What’s coming up

I have three upcoming series in the works at the moment, one on dealing with difficult relationships (inspired by my posts on coming out as an atheist), one on how I became pro-choice (which will include thoughts on how to change others’ minds on the topic), and one on emotional incest (inspired by my own experiences and by the Botkins of Vision Forum fame).

In addition to these series, I also have several Dear Libby questions to answer and I will continue to post Worthwhile Reads and posts on random topics as the inspiration strikes. Oh, and I’ll keep working on my tabs and let you know when each is completed (just like I let you know this morning upon finishing the “Christian Patriarchy” tab this morning).

A question for my readers: Are there any topics you’d like me to write more about?

The Modesty Rules—Not So Simple, Really
The Cold, Unforgiving World of Geoffrey Botkin
Disqus Switch and Disappearing Comments
Beyond Civility
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.

  • http://www.arizona-writer.com khosey1@yahoo.com

    I’m most interested (thought not mostly interested, as I’ll eat up whatever you write) on your insights on parenting. I … well, long story short, I used to be religious (though I didn’t have nearly the tough experiences you had, it seems), I’m not anymore, and my son has never really been raised in religion. He’s a keen freethinker, honestly, and really the only person I can talk to in person about these kinds of things. Here’s the thing: He’s only 10. Which means I can’t really burden him with heavy talk about it (and I don’t), and it can make it tough when I know at least part of our family would like to convert him to closed-minded evangelical Christianity. I imagine you have insights into parenting, albeit a younger child, when you’re one of the only non-religious family members. Plus, your take on positive parenting. I already love that.

    I also really look forward to your thoughts on abortion. I have a long, nuanced journey there myself, and can’t for the life of me figure out how to start a dialogue with others that doesn’t immediately result in them thinking I’m endorsing baby killing. Because they really do think that’s what it is. Baby killing. Every sort-of slightly-inching-that-way conversation immediately derails to “It’s a life; end of story” and that’s the end of that. Talking about how many pro-lifers are anti-woman and anti-baby in practice once the baby is born has gained me some ground, but then it’s right back to the road block. I suspect the answer lies somewhere in getting people to examine what we mean by a “life,” a “person,” and a “baby,” but even proposing that we examine those questions returns us to the … well, you get it. All roads lead to the road block, seemingly.

    So, yeah. “Dear Libby: Answer all of those things.”

    Easy, right? :-)

  • Liberated Liberal

    Hi Libby!

    As a former Catholic (well, I grew up Catholic with very little faith my whole life) I’m so intrigued by their stance on sex and the Humanae Vitae. It makes no sense to me, as they base it mainly on scripture, firstly, and secondly, how they insist that couples live the “Natural Law” as it comes to procreating, but not in any other area of life.

    I’m also obsessed with how they are so capable of glossing over priest abuse of children and the Vatican’s effort to cover it up and blame victims while crying about all of the dead “babies” in a women’s wombs. A dialogue about this would be intriguing for me, but I’m not necessarily sure others care so much :).

    An interesting note: The Catholic Church is what enabled you to hold on to your faith for several years (the beauty, the rituals, etc.). All of those things drove me crazy my whole life! It was so meaningless to me, and masses were quite literally the most miserable moments of my life. The eucharist is another interesting topic: Of all of the years I went to church (until I was 20) I was certain that the taking of the eucharist was an entirely symbolic act, meant to remind us of Christ’s sacrifice to us; it wasn’t until very recently that I even realized I was supposed to believe I was truly eating the body of Christ!!

    I do love your blog and would love to see your thoughts on these things!

    • ArachneS

      I am also an ex-catholic, but probably with much more traditional(almost fundamental I suppose) parents. My family was very rooted to the catholic church as it had been pre-1960s-Vatican 2(I don’t know if you have ever hear of the Society of St Pius X, it is a splinter off of the catholic church obsessed with traditionalist thinking. My parents spent half of my childhood in those parishes.) Because of that, I got a whole lot more religious education on the meaning of the rituals and traditions in the mass since it was all said in Latin anyway. If we were to participate in mass you had to have missals that had latin on one side and english on the other with explanations for what that part was about. I don’t think that many of the people raised as catholics now have that. Someone entering the catholic faith, might get more information about the mass because they haven’t just been expected to absorb it from childhood.

