Monday, June 25, 2012

I suppose she wasn't a real atheist

Since she converted to Catholicism. There are no ex-atheists, right?

HT: Bob Prokop


Son of Ya'Kov said...

Of course the "Un-equally Yoked" girl!

I feel silly but I did not see this one coming.

B. Prokop said...

My favorite line in the article was the very last: "Libresco is just switching to the side she thinks the facts are on."

That attitude should be everyone's!

mrbentleebro said...

if I didn't know any better I'd say this was a bunch of angry fundamentalists whining about a Christian converting to atheism.

mrbentleebro said...

See the comments on;

Matt DeStefano said...

I'm a bit horrified at the amount of psycho-analyzing coming from the atheist community. Although, there have been some good responses from Camels with Hammers and Daylight Atheism.

William said...

I love this bit from Camels with Hammers:

See that! She got double teamed by Christians and atheists who agreed! She was working with premises, some of them good philosophically, that apparently none of the atheists around her shared. And those atheists she did talk to essentially told her that she had might as well be a Christian if she was going to believe in objective morality! That it would be more rationally consistent! Her belief in teleology and in objective morality would be more consistent within a Catholic framework! These were her strongest atheist influences!

A. Rosenberg's Trojan Horse Syndrome, anyone?

Crude said...

She's an interesting woman. Reminds me of Camille Paglia in terms of being a female thinker who's actually refreshing in that she bucks the usual trends.

That said, the Cult of Gnu reaction to her is fantastic. You couldn't paint these guys as lunatics more vividly if you tried.

Papalinton said...

Further down the original source:

What a brilliant exposé of Lee Strobel's book.

Lee Strobel's Nonsensical Case for Christ

AmirF said...

Not sure why the atheist community is getting worked up over this. After all, on their physicalist views, she - like all human beings - is fundamentally a biological robot whose entire life is a physical event that unfolds according to the laws of macroscopic physics. The physical world made her believe in Catholicism, necessitating her mental states long before she was born. She really didn't have a free choice in the matter.

And even if she did, so what? Why should truth necessarily have value on atheism?

Secular Outpost said...

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>Although, there have been some good responses from Camels with Hammers and Daylight Atheism.

The Hammers guy comes close to "good" but he doesn't know classic theism from his own asshole.

"Daylight" is worst. His "questions" are standard trope from the Atheist version of Chick comics. Also he doesn't understand Classic vs Theistic Personalism. Paps might as well have written it.

Look at Leah's booklist she does list The Last Superstition.

This recycling of anti-Fundamentalist polemics and using such non-starter objections on Catholics is tedious.

Anonymous said...

AmirF: Presumably, the atheist community is getting worked up over this for the same reason Libresco converted to Catholicism: because, as you say, a long chain of physical events necessitated their getting worked up over it. Or, when it comes to atheism, is it a fact, as Berlinski quipped, that, "You're beliefs are contrived and determined; mine are not"?

Edwardtbabinski said...

Is morality a person, or do people "moralize?" (a question based on Leah's recent decision to convert from atheism to Catholicism)

I don't think we require absolutely "objective" morality in order to live peaceful and productive lives, and neither is the notion of "objective morality" to be confused with decisions to make and enforce certain "laws." Morality seems to start, as most things do, with basic biological, sociological, psychological recognitions. Like admitting that it's better to have some food than be starving with hunger pains; it's better to be healthy than be chronically painfully ill; and it's better to be around people who love you or at least like you (and are willing to share food, talk, etc., with you), than be fleeing for your life from others all the time. Put all those natural direct experiences together and note that the vast majority of folks also would agree. That's the basis for assigning "rights" and "wrongs" according to naturalism, it's the natural agreement many have attained and that we can feel in our stomachs, in our pain receptors, even in our shared desires to be around each other and have someone else to share space and speech with, among other things. Even if what I pointed out only convinces you that naturalism is a "just so" story, that's all that divine command theory can prove about itself also, that it's a "just so" story, but at least both of us can agree on having direct knowledge concerning the natural preferences I outlined. There is no doubt also, that in both the naturalist's and supernaturalist's cosmos, moral atrocities as well as hideous natural diseases and other disasters occur. There is no guarantee in either cosmos that they won't. So really, this whole argument "from morality" is one big moot point.


Edwardtbabinski said...

I also tried sending a message to Leah:

Hello Leah, I'm a former Christian. I was raised Catholic, confirmed, born again, read all of Lewis's Christian writings, much of the Inklings, lots of MacDonald, and about 30 of G.K.s works, read other types of theology as well, including Martin Gardner's The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener, and the reply book by his funny logician friend, Raymond Smullyan, titled, Who Knows?, as well as lots of Alan Watts who started out a seminarian but studied Christian mysticism leading him to eastern mysticism as well, and Robert Farrar Capon (Capon is like Chesterton's modern day cousin) .

