Sunday, June 24, 2012

What’s really behind this atheist’s conversion to Catholicism?.

A friend and reader (TY, Sue) brought to my attention the matter of Leah Libresco, a twenty-four year old prominent atheist blogger for Pathoes and the Huffington Post who has announced she decided to become Christian   And not just Christian, but is converting to Catholicism - arguably the sect most ensconced in extreme supernaturalism.  It seems she claims to have succumbed to Christian arguments about morality being God given and decided there must be a god. Naturally, the religious community is rejoicing. "Heaven is roaring its approval'" exclaimed one sheeple.  Story here:

Her more detailed explanation sounds much like convoluted Chopra-esque double-speak: random words thrown together into indecipherable gobbeldy-gook that she is probably  very proud of.
Conversions of the faithful from belief to atheism/agnosticism  are common, happening by the thousands every day.  But an atheist conversion to religiosity, a person of reason who presumably respects evidence, science, and modernity and is immersed in secular readings and education is rarer than an uncircumcised Jew.  People of reason don’t commonly succumb to delusion and ignorance and just abandon reason because of hackneyed argument proffered by a religionist in debate that has been blunted and refuted ad nauseum. 

The few atheist conversions to the dark side of belief I’ve heard of are rather famous.  CS Lewis, the author and Xtian apologist claimed to have been an atheist who found Jesus. Problem is, as I discussed in The Atheist Camel Chronicles, he was 15 years old when he came to Jesus, and said he was an atheist because he was “angry at God.”  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that being fifteen and “angry at god” (an oxymoron for a genuine atheist) does not an atheist make.

Another famous, and presumably genuine, atheist convert is  Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the Human Genome Project, who says he was an atheist while a graduate student, but then was asked by a patient what he believes in, causing him to examine the existence of god. (that’s the short story).  He was also swayed by CS Lewis’ insipid (oops sorry), by CS Lewis’ apologetic arguments for the existence of god. While he embraces the concept of a supernatural being, he rejects young earth and creationism (pick and choose religionist).

Collins has deluded himself so effectively that he has created a unique comfy little zone that allows him to accommodate non-evidence supported supernatural belief and yet still practice the objective evidence driven demands of genuine science..  He does it brilliantly. He has convinced himself that his work in deciphering the human genome is deciphering the language of god.  Thus, he is an anomaly among his peers in the hard sciences whose work and discoveries have lead well over 90% of them away from belief and firmly planted in the reality of atheism/agnosticism.  
When I consider these examples the concept of my chucking rational thought and respect for reason out the window, and dropping back to medieval non-think isn’t something I can even fathom.  It would be akin to my suddenly rejecting everything I know about the universe and embracing the geocentric model of the solar system.  Or waking up one day and having the epiphany that the rainbow isn’t just refracted sunlight passing through water’s REALLY god’s reaffirmation to me personally that he won’t be pulling another one of his famously murderous great floods.

So what to make of this?  What’s behind this young atheist blogger’s sudden belief that eating a magical wafer and drinking wine is cannibalizing the actual body and blood of a 2000 year old dead man-god?  That a demon can infest ones body? That dead things spontaneously come to life; that virgins give birth; that hundreds of saints are standing by to act as a conduit for your prayers to god; and that telepathically telling this being you accept him as your master will give you eternal life in heaven after you become worm chow?  In my opinion, and by my experience, there are at least four possible explanations for this girl’s sudden abandonment of  reason:

1.  She harbored but suppressed the culturally induced beliefs of her parents and boyfriend (a Catholic by the way)  all along, perhaps unconsciously;  and now feels left out and  yearning to be embraced by the community and receive the nurturing she see’s in church centered religious life.
2.  She is an immature girl who has succumbed to the pressures of her boyfriend and his Catholic circle of friends and is experiencing the equivalent of the Stockholm syndrome.
3. She is suffering from a mental imbalance or undetected brain tumor.
4. She is pulling a world class poe; will eventually out herself, laugh at how everyone   fell for her gag; and make quite a few thousand dollars from a tell all book.

