, Gus clearly doesn’t know what the Church teaches (if we accept what he wrote as accurately reflecting his beliefs about Church doctrines). Gus gets certain formulas right (which certainly does not indicate that he understands what those formulas mean), but his take on infallibility is way off, as is his claim about contraception (birth control should not be available? – reference please), and, as you pointed out, about the sinfulness of ‘homosexuality.’

        • Gus Snarp

          No, they just say that homosexuality is “disordered”, it’s only a sin if you have gay sex. Same difference. They’re telling gay people it’s wrong to be gay and even more wrong for two adults to have a pleasurable, consensual sex life. They actively lobby against the right for two people of the same sex who love each other to marry legally, when it has nothing to do with what marriages they would have to solemnize or recognize. But that’s all semantics. It is immoral for the Church to be butting it’s nose in the personal business of non-Catholic adults.

          Contraception – it’s use is a sin under Catholic teaching, period. Meanwhile the Catholic Church actively works to make various kinds of birth control unavailable to people who aren’t even Catholic. They are lobbying to make any employer able to dictate birth control coverage based on their religious belief to any of their employees regardless of the employees belief. You can argue all day long that they are just against paying for it, but they know full well what they are doing and they are thinking strategically and I would have to be a fool to accept that their goal is not to restrict access to birth control. And they also lobby against emergency contraception, and obviously lobby to make abortion outright illegal. Meanwhile, back when birth control was illegal, you can bet the Catholic Church supported that. But that’s all just nitpicking. It is immoral for the Church to be teaching women that they can’t take control of their own bodies.

          Papal infallibility – fine, whatever, only certain statements made under certain circumstances, whatever. The notion that one man, elected by men, centuries after the founding of the Church, millennia after the supposed death of its supposed founder who supposedly was given his position directly by God, can ever speak or issue edicts in any way with any kind of infallibility inspired by God in any way is patently absurd.

          I’ll also note that you had nothing to say on condoms and AIDS in Africa, because you know the facts bear me out, and what the Pope has said, and what Catholic Bishops have said and taught about condoms and AIDS in Africa is so patently EVIL as to clearly make the Catholic Church morally bankrupt.

          And as to all this open and closed minded claptrap, I never should have used your phrase. I reject the very notion.  We have reams of written documentation on its past evils and its modern evils and its teachings and how utterly absurd its beliefs are. The notion of somehow being open minded about the Church is meaningless. What I am open to is evidence. Show me evidence that Catholic doctrine is true, and I will consider it, but there is none.

          • Nordog

             So Gus, I take it that you always use a condom when you have sex with your HIV positive sex partners.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              You don’t?

              • Nordog

                 LOL

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Not that I disagree with Gus’s general feeling about the RC Church, but there has been a notable shift on the condoms for the prevention of the spread of AIDS
            http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/24/world/europe/24pope.html?pagewanted=all 
            For me this highlights the fact that for a long time the Pope did think that people should not use condoms, even to prevent the spread of AIDS.

            To me the whole anti-contraception thing is as head-in-the-sand ludicrous as the geocentric kerfufle.

            Fact: Infant mortality rates have plummeted.
            Fact: Population has skyrocketed.
            Fact: Although the ‘backfill’ of existing birth rates means the population will grow to about 10 billion, at current birth rates it should level off.
            Fact: There’s limited room on this planet for people.
            Fact: without contraception, we would need need some other way to halt the population explosion.
            Speculation: People are not going to just keep it in their pants, and rhythm/withdrawal aren’t going to cut it.

            Thanks GOD most Catholics ignore the RC Church’s teaching on contraception, but it’s STUPID.

            (of course, insisting that the earth is the center of the universe doesn’t hurt anyone else, making more babies that the planet can handle does)

            • crs

              The teaching on sexual ethics is stupid? Really? It’s smarter to keep an entire population on a low-grade buzz of self-pleasuring lust and then act all shocked and surprised when, say, kids rape each other in the classroom? It’s smarter for girls to “give it away” often and early and gradually become bitter and jaded, finally metamorphosing into Sex and the City-style dessicated emotional zombies?

              Oh, but what a paradise contraception has created on earth! Thank heavens you have all saved us from the stupidity of using the Reproductive System…you know…..for reproduction. If only we could convince all the animals out there to get the message. If only we could stop them from the mindless cycle of mating and destroying the earth through overpopulation. This mindless generation of children and life. Pah! Who needs it?! The joy of sterility and suicide…now that’s the way to go!

              And the Earth being the center of the Universe thingy…you do know that was science’s idea, not the Church’s, don’t you? The Church was late to the party on that one.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Oh, but what a paradise contraception has created on earth!

                What period of human history would you prefer to live in?

                If only we could convince all the animals out there to get the message.

                I’m not sure explaining biological cycles is worth it.  I have other things to do and you seem so willfully ignorant that I don’t really care.  Normally I try to keep in mind anyone else reading, but in this case, I’m pretty sure everyone else reading  understands how the mortality rate and birth rate balance.  I suspect most of them are shaking their heads at the idea that personally choosing to not have a baby equates to genocide.  Hey, can we charge the Catholic clergy with genocide then?

                Center of the Universe- yes, science is a self correcting mechanism.  Religion is not.  That’s why religion depends on science to be corrected for all the patently wrong things it claims.

                You’ve missed the single claim you could make against science.  It is science that has created the population problem by drastically lowering the mortality rate in humans.

                • crs

                  I have a degree in Biology, so go for it. I’ll try to keep up.

                  Biological cycles are imposed externally by nature, not the organisms themselves, who generally try to maximize their production of offspring. So nice try.

                  Remember, the Church has no problem with choosing not to reproduce. What it has a problem with is choosing not to reproduce yet engaging in the behavior that is expressly meant for reproduction.

                  You can lose weight by not eating. You can also lose weight by stuffing yourself silly and then sticking two fingers down your throat. We call the first one good common sense, the second one bulimia.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Then our fundamental disagreement isn’t population cycles but on “choosing to not reproduce yet engaging in the behavior that is expressly meant for reproduction”.

                  This isn’t something we have any hope of finding common ground on.

                  #overandout. 

                • crs

                  Meh…the only common ground worth anything is the truth. Otherwise its just lies we’ve both agreed to.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                 Yes, really. It’s about EQUAL RIGHTS.

                By the way, rape? NOT CAUSED BY BEING OPEN ABOUT SEXUALITY!

                Rape is about POWER. You know, like your precious priests have been doing to kids, using their POWER and AUTHORITY to silence their victims?

                Nobody is advocating for girls to “give it away early and often” — we are advocating “if you’re gonna have sex, please do so in a way that protects yourself and your partner from diseases or pregnancy.”

                Christ, but you’re an idiot.

                • crs

                  Nah, nobody is advocating for girls to have sex early and often. Planned Parenthood is a benevolent organization that makes absolutely no money on promoting sexual promiscuity. Not a cent.

                  And on this rape not being caused by being “open” about sexuality…I’m SURE every single one of those incidents where middle school kids are raping each other in classrooms sprung clean out of their own little heads! Why, they couldn’t *possibly* have gotten the idea of what to put where from porn and sex ed! Perish the thought!

                  Oh, and that rape is power not sex thing….that’s hilarious, keep it up. Love those quaint old Marxist aphorisms…takes me back to my college days. You should totally go all out and use words like “herstory” and “wymmyn”.

    • ChuckL

      Response to Gus Snarp.

      Dear Mr. Snarp, My comments on each of
      your points are added to your post below.

      Catholics believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.

      Yes, we do. As we define God as omnipotent, there is no problem
      in believing that He can easily create one male sperm and impregnate
      one Jewish girl.

      They believe in the immaculate conception of Mary.

      Yes we do. Do you understand that this means that Mary was born
      without the stain of original sin? As God planned for His Son to be
      born of this woman, it is only logical that she would be spared from
      this stain.

      They believe that crackers ACTUALLY become the flesh of Jesus
      (and wine blood).

      Well, actually the substance is bread , not crackers, but in any
      case with an omnipotent God, where is the problem?

      They believe that the Pope utters infallible doctrine straight
      from God.

      You have greatly expanded this belief beyond what is included.
      The belief is only that when the Pope releases a statement that is a
      matter of faith and doctrine, that the Pope is infallible.

      They teach that birth control is a sin and should not be
      available, let alone use.

      Again a massive exaggeration of the actual teaching. It may be
      possible that some health problems would justify using these
      medications following the principle that a living person is the one
      who must be protected. And of course, natural birth control,
      abstinence, is perfectly acceptable.

      They teach that women cannot be priests.

      This follows the precedent set by the fact that all of the
      apostles who went out to convert the world were men.

      They teach, in Africa where AIDS is widespread and treatment
      hard to find, that condoms don’t prevent AIDS or even contribute to
      its spread.

      Incorrect. The failure rate of condoms is a contributor to the
      spread of AIDS. The only sure prevention is abstinence from sexual
      activity.

      They teach that homosexuality is a sin and gay people should
      not be able to marry.

      Incorrect. Homosexuality is not a sin. Homosexual activity is a
      sin. The sexual interactions of a male and a female are required to
      continue the human race. Homosexuality can be considered to be an
      attempt at genocide.

      And she finds this religion to be the embodiment of moral law?

      So let us look at your objections,
      objectively

      Until you reach the African AIDS
      problem there is no moral case in your complaints. They are all about
      your objection to doctrine. When you come to Africa and the AIDS
      problem, you promote increasing the likelihood of promoting the
      continuance of AIDS rather than assisting in its demise. And you call
      this a moral action?

      Homosexual activity is as mentioned
      above a direct attack upon the continuation of the human race.

      I find your augments to be at best
      specious, but completely unable to hold up to reality when analyzed.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

        I’m trying to wrap my mind around what I just read…
        So it’s okay to be sexist towards women because the sexism is justified by the Bible. Okay, glad we cleared that up. Oh, I’m also betting that none of the original apostles were black or Chinese or Hispanic. Can we safely assume that they are also unfit for being priests?
        “Homosexuality can be considered to be an
        attempt at genocide.” This might be one of the most offensive things I have ever heard.
        Genocide – the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.
        Anyone with half a brain knows that there is a difference between extermination and…not having kids. 
        If homosexuality is an attempt at genocide because they are not contributing to reproduction, then abstinence is also an attempt at genocide.
        It’s funny that you comment and try to clear up any confusion about what we think Catholics believe, and you really just make things worse.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Homosexual activity is as mentioned

        above a direct attack upon the continuation of the human race.

        So is unrestricted population growth.

      • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

         

        …Mary was born without the stain of original sin? As God planned for His Son to be born of this woman, it is only logical that she would be spared from this stain.

        Since God according to Catholic dogma – as presented by you – clearly possessed the ability to remove inherited responsibility (never mind the absurdity and moral bankruptcy in being held accountable for the deeds of one’s ancestors) at will without further complications, as evidenced by the immaculate conception of Mary, this negates the necessity of your own purported saviour. If God could absolve Mary of alleged wrong-doings committed before she was even born without magically transferring them onto a scapegoat, it only stands to reason that God could do the same for anyone and everyone. As such, the whole story of Jesus seems to have been an exercise in grandstanding and guilt-tripping. “I sent my son, who is really me, to die so that you would be absolved of acts that you didn’t even commit. Now you owe me and most ask him/me for forgiveness in order to escape eternal torment in Hell. It’s the only way I could save you from myself, you see. Oh, except for Mary. I saved her without all the bells and whistles but she was my squeeze, so I might an exception. It all makes sense, you guys. Love me! Guys?”

        Your God is vile.

      • Gus Snarp

        What a load of steaming feces. You can parse this any way you want, but my statements are all fundamentally correct. I did not specify the circumstances, but the statement that the Pope supposedly issues infallible doctrine is correct, you just said so. I never said every word from his mouth was considered infallible. This is true of every argument you’ve made here. Homosexuality vs. homosexual activity – it’s a meaningless distinction.

        And yes, I believe telling women what they can do with their own bodies is immoral. Making women second class citizens is immoral. Favoring fetuses over the lives of living, breathing women is immoral. Telling two consenting adults how they can express their love and what legal, civil rights they are entitled to because of beliefs they don’t share with you is immoral.

        If nothing else, I’ve just proved that morality is not absolute and objective. Apparently I have a much broader notion of morality than the Church.

        • crs

          “Their bodies”, eh? Prove it. Go ahead.

          The mother’s immune system is prevented by a barrier on the placenta from getting anywhere near the fetus. Why? Because if that barrier is not there. the immune system will kill it.

          Now you tell me why I should believe a woman that the fetus is part of *her body*, when her own body says otherwise.

      • Occam

        I am constantly amazed by the degree to which religious
        folks will undergo intellectual contortions in order to get the round peg of empirical
        evidence and reason to fit into the square hole of their particular holy
        book.   There are clearly smart people on both sides
        of the issue involved in this forum — which makes me wonder how those espousing
        a particular religion can deal with such cognitive dissonance.  Just look at all the parsing of words and
        splitting of hairs to justify some archaic doctrine, in this case those of the
        RCC.  I was raised in that ridiculous
        church and can’t understand for the life of me how rational adults buy into all
        of that nonsense.

  • NickDB

    Well, I don’t understand, but there are lots of things I don’t understand. All the best to her and hope things work out for her.

  • Michael A

    I suspect some sort of cranial event, such as a stroke. I hope she seeks medical attention soon. I’m not being facetious! 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512225430 Roman Lebedev-Smirnov

      oh another stroke hypothesis! It does look like something only a stroke sufferer would do, doesn’t it?

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        It’s a valid concern. Rationality tends to be a one-way move: once a person learns to think rationally, becoming irrational again is difficult. In an old person, we should reasonably suspect some sort of dementia. In a young person, some other brain pathology, or type of mental illness should not be ruled out.

        This is not intended as an insult, but as an observation that the process of going from rational to irrational really can be a symptom of disease (whether instantaneous or gradual).

        • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com/ Dan F.

          Some might characterize her conversion as a movement in the other direction…

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            Yes, the irrational might see it that way.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

            Some might characterize the moon made of cheese. Just because an opinion is held does not make it valid.

    • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

       If you’ve read her blog, this is not a sudden change. She’s been moving in this direction for a long time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=761757493 Steve Lawlor

    Will she be one of those ex-atheist that will use the same arguements that they would have used on her? This is what seems to happen.

