For New Readers

I’ve had a few new readers lately from a variety of sources, and I wanted to take a moment to explain some of the things I blog about. Reading my “about” tab would probably be instructive as well. While most people have heard of the emphasis on sexual purity in conservative circles, the prominence of Christian Right politics, and evangelicalism and fundamentalism, all of which I grew up with and have since questioned, rejected, and now blog against, not as many have heard of the Quiverfull and Christian Patriarchy movements, so I want to touch on that for a moment.

I grew up in a large (think double digits) homeschool family that was influenced by the Quiverfull and Christian Patriarchy movements. Having a large family was seen as a mission from God, raising up a quiver full of “arrows” to be shot out into the world to influence it for Christ. In addition to this, gender roles were held up as extremely important: husbands were to lead and wives were to submit; husbands were to protect and provide and wives were to keep the home and train the children. I was carefully prepared for my future role, which was of course to be staying home, birthing a quiver full of children, and being obedient to my husband. Now obviously, I’ve since left this course (read my story to learn more). For more on the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, click here.

I spent a good deal of my blogging time blogging against the Quiverfull and Christian Patriarchy movements. I do this by laying out my experiences, offering sharp criticism, and shedding light on the movements and the problems they cause. I am currently in the middle of the Raised Quiverfull project, in which I have brought together nine young adults who were raised in Christian Patriarchy/Quiverfull homes and have since questioned and left to share their experiences by answering a series of questions. The first post went up this morning, after my introductory post yesterday. This project will involve three to five posts per week, which I will then supplement with my ordinary posting.

Oh, and as a young mother I also blog about parenting and reproductive rights.

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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.

  • Tragedy101

    How if you are pragmatic can you confirm that backwards religion?

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      Have you even read her profile just on the upper right side of this page or her about page? right now ahe is an atheist but even if she wasn’t she is CRITICISING the Christian Patriarchy/Quiverful model, not confirming it…

    • Tragedy101

      Probably, I want to know how she can confirm atheism. It is a religion every way I turn it; backwards, but a religion none the less. As I cannot figure out how she can claim it without acknowleding it a religion, I thought I’d ask her.

      • Libby Anne

        You might try clicking on the “My Beliefs” tab and then clicking on “atheism.” I explain it all there.

      • Caravelle

        The only way I can turn it so that atheism is a religion is if I say that “worldview” and “religion” mean the same thing. Which defines religion out of all meaning and doesn’t reflect its actual usage in English.
        Given atheism is not commonly understood to be a religion you should be the one to explain your reasoning here.

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        Atheism is simply not believing there exist any kind of god/s (because there’s no evidence of it, the same way I don’t believe there’s an invisible alien in my kitchen right now) and just that. I don’t believe in fairies or that I will win the lottery (for starters because I don’t buy lottery XD) and I don’t call either of those beliefs religions… Check out the definition of religion….

      • Tragedy101

        I am not familiar with the term ‘world view’, and it may very well be an attempt to avoid using a more open minded definition of religion. As a general rule, most people are very narrow minded concerning their own beliefs. I think the definition of religion generally given by atheists is “beliefs concerning the worship of or service to a higher power or supernatural being.” Correct?

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        Perhaps an example it’s easier for you to understand? If atheism is a religion, being bald is a hair colour. It’s not like I mind it if you call it religion because it won’t change the way I feel about religion, scepticism, atheism or the world but I think you have it wrong.

      • Tragedy101

        That is an analogy, not an example.

        I want to be clear on the definition atheists have of religion, before attempting to explain its narrow minded nature, and how a broader definition is necessary for precise expression. I once thought atheism was not an organized religion, but because of the frequent and concise abuse of terminology, I wonder.

    • Penn

      I want to try and explain the reasoning here – or at least why (as far as I know) most atheists don’t consider atheism a religion. It’s my reasoning anyway.
      As far as I can tell, the most pertinent definition of ‘religion’ is a set of positive beliefs regarding the supernatural, which can include a god (or, hair colour in the analogy). Organised religion would be groups of people coming together to act in accordance with those beliefs and to share them.
      Atheism means lacking a belief in a god, and some/many atheists will also lack any belief in the supernatural. When I think of people who have a religion, I look at it as something they have (a belief/faith – or hair in the analogy) and I don’t. The fact that I’m an atheist doesn’t mean I explicitly believe there is not and cannot be any god or supernatural force – it just means I have seen no satisfactory evidence to suggest that there is. It’s not a positive belief in anything supernatural, it’s not even a belief that there /is/ no supernatural. It’s just… looking at the natural world and not adding any god into the picture.
      So yeah, I hope that, even if you disagree about atheism being a religion, I have at least adequately explained why I don’t think it is.

      • Tragedy101

        All I have said is religion is defined by atheists as “beliefs concerning the worship of or service to a higher power or supernatural being.” This is a narrow minded, concise definition of religion. It is merely concise and not precise.

