I would like to take a moment to solicit questions from my readers. Do you have any questions about how I grew up? Or maybe questions about atheism? Or is there perhaps something I’ve written about that hasn’t quite made sense to you, that you’d like me to explain further? Here’s your chance to ask away!

Anonymous Tip: Meet the Lawyer
Housekeeping and Ongoing Projects
Disqus Switch and Disappearing Comments
Why Does Lily Work Two Jobs while Carl is Unemployed?
About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Ophelia Benson

    Ok! I have one – if you've already answered it feel free to just point me to the link. What did you study in college? What were your favorite courses?Also – thanks for all this. It's a great source.

  • Libby Anne

    Good question, Ophelia! I actually haven't blogged on that topic yet, and it would be a good one given that I consider what I learned in college as crucial to my change in path. Good thought!

  • Ophelia Benson

    Excellent! I'll look forward to it. It can be such an exciting time…It was when I finally developed intellectual curiosity, and I've kept it ever since. I always loved to read but it was mostly dreamy, lose-yourself reading. College really woke me up and made me want to learn.

  • Maria

    Do you feel bitter towards Christianity as a whole or just the fundamentalists? BTW, I love your blog.

  • quietpanther

    Why atheist rather than agnostic? Just curious….(From a former-Christian-turned-deistically-inclined-agnostic ;-) )

  • quietpanther

    I guess to flesh out the reasoning behind my question … it's always seemed to me that an agnostic's perspective is "maybe there's a god, but I don't know for sure; maybe there's no god or maybe one of the millions of gods people believe in or have believed in is real, or maybe there's a god nobody has discovered yet, but I don't know for sure and I don't think we can know for sure" … whereas an atheist says "there is no god or he's dead" … which then leads to the question (which perhaps is the question I meant to ask all along), "how do you know for sure there's NO god?"Which, in this excessively long and rambling comment, reminds me of one of few helpful things I heard Ken Ham point out: that it's impossible to know for absolute certain that a particular species has gone completely extinct — there could be a couple hiding behind a tree or in an impenetrable forest (and one or two species believed for years to be extinct were later discovered quite alive) … so how does one come with certainty to the conclusion that there is NO god … rather than that there might be a god, but there's not much evidence to support his existence?

  • Grikmeer

    My question is more of a request. I'm (biologically) male and through most of my life have been surrounded by men and boys with stereotypical – repugnant – attitudes to women and girls.I worry all the time about things that I'm doing which are, without me realising, sexist and anti-feminist. Could you put an example of basic dos and don'ts (from your perspective) for men when interacting with women.***@quietpanther, from my perspective the word atheist means only that you don't believe in a god. By the strictest definition, most agnostics are also atheists.My reasoning is• the so-called evidence for a deity does not convince me that there is one, • modern science has found things to explain almost everything that a deity is supposed to have doneTherefore there is no reason to believe in one.I am an atheist, but if science turned around and found repeatable, falsifiable evidence that there is a god, I would recant my position instantly (although that doesn't meant that I would bend the knee to it)***Sorry Libby Anne, I think I may have breached blog etiquette there; I was just interested in sharing my point of view to that question. I'd love to see if and how your perspective differs from mine ^_^;;

  • cartographer

    I don't have any questions but i want to say that I love this blog and others like it that have been made recently. I dont usualy talk to people about my experiences growing up in funadamentalism because people don't get it. But finding other women who grew up in repressive christian environments talikng about it is like exhaling a breath i didn't know I was holding

  • Discordia

    I come from a very different background than yours. I'm a European atheist who grew up in a very secular though namely Christian family. Until recently I knew nothing about Christian patriarchy and I find your blog very interesting.Has any of your siblings left fundamentalism?I'd also like to know more about wifely submission. Are the women allowed to have any opinions that differ from their husband's opinions? Do the woman really have to obey every command of their husbands? Does the husband make all of the decisions?

  • Libby Anne

    Wow, lots of good questions! Great! In the coming weeks I'll try to make posts on: * What I studied in college and what I learned from it* Do I feel bitter toward Christianity or fundamentalism* Why I am an atheist rather than an agnostic* How not to be accidentally misogynistic (from my perspective)* Whether any of my siblings have left fundamentalism* The ins and outs of wifely submission in theory and in practiceMaking this list here is more to keep your questions straight in my mind than anything else! And of course, I'm happy to add to it!