    And Catholicism and moral being in the same sentence.  Talk about an oxymoron.

    • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

      She’s incredibly intelligent and thoughtful, so I doubt it. She’s been criticizing atheist philosophy (though not atheism) for years, so it’s not as if so much has changed in that sense. I encourage you to check out her blog.

      • http://profiles.google.com/michael.laporte Michael La Porte

        Am I the only one who is confused about this notion of “atheist philosophy” and her conversion including a belief of a bearded sky-daddy (BSD)?

        I’ll admit that I’ve not read her stuff before but the “coming out” post just seemed to have a lot of moral philosophy.

        She sounds like a really smart person.  But why does there need to be a connection between who teaches your moral philosophy and your belief in whether there is a BSD?

        I’m continually mystified by the need to have aspects of our lives that are not understood (either b/c we as a culture don’t yet fully understand them or you as a specific individual don’t understand them) filled with “oh, the BSD must be responsible for that.”  Why is “I don’t know” so unacceptable that an amazingly unacceptable alternative IS deemed acceptable?

        Can’t I legitimately say something like:  “I don’t know where my morality derives from, but (a) I believe it exists and (b) no one has ever shown me any evidence that it comes from a BSD?

        • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com/ Dan F.

          ignoring your BSD references (since I don’t know any Christians, Catholic or otherwise who believe in a bearded sky daddy – hey, we agree on something!) your questions are fairly basic and I think answered well in her follow up post regarding the “God of the gaps” argument so I encourage you to check it out.

          • http://profiles.google.com/michael.laporte Michael La Porte

            well, obviously, BSD is a shorthand.  i’m sure i could have picked a more benign reference, but i hope you took that to mean the omniscient, omnipotent, god of catholicism who created man “in his own image” and presides over us in “heaven.”

            thanks for the heads up on the “god of the gaps” aspect.  i don’t expect much, but perhaps it will shed more light on the basis for her “conversion.” 

      • http://www.facebook.com/keithacollyer Keith Collyer

         please define “atheist philosophy”

        • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

          The philosophies that commonly accompany atheism. Things like consequentialism, rights-based morality, individualistic approaches to policy, etc.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UUGXUZW5EQH7EMUTCT5DAVA5DI LP

    Condolences

  • http://twitter.com/DarkestToast Steve

    So instead of becoming agnostic or just stating that she believes there is a higher power she instead chose to decide that Jesus Christ is her lord and savior and that he died for everyone and God loves you very much but if you don’t follow his rules you’ll be tortured for all eternity in hell. Yeah, this girl probably has either lost it or wants more publicity. Whatever reason, good riddance from the atheist ranks.

    • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

      This really isn’t called for. She is a deep thinker who had already come to the conclusions of semi-Platonic morality and virtue ethics. Based on that, and not just woolly sense of god, she feels that the Catholic God accords best with her understanding of Morality and Truth. It’s an intellectually high-level conversion.

      • Wotan Anubis

         So… what’s the difference between Catholic God and Bible God?

        Because Bible God still ‘hardened Pharaoh’s heart’ so He had justification to murder a bunch of firstborns.

        Also, what does transubstantiation have to do with Truth?

      • Jerome Haltom

        Well, as far as I can tell, she used to be a deep thinker, but now is no longer.

        • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com/ Dan F.

          or perhaps she has simply thought deeper than you are able?

          • JoeChrist

             Hey Dan, does god move in mysterious ways too? Pffft.

            • Pascale Laviolette

              HAHA, nice.

        • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

          Seriously? Has no one in this thread ever met a thoughtful theist in their entire lives?

      • honestabe

        It’s an intellectually dishonest conversion. 

        FTFY

      • SketchSepahi

         But…but…virtue ethics are incompatible with Catholicism.

    • Volunteer

      It isn’t all that surprising to come out in favor of the religion of your locality. The specific cult she choose is a bit odd given her grapplings over morality.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HXMGJONKJJ35BYMNFHNGXMXH2U Mary P.

       More attention was my first thought.  Then I thought maybe she has a crush who is RC and that was compelling.

      • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com/ Dan F.

        Or maybe she followed her truly open-minded pursuit of truth right into and across the Tiber?

        • Joecushley

           So, why Roman Catholicism rather than Buddhism, say? She’s being very close-minded about Buddhism I reckon. Or Hinduism. Or Mormonism. I know, why not be ‘truly open-minded’ and evaluate all religions and see their glaring weaknesses and moral turpitude and philosophical immaturity… Drowning in the Tiber more like…

        • http://www.facebook.com/keithacollyer Keith Collyer

           I love that coy euphemism. Rather than say “I lost my mind” they say “I swam the Tiber”

      • Joecushley

         Yup, she recently blogged about having to split up with a Roman Catholic she was in love with… I think they’re probably back together again… Love conquers all…including reason.

        • Cous

          Whoa, easy there with the unfounded speculation and slander. Leah explicitly denies this elsewhere, but even if she hadn’t, that’s extremely disrespectful to Leah, especially given her well-documented intellectual rigor. Would you make the same cheap shot against a Christian who was de-converting and had an atheist girlfriend?

      • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

        That is absurdly condescending and extravagantly unfounded in evidence. What tosh.

    • http://twitter.com/Spambot3049 Spambot3049

      “Whatever reason, good riddance from the atheist ranks.”

      Absolutely! In fact, some of us are hoping this is said more often in the future.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carley-Scott/1462981006 Carley Scott

       Yeah, because calling her names is totally the mature thing here. Who the fuck are you to judge? You wouldn’t want people judging you for being Atheist, even though from their perspective your beliefs are evil, would you?

      The mudslinging here disappoints me. I think Leah’s an amazing person who’s being true to herself by exploring an option she thinks might be right for her. Saying “she’s lost it” or accusing her of just wanting publicity is bullshit.

      • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

        “exploring an option she thinks might be right for her”

        This isn’t a hairstyle.

        • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

          She is changing her mind based on what makes sense to her. Isn’t that the point of skepticism and open-mindedness?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

            If someone’s of the opinion that the sun goes around the Earth, we make fun of them, too.

            It’s all well and good to be open minded, but if you’re so open minded that your brain falls out you aren’t of much use. “Skepticism” is kind of the antithesis of accepting the literal transubstantiation as a thing.

          • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

            In short, no. The point of skepticism is to believe what the evidence supports, not what takes your fancy.

            • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

              I wouldn’t go so far as to conflate skepticism and evidentialism, but yeah. Close enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503257844 Adam Evans

    The comments in her blog are kinda WTF. Really she is “brave” to be coming out as an Christian? When do you have to be brave to come out as Christian? I don’t think atheists will shunning her, denying her rights, or using violence against her. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      Well I actually agree. It is a very brave thing to come out as believing the opposite of what you’ve been debating passionately about for years. No, I don’t think atheists would do any of those things to her, but facing the disappointment is a very brave thing.

    • OverlappingMagisteria

       I agree that BEING a Christian in the US does not take much bravery. But having had written much about atheism and telling everyone that you have changed your mind does take bravery, even if there is not backlash against her. Admitting to your followers that you were wrong the whole time (from her new Catholic point of view, that is) is very hard to do.

    • Stev84

       Never underestimate the Christian persecution complex. They truly think they are some oppressed minority

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    Is this where we say that she was obviously never a true atheist?
    I kid, of course.

    • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

      Except other people aren’t kidding when they say things like that.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

        I know, I thought it was a good joke and then suddenly people are actually saying it.

  • Gus Snarp

    Maybe being on Patheos has some kind of nefarious mental influence. Better watch out, Hemant, maybe put on a tin foil hat whenever you log on.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I wonder if she’s had a good physical lately. I think a head CT or MRI is in order.

  • anodognosic

    Guys, following this trackback from Leah’s blog, and as a fellow atheist, I’d just like to say… Don’t be assholes. Seriously. I have my own profound problems with Catholicism, and I’m sad to lose Leah’s offbeat perspective on atheism, but she’s a fundamentally insightful and sincere thinker. This is our chance to show ourselves to be gracious in a sort of defeat. Let’s not blow it, okay?

    • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

      This.

    • Gus Snarp

      You can’t be out there making a case for why you’ve turned to religion and expect not to get an argument in return. And when your argument is that Catholicism reflects moral law, then I’m sorry but I’m going to come out and say that no, Catholicism is morally bankrupt, it is poking around in women’s lives and vaginas, trying to enforce its religious beliefs about whether women get to choose to have sex on their own terms without getting pregnant on people who don’t even believe in their religion and telling homosexuals that they cannot have the same rights pertaining to their relationships as heterosexuals. They are condemning their own nuns for focusing on the poor and not these anti-gay and anti-woman agendas. They have a real, negative impact on lives and government policy in this country. I cannot allow an argument that such an anti-gay, anti-woman organization represents any kind of morality. And that’s not even getting into covering up for pedophile priests.

      If that’s being an asshole, fine, I’m an asshole.

      • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

        Except that it’s not at all clear that Leah believes these things. She’s starting out on a new branch of a long intellectual journey. What we know is that she thinks her moral epistemology (where we get morality from) is in correspondence with Catholicism’s. We will have to wait to see if everything else follows.

        • Gus Snarp

          The Catholic Church is a highly structured, hierarchical organization with official, encoded rules and doctrines and a single head who gets to decide what is right and wrong, and that organization is doing these things, under that leader’s direction and clearly within its official doctrine.  If you sign on to the Catholic Church from outside, then you are signing on to these things and either you are ignorant and didn’t bother to fix your ignorance before signing up, or you’re saying you’re OK with that.
          I wonder how much of this they actually cover in those RCIA classes she’s taking?

          • TheAnalogKid

            You forgot patriarchal.

          • Stev84

            Yeah. Aside from some theological differences, Catholicism and Protestantism aren’t really all that different. I’ve been to Lutheran services for example. You can’t really tell much of a difference to a Catholic mass unless you pay very, very close attention. If she came to theism from a morality angle, there is really no reason to pick on sect over another. Except of course to pick a liberal one over a very conservative one.

            • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

              I’m sorry, Stev84, but you’re wrong. There is a huge fundamental theological difference between Catholicism and Protestantism. Catholicism emphasises the individiual’s distance from God’s grace. People are lost sheep in need of intermediary spiritual leadership to guide and interpret the codified Word of God; which is beyond the ken of mere plebs and can therefore only be handled by God’s appointed earthly mouthpiece: the Church in general and the Pope especially. Protestantism, on the other hand, emphasises the individual’s closeness to God. No man (or woman) is above any other. Everyone is, ultimately, their own priest and while the Bible is thought to be the go-to manual, its correct interpretation is a personal relationship between the individual and God. You do have priests, of course, but their authority is derived not from God but by the amount of work they put into making it their business to study the Bible and the spiritual: anyone may still trust their own studies over that of the priests. The Catholic Church was right to distrust Protestantism. Protestantism, in a sense, is skepticism, which eventually peters out in atheism. This is also, historically, what has happened to most Protestant countries. Sure, in the actual content Catholicism and Protestantism are superficially similar: God, Jesus, original sin, all that jazz. But if a disagreement of humanity’s natural place in the cosmos doesn’t constitute a major theological difference, I don’t know what does.

        • Baby_Raptor

          Yeah. It’s “in correspondence with” the people who do all that. 

          No, she’s fair game. Just as any other Catholic is for choosing to support the church despite the crimes they commit. 

      • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

         I don’t think making that argument is being an asshole. Stuff like calling her names or suggesting that she’s had a head injury (which might even be warranted if this were a sudden and severe change of mind, but that isn’t the case here) is being an asshole. You’re not doing that; you’re engaging with her ideas.

    • TheAnalogKid

      Why is it a defeat?

      • anodognosic

        First of all, because the conversion of a thoughtful, intelligent person is a manner of defeat against atheism. I suppose this is arguable, and I’m not sure to what extent I believe it, but it does feel that way, and I think we might be inclined to lash out because of that.

        More importantly, though, is that she was a strong, unique voice in the atheist community. She’ll still be blogging, sure, but she won’t be working on atheism as an intellectual project. That’s a real loss, I think.

    • http://profiles.google.com/michael.laporte Michael La Porte

      I agree about not being an a-hole here.  But isn’t there just a whole lot of “hating the sin, but loving the sinner” here where the “sin” is conversion?

      • anodognosic

        I don’t know. There are some reasonable voices around, but I’m pretty dismayed by much of the reaction here–knee-jerk, misinformed and petty. All the awful stereotypes are in full display in this comment thread. I’m not terribly proud of being one of us today.

    • melizer

      Yeah, guys, let’s be gracious about the biggest force for evil on earth!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/SH5Y2EVWTCTIZM4HQSMC2Z4IWQ Nicholas V

       Defeat? Fuck you. If she’s A-OKAY with the Catholic Church in the world today, and she’s willing to uncritically accept the many varieties of crazy horseshit they peddle, then they can have her. It’s not defeat. It’s good riddance.

      • anodognosic

        “…she’s willing to uncritically accept the many varieties of crazy horseshit they peddle…”
        Have you ever read a word that Leah Libresco has written?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

          To be a Catholic you have to accept a large amount of crazy shit. Transubstantiation, three-in-one deity concept, etc. Along with going along with all of the pronouncements of the Vatican. That’s the definition of being a Catholic, and if you don’t, you aren’t.

          How does ANY of that pass the laugh test, much less critical examination?

  • Amelia

    Any chance this is part of the Turing test?

    • Kate Donovan

      Nope. She clarified this pretty squarely in the comments.

      • Amelia

        I noticed after I posted this and was going to come back and clarify here. Thanks!

  • KarlVonMox

    I will never understand some people. I wish it was possible to see life from her perspective and understand why she is doing this. Religion is still a powerful force in the minds of some. 

  • kitty

    Does this mean she thinks the bread actually becomes Christ’s body? Ohwaitprobablynotbecauseshe’sareasonableperson

    • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com/ Dan F.

      because no reasonable people have ever believed that…

      • matt

         That is correct.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=773692362 Jansen Waddell

    Another one bites the dust.

    Good luck, my dear.