But later, I left the fold. It was primarily my study of the Bible in the end that did in my conviction. And I came to edit a book titled Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists that consists of first-hand testimonies of Protestants who leave the fold for either more moderate-liberal versions of Christianity, or for more inclusive religions, or for agnosticism or atheism. Some of the testimonies are from people of importance in the world of religion, theologians, scholars, writers. Some interesting first-hand stories. My own story from that work is online, "If It Wasn't For Agnosticism I Wouldn't Know What to Believe." I have studied people's changes in belief for a long while and could easily write a companion volume to Leaving the Fold, perhaps titled, Leaving the Cathedral, that would include first hand stories of priests, nuns, bishops and theologians struggling to have their voices heard concerning Catholic doctrines and teachings, from questions of biblical scholarship and the church's silencing of theologians, to questions regarding the infallibility of the pope and/or the Magisterium, the Vatican Bank, to celibacy, birth control, homosexuality, child molestation coverups, and other issues, with another part of the book featuring first hand testimonies from Catholics who opted for a more inclusive religion, to Catholics who became deists, agnostics, or atheists. Karen Armstrong is one scholar who writes bestsellers on religion who used to be a nun, but now follows an apophatic path of more inclusive spirituality.

A new book that I read recently and found quite interesting concerning Catholicism's long history of attempting to enforce uniformity of belief was titled, God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World by Cullen Murphy, who went around interviewing Catholic scholars, rather like the way Lee Strobel went round interviewing Evangelical inerrantists. But I'd say it's more interesting, honest and engaging, and the scholars in God's Jury seem to hold more diverse religious beliefs than those in Strobel's work.

Also, speaking of Strobel, if you haven't heard, there is a fellow by the name of Dr. Robert M. Price, a personal friend of mine, who once journeyed to meet with many Christian apologists when he was a young seminarian, to boost his faith and answer the critics, but who later left the fold and wrote two very interesting books along non-Strobelian lines. Price's earliest such work was titled, Beyond Born Again, and remains available free online at the Secular Web. While his more recent work is titled, The Case Against the Case for Christ. Price obtained two Ph.D.s in NT studies over the decades and is astonishingly well read and a jolly good fellow as well.

Crude said...


That's a lot of words for what amounts to "Please! PLEASE pay attention to me! Someone, anyone!" and "Oh God don't convert to Catholicism, an atheist converting to Catholicism drives me nuts!"

Keep at it, Ed! You've been at this for years and haven't even really managed to reach Loftus' meager level of fame. Maybe, with more hard work and effort, your really terrible writings and arguments will become very well known anbwahahaha.

Couldn't fake being very serious for that one. ;)

MickRuggieri said...

I am a convert from Atheism to Catholicism, this is nothing new.

As for the atrocities in the Catholic Church, the only thing I see common to atrocities is mankind, and this is independent of religious affiliation or lack of religion. The problem with man is that man must point the finger at something, be it Catholicism, Atheism, what have you, and say “See!! There is the problem!” , when the only place man should be pointing the finger is at himself. But man is not like that, man is too proud to admit to himself that human nature is in fact the problem. To point the finger at anything else is simply an excuse to avoid critically examining himself.

The argument from atrocities doesn’t hold water for me. I see no evidence that the Atheist dictators of the 20th century murdered millions on the sole basis of Atheism, and I see no evidence that the crusades, inquisition, witch burnings, or what have you are because of religion. Religion is only one of many excuses that man uses to fulfill his own desire, but as we all know, man doesn’t even need that as an excuse does he? Man is quite capable of atrocities without a hint of religion, and on a grand scale I may add.

Until we can admit and deal with the source of the problem (man), we cannot hope to advance as a species.

But hey, what do I know?

Crude said...


The argument from atrocities doesn’t hold water for me. I see no evidence that the Atheist dictators of the 20th century murdered millions on the sole basis of Atheism, and I see no evidence that the crusades, inquisition, witch burnings, or what have you are because of religion.

I am glad to see someone stating this, which for whatever reason is rarely done. It reminds me of the whole American slavery fight, where people will say, "Some people justified slavery based on a particular reading of the bible!" and jump from that to "The bible is responsible for American slavery!"

Ignoring the horrible, horrible twisting of the bible necessary to justify slavery by it - people leave the impression that no one wanted to have slaves but, darnit, someone said the Bible said they had to, so out they went. No, I'm pretty sure the desire for money and power played a role there.

Cale B.T. said...

Of course she wasn't a real atheist. Haven't you read

B. Prokop said...

I find this whole notion of the un-convertability of atheists to be completely ridiculous - and despite my doing so here, totally unworthy of comment or rebuttal.

Why am I so sure of this? Because my wife was an atheist when I married her in 1976. Her conversion to Christianity was not sudden or dramatic, but absolutely genuine. She died in 2008 of cancer, and before her death asked for and received all the (relevant) sacraments of the Church.

Now is some atheist going to dare tell me my wife was being insincere, or that in 34 years of marriage I somehow did not know her well enough to determine whether or not either her atheism or her subsequent conversion were genuine? All's I can say to that is "Bring it on!" It will only demonstrate to the world just how thought-tight (and thought-proof) your take on reality is.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

That's great Ed you are going to try to push a discredited Jesus Myther wack job(Price) on Leah.

