Atheist Convert

Jennifer Fulwiler

Jennifer Fulwiler is a writer from Austin, Texas who converted to Catholicism after a life of atheism.

How the Search for Truth Led Me from Atheism to Catholicism

One thing I could never get on the same page with my fellow atheists about was the idea of meaning. The other atheists I knew seemed to feel like life was full of purpose despite the fact that we're all nothing more than chemical reactions. I could never get there. In fact, I thought that whole line of thinking was unscientific, and more than a little intellectually dishonest. If everything that we call heroism and glory, and all the significance of all great human achievements, can be reduced to some neurons firing in the human brain, then it's all destined to be extinguished at death. And considering that the entire span of homo sapiens' existence on earth wouldn't even amount to a blip on the radar screen of a 5-billion-year-old universe, it seemed silly to pretend like the 60-odd-year life of some random organism on one of trillions of planets was something special. (I was a blast at parties.)

By simply living my life, I felt like I was living a lie. I acknowledged the truth that life was meaningless, and yet I kept acting as if my own life had meaning, as if all the hope and love and joy I'd experienced was something real, something more than a mirage produced by the chemicals in my brain. Suicide had crossed my mind -- not because I was depressed in the common sense of the word, simply because it seemed like it was nothing more than speeding up the inevitable. A life multiplied by zero yields the same result, no matter when you do it.

Not knowing what else to do, I followed the well-worn path of people who are trying to run from something that haunts them: I worked too much. I drank too much. I was emotionally fragile. Many of my relationships with other people were toxic. I wrapped myself in a cocoon of distractions, trying to pretend like I didn't know what I knew.

###

A year after I graduated from college, I met a guy at work named Joe. I was so impressed with him, I didn't think I had much of a chance. He'd grown up poor, raised by a single mother, and had gone on to get degrees from Yale, Columbia and Stanford. People who knew him said he was one of the smartest people they'd ever met. So when we began dating, I was thrilled. Our life together turned out to be even better than I could have imagined: We traveled the world on whims, ate at the finest restaurants, flew first class, and threw epic parties on the roof of his loft downtown. On top of that, both of our careers were taking off, so our future held only more money and more success.

We were a perfect couple. The only thing we didn't see the same way was the issue of religion. A few months after we started dating, it came out that Joe not only believed in God, but considered himself a Christian. I did not understand how someone who was perfectly capable of rational thought could believe in fairy tale stories like those of Christianity. Did he believe in Santa Claus too?

It didn't cause any problems between us, though, since we had the same basic moral code, he didn't practice this bizarre faith of his in any noticeable way, and, mainly, I did not want to think about it. At all. Whenever the subject of God came up, something deep within me recoiled. Not that I had any problem demolishing silly theist ideas -- it had been something of a hobby back in college -- but the subject took me too close to that thing I was trying to forget. I had constructed my entire life around not thinking about it, so I never articulated what it was. It had been so buried by the parties and the socializing and the breathless running from place to place that it was no longer a specific concept, just some dark, cold amorphous knowledge I needed to avoid.

Joe and I married in a theater in 2003, reciting vows we wrote ourselves, with me wearing a dark purple dress. The plan was that marriage would be just a stepping stone along the path we were already on. But then I discovered I was pregnant, and everything changed.

###

Motherhood caught me completely off guard. I'd grown up as an only child in a culture where nobody I knew had more than two kids living at home. I never had a friend whose mom had a baby during the time of our friendship. And considering that I'd never wanted kids and had some minor medical issues that made me think I probably couldn't have them anyway, I was utterly unprepared for motherhood. The physical, mental and emotional changes I went through after the birth of my son were a hard blow, like a punch to the head that comes out of the blue, and it left me reeling.

This cataclysmic event unearthed all those old thoughts about meaninglessness, and this time there was no re-burying them. Now that I had a child, it felt like my life had more meaning than ever. The dark-haired, blue-eyed baby felt so valuable; my own life was flooded with hope and joy at his presence. But with none of the usual distractions in place, the facts of the matter now descended upon me: There was nothing transcendent about my son's life, my life, or any of the love I felt for him. He was destined for the same fate as the rest of us, to have his entire existence erased upon his inevitable death.