  • Justin Miyundees

    Sounds like she gave evolution half a chance to explain human cultural mores and then, unenchanted, *poof!* she chose magic!  I’m with you, good luck with that, but take it from a former catholic – it won’t hold water.
    Our “morality” stems from our struggle to survive as a member of a group.  Mistreat a member in the group and you risked being shunned and being shunned meant death.  If you want an ultimate source for fairness, that’s a manifestation of existence but I don’t know how you make the leap to “It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person”.   A person? 
    So she decided to anthropomorphize – well, it’s been done and, like I said, it doesn’t hold water but good luck with that.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I’ve never seen so many half-hearted attempts at second-guessing a person’s stated position as on this post. I guess it’s harder to do that a person we used to like as to opposed to one we’re predisposed to disliking from the get-go.

    • p4ul47

      I didn’t like her posts before… do I get a cookie for being consistent? *half kidding*

  • lilyboosh

    Some people have an attachment to rituals, I guess.

    • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

      That’s really not what’s happened here. Did you read Leah’s post?

  • cb

    I have a hard time believing that anyone who “converts” from atheism to religion was ever really an atheist to begin with.  They had maybe convinced themselves that they were an atheist, but that is different from actually being an atheist.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I think that argument extremely narrow minded when it comes from believers.  They can’t imagine anyone who has been touched by God giving that up, so obviously the person was never touched by God.  I get where you’re coming from, but ultimately it’s her word, and we should accept it.

      • cb

        I think your rationale here is deeply flawed.  You’re assuming that people actually know themselves well.  I seriously doubt we know very much about ourselves and our personalities at all.

        • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

          Then we have to stop complaining when religious people say the same things about people who stop being religious.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Given the choice of my own understanding of myself, and someone else’s understanding of me, I’ll have to go with the former, thanks!

          (ok, seriously, if someone tells me I have http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton%E2%80%93Babinski_syndrome and I keep bumping into things, I hope I’ll take their word for it.  But I’m assuming it’ll take me a few days of bumping before I do)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      Yeah…no. Don’t try to use that argument. I get where you’re coming from because it feels like once we’ve understood the logical, rational arguments, we could never go back to believing in God, but it’s just not right. I used to be a Christian and I believed it wholeheartedly. Now I am an atheist and I am very sure of what I believe. No matter what I believe in the future, I was definitely a Christian at one point and I am definitely an atheist at this point.
      While she may not have been as convinced about atheism and its arguments as some people, she still obviously did not believe in God at the time. She was an atheist.

      • cb

        The difference is that one would assume an “atheist” actually understands the difference between perceived evidence and actual evidence.  Religious people delude themselves into thinking certain things count as evidence when they actually don’t.  So if someone could return to that kind of mentality, I would assume she never really understood the differences to begin with.  In any case, I still believe my point is valid.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          Well that’s a fair point. I guess I see what you mean. I have an atheist brother that really seems to be an atheist because he wants to do whatever he wants. This is a typical religious straw man, but in my brother, it really seems to be the case. I suppose if in the future he became a Christian again, I might have doubts about whether he was ever really an atheist.
          So I guess there needs to be a clarification between atheists who are very rational about their reasoning and understand the need for evidence and the atheists who just don’t believe in a God. But if someone was raised without religion and didn’t believe in a god, you’d probably call them atheist even if they didn’t have a lot of arguments to back up what they believe. 

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            I’m kind of thinking that anyone who runs a blog under an ‘atheist’ channel probably isn’t labeling as an atheist just because they don’t feel like going to church.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

              Right, I’m not saying that was her specific reason for atheism. I was just pointing out that while my brother is an atheist, his reasons for not believing in God is because he doesn’t want to. Those reasons are not very strong, so it would not surprise me if he goes back to Christianity someday.
              I don’t often read her blog, so I don’t know what her reasons for atheism were, but they may not have been very strong. That doesn’t mean that she was never an atheist.

        • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

          The difference is that one would assume an “atheist” actually understands the difference between perceived evidence and actual evidence.

          I don’t think that’s necessarily true at all. For people who came to atheism via rigorous skepticism, yes, but that’s not the only way to be an atheist.

  • ortcutt

    Someone who believes in woo like dualism, “Person” and “Truth” is 7/8th of the way to religion.  She sounds hopelessly confused, and hence prime fodder for the Catholic Church.

  • T-Rex

    It sounds like someone was hit by lightning, overdosed or had a stroke. The only “logical” reason to convert to Catholocism from atheism is brain damage. Poor girl. She needs medical attention, not religion.

  • John Purcell

    Well, you can choose your beliefs but you can’t choose to believe something that doesn’t make any sense to you. Her mind, her brain, finds sense in what she says she believes in. As a consistent free thinker, I may not agree with her, but I wouldn’t presume to tell her what to believe, less I be a hypocrite.

    Beliefs can only be determined by the individual holding those beliefs. What we, as freethinkers, usually have problems with is the repugnant form of Christianity  and others theisms that insist on proselyting and forcing others to hold the same beliefs, shoving them down our throats, metaphorically speaking.

    It may be that she’s still working through these things, and in time, who knows? She may reverse herself again. And if she doesn’t , but finds she’s happy, more power to her.

  • Alexandra

    I’ve never been entirely sure what it was about it, but I’ve never liked unequally yolked.  This announcement actually makes a lot of sense to me.

    • Pascale Laviolette

      I feel the same way; I could never properly relate, although it was always clear she’s an intelligent person.

    • The Other Weirdo

       I’d heard once that it was an atheist blog, but when I went there to read it, I wasn’t sure I lighted upon the correct address. I thought I was reading a Christian one, and this was long before her coming out of the closet.

  • CultOfReason

    Are we sure this isn’t a big experiment she’s conducting revolving around the  Ideological Turing Test?

    • http://www.themerelyreal.wordpress.com/ Chana

      Yes. She has made this clear.

      • CultOfReason

         Or is the denial part of the test?

        Just joking (sort of).

        I’ve never read her blog so I can’t comment on her state of mind leading up to this decision, but it sounds from the comments and her replies that she may have been looking for a reason to be a believer, and her inability to accept that objective morality does not have to exist gave her that reason.

  • TheAnalogKid

    I don’t think it was something “cranial”, or anything physiological. I would guess it was something very emotional. Deep, I don’t think that evidence or facts or anything “intellectual” have much to do with being religious.

  • Thegoodman

    This is like me suddenly believing in Santa Claus. I still have no proof or even supportive evidence. I simply will my mind into cognitive dissonance and suddenly *poof* I believe.

    I fear the “no true Scotsman” fallacy, but I believe Leah Libresco was never an atheist to begin with. She was likely a deist searching for the “right” religion to wrap her mind around. I admit I am have a very difficult time understanding how a person can go back into the shadows after having seen the light, so I may be way off base here.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    It’s a little awkward to read her blog post. I mean, I’m sure she’s given more thought to this than she can put in one post. It’s just that she’s presented with the “Where do morals come from/why are they important?” type of question and she doesn’t know the answer, so she just comes to the conclusion that Morality loves her and that morality = God.

    Someone in the comments points out that our desire for morality is simply our desire to live well with other people, and she responds by saying “What does it mean to live well and where did you receive this knowledge from?”
    This really does seem like a “God of the gaps” sort of thing. She doesn’t know where we found out what it meant to live well, so she says it’s God…I really don’t follow. It seems pretty self-explanatory to me that if you kill someone, the other people in your group will not want you around and they’ll either kill you or shun you, making things very unpleasant. Living well is just making sure that you don’t do things to other people that would make things less pleasant for you and/or the group.
    Nothing magical or unexplainable about it.
    “where did you receive this knowledge from?” just sounds too much like “But what caused the Big Bang?” except that the former is even easier to figure out.

    • Pascale Laviolette

      And even if all that were sorted out (yeah, sure — “God”)… why CATHOLICISM!?  I just don’t understand why she felt the need to attach a label with so much baggage she has expressed disagreement with.  Seems fishy.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    I look forward to her future posts in hopes that she explains her reasoning a bit more, as she was pretty vague so far. It seems that she was convinced by some type of moral argument, but considering that I’ve never found those the least bit convincing, I’m curious what I might have missed (if anything.)
    And the leap from “Morality is a person who is God” to “Therefore, Catholicism” is a very large one that I hope she explains in more detail in the future.
    I wish her a exciting journey in the future and may her mind always stay open.

  • Dan Linford

    The majority of the comments here  seem to be grossly offensive and really presumptuous (incidentally, I’m not a butt-hurt theist…. I’m an atheist.) Her conversion appears to be legitimate; why can’t people simply listen to what she has to say about her own experiences?

    • Lamocla

       Because I will never listen or support anyone claiming higher moral ground in the Roman Catholic Pedophile Protecting Church.

      • SJH

         I do not think that she is claiming a higher moral ground? She is stating what she believes. I can believe in a religion and at the same time believe that I am bad at its practice. Perhaps I am morally decrepit and trying to improve my life so I work hard to follow the ideals set forth in an organization. Perhaps I even think I am at a moral low ground compared to a given atheist.  That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t declare my beliefs and do my best to follow them.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      A huge part of this is because she’s converting to Catholicism. If an atheist converts to some sort of theism, that’s one thing. I may not agree with the “There’s got to be something out there” mindset, but I still understand it. However, she’s converting to Catholicism, which is sexist and homophobic, and very outspoken about these things and turns a blind eye to child rape. While I’m sure she doesn’t support these things, it is horrible for her to go and support a church that does all of these things. If she said, “I believe in God. Here’s what I believe now:” then there would be a different reaction. But she’s converting to a church whose morality is so incredibly backwards. It would be like saying she’s part of the Westboro Baptist Church because that’s what her view of God is, but then saying that she is a little confused about the WBC’s teachings on homosexuality. A more extreme example, sure, but you don’t say you’re converting to a denomination that believes very specific things if you don’t support those things.

      • JoAnna Wahlund

        “which is sexist and homophobic, and very outspoken about these things and turns a blind eye to child rape.”

        It’s not, it’s not, and you’re confusing the actions of sinful men who were acting against the teachings of their Church with the objective truth taught by the institution. Unless, of course, you can produce quote from the Catechism or a papal encyclical that condones and encourages child rape?

        To use an analogy, bad behavior by math teachers does not mean that the truths of mathematics that they teach are therefore false. 

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/RLRZCBHUAMJTYKCFCCSJEDGSK4 ombak

          If all you need is quotes from people saying they believe this or that, then the catholic church is great. But actions speak louder than words and the actions of the church result in sexism, homophobia and turning a blind eye to child rape no matter how much they say otherwise.

        • Neil

          There is plenty to criticize in such a short comment, but I have to start with “confusing the actions of sinful men who were acting against the teachings of the church with the objective truth taught by the institution.” 

          “Objective truth taught by the institution”?  I don’t believe I’ve ever seen or heard of such a creature.  Whatever could you mean?  The existence of god and souls?  Original sin?  Resurrection?  Transubstantiation?  Or something vague like “the dignity of all human beings”?   There are plenty of church teachings, and I’ll grant that not ALL of them are morally repugnant even though they are often vague, contradictory, or unsupported by facts or evidence.  But I am truly curious to see some of this “objective truth”. 

            You then compare bad behavior by priests to bad behavior by math teachers.  I’ll grant that either could abuse their position, but what does the church have to offer that is in any way comparable to math as a source of truth, knowledge, facts, or simple usefulness, that can’t be attained in other ways than through the church?  Math is math no matter where you learn it, and is necessary for many, many good purposes and goals, while every arguably good thing the church offers can be had elsewhere without having to take all the bad with the good.

          You deny that the church is sexist or homophobic…maybe I’m just biased, but the bible and the entire history of christianity including catholicism is quite clear in denying women the independence, privilege, and the full rights that men enjoy, and is quite clear in its  moral condemnation of homosexuality- based only on biblical morals and tradition, not on any provable, objective facts or independent reasoning that didn’t start with the conclusion as a given.  You can try to argue otherwise, but until I can see and hear AT LEAST a slim majority of catholic clergy and laity agreeing that 2000 years of christian beliefs and teachings about women(including sex and birth control issues) and homosexuals are wrong and need to change, I have zero reason to believe your obviously selective interpretation of catholicism.   

        • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

          “the actions of sinful men”

          No. This is the ‘few bad apples’ argument, and it is not the point. We know that only relatively few priests actively engaged in raping children, and while that is clearly a very bad thing, it is not what matters here. The problem is that those few rapists were protected and enabled by an organised campaign of secrecy managed by the church, and involving a great many senior figures, including the current Pope. The problem is that the church, including the Pope, still continue to obstruct investigations into the crimes of the few active rapists. The problem is that there are rape victims who would not have become victims at all if the church had not orchestrated a cover-up.

          That is not a matter of a few sinful men, it is a matter of the church itself.

  • Annaigaw

    I’m a former Catholic, and many of my friends and family are Catholic and I love them dearly. But I do struggle with loving them while they enable so many immoral acts by an organization that they support. How can a person reconcile their views on humanistic morality and ethics while their church denies women access to contraception which leads to high infant mortality rates and children who starve? I question how they can find morality in an organization that protects itself and it’s own power structure by hiding and moving child rapists into unsuspecting congregations and then act as if this were not a serious concern. I question how they can morally justify denying condoms to AIDS victims. I question their ability to remain an “ethical path” when they deny modernity and the equality of women. The list goes on. To want to believe in a higher power to get your sense of ethics is one thing, to embrace a totalitarian organization to do it for you, is beyond my understanding.

    • SJH

       There is a lot of information out there which can answer your questions. It takes an enormous amount of patience to weed through it all to make sure you are getting good information but it is worth it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

        That sounds like “It takes a long time to find the stuff I agree with in the reams of evidence against what I think”

        There is plenty of documented proof that the Catholic church has worked against condom use, sex education, AIDS treatment, exposing of pedophile priests and a litany of other transgressions. You don’t have to weed through anything significant at all. Even their good deeds come with strings attached.

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      It might be helpful for you to find out what the Church actually teaches, and why, instead of what you think She teaches.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/SH5Y2EVWTCTIZM4HQSMC2Z4IWQ Nicholas V

         So, is my friend who works for a Catholic institution in a lay capacity lying when she tells me her employer won’t provide birth control? Is it not the case that the Knights of Columbus spent large sums overturning California’s Proposition 8? Are these the actions of rogue factions that the Pope has disavowed?

