Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We've Lost One

Atheist blogger Leah Libresco converts to Christianity

A prominent atheist blogger says she has converted to Christianity. 

Leah Libresco made the announcement on Monday on her Patheos blog, "Unequally Yoked." The blog post, titled "This is my last post for the Patheos Atheist Portal," details how Libresco came to her decision.

She said she struggled with moral law, exploring where it comes from and what's behind it. As an atheist, she states that friends told her that her philosophy was unsustainable.
I've never heard of her before.  *shrug*  Anywho, aside from msnbc, all the "news" outets with this story are Christian sites, of course.  They're peeing their pants over this conversion, if it is indeed a conversion.  I am always dubious of the claim that deconversions are people who "were never true Christians," and likewise whether atheists who embrace a religion were ever true atheists, but in this case I question whether she was ever truly an atheist.  From her final post:

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 asked my friend what he suggest we do now, and we prayed the night office of the Liturgy of the Hours together (I’ve kept up with that since).  Then I suggested hugs and playing Mumford and Sons really, really loudly.

Moral Law is some kind of Person?  Huh?  And just coincidentally, one the predominant religions of her culture is the true Truth.

I have put in a lot of thought about morality and never came to the same "conclusion."  She apparently wants to believe that some supernatural deity made us behave the way we do, not evolution.  If she'd even just take a look at the animal world she'd see that "morality" is natural, not supernatural.

I think it's John Loftus who says "You can't reason someone out of faith because they were never reasoned into it."  On the surface this seems to be the rare conversion based on reason, because she argued, philosophized, and researched, but in the end her "reason" for converting was the need for agency in the Big Questions of Life.  This isn't reason; it's emotion, or at the very least an evolutionary brainfart.  The human mind conceptualizes other minds ("Theory of Mind") and extends that conceptualization into the inanimate/supernatural ("Agency").

Would she have come to the same "conclusion" if she'd been reading skeptical literature instead of philosphy?

I have been wondering what neophytes to atheism need to "know," like how much about science or the history of religion.  I'm starting to think that combatting our natural inclination to believe in nonsense really does take some work, just as scientists work to take their biases out of their experiments.


Mike D said...

I had the same thoughts when I read about this on Friendly Atheist.

Reminds me of Jack Hudson, the Christian dude who frequently comments on my blog. He says on his blog, "I spent my young adulthood as a skeptic and agnostic, and only came to Christ after encountering Christ and definitively rejecting my former beliefs."

You can't "encounter Christ" if you're a skeptical agnostic.

I believe these types of people may have had serious doubts, and probably lived their lives as nonbelievers, but there are clearly some woo beliefs that they held onto nonetheless.

LadyAtheist said...

I was nominally a "Christian" before accepting the nonreality of the supernatural so I suppose it goes both ways. I had doubts from early childhood.

I'd like to know how one "encounters" Christ when he's sitting on the right hand of himself passing judgment on you and me and all the muslims. Doesn't that keep him busy?

If I knew her I'd recommend this video:

Ipecac said...

I'm also skeptical of this conversion. Once you stop believing in Santa Claus, how could you really ever start believing again?

L.Long said...

Well they do say religion is a virus so her inoculations were a bit week and she is now irrational. And this is the only explanation for the silly reasons she gave. And I will bet she turns out to be a nit-picker Xtian and not a full blown crazy.

Tommykey said...

The only reason I had heard of her was because Adam at Daylight Atheism had promoted her as one of his favorite atheist bloggers.

I didn't think she was notable enough to get a mention on MSNBC.

My own reaction is "yeah, whatever."

To me, the real problem in the atheist blogosphere is the shitstorm that seems to have erupted over the claims of sexual harassment at atheist and skeptic conventions, with one side claiming it is a serious problem that is not being properly addressed, while others retorting that some atheist feminist bloggers are overhyping it to draw attention to themselves. If I were a Christian observing this, I would be feeling a bit of schadenfreude from seeing so-called rational atheists tearing each other apart over the issue, in light of atheist criticism that Christianity is misogynist.

LadyAtheist said...

Perhaps she'll re-deconvert when she realizes how batshit crazy it is

Tommykey said...

On the surface this seems to be the rare conversion based on reason, because she argued, philosophized, and researched, but in the end her "reason" for converting was the need for agency in the Big Questions of Life.

The way I look at it, a religion betrays its origins as man made if it makes human behavior as the central concern of the deity.

We live in a universe filled with billions of galaxies each filled with billions of planets, and yet the creator of all of that basically spends the bulk of its time keeping the species homo sapiens on planet Earth under constant surveillance.

Anonymous said...

OK, so she deconverted, converted, whatever. I'm trying to figure out how anyone who might be seeking moral guidance would select the RCC as a paragon of moral virtue.

Pete Moulton

Anonymous said...

Your post proves that at times secularists are more close minded than theists. You stated that if she was just reading secular books instead of philosophy she would have stayed atheist. Of course, if you spoon feed people your own agenda and that alone they will continue to be brainwashed. If one looks at all the truth openly, then one can make an educated decision, as did libresco.

LadyAtheist said...

Okay, how's this: what if in addition to philosophy she'd also been reading scientific literature and skeptical literature? Philosophy isn't a pathway to an empirical truth, only to a philosophical truth.

