About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011 and lives in Washington DC. She works as a news writer for FiveThirtyEight by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked. She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."

Rational Faith: More working hypothesis than logical proof

Editors' Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Faith and Reason. Read other perspectives here.This month, Patheos asked bloggers to contribute to a Public Square symposium on the question “Is Faith Rational, Irrational, or Arational?" Since I used to work teaching Bayesian statistics for the Center for Applied Rationality and I'm now a statistician for FiveThirtyEight, I'm coming down firmly on the "Rational" side of this trilemma.But "rational" may not mean what you … [Read more...]

Why I’m a Statistician and Why I’m a Catholic

I got to do interviews with two great radio programs in the last few weeks. First up, I spoke to Matt King of Say That (past of his work for Mission: USA, an inner city mission in Chicago). We spoke about my coverage of sappy Christian hymns and how and why I work as a statistician.Say That, Ep 222 (I'm on at minute 37) I also got to talk with Patrick Coffin of Catholic Answers Focus about my conversion and my experience learning to pray as a beginner Catholic (from my … [Read more...]

Aunt Alberta And Being Right (but the boring way)

I've been rereading the Narnia series (in publication order) with a group of friends, and when we read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader last week, I was struck by how the transformation of the boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb (who almost deserved it!) is summarized in the final words of the book. Back in our own world everyone soon started saying how Eustace had improved, and how "You'd never know him for the same boy": everyone except Aunt Alberta, who said he had become very commonplace and t … [Read more...]

The Tony-Winning Guide To Temptation And Grace

Last Sunday, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton won 11 well-deserved Tony Awards, and, last week, I wrote an appreciation of the show for Aleteia. In keeping with Miranda's style, it's a mashup: the grace-filled story of Hamilton's adultery and the way he is forgiven paired with St. Therese of Liseux's advice for withstanding temptation. The choice he refused to acknowledge as a choice kept rippling out, leaving no part of his life undamaged. If Hamilton was tempted to despair at his own weakness b … [Read more...]

The Virtues of Sad Songs (a piece for three voices)

After I covered the empty sweetness of some contemporary Christian music, I got a mix of excellent responses, from specific song recommendations to response essays. Here are three I particularly enjoyed:  Richard Beck (Experimental Theology) "Growing Up Shape Note" In short, all the major hymnbooks of the Churches of Christ tradition have used shape-notes. No matter what Church of Christ you visited, even if you were pulling a different hymnbook from the pew, you were always singing … [Read more...]

The (Extra) Mercy of My Conversion

Kristine Franklin invited me on to her radio show, Mercy Unwrapped, a few weeks ago to talk about my conversion and the way I've learned to pray. The audio is up now: Mercy Unwrapped Ep 24 - Leah Libresco: A Fervent Atheist and the Mercy of God.One of the things we wind up talking about is the wide range of kinds of conversions, and the way that "God kept reaching out to me in ways I could say 'Yes' to. [...] A lot of people have conversions that are more emotional and spiritual, but for me … [Read more...]

7QT: Fake Bears, Faker Weapons, and Austen

--- 1 --- I was pleased to get to interview Richard Beck for my article on unremittingly cheerful Christian pop music. I've always enjoyed his writing (and I have his latest book, Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted, on my shelf to read). One recent post of his I particularly liked is "Edging Toward Enchantment: Recovering a Catholic Imagination" (he's not Catholic).  Here's an excerpt: [O]ne of the impulses of Protestantism was to shift the spiritual l … [Read more...]


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