For weeks, I hardly got out of bed. Some combination of severe sleep deprivation and more severe depression left me almost catatonic. But then one morning, as I looked at the baby in the pre-dawn light that filtered in through the window, I felt something new within me. It was something that was not despair, some unfamiliar yet welcome feeling. I peeled back the layers to find that it was doubt: Doubt of my purely materialist worldview, doubt of the truth I had believed since childhood that there is nothing transcendent about the human life.

I considered that in almost every single time and place throughout human history, people have believed in some kind of spiritual realm. Almost every human society we know of has shared the belief that there is more to life than meets the eye, that what transpires here in the material world somehow reverberates into the eternal. Previously I had assumed that the vast majority of the billions of people who had ever lived were all simply ignorant; now I wondered if maybe I was the one who was missing something.

###

A few months later, I stumbled across a Christian book. I'd never been in the Religion section of a bookstore, let alone read anything about Christianity. I'd only picked up this book because the author claimed to be a former atheist, and I was curious to see what level of fraud he was. After flipping through the first few pages, I was surprised to find that I believed that he had been an atheist. I read a few more pages, and found his writing to be clear and basically reasonable. Obviously he'd come to the wrong conclusions, but I could respect the fact that he at least attempted to reason his way into his current belief system, rather than basing it on some emotional experience. I found that I couldn't put the book down, and ended up buying it (loudly noting to the cashier that it was a gift for a friend).

A quick internet search showed that the book was widely scorned by atheists, and some of their counter-points to the author's arguments were good. But it was simply not true to say that there was nothing compelling about it. For example, the book pointed out that thousands of Jewish people abandoned the sacred practices that had sustained them through centuries, through all types of persecution, in the years after the death of Jesus of Nazareth. Almost all of Jesus' original followers went to their death rather than recant their statements that they'd seen him rise from the dead. Christianity spread like wildfire in the early centuries, despite the fact that becoming a Christian often meant persecution or even death.

I had never seen Jesus as anything other than a silly fairy tale figure whom people called upon to give a divine thumbs-up to self-serving beliefs; but now I was intrigued by the man as a historical figure. Something happened in first-century Palestine, something so big that it still sends shockwaves down to the present day. And it all centered around the figure of Jesus Christ. As Joe once pointed out when I asked him why he considered himself a Christian, Christianity is the only one of all the major world religions to be founded by a guy who claimed to be God. That's an easy claim to disprove if it's not true.

One afternoon, shortly after I finished the book, I was caught off guard by a thought:

What if it's true?

What if there were a God? What if he chose to enter history as a human being? It was the most shattering thought that had ever crossed my mind. Never once in my life, not even as a child, had I considered that a personal God might exist, or that there could be even a shred of truth to any of Christianity's supernatural claims. I quickly came to my senses and admonished myself to stop this silliness. Part of me wondered if I was losing my mind -- what else could explain such a thought?

I wanted to forget all about this embarrassing little incident...but I couldn't. Some strange feeling had risen up within me, that wouldn't let me walk away from this subject. I figured that it must be simple curiosity. All I needed to do was read a bit more about Christianity, then when I was overwhelmed with the obvious flaws in its theology, I could move on.

###

I bought another Christian book, this one called Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Unfortunately, this was not going to help me extricate myself from this religion.

Lewis was reasonable and obviously intelligent. His book was one of most clear, well-written things I'd read in a long time. I was particularly captivated by his case for the Natural Law, in which he proposed that God is the source of all that we call "good," and that that's why people in all times and places have had the same basic ideas about what is good and what is bad. My curiosity piqued, I then read excerpts online from the great Christian thinkers like Augustine and Aquinas. I began to think that this religion was not opposed to reason at all -- in fact, some of the most intelligent, reasonable people in history were Christians.

I finally caved in and bought a Bible, the first I'd ever owned. Not knowing how else to approach it, I started reading at page one. I was alternately baffled and horrified by what I read in the first few hundred pages. Joe encouraged me to the second part of the book, called the New Testament, explaining that that's where Jesus comes into the picture. That didn't help. There was no clear call to action, like, "If you like what you've read here and would like to become a Christian, here's what you do..." I had no idea how to interpret most of the passages...and it seemed like no one else did either. When I would search online for whether or not the Bible said abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, etc. were right or wrong, I encountered as many different answers as there were people, with each person citing Bible verses to back up his or her personal view. Similarly, I had no idea which church to go to if I wanted to ask someone questions in person: In my community there was everything from Church of Christ to Jehovah's Witnesses to conservative Baptist to liberal Anglican churches, each one claiming to be based on the Bible, yet they all taught drastically different things about what constitutes sin.