And really, how does she make a leap from universal morality (which she could have investigated by studying anthropology and animal studies and comparative religion) and Catholicism. How widely read can a person have been to decide that people who have supported pedophiles, started numerous wars, and suppressed women's rights are the one true pathway to morality?

B.R. said...


Yeah, she made such an informed decision; from free thought and skepticism to taking orders from the king with the pointy hat who lives in a giant fucking palace in the middle of his own little kingdom, making money hand over fist, while thousands of children and other people die every day of thirst, starvation, and disease.

Tommykey said...

Oh look, it's the foolish Gideon!

LadyAtheist said...

and... off he goes to the Spam folder

L.Long said...

Has anyone seen Gideon state anything intelligent? or give a real discussion back to support anything?
The post of June24 contains nothing but insults and negative thoughts. Of course I know that there are a few atheists that will also talk like that too but then we do not have any moral code so we have a good reason where he has a high moral code and can't seem to follow it, similar to those priests we hear about a lot!

LadyAtheist said...

This is why I send his stuff to the Spam folder as soon as I'm aware of it. I stopped reading what he says because it was so repetitive and insulting. If he had made legitimate points I would not have had a problem with him, but he's just trolling for a response to his insults, i.e. yes, a troll.

B.R. said...

Gideon, I realize that you're most likely a Poe, but on the off chance that you're not, let me put this out here; your blog is a pile of steaming conspiracy theorist bullshit that looks like something cobbled together by an eight year-old. My negativity is focused on historical revisionists and scum like the CEF, who are telling kids in after-school programs that genocide and mass murder are justifiable as long as a voice in their heads tells them to go out and do it. Your negativity, on the other hand, has no point. You basically rant against everything and everyone that doesn't cater to your whacked-out ideas. I, at least, can actually argue for one idea or another; all you do is throw out childish ad homs in lieu of evidence.

B.R. said...

Seriously, when dos he even argue for his opinions? Almost every comment I've seen from him was just insults and stereotypes.

LadyAtheist said...

Yep, it's hard to even tell if he's a Poe because most Poes are better than this.

B.R. said...

I already took you on. Remember? That was when I realized that you were probably a Poe, because nobody who knows how to read could possibly be that ignorant of science. If you want to prove the baseless assertions you make about me every time you open your mouth, why don't you try stalking my blog for a change? Or would you rather spew ad homs on your pathetic blog?

B.R. said...

Besides, you're not capable of making a coherent point. If you were, LA wouldn't be moving your posts to her spam folder. She only does it because all you do is puff out your chest and act like superior when all you do is ad hom, ad hom, ad hom, make a veiled threat, and ad hom some more. If you say something intelligent for once, maybe she'll leave it up. But we'll never know, will we?

B.R. said...

"I don't have to prove anything."

Then the only reason you come to this blog is to troll. And you're incapable of proving anything that you say. Thanks for admitting it.

"Few comments"? Really? You've posted dozens that LA left up, and dozens more that got moved into spam because they didn't add anything to the conversation. The only reason I can still read what you're saying now is because she hasn't gotten back yet. You're clearly unwelcome, and yet you constantly try to post. Obviously, you're stalking the blog.

"That's up to you."

You're the one who posts irrelevant nonsense. I'm not your mommy; if you think your comments deserve to be left up, shock us and say something that adds to the conversation for once.

Anonymous said...

These threads must look pretty weird to someone just popping in... all of you retards sitting around talking to yourselves!


B.R. said...

Yeah, sorry, who's the guy that said adaptation wasn't evolution--even though evolution's definition is adaptations occurring in a population over time?

We all know who the real retard is here, Gideon; you. It's funny how every time you post a new comment, you prove that you have noting even moderately intelligent to say, and thus your comments are just cluttering up every thread they show up on.

LadyAtheist said...

I'll leave just that one for the *lol* but please don't feed the troll! I'd send you to his blog to taunt him in person but he's too cowardly to allow comments.

B.R. said...

I've already been there. It's just ranting, raving, and shit-spewing. Like Conservapedia, but with more spelling errors and exclamation points.

zenmite said...

This blogger had been dating a Catholic (see her blog name) and attending catholic church with him for some time. The deep philosophical discussions seem to have been mostly with her catholic boyfriend.

My cousin grew up a pentecostal christian. She met and began dating a mormon. She eventually converted to mormonism and moved to Utah. Big Surprise how she suddenly discovered Mormonism was the Truth.

My baby daughter was an atheist with no interest in any religion. At age 15, she met and began dating a fundamentalist baptist. Like this lady blogger, she began attending church with her boyfriend...'just to be with him.' My daughter was subjected to intense pressure from his whole family to convert. After a couple of years, she was baptised and became a born-again christian. Big Surprise.

This sort of thing happens all the time. There is intense social pressure to conform and when this is added to intimate relationship, it becomes overwhelming to most of us. I don't think Ms. Lebresco's conversion had anything to do with rational thought or logic or even supernatural experiences. She (and my cousin and daughter) just wanted to be accepted and loved, so they performed a kind of intellectual self-castration. Very sad, but no Big Surprise at all.

LadyAtheist said...

Yep at times "Christian love" is really just raging hormones.