  • Annie

    In her announcement Leah wrote, “I was ready to admit that there were parts of Christianity and
    Catholicism that seemed like a pretty good match for the bits of my
    moral system that I was most sure of”.

    I hope in future posts she expands on this, as I cannot even begin to imagine what she’s referring to here.

  • PegK

    I am skeptical.  Perhaps this is a bit like the teenage girl pretending she was pregnant as a sociological experiment at her school.  A book in the works maybe?

  • Lamocla

    Another brain dead idiot willing to support The Roman Catholic Pedophile Protecting Church.

    And no I would not apologize. Anyone supporting such church and call it moral is a brain dead idiot.

    • Sean

       I won’t begin to defend pedophilia in the Catholic Church.  It should be dealt with harshly but you expose your own bias against the Catholic Church in your post.  Using your argument anyone who supports schools and calls it “good” is a brain dead idiot.  Just look at the statistics of pedophilia in our school systems.  It is as bad or worse than it is in the Catholic Church.

      Two wrongs don’t make a right and this doesn’t justify clergy molesting children but at least be consistent.  Just because someone is Catholic doesn’t make them a brain dead idiot any more that someone who supports another organization (like public schools, or law enforcement, or sports) which has to deal with pedophilia in its ranks.

      Some school statistic from 1996 (I’m sure it hasn’t gotten any better since then):
      -Best estimate is that 15% of students will be sexually abused by a member of the school staff during their school career.
      -Most cases of sexual abuse of students by teachers are never reported.
      -In nearly half of the cases, suspects were accused of abusing more than one student.
      -8.1% of teachers who were accused of sexual abuse were suspended and then resumed teaching.
      -Of the nearly 54% of abusers who resigned, weren’t rehired, retired or were terminated, superintendents reported that 16% were teaching in other schools and that they didn’t know what had happened to the other 84%.  All but 1% of these teachers retained their teaching license.

      Sounds like our school system has a lot of pedophile protecting of its own going on.  I hope you’re not a brain dead idiot who supports schools.

      • Lamocla

         Wrong …
        We do need school but it must be clean up and fix. We don’t need a organization which is base solely on lies and dilution. The two are not the same.

        • Lamocla

           I mean delusion not dilution. See, we do need school.

        • Sean

           *…cleaned up and fixed.
          *We don’t need an organization…

          The premise of your argument was based on the “Roman Catholic Pedophile Protecting Church.”  You also stated that “Anyone supporting such church (pedophile protecting) and call it moral is a brain dead idiot.”

          That is not a valid argument for calling someone a brain dead idiot unless you were willing to apply that same argument to every organization which has, and protects pedophiles.  They also then must be brain dead idiots.  If not then you have a bias against religion which clouds your ability to have a cogent discussion.

          • Lamocla

             Sorry for my typo., English not being my first language.

            Quote: The premise of your argument was based on the “Roman Catholic Pedophile
            Protecting Church.”  You also stated that “Anyone supporting such church
            (pedophile protecting) and call it moral is a brain dead idiot.”

            That is right supporting bullshit lies like the catholic church with its history of atrocities is brain dead. School teaches knowledge. Catholic teaches bullshit and on top of that they do everything in their power to protect the pedophiles.

            Again we need the school and it need to be clean up. We don’t need the Catholic church, it serves nothing except deception, lies, protects the guilty and shits on the victims. 

            I make no apology for what I say about your church and to the people who defends it.

            • Sean

              You assume too much.  It is not MY church.  I’m not defending it.  I’m not Catholic.  I was simply pointing out the inconsistencies in your argument.  From your reaction you act like you’ve been hurt by the Catholic church which would cloud your reason.

              As for bullshit, I’ve heard plenty on both sides.  I’ve read my fill of religious AND atheist deception, lies and rhetoric.  That doesn’t mean all atheists
              are all bad or completely wrong any more than the Catholic church having bad priests
              makes all Catholics all bad or completely wrong.

              You would then defend the right of a parochial school to exist since we need schools right?   Or should they be eliminated as well because they don’t align with your world view?

              • Lamocla

                 Some parents abuse their children, should we do away with parents?

                If you don’t know the difference between a church and schooling, that’s your problem. Don’t reply.

      • Neil

        Funny how an atack on religion can make people so disgustingly dishonest. 

          Is there any evidence of system-wide, intentional  silencing of victims, perpetrators, and witnesses in schools, as there is with the catholic church? 

          The current pope himself authored the instructions to keep victims and witnesses silenced…how many school district superintendents have done the same?   I wonder how many school officials are guilty of silencing victims and witnesses on threat of expulsion, eternal damnation, and the social consequences that the church wields? Probably a few guilty teachers and administrators have made  threats or cover-ups, but it’s not an official country-wide policy, it’s not openly tolerated by society or the institution as a whole, and teachers don’t have  the same social clout as priests.
         
          Are school districts engaged in ACTIVELY finding new homes and hunting grounds for predators, and helping to hide their crimes?  Even if assume that lack of diligence is the same as active help(even though it’s not), there is a HUGE difference 8.1% and nearly 100%! 

         
           And hey…you were able to get statistics from 1996, including some information that must have been supplied by the schools…it sure would be nice if the catholic church were so accomodating.  

        last thing…I couldn’t help but notice that just about every source I could find for your claimed statistics were absolute worst-case presumptions, that they included all cases of consensual sex in their numbers(and even tried to claim it was just as”spiritually” bad as forced rape), and that the people most concerned with these numbers were pretty much only using them to make the church look not so bad in comparison or demonize public education as a whole.  The sources were just a tiny bit biased…and by “a tiny bit”, I mean obviously, glaringly biased.  And of course, school teachers don’t claim to be the guardians of morality, the agents of god, or keepers of the path to heaven, either- which, while not absolving schools of anything, at least lessens the outright hypocrisy that the church seems to wallow in gleefully.

        But hey, you go ahead and keep pretending that the situations are equal if it makes you feel better.

        • Sean

           You are making an assumption that I’m Catholic/religious and that I’m somehow defending what the Catholic church does.  I am not Catholic/religious and I’m not defending what they do.  All pedophiles should be equally prosecuted and removed from children, if not society.  I have nothing to “feel better” about.

          I was pointing out to the commenter that he was biased and not consistent in applying his argument.  The percentage of pedophiles in religious institutions isn’t any greater than the percentage of pedophiles in public institutions from what I’ve seen.  But I’m open to any information that says otherwise.

          We tend to demonize the religious because of bad people within religion.  This makes as much sense as demonizing all public servants because of bad people within public service or demonizing all atheists because of bad people who are atheist.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

            The problem is that the institutions themselves hide the information. We have no way of knowing. But it’s likely that we’re just scratching the surface, given the things that have been reported.

            The problem isn’t even in the numbers, though… it’s that the church actively worked to cover it up. The school system doesn’t do that as an institutional policy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512225430 Roman Lebedev-Smirnov

    It’s fine seeing atheist becoming JUST a theist, without adhering to any specific type of religion. But to convert to Catholicism, she must have had a stroke! That is the only good enough explination I can think of at the moment.

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    I’m not surprised. I gave up reading her blog a long time ago because she wrote about Catholicism so much. I’m not interested in grappling with fine details of Catholic theory when I think they’re wrong on fundamental questions of the nature of reality and of human beings. I don’t think she’s right, but wish her well as a person.

    • JoAnna Wahlund

       Given that the entire point of her blog, when it began, was to explore the differences she was having with her CATHOLIC boyfriend… why were you surprised that she wrote about Catholicism?

      • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

        Did I say that I was surprised that she wrote about Catholicism? I said that the amount that she wrote about the finer points of Catholic doctrine lost my interest. I don’t know why that offends you.

        And that may have been the point of her blog when it began, but when I first started reading it, she was actually writing about other topics quite a bit. Maybe I just started reading when she was in a Catholicism-lite phase, I don’t know.

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        It’s the way she wrote about Catholicism that struck me as strange. If a blogger treated Scientology or Raelianism the same way Leah treated Catholicism, I would not be surprised to hear that they had converted to either of those beliefs.

    • Godless Sodomite

       This was my experience with her blog, too. I found her interesting when I first discovered her blog, but I became disinterested in it very quickly. The philosophical questions she found fascinating didn’t interest me at all and I stopped reading her blog a long time ago. Her conversion isn’t surprising in the least. The questions she posed seem tailor made for the woo that is Catholic theology.

  • MegaZeusThor

    The thing is, the closer you examine religion, you see that it’s kind made up. (Put on your anthropologist hat, look at other cultures and proposed deities.) I like all kinds of things that are “made up”, but I realize they are fiction.

    The deeper you look into atheism, you realize that not believing in gods (even simply saying I don’t know) is reasonable. If there’s some deity out there (and there really probably isn’t) — with the omniscience and telepathy and so on — I don’t think it’s quite as paternal as theists make it out to be. 

    Back to the Catholic thing: not sure how she narrowed down her choice, but good luck to her all the same.

    • Alexandra

      Doesn’t she have a Catholic boyfriend?  I’m guessing that’s how she landed on Catholicism.  

      • Wotan Anubis

         I think so, yeah. That’s why her blog is called ‘Unequally yoked’.

        I guess she’ll have to rename it to ‘Equally yoked’ now.

        • Annie

          I went and read Leah’s bio, as I thought for sure she must have been raised Catholic and was simply returning to it (but she wasn’t). She wrote that she did have a Catholic boyfriend and she was attending the classes for conversion (but she added, that she was “kicked out”).  She also wrote that she and said boyfriend split up due to their differences in belief.

          • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson

            Now she can get back together with him! Yay! I hope his number is still in her phone…/snark

            • Hibernia86

              Actually, Leah said he is dating an evangelical now, so she missed her chance with him.

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson

    I believe that Francis Collins converted to Catholicism, and I believe this young lady has, but I also believe (especially after reading Michael Shermer’s “The Believing Brain”) that our human brains can compartmentalize our beliefs to accomplish goals through fear. In Leah’s case, as well as Collins’s, this conversion is not to gain something in this life but to NOT LOSE something. So I am going to assume there is someone in her life that has given her an ultimatum, and this is the result of that.

    • SJH

       Why make such an assumption? Why would you judge her like that? Maybe you are right but what makes you think that? Have you read something of her’s that would make you formulate such an assumption? Please share.

      • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson
      • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson

        She says that the Catholic boyfriend has moved on to an Evangelical, so she hasn’t converted for any rational reason. None of the reasons she has stated are comprehensible to anyone commenting here. I was being nice, complimentary, in fact, when I assumed it was to save a fracturing relationship. Now she’s got me flummoxed.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      According to Wikipedia Collins is an Evangelical 
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins#Christianity

      I personally find that odd given he’s very much ‘old earth’ and ‘theistic evolution’.  I would think RC would be more his thing, since RC does support the idea that Genesis isn’t a literal description.

      • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson

        Right. My mistake. I just recalled that it was the Holy Trinity of waterfalls that converted him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marc.morgenstern Marc Morgenstern

    Maybe she just decided that free thinker was too much work. Or it’s a boy. 

    • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson

      It’s a fella. His name is C.S. Lewis.

    • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson
      • TheAnalogKid

        “We ended up making a deal: I’d go to Mass every week with him, and he’d go to ballroom dance class with me…””
        Ballroom dancing is so oppressive to women and homosexuals. Ballroom dancing covers up its instances of child rape. It lies about the efficacy of condoms in preventing the spread of disease. Down with ballroom dancing! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/NotInMyName2050 Notin MyName

    Why is it that in the cases of Atheists converting to faith, their ability to write coherent arguments takes a definitive nose-dive?

    • SJH

       I understood it just fine. Maybe she is communicating something beyond your knowledge or maybe both her and I are full of it. All the more reason to figure it out.

      • http://twitter.com/adam_the_k Adam K

        “Maybe she is communicating something beyond your knowledge or maybe both her and I are full of it.”

        I’ll take door number two, Monty.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Schlicht/1566144898 Steve Schlicht

        I agree. 

        It is an emotional outreach of faith without evidence.  Leah is quite clear about that.

        Not that there’s anything wrong with that specifically, but we should at least be honest that that is what it is.

  • http://twitter.com/RosaRubicondior Rosa Rubicondior

    I’d love to know how she got from accepting that the only basis for belief is evidence to the conclusion that a gap in her understanding could only be filled by the Christian god. 

    I assume she examined all possible natural causes for whatever her evidence is and eliminated all of them, then systematically eliminated all possible hypothetical supernatural ones bar one.

    Her methodology must have been something special to allow the supernatural to be so scrupulously examined and her systematic identification and elimination of all possible natural  causes could be an object lesson in scientific investigation.

    Or maybe not.

    • SJH

       It sounds to me like you are expecting her to have developed her beliefs based upon 100% proof. Is this how science works? Do we formulate opinions and our understanding of phenomena by only first proving beyond any doubt that our understanding is complete and without flaw? Of course we do not. We take the available evidence, formulate opinions and try to fill in the gaps the best we can. We don’t stop running experiments just because we don’t completely understand something. On the contrary, we run more experiments. We immerse ourselves in it knowing full well that at every turn more questions are going to arise and more beautiful, extraordinary discoveries are going to be made. Always hungry for more. More knowledge, wisdom, understanding.

      • Pascale Laviolette

        But that’s just the problem — why has she professed a belief in a religion with very SPECIFIC tenets.  Not needing 100% proof is not the same as not needing ANY proof.

        To me, anyway, it seems she has made quite a leap — Why not begin with deism and progress from there (as you said, collecting available evidence and slowly forming stronger conclusions)?  Perhaps her comment responses will clear this up, but I’m baffled.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Schlicht/1566144898 Steve Schlicht

    Those who don’t believe in God(s)ess(es) due to the distinct lack of evidence for their existence do not convert to a religious sect.

    Absent some evidence that proves that the RCC deity exists, (and if Leah found some I’m sure the world would be interested in it), conversions of anyone into a religious sect and a consequential belief in a deity is one based on emotional plea.

    I’m an atheist not only because of the problem of evil or because I don’t require the convenience of a comfortable unfounded assertion to fill a psychological need or gaps in our human knowledge.

    I’m an atheist because there has not been presented any evidence presented to suggest that any of the God(s)ess(es) exist, much less that one particular religion, out of all of the assorted failed hypothesis regarding life, the universe and everything, is the true one.