This was a huge problem. If God is all that is good, then to define what is bad -- i.e., sin -- is to define the very boundaries of God himself. It was nonsensical to suggest that his religion would be confused on that issue.

I'd found what I was looking for: the flaw that showed that Christianity didn't make sense. It was time to move on.

###

Shortly after I came to this realization, someone I'd encountered online made a crazy suggestion: he said that I'd been approaching the whole thing from a very modern and distinctly American perspective, that the traditional understanding of Christianity is totally different. He suggested that Jesus founded just one Church before he left the earth, and that he instilled it with supernatural power so that it would accurately articulate the truth about what is good -- and therefore about what is God -- for all times and places. As if that weren't crazy enough, he was talking about the Catholic Church!

Joe and I both balked. Joe said that Catholicism wasn't real Christianity, and I knew that the Church was an archaic, oppressive, sexist institution. Besides, this idea of supernaturally-empowered people was just silly.

However, I did notice something: almost all the people who had impressed me with their ability to defend their faith through reason alone, both famous authors and people online, were Catholic. In fact, the more I paid attention, the more I saw that the Catholic intellectual tradition was one of the greatest in the world. I began reading books by Catholic authors; not that I was really interested in Catholicism, I told myself -- I was just looking for something good to read. But I couldn't help but admit that these people seemed to posses an understanding of the world and the human experience that I'd never encountered before. They had the same solid grasp on science and the material world as the atheists, but also possessed a knowledge of the movements of the human soul that resonated as true down to the core of my being.

I wasn't sure what to make of all this Catholic stuff, and still vehemently disagreed with the Church on some of its crazier ideas, like its opposition to abortion and contraception. But I had to admit that the more I read about Catholic theology, the more sane it seemed.

I also began to think that it was more likely than not that God does exist, and that if the Christians weren't entirely right, they were at least close with their understanding of him. But why, then, had I had no experience of him? Not that that was a requirement for me to believe, but it just seemed like if there were a God out there and he cared about me, I would sense his presence in some way.

I'd been under a lot of stress between having a new baby and some money problems we were experiencing, plus I'd developed a severe pain in my leg that was almost debilitating. All along I'd prided myself on saying that I would never convert based on emotional experience, that I only needed facts, not feelings. But now it was getting old. It was hurtful to think that God might be out there but just withholding comfort from me. I was tired of pressing forward in this pursuit with no sense of his presence. I could be miserable and feel alone in the universe as an agnostic -- why bother with this religion business if that didn't change anything?

###

My feelings of frustration and resentment towards God reached a head. And then, just at the right time, I happened to come across a quote from C.S. Lewis in which he pointed out:

[God] shows much more of Himself to some people than to others -- not because He has favourites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favourites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.

Of course. I'd been walking around talking trash, watching TV shows that portrayed all types of nastiness, indulging in selfish behavior...and yet wondering why I couldn't feel the presence of the source of all goodness. I realized that, if I were serious about figuring out if God exists or not, it could not be an entirely intellectual exercise. I had to be willing to change.

I wasn't sure if I was ready to sign up for that for the long haul, but I decided to give it a shot: I committed to go a month living according to the Catholic moral code. I bought a copy of the Catholic Catechism, a summary of the Church's teachings, and studied it carefully, living my life according to what it taught, even in the cases where I wasn't sure the Church was right.

My goal with the experiment had been to discover the presence of God; instead, I discovered myself -- the real me. I had thought that cynicism, judgmentalness, and irritability were just parts of who I was, but I realized that there was a purer, better version of myself buried underneath all that filth -- what the Church would call sins -- that I had never before encountered.

I found that the rules of the Church, that I had once perceived to be a set of confining laws, were rules of love; they defined the boundaries between what is love and what is not. It had changed me, my life, and my marriage for the better. I may not have experienced God, but, by following the teachings of the Church that was supposedly founded by him, I had experienced real love.