      Also, I was always taught that the eucharist is the literal body of Christ and we really were eating the flesh of Jesus. This was always emphasized as holy, so the idea of questioning it or thinking it weird seemed blasphemous to me as a kid. Years later, when my husband and I were attending NFP classes, the teacher used the eucharist as an example of why sex was holy- because sex is supposed to mirror the union of the eucharist and the people who eat it…. as a way of “becoming one with each other”. So… going to communion is supposed to be like having sex I think?
      I have never read Humanae Vitae, so I’m not sure what it states, but I would be interested in what Libby has to say about it as well. The church seems to have contradictory points of view on different parts of the bible(some parts are just symbolic stories… others are true facts set in stone to base church doctrine off of).

      • Liberated Liberal

        I only just heard of the Society of St Pius X while reading an article. My mother was quite the liberal Catholic and my father was a former Mormon who never went to church with us despite my mother’s pleading :D. I feel as though everything I may have learned at Church went in one ear and out the other. Every priest I’d ever had was sexually delinquent (whether from a Catholic perspective or a social perspective), so I simply took as fact that they were all hypocrites and stopped listening. My CCD teachers were not very bright and couldn’t answer the simplest questions, so, once again, I paid no attention.

        The entire communion/sex comparison is beyond creepy and gross. I do often make fun of the disturbingly sexual relationship people seem to have created with their version of Jesus, though, so I’m not surprised by it. So everybody is having sex with Jesus during Sunday mass, huh? What does that say about group/premarital/incestuous/homosexual/procreational/pleasurable sex then? I mean, if it’s all allowed in Church…

        I’d be interested in hearing about your story in the church, as well. Are you practicing right now? My mother still actively goes to church while disagreeing with 99% of its teachings. I suppose I had no chance at faith, and I’m perfect ok with it :).

      • ArachneS

        I have completely left the catholic church as of last year. Before that I had tried to hold onto some portion of it as a liberal catholic, but as time went on I found myself being unable to believe in a god any longer and left an atheist. My family is as of right now unaware of this- and I am not sure when and how I am going to tell them. I have been working on writing about my path to atheism, and had not thought of going that far back though… I enjoy writing so thanks for the interest in my past story! It’s encouraging :)

        It is something similar to Libby’s but with doctrinal differences and there was a LOT of priest reverence. We were home schooled as well and the Society of St Pius X shares a lot of conservative ideology with evangelical christians… When I found Libby’s blog I was surprised at how much I could relate to.

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        Speaking of all fundaemntal catholicism, how many of you know much about the Opus Dei? Here in Spain they have a lot of power but there iirc Santorum is at least asociated with them. Have any of you watched the Spanish film Camino?

        I remember when I was growing up in my city there were two schools for the Opus Dei kids (one for the girl and one for the boys) and the families with the 5-8 kids and all that. It’s interesting that they look for political and economical power even being a relatively fringe movement.

        Then in spain, there’s the Kikos that are mockingly called the poor Opus Dei but that have one of my friends family spreading the message/missioning in other countries. This one is probably completely unknown in the US, right?

      • Liberated Liberal


        Please do consider writing about your upbringing in the church. I dismissed priests (in particular!) and teachings as literal so early that I never considered the church relevant to my life. Only now am I re-acquainting myself with the horrors of what the church truly stands for.


        I briefly heard about the Opus Dei very recently while doing research; but only to learn that they are extremely fundamental and conservative. Otherwise, these stories are new to me.

  • http://www.subparker.com Neal Edwards

    I would like to read more on how the social deprivation of homeschoolers affects them even into their adult years, whether from awkwardness, sexual dysfunction, cultural disconnect or even just feeling like you don’t fit in.

    Personally, as an example, I’m coming up on 10 years since my high school graduation. I haven’t felt left out for homeschooling in quite some time, but seeing my friends plan their 10 year high school reunions is starting to make me feel it again, the way I used to envy people who had Friday night football games, or proms.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      I do plan to write more on this in the future, but for the moment, let me offer you two posts I wrote on this topic last summer and fall:

      Cultural Disconnection

      But what about socialization?