    Safe travels to all.

    • SJH

       Maybe it has been presented to you but you have not thoroughly analyzed it in order to make a conclusion? Maybe we should all take the time to look at why these intelligent people choose to believe?

      I think it is human nature to lump people into categories. Perhaps there is this category that has been created in our society which is reserved for religious people who are not all that analytical and we assume that all religious people are the same. I don’t think we all form our beliefs based on our emotion just as I don’t think that all atheists form their beliefs based on anger (which is unfortunately the category that has been created for atheists by Christians).

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Schlicht/1566144898 Steve Schlicht

        “Maybe it has been presented to you but you have not thoroughly analyzed it in order to make a conclusion”

        It hasn’t.  That is one reason I am not a Zoroastrian, nor an adherent of any other failed hypothesis regarding life, the universe and everything as so far provided by religious sects.

        “Maybe we should all take the time to look at why these intelligent people choose to believe?”

        I have, that’s what we are doing, and I presented some conclusions regarding that dynamic. 

        Maybe you should take some time to read my post again.

        I do not present the presupposition that all religious people are the same.

        I do present the same request to you, if you have evidence for the existence of any of the God(s)ess(es) please present some or accept that these religious beliefs are merely emotional assertions as reflected in Leah’s own articulation as to what converted her to this one particular religious doctrine.

    • STM

      “For the world to be coherent, X thing logically needs to exist, even if I can’t poke it with a stick” seems like a decent enough argument for something’s existence as any. It’s what we do with most mathematical and scientific constants.

      Yet it seems like a better response to “well, absolute moral realism doesn’t seem to work without God” is throwing out absolute moral realism rather than picking up God. This is further proof that atheism and post-structuralist epistemology are probably necessary complements. Absolute morality is *such* a worthless concept.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Schlicht/1566144898 Steve Schlicht

        Define what you mean by “something’s existence” and show your work as to why that would be a “decent enough argument”.

        The fact is that we already have fine ways of knowing people, places and things exist via critical analysis and the examination of evidence.

        Religious assertions and claims that God(s)ess(es) exist do not get a pass on these methods.

        Trees exist because we have evidence that they exist.

        Absent any evidence, and if you have some please provide it to the world, God(s)ess(es) do not.

        • STM

          Leah’s conversion argument is one way of being consistent:

          M: Morality is real, absolute, and immutable.
          M: Without this RAI morality, the world would be incoherent.
          m: I believe in RAI morality.
          m: I am not comfortable believing in an incoherent world, given my belief structure.
          M: The only way to have RAI morality make sense is some sort of transcendent metaphysical ground for meaning (in post-structuralist jargon, this is called the “transcendental signified,” it’s also frequently referred to as “God.”
          .:. I have to believe that above-mentioned ground exists.

          The argument more-or-less being that God is implied by the structure of the world, and that the world as it exists without God would be a contradiction. It’s basically the same logic that would lead one to accept quantum theory or the existence of the pi-constant: even though it’s not phenomenally observable, it’s a necessary structural implication of other phenomenally observable things.

          Now, to be clear, I don’t believe in God. But I also don’t believe in absolute or objective morality, think that human nature is a myth, and that meaning and human understanding is near-endlessly fluid and manipulable. I think more people should think that, and I think atheism implies all of those things (see: http://www.martinhagglund.se/images/stories/9.1.hagglund01.pdf, though it’s an academic paper and pretty jargony). I don’t think you can believe in absolute/objective morality of the kind Leah does without belief in God.

  • http://twitter.com/HealthyHumanist The Healthy Humanist

    Damn marketing ploys.

  • kyle s.

    Couldn’t she have picked a religion that doesn’t tell gay people they’re evil? I mean, of all the institutions to align yourself with…it’s just baffling.

    • JoAnna Wahlund

       Catholicism doesn’t tell gay people they’re evil. Quite the opposite, in fact.

      • kyle s.

        “Objectively disordered” is a politer way of saying it, but the sentiment remains the same: go straight, go celibate, or go to hell. 

      • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

        “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

        That’s not reassuring. So, what constitutes “just” discrimination against gays and lesbians?

  • sunburned

    I just don’t comprehend how a single philosophical argument can mitigate a myriad of other arguments.

    Especially one as week as a basis of morality.

     “My friend pressed me to stop beating up on other people’s explanations and offer one of my own.”

    Why?  I don’t have to have an answer to a question to point out that your answer is faulty.  I am perfectly happy to say that, “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer.  A answer that is far more preferable than adding in additional layers of obfuscation.

  • http://0xtc.com/ Tanin

    To me that quote indicates some kind of mental disorder. I wish her and her family all the best in these difficult times.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    I knew which one it was going to be before I even clicked on the post. I’ve gone through Leah’s blog before, and I have to say I’m not surprised. I’ve always found her posts kind of bizarre, focusing on things that seem very, very strange to me as a lifelong atheist.

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

    I’ll be interested to check back on her in a year or two, to see if she is still sticking with Catholicism.  Right now, she is likely being love-bombed by all the catholics who are just thrilled by this.  All the “happy happy” may be obscuring the dark underbelly of what she has just joined.  I see she does not appear to totally accept everything the catholic church teaches yet, so I think she may be premature in announcing a complete conversion.  We’ll see.
     

    • Gus Snarp

      Also, she says she will be attending RCIA classes. As I understand it you have to go through these classes to learn what it means to be Catholic (at least, what they want to tell you) before you actually convert. So in no way is she Catholic or converted, yet. 

  • Jason

    It’s puzzling how she is converting from atheism to a specific form of Christianity (which is itself a specific form of theism) without invoking the risen Christ Jesus even once.  Jesus Christ is not an incidental part of Catholicism, but an intrinsic one, no?

    I don’t get her philosophic leap from “Morality = God” to the theistic belief in God as a personal, active agent in the world.

  • Luca

    Now she will never have to think again! Enjoy your Jesus cracker.

  • Gus Snarp

    I was not familiar with Leah’s blog before this, so I was reviewing her “about” page. I don’t mean this as a “not a real atheist” argument, because I think that argument sucks. What I would instead say is that this is a young woman exploring ideas that were not a part of her upbringing and not just studying philosophy and Christian apologetics, but enveloping herself in them (and also somehow missing some of the key atheist philosophers and arguments in the process). I’m not saying she wasn’t an atheist, nor that she hasn’t converted. I would say that she’s still learning and exploring and that there’s no telling what conclusion she’ll come to. She may not come to any conclusion at all.

    Some people would say that coming to a conclusion (one way or the other) means you’ve become closed minded or fundamentalist or “militant”. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case, some of us simply find the philosophical debate tiring in the face of adequate evidence for naturalistic explanations and absolutely none for religious ones. Others find religious explanations make them feel good and that’s enough. In both cases we prefer to expend our energies in other ways and explore other kinds of ideas.

    Leah may one day come to the conclusion that Catholicism (or some other religion) is good enough for her, or she may return to atheism or end up somewhere in between. And just from my brief perusal of her “about” page, I’d say there’s a good chance she’ll stay on this journey to some extent and simply not settle on any single conclusion, and that’s OK. As long as she doesn’t start tithing. Exploring the Catholic Church is one thing, funding it’s anti-woman, anti-gay agenda is quite another entirely.

    • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com/ Dan F.

      Which ‘key atheists and philosophers’ do you think she’s missed and why do you think that would have made a difference? (serious question, not trolling)

      • Gus Snarp

        I originally wrote that without anyone in particular in mind, only that this problem with the source of morality ought to have been well covered by plenty of atheists. Specifically, unless she just hasn’t updated the bookshelf section of her blog, she has Bertrand Russell in the “To Be Read” section. She managed to read an awful lot of apologetics, but hasn’t gotten to Russell, perhaps the central atheist thinker.

        But honestly, the more I think about it, I think there’s a core problem in the way she thinks about morality. She just wants it to be something that there is simply no evidence that it actually is, and that desire leads her to require a god to be the source. Her premise is flawed, so her logical conclusion is naturally wrong.

        • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson

          Exactly. Her other arguments are terrible. The only rational explanation was that she was doing it to save a fracturing relationship. Now that she’s said that her Catholic boyfriend has moved on (quite quickly, I might add), her reasons are completely irrational. Saving a relationship I can understand. If that’s not the reason, then the “more condescending” accusations of her being a fraud going undercover to write a book will seem to be the only other avenue of comprehension for the audience of this blog.

          • Kyle Anderson

            They have not been together for quite some time now…it has been at least 6 months. That is when I started reading her blog and they were not together then.

          • Gus Snarp

            We make a mistake when we say that the reasons someone has proposed are irrational, therefore it must be a fraud or because of the boyfriend. Not only are both condescending, but rationality in the real world is bounded. She may not be perfectly rational, that’s OK, not everyone is. So we can readily accept that she has some irrational views. Or she could generally be rational, but have made a mistake. We all do that from time to time. Many’s the skeptic who has reasoned themselves into an irrational view because of a small mistake in the process and gotten stuck in a partly irrational word view.

            Of course, it’s obvious the boyfriend has an influence on her thinking, but that certainly doesn’t imply that she converted for him.

            And as a good skeptic, I will always leave a small opening for the possibility that she’s faking it. While the evidence seems to me to be against this, there is an awful lot of fakery in the world and especially online, and she’s certainly started a lot of conversation, if that was her goal.

      • Gus Snarp

        Also should have mentioned Spinoza. Since her focus is on moral law and the Catholic Church, Hitchens’ God is not Great is certainly a devastating critique. She appears to have read the God Delusion, but says nothing of The Selfish Gene, which while not a philosophical or anti-religious book, might help her to see a biological source for morality and ethics that does not involve group selection. And no one with the least skeptical word view is well read if they’ve skipped Sagan’s Demon Haunted World, not a philosophical treatise, but nevertheless and excellent guide to evidence based thinking, i.e. a laymen’s guide to materialism. Maybe she’s read that, I don’t know. She’s probably read Nietzsche, but simply not found his arguments that an unchanging, objective morality doesn’t exist compelling. People are funny about Nietzshe, there’s a tendency to see him as a promoter of nihilism and power as the ultimate end and to either completely reject his ideas because of that, or to get totally caught up it and fully embrace that world view. I tend to think that when discussing morality and power Nietzsche was more trying to tell us how things are by their nature, not how they can and should be in human societies.

        There ought to be an atheist reading list somewhere, particularly one for serious philosophers, which I’m not remotely. Honestly, I’ve dabbled in philosophy but sometimes find it tedious, particularly when it is still rehashing tired arguments about dualism, or as some have told me, simply stating that materialism is dead because a lot of modern philosophers have rejected it and written convoluted rationales for why there must be a spiritual realm. They still have no damned evidence. And this whole thing has me really feeling those old feelings of an untutored youth encountering philosophy for the first time: that it is a loud of pompous, tedious claptrap wrapped around idea for which there is no evidence and no reason to believe.

  • Nordog

    I think one would say that she is a convert to the faith who is currently a catechumen working toward baptism and confirmation (presuming she hasn’t been previously baptized).

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RLRZCBHUAMJTYKCFCCSJEDGSK4 ombak

    I do look forward to reading more posts about this conversion from her but nothing in her first post or replies indicates anything more than woo and god-of-the-gaps. It seems to me that her conclusion should have been “we don’t know” and instead it was “well I must pick from something that’s already out there” from what I can tell.

    I do think that dealing with the specific teachings of the church and what she thinks of them would be interesting but considering her post on PZ Myers’ eucharist cracker incident I’m not sure how likely she is to actually address the subject as directly as non-Catholics would want. We’ll see. Either way, I wish her the best and just shrug my shoulders at how unconvincing her post is at showing how she got where she did (because the same conversion process could have led to any number of other religions).

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson

    I can’t get past the fact that she was dating a Catholic guy and they had to break up. Now she’s Catholic. Too co-eenky-deenky.

    My comment at Blag Hag:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/06/weve-lost-an-atheist-blogger-to-catholicism/#comment-91285

    • Gus Snarp

      Cross posted from Blaghag:

      Wow is that condescending.I really hate when Christians read stories of other Christians converting to atheism and make all sorts of condescending statements about their conversion, but rarely have I read a Christian being as condescending as you were. Maybe try to have at least a piece of an argument.

  • Anonymous Guest

    Catholicism will be richer by her presence as my life is richer without religion.  I wish her the best.

  • http://blog.rrchapman.us/ Bob Chapman

    This is someone that recognizes to what the organization points and for what it longs. She has learned not to confuse people with the message.

    It is easy to knock the structure used to operate such an organization. It is harder to learn how to separate what the organization points from the organization itself.

    • Gus Snarp

      I’m not knocking the structure used to operate the organization, I’m knocking what it DOES. I couldn’t care less if Catholic priests give sermons about loving your neighbor or helping the poor as long as what they practice is about restricting your neighbor’s rights, which it is.

  • Louie75

    Dollars to donuts, she was never an atheist to begin with.  

    • The Other Weirdo

       Let’s be better than the religious people in whose midst we live. Let’s not go that route.

  • Salford3lad

    So she was never an atheist in the first place, just a wishy washy agnostic, strange how superstition can turn people’s heads. No doubt she’ll grow disillusioned and become agnostic again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thomtrue Thomas True

    If people would just stop thinking in terms of there being a good or evil then crap like this would end. There is no good or evil as many people want to define them. It is just good or bad in relation to what is being done.

    Is getting a scoop of ice cream good, Sure. How about a scoop of mud? well I guess it depends on what your doing. Are you making mud bricks or something that needs mud?

    It is all part of context and situation.

    When you start jabbering on about crap like Leah is you can tell her brain has come off it’s hinges.

    See you in Tulsa Hemant.

  • jose

    She doesn’t know where morality comes from, therefore Catholicism. Holy crap. An atheist thought that. This is shocking.

    That a person who believes objective morality exists is going to embrace Catholicism is worrying. More so when all of a sudden the church’s hatred for gays doesn’t make her feel disgusted or appalled or anything, just “confused”. Gah >_<

    • JoAnna Wahlund

       The Church does not hate gays. Quite the opposite, in fact.

      • Wotan Anubis

         They just think gay people are ‘objectively disordered’.

        Maybe not outright hatred, perhaps, but not exactly accepting and loving.

        Or realistic.

        • Kyle Anderson

          Can any behavior be considered “objectively disordered”?