Following the teachings about contraception had been moot since I was pregnant with our second child, but I did read up on it during my experiment of following the Church's teachings. And, to my great surprise, I discovered that the Church had incredibly reasonable defenses of its points. I asked Joe to take a look at this stuff in case I was missing something, and, to his own amazement, he also found the Church's arguments to be airtight. He had been doing his own investigation into Catholicism, and this was the final issue that had been troubling him too. We looked at each other, and for the first time dared to ask:

Are we going to become Catholic?!

###

Only two weeks after we had that thought, that pain in my leg got so bad that I ended up in the ER. I was seven months pregnant with our second child, and it turned out that I had a deep vein thrombosis, a life-threatening blood clot in a major vein. If the clot had broken free, I likely would have died.

After some testing, the doctors delivered worse news: I have a genetic clotting disorder that means that my blood clots easily -- and I inherited from both parents, which makes it worse. On top of that, it's exacerbated by pregnancy, which makes pregnancy dangerous for me.

I had a lot of time to mull over this turn of events: the clot couldn't be treated during pregnancy, and the pain was so severe that I could no longer walk on my own. So I spent most of my days lying in bed, wondering what to do now.

To treat the clot postpartum, the doctors wanted to prescribe an FDA Category X drug to treat the clot -- it's so dangerous for pregnancy that women often choose to be sterilized before they take it. They told me that my clotting disorder means I should not have any more children, because of the risk that pregnancy poses to my health. I didn't want them to think I was religious for fear of what they'd think of me, but when I hinted at the question of using Natural Family Planning (a method for spacing children that the Church deems morally acceptable), they laughed. Someone with my condition had to use contraception, they said. There was no choice.

Fatigued by the constant pain, overwhelmed by medical bills that were piling up by the thousands, I began to slide back away from this religion, tumbling down a slope that ended back in atheism. I hadn't minded changing in the sense of not using the f-word so much, but this was a whole different ballgame. To stick with the Church now would be to lose my life as I knew it, and to set out down an unfamiliar, frightening path.

Not knowing what else to do, I went back to the basics of the way I'd been taught to work through problems since childhood. My dad, my parent from whom I got my religious views (or lack thereof), had not raised me to be an atheist as much as he'd raised me to seek truth fearlessly. "Never believe something because it's convenient or it makes you feel good," he'd always say. "Ask yourself: 'Is this true?'"

And so I set everything else aside, and clung to the simple question: What is true?

I quickly realized then that that was not in question, and hadn't been for a while. For weeks now, I had known on an intellectual level that I believed what the Church taught. What stalled me had not been a hesitation of whether or not it was true; it had been a hesitation of not wanting to sacrifice too much.

I had no idea how things would work out. I thought there was a fair chance that this step would lead us to financial ruin, and may even take a serious toll on my health. But I decided, for the first time in a long time, to choose what was true instead of what was comfortable. Joe and I signed up to begin the formation process at our parish church. And, in the first statement of faith I'd ever made, I told my doctors that I would not use contraception, because I was Catholic.

###

After that moment, a bunch of fortuitous events occurred that smoothed the way for us to become Catholic. A series of windfalls gave us the money we needed to manage our medical bills. After they got over their initial shock at encountering someone who wouldn't contracept, my doctors came up with creative solutions to keep me healthy. Even after a surprise positive pregnancy test came at the worst possible time, just a few weeks after I'd healed from the blood clot, a bunch of startling coincidences played out to help us stay afloat during that difficult time.

The next Spring, three days before Joe and I would be received into the Church, it was time for my first confession. As I approached the confessional, I had no hesitation. I had an intellectual understanding that God is the source of goodness, and that therefore it's important that we take great care repent when we have done something bad. But I'd already privately confessed all these sins in my head, so I figured that telling them to the priest, who was simply standing in for Jesus, would be redundant -- after all, Jesus had already heard all this stuff.

But as soon as I heard the words coming from my mouth, everything changed. To hear all of these selfish, cowardly, hateful acts articulated with real words, for another human being to hear, was more powerful than I could have ever imagined. Tears began to flow, and, as I continued recounting every unloving thing I'd ever done, I shook and sobbed. Never could I have imagined the impact it would have on me to hear of my own sins, spoken out loud; but never could I have imagined how much it would impact me to hear the words, spoken by the priest on behalf of God, that I was forgiven. I walked away from the confessional in a daze, and slid into a pew in the silent church. I knew that my life had just changed, never to be the same again.