Maybe I should send her some of Bob Sungenis' "Catholic" Creationist and or Geocentracist writings to her as well?

Are you sure your a former fundamentalist? You have always struck me as somebody who as found something else to be fundamentalist about.

Anonymous said...

BenYachov: I think it is grossly unfair to write Price off as a "wack job." Even Christian scholars, such as James White abd Gregory A. Boyd (who has written two books on the Jesus Myth hypothesis) have said that Price is an extremely erudite scholar and a formidable opponent in debate. The man may be wrong (personally, I think he is), but he's no "wack job."

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>Christian scholars, such as James White abd Gregory A. Boyd

If I may channel my friend Art Sippo MD. James White has an uncredited PhD the last time I checked.

Other than being an Open Theist)hich is another way to say Theistic Personalist I know nothing of Boyd so I will refrain from comment.

Jesus Mytherism is in essence the
Atheistic version of Young Earth Creationism. It is a fringe looney view and if anyone thinks it is rational to say Jesus likely didn't exist then they might as well believe Dinosaurs where too big to fit in the Ark & be done with it.

There are some accredited PhD scholars who are YEC's. So what? I have as much respect for Jesus Myters as I do YEC beliefs.

It's a fringe belief only held by anti-religious apologists not real Atheist historians.

Anonymous said...


So, on the one hand, James White can be written off because he doesn't have a credited PhD. But, on the other hand, Robert Price can also be written off even though he has a PhD (double PhD, actually) because, hey, you can always find some looney with a PhD. This seems to me a curious sort of logic. Anyway, I don't recall even hinting that one need a PhD at all to be taken seriously on these matters. I pointed out Boyd because he is a Christian who has written at length on the Jesus Myth hypothesis and he believes Robert Price to be one of the most formidable exponents of said hypothesis. (I don't see what Boyd's being an open theist has to do with the issue at all.) That said (and I think this is the real issue here), I don't think you can refute Price's position simply by labeling it "fringe" and declaring the whole matter done with it. Price is fond of pointing out something he learned from one of his old fundamentalist masters: "You cannot decide truth by a headcount."

Son of Ya'Kov said...

I am not refuting Price I am merely mocking him. His view is ridiculous. His view has been refuted in thoughtful Atheist and Theistic threads.

For some Atheists including Dawkins mockery is suppose to be a legitimate thing to do to the fringe. So what is good for the goose etc....

I hold this view of Mytherism not because of head count but because the devastating critiques of Atheist non-mythers.

Tim O'Nell, Bart Erhman and others have pointed out prima facia it is a nonsense view.

Apart from it's falsity they hate it because it harms Atheism & skepticism. It makes Atheists who hold it look foolish and hands an easy win to Theists.

I agree which is one of the reasons I don't put much stock in YEC.

It is a fruitbat view. The Atheist version of YEC nothing more.

If Ed had any brains he would have chosen someone more competent and less fringe to win Leah back to his fold.

But the heart of being a Fundamentalist wither theist or atheist is the dogmatic need of a particular very bad lesser argument at the expense of their greater ultimate truth.

Both anti-Evolutionist Theists and Jesus Myther Atheists make this mistake.

I know better.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

Timothy Billingsley,

As I recall when Mytherism was discussed here many threads back and the Atheist case against Mytherism was presented many Myther wannabes walked back their views & restated them by saying "Well I believe the miracle supernatural Jesus of the NT was a myth" which is unremarkable.

After all even O'Nell & Bart disbelieve in a supernatural Jesus. They are Atheists and or Agnostic Skeptics after all.

But claiming no person named Jesus existed at all is just plain dumb. Like I said you might as well believe dinosaurs where to big to fit in the Ark and be done with it.

Tim I will never respect Price even if I lose my faith in God tomorrow. If you want to respect him as a "scholar" knock yourself out. I won't think less of you but I will never think more of Price.

Syllabus said...

Boyd studied at Yale Divinity School and PTS, taught theology for 12 years, and has written extensively on topics like theodicy, trinitarian theology and historical Jesus studies, so he's a relatively reputable Christian scholar (a few of his more contentious views notwithstanding).

Crude said...

Some YECs are famous for being extremely formidable debate proponents. Certainly, some pro-evolution sorts write at length about YEC.

Does this make YEC anything but a crackpot position to hold, as a scientific view?

If so, you'll see why the appeals here re: Price don't fly.

Papalinton said...

From stickler at:

"A poster named garystar1 on a recent Sensuous Curmudgeon thread (A Few Questions For Creationists, May 27, 2012) said it well - "debating creationists is analogous to mud-wrestling a pig. You both come away dirty, but the pig enjoys it".

Peter Sean said...

Before we tout "God's Jury" as a "must read" for those considering Catholicism, let me humbly suggest a dissenting view of that book, as offered by the surprisingly third highest rated Amazon review of that book.

Helpful votes are appreciated. I'd like to get back to #2.