          • Nordog

            Good question.  Since many (most? all?) atheists reject a teleological view of things to begin with, they by definition reject things being ordered to specific ends.  No first cause, final cause, etc.

      • Gus Snarp

        Amazing how two people can read the same thing and take away something completely different. Buried in those words of compassion, the core of the message is this:

        This inclination, which is objectively disordered,

        And this:

        Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.

        Is absolutely at odds with what the Catholic Church actually does in advocating against same sex marriage or any approximation thereof, and at odd with the way many high level Catholic priests have attempted to blame the pedophilia scandals on the evils of homosexuality.

        EDIT: Love is shown in what you do, not in pretty weasel words.

        • The Other Weirdo

           And more to the point, what exactly is just discrimination, and how does one decide?

      • Godless Sodomite

         Yes, objectively disordered–not hatred at all. And you can also consider it not hatred when I say fuck you and the Jesus you rode in on. Your church disgusts me very deeply. I find it total affront on humanity There are terrific Catholic people, but the church is horrific. I have no patience at all for apologists for the organization.

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        Ah, yes, the Vatican simply labels them “intrisically disordered” and treats them like they are diseased. Yes, that’s so much better than being hated outright. Funny how both lead to the exact same thing: social stigmatization and legal discrimination.

        And let’s not forget the charming words of the Vatican on same-sex parenting, that it is “gravely immoral” and “would actually mean doing violence to those children.” Guess what? I’m one of those children, and I find that kind of prejudice sickening and disgusting. They can refuse to label it hatred, but that doesn’t change the fact that being pitied and discriminated against feels exactly the same as being hated.

        • Stev84

          And let’s not forget their campaigning against every single advance in gay rights. They’re against gay-straight alliances in Catholic schools. They are against anti-discrimination laws. They are against civil unions. They are against same-sex marriage. Every time something comes up they campaign against it at the highest level of politics. Not just with words, but also with huge sums of money.

      • jose

        Keep pasting JoAnna, right after that paragraph:
        “Homosexual persons are called to chastity.”

        As in not only they can’t marry, they shouldn’t even fuck.

        “By the
        virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom”

        Translation: Pray hard enough to avoid falling into the nastiness of teh gay.

        “at times by the
        support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace”

        Your friends can convince you to maybe hit on that woman over there instead of that guy.

        “they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian
        perfection.

        Why would anyone want to approach that… but wait, if teh gay is fine, why all these precautions? Let’s just read the paragraph right before the one you pasted:

        “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”
        They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the
        gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual
        complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

        Those degenerate gays don’t know what love is. We can’t approve them. Let’s just pray for them, and teach them to self-master and tell them how awesome chastity is and be nice to them so hopefully they’ll turn hetero.

        Yeah, fuck you, Church.

        Refrain from quote-mining further, JoAnna. That was not a nice try.

        • The Other Weirdo

           I guess I didn’t look for context :) when I followed the link, but I wonder if that’s the same self-mastery that keeps priests from abusing boys and then castrating the ones who object? Oh, wait…

  • Darwin”s Dagger

    Anne Rice went Catholic didn’t she? And maybe it’s just my imagination, but almost every atheist who does gives into to the “guy in the sky” dark side seems to go for the Catholic denomination over the others. I think St. Augustine has a lot to do with that. He started (or refined at least) the line of Christian apologetics that has a lot of logical thinking (in that conclusions are based on what appear to be well argued premises) at its core. And for the last 1,500 years or so the church has created a deep and complex catechism to explain almost every aspect of Catholic faith. Its full of contradictions and fallacies, no doubt, but is so dense and impenetrable that it might appear as reasonable to someone who think density and complexity reflects deep meaning. This would appeal to atheists who believe that life is more complex then the book of Genesis and the Gospel of John, and if they were susceptible to faith might find Catholicism with all of its faux depth most attractive. 

  • Chelsea Butler

    I remember when she made her first Turing Test last year, she said her boyfriend was Catholic. Wonder if that has anything to do with it… 

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I was going to make this a reply.  But think I’ll just leave it here, with the earnest hope that anyone who hasn’t watched Stephen Fry love the Catholics, but hate the church, will do so.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEhtOhwL8xk 

  • Jeff Xenobuilder

     I’ve never read her blog, and what she state as the reason for her conversion makes no sense to me.  I will not claim she was  “No True Atheist”, but based on what I’ve read so far, it seems she was “No true naturalist and no true skeptic.”  She seems to have some need to answer natural mysteries with supernatural answers.  Maybe this will just be a momentary detour on her life journey.  Good luck to her.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Schlicht/1566144898 Steve Schlicht

    Does the Bible count?

    • Kyle Anderson

      No, it’s a book. Books can’t count.

  • Marco Conti

    Like Hemant, I read her post and could not make sense of it. Since I was born catholic and I have a pretty good knowledge of Catholicisms, you would think I would be a bit less baffled than I am. Unfortunately, I only read the occasional post from her blog so I am unaware of her previous positions or her “journey”. 

    I can only wish her best of luck on the continuation of her journey. 

  • dangeroustalk

    Well, her first problem was accepting the Platonic Forms as morality. I love Plato, but I think Aristotle had a better grasp on morality and we have come really, really far since he wrote on the subject.  

  • Nordog

    Julie wrote:

    “Meaningless? So is protestant communion (where they don’t believe in
    transubstantiation) less meaningful than Catholic communion? Why is
    believing in the symbol of it meaningless? Why does it have to be
    literal. It seems very silly to say that mass is meaningless without the
    literal transformation when there obviously is no literal
    transformation.”

    Respectively…

    1) It would be.
    2) Yes.
    3) I didn’t say it was.
    4) Why does anything have to be literal?
    5) No, you are mistaken.  The Catholic Mass would be meaningless without actual transubstantiation because actual transubstantiation (and the partaking of it) is the sine qua non of the Catholic Mass.

    Saying Catholic Mass is okay without transubstantiation would be like saying you could play Wheel of Fortune without being allowed to use vowels.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      “Saying Catholic Mass is okay without transubstantiation would be like saying you could play Wheel of Fortune without being allowed to use vowels.”No, it would be like playing Wheel of Fortune and calling the vowels “consonants” even though they are very clearly vowels, and then proceeding to say that it would be completely meaningless any other way.
      If you believe in transubstantiation, you obviously have no idea what the word “literal” means.

      I’ve had both Protestant and Catholic communion. Sorry, but there was nothing magical about the Catholic communion. I felt nothing extra-spiritual that I didn’t feel at my Protestant church.

      • Nordog

         Actually, I think that when you say “literally” you mean “actually.”  There is a big difference.

        In any event, the purpose of the Catholic Mass, and the role of transubstantiation in that purpose, is in no way affected by what you did or did not feel in your various experiences in life.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          Literal: in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of the word or words; not figurative 
          or metaphorical.You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
          It means that either the bread is literally bread or it is literally flesh.
          I would love to hear this “big difference” between literal and actual.

          • Nordog

            I would say that, properly speaking, “literal” would refer to not simply to how a thing comports to words, but more specifically to how it comports to specific texts.  As in literature, literal translation, transliteration, etc.

            While “actual” refers to the state of a thing in and of itself.

            Ultimately it is a distinction that is almost entirely lost these days.  Literally.

            • matt

              Why would Jesus want to you to eat him?  This is an important tenant of Catholicism?  What are the consequence for not eating him? Do you forfeit heaven?   

              • eonL5

                “tenet”

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

              Certainly, it has to do with words. It means that if I say something is literally bread, it is actually, physically bread. It is not metaphorically bread. If you picked it up, it would have all the qualities that you usually associate with bread.
              Sure, it can also be used to say “literal translation” or something, but it also shows how an object is described by the exact meaning of a word.

              So I’m not really seeing your point. Do you believe that the bread physically becomes flesh and the wine physically becomes blood?

              • Nordog

                 I believe I’ve answered that question before, but yes, I believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation, oftern referred to as the “real presence” which is that the bread and wine become the body, soul, and divinity of Jesus.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

                  Exactly. So why are we arguing whether the word should be “literally” or “actually” when you believe it either way?

                • Nordog

                   Let us just say that I’ve surrendered in the “literal” vs “actual” wars.  The distinction I was trying to make was admittedly a bit pedantic and not really important to anything I was trying to say.

                  I hope this settles the matter.

      • Stev84

        One side of my family is Lutheran. I’ve been to church with them plenty of times. It’s extremely hard to tell the difference between a Lutheran and Catholic church service.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          Lutherans are Protestants, but Protestants are not necessarily Lutherans. Catholic services are vastly different from Baptist or Evangelical services.

    • http://profiles.google.com/michael.laporte Michael La Porte

      The transubstantiation thing is very weird.  I honestly cannot fathom how the Catholic Church means that the wafer and wine “literally” become blood and body of a 2000 year old dead guy in any other way than they get to define “literally” to mean “not literally.”

      Perhaps this is not the same as metaphorically or figuratively, but its not, as we rationalists, realists, materialists, etc. experience the word “literally.”  I was looking at this recently in response to a survey that touted that about 2/3 of Irish folks didn’t believe in transubstantiation.  I found it odd that 1/3 actually did.

      I dug deeper and all I can see in reference to the “literal” changing into body and blood is (paraphrasing) “trust us, it does, even though its physical properties never, ever change.”

      If ever there was a misuse of “literally” changing into body and blood, this would be it.

      Even the Catholics don’t believe in the literal transformation.  They just say that.  To any sane person, its all metaphorical – unless you are wandering around and playing in the believer’s “its a mystery”-land.

      • Nordog

         Michael,

        Let me just say that the teaching is certainly that the bread and wine literally, actually, really, physically becomes the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus.

        Not all Church teachers say simply, “trust us.”  Specifically, Thomas Aquinas developed a explanations of the Eucharist based in part on Aristoteleanism.  Agree or disagree with transubstantiation, Aquinas’ explanation will not mean much without an understanding of Aristotle.

        Small point of order, the Church does not mean that the bread and wine become the body of a 2000 year old dead guy.  Of course you know the Church teaches that he’s not dead, but eternally alive, and that’s the whole point.

        Like you I find it odd that 1/3 actually believe.  I find it odd that anyone believes.  I find it odd that I believe.  But I do.  No explanation as to why I do will satisfy.

        Mark me down as mad if you must.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          What I find really crazy about it is that it’s not really even a matter of faith. You can see for yourself that it’s not physically a body. If you think that it is physically, actually, literally, etc, a body and blood, you don’t know the meaning of those words.

          • Nordog

             No, the article of faith is that what you see is not what is really there.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

        Exactly. Saying that the bread literally transforms into flesh, but it appears to you as bread is…the stupidest use of the word “literally” I have ever heard. It’s funny seeing someone say that without the literal transformation, mass is meaningless, yet there is clearly no literal transformation. It is very obviously metaphorical.

        • Nordog

           Julie, the Catholic mass is meaningless if transubstantiation is false because the whole mass is based on transubstantiation being true.

          The problem here is not that Catholics don’t know what the word “literal” means, or even how “literal” is commonly used.

          The problem here, and this is why of all Catholic doctrines transubstantiation should be the most repellant to materialists, is that the Church teaches that despite appearing, smelling, feeling, and tasting like bread and wine, that is, despite all physical evidence to the contrary, the Eucharist is no longer bread and wine.

  • dantresomi

    It happens. And I hope she finds what she is seeking. It her right to deconvert and I appreciate her honesty. 

  • http://www.suburbansweetheart.com/ Suburban Sweetheart

    Her post honestly makes no sense to me… & I like to think that even people of faith can be people of reason & science, so I hope she doesn’t give that up, at least, but… huh. Curious.

  • Adrian Roper

    I’m certain the native Arawak Indians of my place of birth, Jamaica, would love to discuss “morality’ with their Catholic conquistadors.  Unfortunately, none-zero-nada-zilch exist today because too many resisted conversion, and the rest succumbed to small-pox.

  • DG

    It happens far less frequently than the other way around?  I thought we’ve already debunked ‘the world is becoming atheist’ stats.  If you count those atheists who believe in a personal god, and those who believe in a higher power, perhaps.  But take those away, and that conversion rate drops.  Plus, you have the fact that kids who leave religion as youth, oft times return to some faith as adults.  Plus, you have the fact that many atheists wrongly attribute recent studies that find a growth in the number of ‘seekers’ to a growth in the number of atheists (even those atheists who don’t believe in a personal god :) ). And of course, as a former agnostic, I’m the first to remember taking some offense to atheists who seemed eager to lump me into the atheist mold.  Agnostic is agnostic, not atheist.  How many times did I have to explain that to my atheist friends!  So as nice as a quick throw out of ‘gee, everyone else is becoming atheist’ might make one feel, we need to keep to the facts, just like Joe Friday said.  Well done Leah.  And well done Mr. Mehta to an otherwise well written, honest, and respectful post.

  • Lorin Kinney

    I believe that this can happen and that she and many others can “really” believe. This is only under the condition of course that evidence was not of primary importance to their argument against the existence of a god in the first place. If you are studying philosophy and play around with the words long enough you can make some transcendental hooey sound like it supports any religion. I know of one person who converted to some brand of theism from atheism. He unfortunately became schizophrenic shortly after. I think it would take an actual brain disease for me to convert as well. Either that or Jesus coming back (any day now, right?)

  • http://twitter.com/ArmandTiede Armand Tiede

    what exactly is she smoking? JESUS CHRIST! “It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth”??? So? Who gives a flying Muhammed’s ass about what anybody believes? Just because one feels like believing that X is true doesn’t make X true. This person was never a true atheist. And even if she was, her way of thinking & reasoning was clogged by religious BS
    She is regurgitating the same old ‘Morality’ argument. “Without God I can’t be moral blah blah blah…so therefore God exists and now I’m a catholic”.
    I sincerely hope she wouldn’t be raping kids now that she is a catholic.
    p.s. If there’s a God (which I’m 100 percent sure there’s not), is there anything that stopped Moses, King David, the God of the Bible etc from raping virgins and wiping out entire nations in the Old testament? Also, if we are strictly talking about the Christian God, then what’s stopping Christians from killing and raping when according to the New Testament, any and all sin will be forgiven with the exception of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit which will never be forgiven? (Source: Matthew 12:31-32)

    • Badger3k

      Now, now…raping kids is only ok if you’re a Catholic priest.  Since she can’t be a priest, she’s not going to have to do that.