  • Lisa

    Hello! I just found your blog today, and I've been reading nonstop for the past few hours. :) I think it's fantastic! I was raised Catholic, then I seriously considered Christian fundamentalism for a few years after I got married, then I went full-tilt into being a very conservative Catholic. I also have a lot of family that is fundamentalist Christian. So, even though my background is markedly different from yours, I still feel like there is so much I relate to. Now, I'm not really sure what I am: agnostic, maybe? atheist?–and feeling okay about it. Anyway, here's my question: since you've become an atheist, do you deal with feelings of wanting to believe, or wanting to talk to Jesus? If so, how do you deal with those feelings? I think you're awesome and your blog is a great read. I'll be coming back to visit often!

  • shadowspring

    Do you credit home schooling with anything positive in your life? For example:*the courage to forge your own path (something earlier home schools were doing, and given you're working on you Ph. D., I am guessing your parents were early proponents)?*your love of learning (if your home school was one where learning was a part of daily living)?*the critical thinking skills to question everything, even what your parents believe (critical thinking skills were always big around here, and I assume in your home school too)?*the faith in yourself that relegates experts to an advisory role, allowing you to know that your efforts, reasoning, etc. also have merit (the very act of home education should transmit this idea)?These are some of the attributes I hoped to instill in my children/students as a home school mom, even if it leads them places I never even imagined (and each generation should grow/go beyond the generation previous, imho). Every time I meet (IRL or online) a home school grad who is courageous, thoughtful, confident, and loves learning, I smile. Have you considered the above attributes, or any other positive attributes, as the outcome of being home educated while the rest of the world went to an outside institution for instruction?

  • shadowspring

    ps I think you already have commented on one of your blog posts that your forging your own path (that happens to be contrary to your parents path) IS exactly what your own parents were doing when choosing to home school. If that's true, then you already answered question one elsewhere.

  • boomSLANG

    Q: If you came into some evidence that left you thoroughly, 100% convinced that the Christian biblegod existed, would you be willing to become a *phony worshiper to avoid "hell"?*assuming for sake of discussion that an omniscient "God" wouldn't know you were being a phony.

  • shadowspring

    *assuming for sake of discussion that an omniscient God would torture people forever for any reason* :)

  • boomSLANG

    Well, okay, if you want to go that route…*Assuming for sake of discussion that a "God" exists; assuming for sake of discussion that said "God" is none other than the "God" described in the Christian bible; assuming for sake of discussion that Libby Anne's interpretation of said bible(or the one she was taught) is one based on the face-value language therein…e.g.."lake of fire", "second death", etc.

  • Libby Anne

    Shadowspring – I'll make sure the "what if" is clear that that's not what all Christians believe. I do, though, think it is an interesting question. I also think it is important to remember that Christians have traditionally believed that there is a God who tortures people eternally in hell for not obeying him or believing correctly. Any widespread denial of this is only a few hundred years old.

  • boomSLANG

    "Any widespread denial of ['a God who tortures people eternally in hell for not obeying him or believing correctly'] is only a few hundred years old." ~ Libby AnneThat is an excellent point. Yes, I realize that interpretations have evolved over time, but I'd never thought of it quite like that.In any case, my question was just as sincere as any, albeit, my question does kind of make a rhetorical point, too: Does might make right? I grew up scared of biblegod throwing me in "hell". If I'm not mistaken, the blog owner/operator did too. The fact that some Christians interpret scripture and come up with a "Mr. Nice Guy" god, and/or, self-project a "Mr. Nice Guy" god, is missing the point of the question.

  • Anonymous

    Libby Anne, What do you see as the best way to push back and reverse the patriarchalism and quiverful movement that seems to be enjoying many successes in the world of politics?Jeff Sherry

  • Anonymous

    Here's a question, though off-topic. Do you have the Tangled soundtrack? Originally there was a reprise to When Will My Life Begin? that was cut from the movie, but it's in the soundtrack:

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    I'm curious what your family's take was on women voting? Did your mom vote and encourage you and your sisters to vote? I understand that a lot of people in the movement discourage women voting. But, in practice, do all or most women actually eschew this right?