      • http://www.subparker.com Neal Edwards

        Thanks, Cultural Disconnection was the article that first got me hooked on your blog!

  • charlesbartley

    I am interested in how you compartmentalize your life. .Also in how you think and process all of this, and in how you shape your blog posts

    As a former Christian, now atheist myself, I always struggle with how to be true to myself, and how to deal with the large number of people that I have known since before I became an atheist. I am out to them, either directly (by telling them), or indirectly (through facebook postings and “religious views”), but it is a cold war type of out. We mostly don’t talk about religion or politics (since my religious shift happened at the same time as a political shift).

    I have so many important issues going around in my head that I basically can’t talk to the important people in my life about. The issues are all intermixed. Science, Sex, Ethics, morality, Grief, homosexuality, creationism, marriage, divorce, mental illness, health care, others. Many of the topics that you cover regularly. I can’t seem to talk about any one of these topics without bringing in most of the rest. I also find that I can talk more freely in places like your blog comments about these things than I can to anyone else but my fiancé.

    I often spend a couple days with thoughts swimming around in my head all the time, only to read an article by you on the exact topic, with comentary that either matched my own thoughts, or helps my thoughts to solidify. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened :D

    You are a gifted writer, and I study your writings all the time. I am verbose and nuanced, but I end up re-arranging my own prose so many times trying to get it exactly right that I end up blowing the point I was trying to make, or end up sounding more declaritive than I meant it to be.

  • http://nojesusnopeas.blogspot.com James Sweet

    It’s somewhat redundant for me to say, since this is pretty much your primary topic… but the posts on Christian Patriarchy are always where I learn the most. The series you did about millenialism was also very educational. I guess: the detailed experiences that are unique to your upbringing as opposed to being fairly universal to theistic upbringings in general.

  • http://www.freeratio.org/ Brian63

    Some topic ideas:

    Do you harbor any feelings of *resentment* towards your parents because they indoctrinated you? In previous posts you have used some harsh language to describe your upbringing, how it hurt you emotionally then, how it has hurt you emotionally now. Do you target any feelings of anger back at your parents? Some other atheists and I recently discussed this online, and most of them felt sorry for their parents and a bit disappointed in them as well for not seeing through religion and also indoctrinating them into it, but not so much resented their parents. I do have just a small amount of resentment, but it is really not much at all, especially because my own upbringing did not have anything near the degree of indoctrination you experienced.

    What is your relationship like with your parents now, and also your siblings? Are you a “black sheep” in the family? Do all of them get along well with you? Do any of them show hints to you that they agree with or sympathize with your views at all?

    Do you remember the first time you met an out atheist in real life? What thoughts and emotions ran through your head? There have been a couple times that I can remember mentioning to others that I am an atheist, and they were absolutely stunned by it. Even one person who I was extremely friendly with responded back with a snarling, sarcastic remark to me as mostly a conditioned reflex for her based on her stereotype of what an atheist is supposed to be like. Apparently her stereotypes were being shattered.


  • lane

    I’m very much anticipating your post on how you became pro-choice–I’ve been terribly curious! I’ve been having an email discussion with my (very anti-abortion) mother about this stuff, so I’m also interested to compare notes and see if my debating tactics are anything like what you might suggest.

    As for suggestions, I’d be interested to hear more of your thoughts about separatism. Having been raised fundamentalist and homeschooled, I think there are a lot of things to potentially unpack there. There was the aspect of being raised in a completely homogeneous environment where all of my friends were white, ultra-conservative females in roughly the same socioeconomic class–our idea of “diversity” was free will vs predestination. There was also this sort of arrogance of us not being like “them”, and the related deep fear that anything “secular” was going to make us depraved or demon-possessed (we were not allowed to watch Star Wars because of the allusions to Eastern mysticism, for example).

    • lane

      P.S. Wanted to add… While I love your posts for my own purposes, one added benefit is that I often will send links of particularly poignant posts to my boyfriend. I think your concise, eloquent posts help him to understand me and my background better–all this fundamentalist stuff is really baffling to him. :)

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