Later that night, around midnight, I stepped out on the back porch. When I was younger I used to avoid going outside at night when it was quiet and still, because it would trigger memories of all those ominous thoughts about meaningless that I was trying to forget. The darkness outside was too familiar, as if it had all spilled out from somewhere within me. But as I stood there that night after my first confession, I realized that all that was gone. The darkness within me was simply not there anymore. In its place was peace, and an unmistakable feeling of love. For the first time, I felt the presence of God.

Jennifer is a columnist for Envoy magazine, a regular guest on the Relevant Radio and EWTN Radio networks, and a contributor to the books The Church and New Media and Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion. She's also writing a book based on her personal blog, ConversionDiary.com. As much as she loves writing, her favorite job is being mom to her five young children.

If you have found this story helpful in your spiritual journey we hope you will consider sharing it. Have feedback or would like to share your story? Email us at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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146 comments

  • Comment Link Allie Wednesday, 09 November 2011 12:43 posted by Allie

    Thanks so much for doing this! I started reading your blog a few years ago, after you had converted (and I was at the beginning of my own quest to convert), so it's wonderful to see the "early years" of your conversion summed up here.

    Also, I love the pictures. The one at the computer is especially cute, and I admit there is something ironic about the top picture being you all bundled up, and then the tagline to this piece mentioning you're from Austin, Texas. ^_^ Considering I'm supposed to see an inch of snow today, it amused me.

  • Comment Link Jennifer Wednesday, 09 November 2011 13:00 posted by Jennifer

    Thanks, Allie!

  • Comment Link Brandon Vogt Wednesday, 09 November 2011 20:56 posted by Brandon Vogt

    Such a compelling, encouraging journey. I can't tell you how much I'm anticipating your book!

  • Comment Link Camille Ng Thursday, 10 November 2011 03:56 posted by Camille Ng

    God is good, god is love.

    My favorite passage from your story Jennifer is:
    "I found that the rules of the Church, that I had once perceived to be a set of confining laws, were rules of love; the defined the boundaries between what is love and what is not. It had changed me, my life, and my marriage for the better. I may not have experienced God, but, by following the teachings of the Church that was supposedly founded by him, I had experienced real love."

    God bless

  • Comment Link Camille Ng Thursday, 10 November 2011 03:58 posted by Camille Ng

    Is the picture from Lyon, France?

  • Comment Link Michael Thursday, 10 November 2011 06:39 posted by Michael

    Thanks again for sharing! Always enjoy reading your blog and sharing it with others.

  • Comment Link mon Thursday, 10 November 2011 13:32 posted by mon

    Beautiful blog. I know the power of confession and reading your words brought tears to my eyes. God Bless!

  • Comment Link filiusdextris Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:06 posted by filiusdextris

    I'm always a big fan of your writing, This inspires me to keep on praying for my atheist family members.

  • Comment Link Clara Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:52 posted by Clara

    I loved reading this! Thank you! I've been reading your blog for awhile. I can't wait for your book to come out.

    Such a powerful closing. "The darkness within me was simply not there anymore. In its place was peace, and an unmistakable feeling of love. For the first time, I felt the presence of God."

    My other favorite part: "I found that the rules of the Church, that I had once perceived to be a set of confining laws, were rules of love; the defined the boundaries between what is love and what is not. It had changed me, my life, and my marriage for the better. I may not have experienced God, but, by following the teachings of the Church that was supposedly founded by him, I had experienced real love."

    I found both of these to be so true in my own conversion experience.