  • Jenna

    Do you have any thoughts on finding community without religion? Personally, I feel pretty lonely at times. Although church was emotionally painful, I do miss "fellowship" sometimes. I miss having connections to people of all different ages and having people to cook meals for when they were ill or had new babies. Honestly, there are sunday mornings I think about showing up at some anonymous church in the area and inventing a "single mom seeking meaning in life" personality (my husband works weekends) just so we can have friends. I seriously feel like I never learned the social skills to form interpersonal relationships outside of church group structure. Anyways, I would just be curious if other people have dealt with the same issues when transitioning out of Christianity.

  • Libby Anne

    So, additional questions since my original summary of the questions on this thread: * How I deal with feelings of wanting to believe, or wanting to talk to Jesus* Do I credit homeschooling with anything good in my life* If I was convinced that there was a God who would send me to hell if I didn't believe, would I choose to believe to avoid hell?* What is the best way to push back and reverse the patriarchalism and quiverful movement, especially it's successes both in the homeschool world and in politics?* What my parents believed about women voting. * What are my thoughts about finding community without religion. These are all very good questions! I'm also going to be writing a bit on my parents' argument that they advance gender roles that are "different" but "equal."

  • Anonymous

    Another question regarding submission: what if a husband orders something the wife believes morally wrong? Let's say he orders her to have an abortion to test her faith or something (as Abraham was ordered to sacrify Isaac)?

  • Anonymous

    I enjoy your blog. I thought I'd share a link from another blog that describes rather well why I maintain my links to Christianity, although my belief fluctuates greatly and I sometimes fall on the agnostic/atheist side of the fence.

  • Libby Anne

    Anonymous of 8:02 – I looked at your link. Whether having a God that loves us unconditionally would be nice and helpful has nothing to do with whether there actually IS such a God. That's like saying I'm going to believe in Santa Claus because it sure would be nice to think there's someone who makes gifts all year and then distributes them to everyone, knowing exactly what each person wants. Or, saying that I am going to not believe in gravity because it would be nice to be able to fly. It…just doesn't work that way. Whether something would be nice or not has nothing to do whatsoever with whether it is true or not.

  • Libby Anne

    Anonymous of 8:02 – Your link also says that the reason God's love is valuable to people of faith but not to atheists is "social justice." I'm sorry, what? First, "God's love" doesn't matter to atheist because they don't think there IS a God. Second, in my experience atheists believe in social justice and work toward it MORE than Christians do. In my experience, (most) Christians tend to care more about saving people's souls than about "social justice." Atheists, on the other hand, care about improving people's lives in the here and now, not about where they will spend an imaginary afterlife.

  • Libby Anne

    Anonymous of 8:02 – That said, I do understand the desire for an all-loving God. I just don't think wanting something to exist is a good reason to believe it does exist. But that's just me!

  • Wendy

    Question: To what do you attribute your strong critical-thinking skills?

  • Grikmeer

    I've just thought of another question, I don't know if it might fit into one of the other questions on family, but you said you have twelve younger siblings. Has there been any spectrum of response from them to your choice of leaving the family's religion?

  • Anonymous

    Do you happen to know where one can find descriptions of men's perspectives who have also left the movement? As a women, I am able to empathize (to a certain extend – not having experienced this myself) with girls and women who have grown up and lived in such an environment and can understand their motivations for leaving. But I am also curious if there are any men out there who have left the movement because they could not bear it. I imagine that either their number is lower or that at least they are not as outspoken about their experience as it might be seen as un-manly to give up the power they had. I would simply be interested in reading about men's experiences as well and what triggered them to leave.

  • Libby Anne

    Anon of 1:24 – For the perspectives of men who have left the movement, I would point you to two sources: The blog of a man who left in his mid thirties, after growing up in the movement and then having six children in nine years: incongruouscircumspection.blogspot.comThe website of a group of individuals, a mix of guys as well as girls, who were raised on Gothard's beliefs and have since left them:

  • Gina B

    Do you have any advice for de-converted people who were professional Christians (ministers, professors, theologians, teachers, worked for a Christian organization, have a degree in Bible/Theology, etc) and now have to find a different career path? Thanks!

  • Another Libby

    Hi, Libby Anne. I don't have a question, I just want to say THANK YOU. I wasn't raised in quiverfull, or Gothard, but in another very strict legalistic church. Your blog, and others like it have been so helpful. I read for hours… I envy you your atheism; I'm still too scared of hell to pitch god out completely..

  • Another Libby

    I'm sorry for all of you who suffered as I did, but it is SO COOL to know I'm not alone! Again, thank you!

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