If it’s one or two... she’ll be back to reason eventually.
If it’s three... sorry, get well soon..
If it’s the last, she had better be prepared for a major backlash from the media.  They hate being fooled.  Trust me...I know.


Bob said...

I totally think it is peer pressure and a seriious dose of immaturity. Can't understand it? Can't fathom it? Call it "God" an "fit in" . Im' betting she couldn't deal with the peer pressure

Den!s said...

As a proclaimed absolutist, I'm betting on it being #4; that she is as phoney as a priest in a pulpit. I don't give any credence to the thought that she actually never was an atheist, that she only thought that she was.

head/desk/head/desk - repeat

Jim Hudlow said...

The fact she went back to catholicism is telling. The stigman of catholicism is signficant even (especially?) among other religious groups due to the pedophilia, cover ups, the workings of the Vatican (greed and barshit crazy rules)and adherence to rituals and idol worship,etc. Let's see what direction she takes when her boyfriend finds out she is using birth control and dumps her~~

AspenBH said...

Never underestimate cock/pussy power. I remember this colleague of mine that used to despise religious bigots much more than I did, and used to be extremely vicious in her criticism. This situation changed overnight when she started dating this nasty evangelical creature that later became her husband: in less than 24 hours she joined his death cult and proclaimed herself a born-again-christian-in-the-name-of-the-lord-god-jesus. Sexual gonads: don't you dare to underestimate them!

ginger k said...

Please don't call a24-year-old woman a girl. "Girl" refers to a pre-pubescent human female. Calling a an adult woman a girl is insulting. Would you call a 24-year-old man a boy? Somehow I doubt it.

I don't think this slur was intentional. Just don't do it again.

gerard26 said...

I think it was a combination of pressure by her religious boy friend and his circle of friends and family and at root she was never an atheist from the beginning.Why she would want to join a cult like catholicism that denies her the right to become a priest and dictates how a women chooses her health care needs. It is certain that she will become an instant star in the religious war against reason.

Helga said...

My money's on number 4...This woman loves to blog and to blag and what better publicity at this stage of her career than a 'coming into the fold'? And what fun she'll have such fun uncovering the 'morality' of the catholic church. For a smart woman, I feel she's seriously dumb.....oh no, wait! I meant to say: seriously ambitious...

Anonymous said...

There is a 5th possibility about conversions... It's propaganda put out by the religious (usually deathbed conversion). Although not in this case, since it is by the blogger\convertee.

My thoughts in this case, it's a need to fit into her BF's social group (and since she came from a Catholic family, it's not hard to speculate that the indoctrination was always there at some level).

As an aside - I have a coworker who is a now Mormon. Basically, he began as a Baptist. He had ethical issues with what his church was teaching/pushing on him. So he lost "faith" and became an "unhappy" atheist for about 5 months until he came across Mormonism (and married his Mormon GF). So technically, he did convert from Atheism to Mormonism (and he knows I'm an atheist and understands I find his religious views incoherent)

- Fastthumbs

Anonymous said...

One word Dromedary - FEAR. Someone got to her. We should take more care of our own.

Anonymous said...

AspenBH probably nailed it. Maybe her catholic boyfriend told her that he was gonna walk if she didn't come to the dark side.

Her non-sensical ramblings on the reasons why she converted are just that...nonsensical. She could not have picked a worse religious sect.
Catholic? Really??

In 10 years (sooner if her boyfriend breaks up with her), she'll finally mature and she'll be back posting as an Atheist.

Anonymous said...

Heh even before I read this article I thought "hmm, she must be playing coy to smooth out relations with the boyfriend/ husband" I've seen that before. I'd hate to delude myself for a sort of attachment like that.

Dromedary Hump said...

Sound input, thanks all.
Whether it's fear of loss of a boyfriend, peer pressure, or a poe, it simply doesn't ring true as a rational considered choice.