  • Khaughey66

    You know most schizophrenics have their first big break with reality in their early 20s.  She looks about that age.  Many schizophrenic (and BiPolar depression) cases involve delusions of living inanimate objects, say the moral law for example.  These delusions are very often bizarrely tied up in cultural and/or religious rituals.  The catholic church is renowned for its ritualistic nature.  Now I’m not a psychiatric professional (yet) but her sudden and extreme change in spiritual belief makes me wonder if she has just suffered her first major psychotic break….I’m just sayin’.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

      That’s a damn good observation. The meandering, semi-incoherent arguments also seem to fit with that. Hope someone cares about her enough to encourage her to get herself checked out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Scoggin/100000044792747 Aaron Scoggin

    Well, I guess even the smartest people can still be quite gullible. 

    Let’s just hope that she has a “DOH” moment halfway through and comes back to her senses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.gwinn Don Gwinn

    I do not understand the assertions of several commentators here that Ms. Libresco is not simply carrying out a larger Turing Trolling event by attempting to pass as a Catholic convert.   The explanation they give is that “she cleared that up in the comments.”

    How could she possibly do that?  Anything she says would be part of the “Turing Test.”  If you were participating in an actual Turing test, would you bother asking the speaker whether it was a computer or a human?  If it assured you that it was human, would you then confidently say that it had “cleared up” the question?

    Maybe I’m the confused one . . . . are you not allowed to deceive people or say untrue things in a Turing test?

    • Annie

      I thought the same thing.  I read in the comments where she said she isn’t faking, but if she really is, that’s what she would need to say.  It will be interesting to see where this all ends up.  I don’t follow her blog, as her posts never really resonated with me, but I am a little curious to see where this ends up.  That alone makes me think this may be a bit of a publicity stunt.  If not, well, to each their own and I hope she finds happiness regardless.

    • Gus Snarp

      You’re right…to an extent. The problem is that it makes more sense for it to not be part of a Turing Test (and for the record, I mentioned the Turing Test primarily as a joke). The Turing Test (or some other kind of experiment) sounds reasonable just from Hemant’s post above, but if you look into Leah’s blog a bit you’ll find that she has been deeply studying Christian apologetics, led by a Catholic who selected readings for her, for some time. In addition she has apparently always been a dualist, a stance that does seem rather at odds with atheism. Certainly she is not a strict materialist or naturalist. So the stage was already set for her to do one of three things: reject dualism, reject atheism, or to continue to be conflicted about the two. Still, Catholicism seems a leap, but not when one is given the fact that she’s been going to mass every week and studying Catholicism and apologetics.

      Anyway, I think that if one wants to make an argument about the likelihood of an atheist signing on to a religion of any stripe, one probably ought to draw a distinction between someone who generally feels evidence for God is lacking and has been brought up in a non-religious home but is nevertheless a dualist and ponders the philosophical problems with that rather deeply, and someone who is an atheist because they are essentially a materialist and unwilling to accept claims not just of God, but of a soul or a spiritual reality independent of physical reality. The latter is far less likely to turn to religion one day than the former.

  • noyourgod

    There are two things to say about this…

    1). As Hermant stated – I wish her well, just as I would have wished her and anybody else who has not harmed anybody well; and

    2) So what? Nothing against her directly, but people make decisions on beliefs every day – this one happened to have folks read of her beliefs before and after her change.

    Again – there is no reason to hate this woman – so I wish her well.

    • The Other Weirdo

       Nobody’s hating her, as far as I can tell.  Suggestions of a possible stroke, perhaps, but not hate.

  • Julie Watson

    Can anybody explain what this means?:

    “I could hypothesize how a Forms-material world link would work in the
    case of mathematics (a little long and off topic for this post, but
    pretty much the canonical idea of recognizing Two-ness as the quality
    that’s shared by two chairs and two houses, etc.  Once you get the
    natural numbers, the rest of mathematics is in your grasp).  But I
    didn’t have an analogue for how humans got bootstrap up to get even a
    partial understanding of objective moral law.”

    It’s like she had a mini-stroke or something.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

       It sounds like something my ex would ramble on about when he was off his meds…

    • Thegoodman

       In some circles sentences like that are the badge of an “Pseudo-Intellectual Douche.” It makes no sense because it is not supposed to make any sense, kind of like an atheist becoming a catholic.

      I’d like to ask her to say hello to all the other atheist-catholics, jewish-nazi’s, and Black-KKK members in that big ole’ paradox in the sky.

    • Brian Scott

      She’s a neoplatonist. Basically, concepts have real, objective “forms” outside of the physical world which exist regardless of the natural universe. Things in the natural universe are manifestations of these forms in various ways (hence the, as she states, canonical idea of stating that “two chairs” contain in them the form of “two-ness”.) Platonic ideals are deism-in-waiting.

      This is somewhat in contrast with materialism, in which the existence of the physical world is taken as the only meaningful one, and in which attributes are labels given to conglomerate properties.

      So, for example, a neoplatonist might state there is an ideal “deliciousness” that exists independent of any food or object, and that things are “delicious” in accordance with how much of this ideal they aspire to.

      A materialist would state that “deliciousness” is the label given by humans to food and objects that invoke the release of certain neuro-transmitters and invoke various brain activity as it relates to the subjective perception of what is delicious.

      Platonic idealism seems silly to me, but to some people it resolves the conundrum of “where does morality come from?”

      I’m not certain why she objects to evolutionary explanations of morality, unless she’s not a proponent of evolutionary psychology at all.

      • Badger3k

        Well, I wonder how much she understands evolution and the arguments for evolutionary derived morality (really doubt she gets much, if anything, of it), but how can anyone who (I think) wants to claims rationality follow such tripe as neo-platonistm ?  Why not believe that homeopathy works, the doctrine of signatures is real, bigfoot exists…

        I can see (well, no, not really, but I can imagine) that someone can find an emotionally satisfying answer to a question by making stuff up, but I can’t buy it myself.  Having trouble resolving a conundrum?  Here’s some made up bullshit that pretends to explain it, all the while being actually meaningless drivel.  But you can pretend to be an intellectual while believing it, so it’s all good! (done in the voice of the sham-wow guy or other informercial person of your choice)

  • Bo Tait

    Man that’s tough reading through the comments on her page. Anytime someone criticizes the church you get the same old song and dance about “actually that s not what the church teaches!”
    Because we all know that what you say is what matters in the end, right? Its not what you actually do. It doesn’t matter that we keep fucking up, we mean well!

    “We love gays. They just need to deny themselves from having sex. Ever. Because its immoral. For some reason.”

    Classic. But my favorite.

    “There’s no mysogeny in the church”

    Get real.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

      “There’s no misogyny in the church”
      “Where are the female priests then?”
      “Uhhh… GOD! SHUTUP!”

  • Drew M.

    As a recovering Catholic, this makes me incredibly sad. I struggled to break free from the shackles she now willingly dons.

    I sincerely wish her the best.

  • Steve

    Yeah, yeah, more power to ya (literally; Catholicism has most of the influence in Christianity.), but did you honestly have to start randomly Capitalizing all of those words?

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    To paraphrase Moliere from The Misanthrope: Maybe it’s a tumor.

    (The original statement went like: “If I become religious when my mind becomes soft, then I am not responsible for such action.”)

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    She seems to have fallen into the God of the gaps. She can’t explain the basis of her morality, and thinks that evolution can’t explain it, ergo — Catholicism!

    I love this line, she’s “confused about the Church’s teachings on homosexuality”

    Really? Is confused the word a moral person would use about the Church’s reachings on homosexuality? Because I have a load of other terms that are not appropriate to write on this blog about the church’s teachings on being gay.

    • http://profiles.google.com/michael.laporte Michael La Porte

      I’m guessing that “confused” is really “conflicted” or “confused [as to what to do about that uncomfortable fact]” of rampant bigotry.

  • Gunstargreen

    It amazes me since Catholicism helped me become an atheist by being Catholicism.

    I don’t know what Leah is experiencing but for me personally I have no idea how it would by physically possible for me to suddenly buy into any religion without some kind of outside pressure forcing me into it.

    • Thomas Rhys

      Granted I’m Catholic myself, but many “former atheists” became Catholic. So even one hates it it it might be among the most common things atheists do become. Examples include

      Anna Haycraft – British novelist.
      Ignace Lepp – French psychiatrist.
      Claude McKay – Poet, also bisexual like Leah.
      E. F. Schumacher – “Small is beautiful.”
      Edith Stein
      John C. Wright – Science fiction author.

      I do admit wondering how it will work for her considering many of her beliefs. A kind of Anglo-Catholic High Anglicanism might have fit better where I thought she was at.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frank-Vega/1481141622 Frank Vega

    Ms. Libresco,  You are doing a wise and noble thing, I give kuto’s to you. I am a catholic by birth and by practice . Just because you are Catholic does not mean you have to follow everything the catholic church preaches. I for one do not follow their moral on Gay marriage nor do I follow their stance from allowing woman to be priests.  You are entering a new chapter in  your life and good luck to you on this endeavor.

    • matt

       So what exactly does make you a catholic then if you just get to choose the parts that you want to believe?

      • Thegoodman

         The icky parts are ignored. Its easier to sleep that way. Unfortunately there are not “Hate/Love” sides to the collection plate. I hope Frank feels good about his church spending all that money to influence public policy in California, despite those ideas conflicting with his personal beliefs.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

        That’s what I find so funny about all of this. It’s one thing to cherry-pick with Christianity because really, the basis of the religion is believing in Jesus as your savior. But the whole reason there are so many different denominations is because they disagree on all the other things!
        I wouldn’t say I was a fundamentalist if I disagreed about a literal Bible translation. I wouldn’t say I was Pentecostal if I disagreed about speaking in tongues.
        You can say you’re an athlete no matter what sport you play. But why would you join a soccer team if you’re really a baseball player? It’s okay; you can still be an athlete, but join with the team that it makes sense for you to join.

    • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

      “Just because you are Catholic does not mean you have to follow everything the catholic church preaches. ”

      Well, the good news is that the Catholic Church can’t burn one at the stake anymore. So thumbs up there.

      But as for the idea it’s laissez-faire about its doctrines; recently there was what they call an “Apostolic Visitation” to Ireland, under the control of a US Cardinal Dolan. Ostensibly related to the child abuse/coverup scandals here (a whole _other_ story of rape and sexual control), it was actually to do with rooting out liberals, including the very ones who had highlighted this abuse. One prominent priest, Brian d’Arcy, was silenced, told that his weekly (secular) newspaper column would have to be authorised before publication. Another editor of a church magazine was also silenced. And this was related to their fairly minor differences with the Church on the issue of married priests. Nuns in the United States, who have also been admonished, would be interested to hear your opinion as well.
      P.

  • Bo Tait

    I’m just wondering about this.
    Isn’t is kind of rediculous to come to believing in god via metaphysics? Metaphysics by definition is dealing with the untestable, unobservable. So how is it someone can make a positive assertion for the existence of god this way?
    I can understand how someone could be leaning towards believing in god, but asserting its true is making a claim, which cannot be backed by philosophy and meatphysics.
    Asserting god exists has real consequence for the natural world, which just brings us back to where we started.
    If there’s a god (and in her case, a personal god), it must have an effect on the natural world, there’s no evidence within the natural world, so we look to metaphysics and go round again.
    By converting to Catholicism she is putting herself at 1 on the 1-7 scale. Which is as rediculous as saying you’re a 7

    • Leon

       Can I just say that “meatphysics” is probably the best typo ever.

      • Bo Tait

        Man, I was really looking forward to the steak sandwich I made for lunch. 

  • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

    Reading this thread where Leah, obviously uncomfortable with the Catholic teaching against gay people, gets others involved in mental masturbation (no pun intended) to justify it just shows what a tragic waste of brainpower theology is. Imagine if they dedicated this mental effort to things that might help humanity:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2012/05/leah-libresco-writes.html

    P.

    • Petman88

      The fact that Leah would have anything to do with people like that is… disturbing.

      • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

        As I mentioned elsewhere, I never heard of Leah ’til yesterday. Reading that thread I have a feeling this conversion isn’t a sudden thing at all but going on a long time. I mean, she mentions she’s always been a dualist which, for me, is really only one step away from deism.  In that sense, she’s hardly a hard atheist and therefore her conversion is far less surprising.

    • Brian Scott

      “I don’t think it’s intrinsically unreasonable to tell a person (or a class of people) that sex is out of the picture for them. No one is guaranteed or entitled to a sexual relationship”

      Yeah, and no one is entitled to eat chicken either. Doesn’t make it a less stupid and transparently authoritarian idea to say that no one in the world should eat it unless it’s blessed by your local priest.

      • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

        I do hope she doesn’t not end up trying to rationalise homophobia and the repression of gay people as a result of her conversion. It’s one thing to be born into a homophobic religion/culture and absorb its values. It’s entirely worse to consciously and rationally adopt that bigotry as an adult.

        P.

  • http://twitter.com/oceanclub Paul Moloney

    Am curious does anyone know Leah’s science background? I’m baffled how to seems to concentrate exclusively on philosophy and ignore scientific explanations (for example, that she argues that because human societies share  similar morality, there _must_ be an objective morality they aim towards rather than – to me, the blindingly obviously explanation – all societies have members of a single species and therefore evolve very similar moral codes (for every good reasons; after all, a society with absolutely no code again killing would end up swiftly depleted).

    P.

    • Badger3k

      I’m with another poster in never hearing of her before (if I ran into her posts on the same feed this is on, I’ve ignored them, and given the quote above, I’m not surprised).  I seriously doubt she has any real knowledge of science, and if that quote above is accurate, I’d seriously question her critical thinking skills.  That quote sounds like some college kids drunk or stoned, talking about whatever comes to their heads.  Platonism?  Really?  

