Atheist blogger Leah Libresco shocked the secular community this week when she announced on her Patheos blog that she has converted to Christianity. Her article, entitled, “This is my last post for the Patheos Atheist Portal,” explained her conversion to Catholicism, which has sent shock-waves through the atheist blogosphere.
In her post, Libresco details her personal struggles with understanding the root of moral law. Obviously, non-believers don’t see morality as coming from a central source. Instead, they see humanity as living on its own, disconnected from any fertile source of knowledge and goodness. For Libresco, this ideal has come full-circle, as she inevitably arrived at an understanding that aligns with a Christ-centered world-view.
Debate after debate and discussion after discussion, the non-believing blogger details how she found herself constantly exploring this paradigm — that is, until she finally accepted the notion that truth and moral goodness come from God. She explains:
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.
After I changed my mind, I decided to take a little time to make sure I really believed what I thought I believed, before telling my friends, family, and, now, all of you. That left me with the question of what to do about my atheism blog. My solution was to just not write anything I disagreed with. Enough of my friends had accused me of writing in a crypto-Catholic style that I figured no one would notice if I were actually crypto-Catholic for a month and a half (i.e. everything from “Upon this ROC…” on).
Despite making this major announcement, Libresco admits that there are some elements of the Christian faith — and Catholicism in particular — that she’s still not sure about. Among them, the church’s teaching about homosexuality. But based on her final blog post announcing her conversion, she seems set on a path to explore these specified issues as diligently as she has the overarching existence of a higher power.
Libresco continues, promising to further discuss her conversion in future blog posts:
This post isn’t the final word on my conversion. I’m sure there’s a lot more explaining and arguing to do, so be a little charitable in your read of this post and try to give me a little time to expand my ideas over the next few weeks. (Based on my in-person arguments to date, it seems like most of my atheist friends disagree two or three steps back from my deciding Morality is actually God. They usually diverge back around the bit where I assert morality, like math, is objective and independent of humans. As one of my friends said, “Well, I guess if I were a weird quasi-Platonist virtue ethicist, this would probably convince me”).
Responses, thus far, have been intriguing. Obviously, many people in the secular community are opposed to this massive transition, but at least one prominent atheist is being somewhat supportive. On his “Friendly Atheist” blog, Hemant Mehta wrote the following about the conversion:
It happens. Far less frequently than the other way around, but it happens. (A few years ago, a popular blogger called The Raving Atheist announced he was a Christian and changed his site to The Raving Theist.)
I won’t pretend to understand whatever she’s going through. But whenever you make a big announcement like that, it’s like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. It’s even harder to do that when you talk about religion so publicly. Anyway, I wish Leah the best.
The comments on the post in which Libresco made the announcement range from surprised to enthusiastic. He blog, “Unequally Yoked,” will be moved to Patheos’ Catholic channel starting today, where she will continue to blog about her transformation.