Fastthumbs... do you think your Mormon friend was ever genuinely an atheist..that is..having no belief in a God/gods born of rational evaluation? Or was he simply dissatisfied with his organized religious choices and just put practicing belief on hold till he found one he liked?

Gingerk... Thanks for your perspective. But my use of the term girl for this person was quite intentional.
While I do not typically refer to young adults[ as girls or boys, i'm more inclined to do so if their behavior is reflective of actions/ a mentality that defines them as mentally younger than their chronological age.
In Leah's case my opinion is that unless this is a poe her actions are those of an immature, emotionally fragile person who is demonstrating a childlike abandonment of good sense.
Thus IMO the term "girl" is a proper fit.

Chatpilot said...

I personally could never go back to Christianity or any other religion. With all the knowledge I have acquired as an atheist I see the concept of God for what it is;a myth!

How this woman gave up reason for nonsensical myths that are in my opinion even insulting to our intelligence is beyond me.

Dromedary Hump said...

I wonder what her response is when she reads the faithful's exclamations over her new found faith.

Can she, who was once rooted in reason and reality, seriously hear absurdities like "Heaven is roaring its approval" over her decision and genuinely accept she has something in common with the thought processes of these foolish sheep and the religion that encourages such bizarre emotions?

Can she really imagine that one day she too will be saying stupidity like that; or crossing herself in front of the desiccated corpse of a long dead Xtian; or telling a priest how many times she fellatiated her boyfriend, masturbated, or cursed?

Only if she has a psychological or physiological illness.

longhorn believer said...

LMAO @ AspenBH!! Thanks for that laugh. I agree with you, although I don't think there is just one simple answer to this mystery. Conversions from religion to atheism are complicated and often take years to fully manifest depending on the level of original indoctrination. The reverse is probably no less complicated. It's entirely possible that peer pressure, sex, and ambition all play a role in this case. That being said, I think it's unfair to say she is mentally ill to have changed her mind. If she has succumbed to some combination of peer pressure and hormonal influences, I think that makes her pretty human. Let those among you have never done anything stupid for love cast the first stone

Anonymous said...


I do believe he really didn't believe in a God for a while... however he was going through a lot of stress at the time and the indoctrination and meeting his soon to be Mormon wife pushed him psychologically back into the theist camp.

In our discussions, he does readily admit he has no objective proof for his theological beliefs.

- Fastthumbs

Cephus said...

Honestly, while it does smack of "poe" to some degree, I'm going to agree, provisionally, that she's really had a change of heart. However, reading through her story, it seems like she's never been an intellectual atheist, one that has had direct experience with theistic claims, knows why they're false and knows how to be a general skeptic. It sounds like she was a default atheist and dared some friends to talk her into theism, which they did, mostly because she didn't look at the claims very hard.

Ultimately, this is a non-story. It happens all the time. You don't have to know anything to be an atheist, and the less you know, the more likely you are to fall for religious lunacy. Ignorance and wishful thinking dragged her into the Catholic fold. Hopefully someday she'll again join reality.

Dromedary Hump said...


What makes this a story is that she has been publicly and openly touting her atheism; using it as a basis for her blogs and broadcasts.

That sets her apart from the anonymous non religious person who doesn't bother to even think in terms of a god or no god (i.e. a casual non believer?) ... but suddenly succumbs to religious ignorance and immerses them self in it.

If the day ever came where I suddenly adopted Christian belief I expect my readers would similarly speculate on whether I was faking...or simply had a brain tumor ;)

Gary said...

I'm afraid I just don't understand her's, or the christian argument that morality is god-given, that human beings are so stupid that through the human moral evolutionary process, we couldn't figure out good vs. evil and sound moral principles on our own. Laws were in place well before jesus ever arrived which show me that the human race had thought much about morality before the man-god allegedly showed up. Just look at the Code of Hammurabi or the Code of Ur-Nammu, 1700 bc and 2100 bc respectively. I think the christians/catholics in this country have to take advantage of every asset that they can, because so few of them arise to lend any creedence to their baseless faiths.