        To be precise one must ask “What are beliefs concerning worship or service?” The answer is they are beliefs concerning a person’s purpose. There are two contingent ideas associated with a person’s purpose in life: Origin and end. All three ideas can be summed up in one question: “Why am I here?”
        Religion is an individual’s personal beliefs that answer for them that question. Beliefs of negation are equally religious. And most beliefs can be posited as such, if one wants to take the time.

        This is the traditional definition of religion. Does anybody read Plato?

        Atheism is a backward religion: Why am I here? Not god. Interesting… Please, define god.

        Yeah. Backwards. But that brings me back to my question why bother confirming that backwards religion? I don’t understand why anyone would do so. If it is so obvious there is no god, why bother telling other people? It doesn’t seem pragmatic to me.

      • Penn

        Okay, I can understand where you’re coming from then. You may think that my definition is too narrow, but to me, it seems like your definition is too broad (and the one for atheists you gave is too narrow, because believing in a higher power or supernatural being does not automatically lead to worship or service towards it). Atheism itself doesn’t actually include any positive belief – no definite belief in a lack of a god (after all, there’s really no need to make up a definition here just in order to reject it; all we can do is look at all definitions that have been presented and decide for ourselves whether that God seems logical. Or just not examine them because the initial premise of the supernatural doesn’t seem necessary to explain the world as we know it). It’s just a lack of a belief that a god exists. That doesn’t even necessarily mean there is no greater purpose; Buddhism can be wholly atheistic, but there’s still a higher purpose there and still (for some) supernatural elements.
        Atheism itself does not necessarily lead to any conclusion, except that if there is a purpose, it probably doesn’t come from a god, and if there is supernatural, it probably doesn’t come from a god. It doesn’t make any claims about who we should be or why, what we should do or why, what our purpose is or why, or why we are here. It’s just one simple lack of a claim, and honestly, I think the only reason why one would go around telling people about it is to defend it as a viewpoint, to say ‘no, I don’t believe as you or any other theist does, and this is the simplest word I have to label myself’. If your definition of religion includes this, then it is an extremely broad, all-encompassing one; is a lack of belief in, say, fairies, a part of your religion? I don’t mean that in a rhetorical way either; I’m genuinely curious.
        Also, if ‘religion’ as a term does not necessarily include supernatural elements to you, then what is the difference, if any, between religion and philosophy?
        It’s first thing in the morning for me, by the way, so I hope I’m communicating adequately.

      • Tragedy101


        A strict understanding of proselytizing prohibits me from explaining most of this, here.

        However, narrowly defining religion makes almost all discussion by the self-labled atheist intrinsically intellectually dishonest, because she/he excludes her/his personal beliefs from the discussion. It is not an open exchange of ideas, but rather a series of exchanges between the “non-religion” and all that is “religion.” There is no reason to lable one’s self as an “atheist” except to express a religious position.

        If we were talking about whether the St. Louis Cardinals or the Detroit Tigers were a better team, it would never cross your mind to lable yourself an “atheist” for that discussion. Because it is not religious in nature. “Yeah, I’m an atheist so the Detroit Tigers will never again win the World Series, because only god can help that team.” By the way, this is an example, not an analogy.

  • Godlesspanther

    Never having been in a Christian organization for purposes of enlightenment — I look at this stuff from a complete outsiders’ viewpoint. I’m a life-long atheist who looks at religion as a spectator’s sport.

    Generally I find the home-grown USA religious movements more interesting because — probably because I live here. I do tend to focus on Christianity because that is by far the most prevalent and subsequently I am more familiar with the doctrines of the different American Christianities.

    I get that the Quiverful movement emphasizes that the members must be married, the man of the house is under the dictates of God and subsequently the church, the woman is under the control of the husband and the children are under control of the husband except in matters like taking care of their basic needs and making more of them — the wife’s duty.

    When I examine different American Christian groups I find that they are so diverse, one really can’t put them together in a coherent way. To me, it seems as if I were to be given a bunch of puzzle pieces, a random handfull from nine of ten different puzzles and then told to make a recognizable picture out of it. Impossible.

    One question I have about Quiverfull is the ideology around the rapture. Does the Quiverfull movement subscribe to a particular version of the rapture?

    • Libby Anne

      Excellent question – and a tricky one too! Most Quiverfull and Christian Patriarchy leaders today don’t believe in the rapture. They are postmillenialist reconstructionists, meaning that they believe we have to bring on Christ’s second coming by making the world Christian (TM) today, and that there will be no rapture or tribulation. However, many Quiverfull followers do believe in the rapture, and don’t necessarily realize that there is a theological difference. Some of them end up becoming postmillenialist reconstructionists after being aligned with Quiverfull for a while. For more, see my end times series.

      • Godlesspanther

        Thank you for the education. I’m not quite all the way through your end-times series, thus far it’s been a very valuable reference. When I asked the above question I had no idea of the level of complexity that lay just below its surface.