  • Comment Link Dorothea Thursday, 10 November 2011 21:23 posted by Dorothea

    Thank you for your story. I found the catholic theology also very clear and logical. It helped me to join this church after a life through atheistic communism, esoteric and schamanism.
    God bless you

  • Comment Link Mary Thursday, 10 November 2011 23:52 posted by Mary

    Wow, Jennifer, this was wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment Link Robert A. Rowland Friday, 11 November 2011 04:23 posted by Robert A. Rowland

    As a convert of 63 years, I have never lost interest in conversion stories and the path to God for every unique individual seems just as unique. The paths to God are unlimited.. My path was from the top down so to speak. The first time I entered a Catholic church was on the way home from occupation duty in Japan after WWII. I entered the sanctuary a Cathedral in Panama City with a Catholic shipmate, I was dumbfounded with awe by the unmistakable presence of God. I still have no idea why God chose me, but I don't think any other convert could ever be more joyful than I was to find a good priest as soon as I could after I got home for instruction and enter the Catholic Church. I was introduced by the Catholic girl who became my wife. We were in love for 63 until until her recent death. It was not near enough..

  • Comment Link Tracy Friday, 11 November 2011 14:54 posted by Tracy

    I've always wanted to hear your story and I am not disappointed by it's beauty. Having always believed in God, it helps to understand why others do not and how there might be a way to help them re-think their position. Thanks for such an inspiring and beautiful story!

  • Comment Link Sheila Friday, 11 November 2011 15:36 posted by Sheila

    Jennifer, thank you for putting your story into written words to share. Your story made me cry. I admire your honesty and your quest to discover truth. Seek and ye shall find. May your life in Christ be blessed forevermore. You are a great woman of faith. Rejoice. Your sister in Christ, Sheila

  • Comment Link jan Saturday, 12 November 2011 16:52 posted by jan

    My son, 20, went from being a catholic to an atheist. His life now is filled with depression and thoughts of suicide. My heart aches for him and like St. Monica, i pray for his conversion. Faith is a life long journey with winding roads that lead to new discoveries. I am glad you found this road.

  • Comment Link contrararian Sunday, 13 November 2011 16:46 posted by contrararian

    Cool story, bro.

    But seriously. God created the universe knowing in advance most people would burn in hell? Seriously?

    Catholicism is right but every other religion is wrong and delusional?

    /facepalm.

  • Comment Link DG Sunday, 13 November 2011 17:16 posted by DG

    13.7 billion year old universe.

  • Comment Link Adam Sunday, 13 November 2011 17:54 posted by Adam

    It's frustrating that even intelligent people like Jennifer fail to really engage with neotheism, or hell, even the existentialist philosophers of yore (Kierkegaard, say). Look, you figured something out -- you FEEL that your life has meaning, and it is therefor dishonest to abide by strict atheism (that is, the universe is strictly physical and devoid of meaning).

    But suddenly you make this leap to belief in a super definite vision of God. Why not a Buddhist view -- that life is about finding enlightenment -- about becoming wiser than a god, even? Once you concede that the universe seems to have meaning, there are so many vehicles for exploring that.

    To me, it seems you're abdicating the really tough questions of faith. The way you describe your relationship to the church makes it sound like an anti-depressant. Your love of the ethical code is a completely childish relationship to faith. Seriously, read some philosophy. Actually think about this. You're clearly smart enough.

  • Comment Link Russell Sunday, 13 November 2011 18:11 posted by Russell

    It is like every conversion I have read, full of emotional discord, longing, and a quest for fulfillment. Lacking only reasoning. If that is how and why someone believes, religion suits them well.