      I would really like to hear what evidence she has that this god she believes in exists, but I’m afraid it’s going to be just philosophical arguments without any connection to reality.  It sounds like her conversion was emotional and she’s rationalizing it.  Another blogger wants to ask her is she thinks atheists should  convert to save our souls…I’d rather ask her why we should believe in souls since every discovery in neuroscience that is made keeps shoving the ideas of dualism and souls further and further into the realm of make-believe.  What is her evidence that such things exist?  I’d also like to learn what her background in higher criticism is – is she even aware that the discipline exists, and that it calls into question a whole lot of what the Church teaches as truth (even such basics as the mythical founders of the Church in Rome, much of which was created later to justify their power).  I’d probably be disappointed, but from the little I’ve read from others (and the little that made sense in the post by her that I read, I believe my suspicions would be confirmed.

      • Badger3k

        Just looked at the lower comment and saw that the other poster was you, so I am with you in my lack of knowledge, then.

  • Brian Scott

    So why does she believe in Platonic truths as a former atheist? Has she not considered map-territory relations and reification fallacies?

  • revaaron

    Am I the only one who isn’t surprised?  It always seemed like a matter of time- eventually, she’s read some Aquinas, rationalize some dissonance, and convert. She already bought most of the intellectual and philosophical basis of Catholicism- dualism, a dash of Platonic realism, an objective moral code (implying a law-giver), etc. As she noted in her post, she has sounds like a crypto-Catholic, the Catholic equivalent of S. E. Cupp.

    I grew up Catholic and I’ve always enjoyed the ritual and aesthetic of the liturgy. Fortunately, I’m able to differentiate between an aesthetic appreciation and belief in a bunch of untenable claims. If I were going to become a Christian, I’d go Episcopalian. The Catholic Church is beyond bankrupt- I don’t think I could sign back on with that particular group of depraved old virgins in good conscience.

  • alconnolly

     Enjoy this link which sows the desire for open-mindedness by the pope with it’s call for “OBEDIANCE”! http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/06/world/europe/pope-assails-disobedience-among-priests.html

  • Nordog

    Rich wrote:

    “What about the right to expose fraud?”

    Not sure what the question is.  I presume you want to know what I think about the story at the link you provided.

    After a quick scan I would say that I hope the man gets his day in court like he wants.  And yes, exposing fraud is good and should not be proscribed by law.  And, I love my mother.  Kittens are nice.  Peace is better than war.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Glad to clear that up.  I was getting the impression, albeit not said in so many words, that the RC Church could do no wrong.  All Hail Infallible High Priest Richard Dawkins, Glory Be To His Name.

      • 59 Norris

         I would say that the part of the Church comprised of what some here would call woo in fact cannot do wrong.  But that’s a metaphysical theological distinction we should let pass, and certainly one not to be appreciated around here.

        Now, the men running the Church can and do commit wrongs all the time.  Pisses me off.  As I’ve said elsewhere lots o’ priests should be in prison and I’ve lost Catholic friends for having said so out loud.

        “Hail Infallible High Priest Richard Dawkins, Glory Be To His Name.”

        LOL, talk about creepy.

  • Nordog

    alconnolly wrote:

    “Not seeking a rhetorical victory, just pointing out the clear decision
    you made to request evidence and specifically refuse to even read evidence when
    presented. You keep ignoring the article that shows specific catholic church
    leaders hireing a legal team to oppose decriminalisation of homosexual
    behavior. You accuse me of inferring that which is not implied, and then go off
    on a rant about abortificants which was not even brought up, as though this was
    somehow part of my mindset. Ok keep telling yourself you are looking for the
    truth, want evidence, and then refuse to review evidence that may put your holy
    church in a negative light.”

    I think the problem here may be your reading comprehension, or your penchant to
    infer things neither written nor implied.

    First: I have not refused specifically or in any other way
    to read the evidence you cite.  I just
    commented on the tediousness and pointless nature of doing so.  Being “hard pressed” to do something does not
    mean that the thing has not been done.  I
    have read the info at the two links and made a response which you have seen fit
    not to address as of yet.  Specifically,
    I have not ignored the article about the hiring of a legal team, but I have
    gone to some length to point out that opposition to the UN effort here is not
    the same thing as opposing decriminalization.  But more to the point, the claim that sparked
    this subthread was NOT that the Church opposed decriminalization, but that it leads
    to denying basic human rights.  This is a
    distinction lost on many free thinkers who think they are critical thinkers.  Yet, it is still an important and real
    distinction, especially in terms of law, which is at the heart of the links you
    cite.

     

    Second: There is indeed a link in the type of thinking that
    holds on the one hand that refusal to pay for someone eles’s sterile sex and abortion supplies
    and services is equal to oppressing someone, and on the other hand the type of thinking that
    holds that opposing a UN resolution to decriminalize something necessarily
    equates to wanting and fighting to decriminalize that thing.  In both cases there is a fundamental inability or refusal to recognize basic distinctions.  Perhaps it is only a coincidence that each cse deals with sexuality.

     

    In any event, I’ve seen too often charges against the Church
    that are totally bogus and motivated simply by hatred of the Church and
    specifically hatred of the Church’s stand on sexuality and related issues.  (Note Bene: I am not talking here about the
    gay priest pederast and pedophilia crimes, but I will be shortly).

     

    Now, regarding taking the time to read documents, have you
    read the UN resolution in question?  Did
    you read the version under consideration when these articles to which you link
    were written?

     

    Third: I have not refused to review evidence.  I haven’t even refused to review the
    blatherskite you cited as being evidence.  And I certainly don’t refuse to review
    evidence that puts my church in a negative light.

     

    The fact is I lost a few friends in the church because I was
    vocal that there were many, many priests and many bishops and at least a hand
    full of Cardinals that should be in prison.  And that’s just in America.

     

    They should be in prison specifically because of the sex
    abuse of which we are all too aware.  There
    are indeed many things for which those in charge of the church should be
    criticized.

     

    So, if you want to share a link to the version of the UN
    resolution in question at the time the articles were published,  I would certainly review it
    (despite being hard pressed to do so).

     

    But ultimately I have little interest in becoming overly
    concerned over the Church’s detractors becoming overly concerned about opposition
    to a UN resolution.

     

    Now, having said all that, if you show a case in which the
    Church actively pursues the positive criminalization of homosexuality, count me
    as one who will criticize that effort.  But
    that has yet to be shown.

    • Nordog

       Alconnelly, seriously, have you read the UN resolution in question?  Specifically, the draft under consideration and commented upon in the articles found at the links you provided?

  • Nordog

    “No. I do NOT allow that, because that claim that Hitler “gutted the Christian calendar, etc” is NOTHING MORE THAN CHRISTIAN LIES.”

    Oh my, okay, take a deep breath and quit clutching the pearls.

    So, BESIDES the CHRISTIAN LIES about the calendar gutting, you allow the rest of it.  Okay.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      No, you fucking idiot.

      Let me spell it out for you, since you can’t seem to read worth shit.

      I DENY YOUR ENTIRE CLAIM.

      Some of Hitler’s followers/officers were heavily into the occult, yes, but Hitler, HIMSELF, was 100% CHRISTIAN.

      • Nordog

        Wow, I think your bowels are gonna blow up again.

        So, I can’t read worth shit, but you seem to think that I’ve made a comment about Hitler and his status as a Christian.  In fact, I’ve not made any statement about Hitler.

        See, you say you deny my entire claim, but then appositvely you mention the thing about Hitler being Christian.  So, in my reportedly not-worth-shit reading comprehension I come away thinking that you’re thinking that my claim is about Hitler not being a Christian (I love the 100% part; pure genius of you on the rhetorical side of things btw).

        Rather, I asked you…

        Well hell, let me start all over, and please note, this is not about Hitler, it doesn’t mention Hitler, and I don’t want you to wax apoplectic about Hitler again.

        Here goes…

        Are you saying that the following didn’t happen?

        “The Nazis gutted the Christian calendar, Christmas traditions and carols, and repopulated them with pagan and Nazi imagery. Christmas became the Solstice, St. Nicholas became Odin, the star of Bethlehem became a swastika. Ratzinger saw all this happen in front of his two eyes.”

        Please note that Hitler isn’t mentioned.  And I allow that you’ve already pointed out the reportedly unassailable absolute objective never to be doubted fact of history that the Nazis NEVER gutted the Christian calendar, so let’s not get gassy over that one.

        Oh, and one more thing…

        Does “you fucking idiot” short for “you are a fucking idiot” or is it short for “you are fucking an idiot”?

        It’s all so confusing some times.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Oh, go fuck yourself.

          You keep moving the goalposts, there — your initial claim was that Hitler was a neo-pagan.

          Now, I don’t doubt that the Nazis co-opted a few neo-pagan symbols, but your argument necessarily implies that the Nazi party-line was NOT, in fact, based on Christianity, when it very clearly was. You know, it’s kinda the whole reason they targeted Jews

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            I find this all rather interesting, but those Got Mit Uns belt buckles are hard to get around.

            I personally don’t care how Catholic/Pagan/Lutheran Hitler or any of the other Nazis were.  Well, I do, but more important for me is that not only did none of his motivations have anything to do with atheism, he was absolutely positively not an atheist.

            • Nordog

              I want to say that you are correct that Hitler was certainly not an atheist, but then that would be a case of my making a statement about Hitler, and then Kitty would get all crazy again with the “Fuck yourself” postings aimed at me after all my protestations that I had not made any statements about Hitler and…

              …well, it just not worth it.  (But I agree with you.)

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                Oh, go back under your bridge, you ugly sack of troll-shit.

                • Nordog

                  Now Kitty, courtesy and kindness cost nothing.

                  (Great superior use of reasoning skills there btw.)

                  (Oh, did I mention that it was someone else that made that claim about Hitler that got you so worked up?  Really, it was someone else.  You can check it out yourself.  Just “scroll” through the comments.  Fer reel.)

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                   http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u103/wmdkitty/Demotivators/RedForeman_dumbass-1.jpg

                • Nordog

                  Bupkis, you got bupkis.

                  But I undertand your need to use fewer words and more pictures.  I mean, it makes sense.
                  Does Texas Instruments still make the Speak & Spell?

            • Nordog

              I don’t know about getting around the buckles, especially since they go back to at least WW I.  The regular army wore them also in WWII.  Of course the regular army, or the Wehrmacht weren’t necessarily Nazis.  The Waffen SS (pretty much all Nazis (or, to borrow a phrase 100% Nazi)) wore a different buckle that read “Meine Ehre heißt Treue (‘My honour is loyalty’).”

              I don’t think that gets around anything, but it’s interesting.

          • Nordog

            “Oh go fuck yourself,” she explained!  LOL!

            “You keep moving the goalposts, there — your initial claim was that Hitler was a neo-pagan.”

            Maybe you should sit down, what with your overly developed sense of superior reading comprehension and all, because well, the fact is that you’re thinking of someone else.

            I did not claim that Hitler was a neo pagan; that was someone else. 

            You know, I even went to extreme lengths to explain to you that I had not made any claim about Hitler.  Yet, you persist in this fantasy that I made a claim about Hitler.

            Well I did claim that I didn’t make a claim about Hitler, so that’s kinda a claim about Hitler, but that was after the fact, and I’m kinda sorry that I brought it up because I fear it will only confuse you more.

            So, when your episode passes and you are once again lucid, go back and read what came before and you’ll see that, WOW, in fact, I did not make that claim about Hitler!

            But hey, to the larger point that you obviously have a great deal of interest, emotional and otherwise, vested in the idea that Naziism was all about be a Christian, I say if you’re that far gone on the idea who am I to try to disuade you of it even if I wanted to.

            And I’m not saying I want to.

            It’s just, well, I think you need a rest.

            When you feel better, go and look and you’ll see that you are thinking of someone else with the whole Hitler-not-Christian thing.

            I have faith in you, oops!  Ha! That’s a good one.  I mean I have confidence in you.  You can do it.

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              You are a condescending asshole.

              And as Richard Wade pointed out: “Gott Mit Uns” is distinctly… oh… CHRISTIAN.

              • Nordog

                And you are a lovely and gracious lady.

                However, I must point out to you that…

                1) It wasn’t Richard Wade, it was Rich Wilson.
                2) He in fact did not point out that it was distinctly Christian.  He didn’t even point out that it was remotely Christian.  His only statement was that it was “hard to get around.”
                3) You are not doing too well tonight.

                Do you just imagine what you want to see when you read things?  Do you make it up as you go along and hope no one notices?  Or are you so terrible distraught over the fact that people are Christians that you lose what little rationality you may naturally possess?

                In any event, your ability to recognize what is actually being discussed here, and by whom, is severely impaired.

                It’s like your cognitive faculties are in a race with your graciousness and charitable nature and we just can’t tell who’s winning!

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I honestly don’t understand the big deal about Hitler’s religion.  If I were RC, Hitler taking public communion wouldn’t bother me any more than Stalin’s atheism.  Had nothing to do with what they did.

                  What would bother me is the Holly See’s treaty with Nazi Germany.  That is a tiny bit embarrassing in retrospect.

                • Nordog

                   Holly See had a treaty with Nazi Germany?  The candy lady?  That’s it, I’m strictly a Whitman’s Sampler guy from now on.

                  Seriously though, I agree with your post here; all of it.

                  And, as problematic as that treaty may be, it is also a tiny bit interesting that the chief rabbi of Rome converted to Catholicism after the war, citing as reasoning, in part, the behavior of Pope Pius XII (who, before becoming pope, had actually signed the concordat in question).

                • Nordog

                   Actually, upon having given your post a bit more than a passing scan I don’t entirely agree with every aspect of it, but in spirit (if I may use the term) I agree with what you are getting at.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  What I make up for in grammar, I lack in spelling.

  • Nordog

    Kitty, I’m having too much fun at your expense.

    I apologize.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

       So, you finally admit you’re a troll.

      Great! Maybe now Hemant can ban your warty ass for deliberately provoking people…

      • Nordog

        No.  I admit no such thing.  I deny that having too much fun at your expense equates to being a troll.

        In any event, if you feel that strongly about it, and apparently you do, perhaps you should take it up with Hemant directly.

        I’m sure he will give your request all the attention it is due.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tenormatt Matt Taylor

    Can we use the Ray Comfort argument in reverse that she wasn’t a real Atheist in the first place?

  • Joseph Auclair

    She never struck me as all that convincing as an atheist, anyway.

    Aside to Gus Snarp.

    The moral law (aka, the natural law) is as much a fiction as the real presence or the virgin birth or papal infallibility.

    Atheists are defined by having got past the god delusion.

    Damned few can get past the morality delusion.


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