  • Comment Link Jeff Sunday, 13 November 2011 18:14 posted by Jeff

    Dear Jennifer, I am glad that your conversion provides a greater sense of meaning and of solace for you. However, I hope that people reading this blog will also realize that there are multiple ways for humans to experience the sense of connectedness, security, and for want of a better term, "grace" that you have found by becoming a Catholic. There is a well-known tale in various major Asian religions regarding the blind men and the elephant, in which several blind men touch different parts of an elephant's body (tail, foot, leg, ear, body, tusk, trunk) and then try to describe what an elephant is like. Each has achieved a real but partial knowledge, but their arguments escalate into notions not only that their own "truth" is correct, but that therefore the others' "truths" are wrong. If we take the elephant as a metaphor for God (not--at least for me--as the notion of an anthropomorphic being, but as the "ground of our being" or, to use a more biblical term that "in which we live and move and have our being,") then this tale suggests that God and God's presence can be perceived as a reality, but that it surpasses the ability of any single human consciousness to fully comprehend or absolutely define it. Speaking of this, and of elephants in another sense, I saw a segment on the CBS Sunday Morning show about an elephant living in an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee that formed a strong bond with a dog named Bella.The bond was so strong that the elephant "waited vigil" outside of the veterinary building when the dog became sick for about three weeks, and later, when the dog was killed (perhaps by coyotes) the elephant moved her dead body close to the main building or their "home." It would seem that this elephant, in some way, had a sense of compassion and empathy for a fellow creature, and felt sadness at her death. Is love too strong a word? What might we say about the elephant's consciousness, comprehension, or understanding of God, or of God's relationship to the elephant? I have recently read a rather fine, challenging, thoughtful discussion of Christianity, a book called Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary, by a liberal theologian Marcus Borg. Some atheists or agnostics might find his approach helpful, particularly if they seek to find a faith, and a Christian faith at that, that permits one to maintain a respect for scientific "fact" (insofar as there is some consensus about that, e.g., the great age of the universe and earth, evidence for evolution of species over that great time, etc.) while also recognizing that there are other important and equally compelling kinds of experiential and spiritual "truth." Another great book I read that had some good insights about relationships between Catholicism and Asian religions was called Myth and Ritual in Christianity, by Alan Watts. By the way, in my case, I am a Unitarian-Universalist, and I think that religion, working out one's faith, and also finding ways to make religion more about ethical and moral practice, rather than just having "right belief," is all an important part of being fully human. Again, I am glad you have found a spiritual path and practice that provides you with a sense of wholeness and life's goodness.

  • Comment Link Dennis Sunday, 13 November 2011 18:26 posted by Dennis

    Keep reading, Jennifer. You might want to try Thomas Merton, whose story of conversion is similar to yours. Where he ended up (electrocuted in a shower while studying Buddhism) was a long way from the certainty in Church teaching that you describe.

    I see in a lot of a conversion stories a conflation of experiencing the "presence of God" with certainty about "what is true". I grew up Catholic, and years of seeking the presence of God have led me away from certainty of dogma. You won't find God in rules. Rules are just about keeping people in line. Nobody knows what God wants for you, not even really smart people.

    Keep seeking the mystery. Dump the certainty.

  • Comment Link Russell Sunday, 13 November 2011 18:30 posted by Russell

    Adam writes:

    "... you FEEL that your life has meaning, and it is therefor dishonest to abide by strict atheism (that is, the universe is strictly physical and devoid of meaning)."


    Both Jennifer and Adam seem to assume that meaning is something outside them, that has to be provided, if at all, by something or someone else. Not everyone believes that. Many people find meaning is something their lives generate, not something that requires some external plan. Atheists don't claim life is meaningless. Maybe Jennifer did. But that's certainly not a necessary part of rejecting religious belief.

    Of course, if you assume that meaning can only come from outside, then you will want something outside to give it to you. That doesn't mean it is there. And believing something is because you need it to be is still an act of self-deceit.

  • Comment Link Wilson Sunday, 13 November 2011 18:42 posted by Wilson

    This was a very moving story. The only problem I have with it, is that you seem to confuse atheism with the effects of depression.

    There is no necessary connection between atheism and a loss of meaning. I'm an atheist. I see existence and consciousness as unlikely accidents, but very, very happy accidents. In a way, the two are like miracles, and the world I see around me is filled with even more unlikely events. The whole universe is a site for making meanings. Some of these are my own, some are shared with other human beings, it's amazing.

    For me, religion replaces this multitude or infinitude of meanings with one meaning. Everything is the way it is because God wanted it that way. All the happy accidents are actually necessitated by God's will. I find that as depressing as the old "it's all just chemical reactions" line.

    Nevertheless, I'm glad you were able to choose a system of meaning that makes you happy.

  • Comment Link Hoyt Ayer Sunday, 13 November 2011 19:35 posted by Hoyt Ayer

    This was interesting to read.

    One observation: a diehard rationalist would not equate the existence of a soul (spirit, consciousness, or however one wants to envision it) with the existence of a god. The two are distinct concepts with no connection. Ask any Buddhist.

    To that extent, Jennifer was very Christian in her orientation even as an atheist. It is therefore not suprising that her quest for personal meaning transcending physical life also led her to a belief in a deity.

  • Comment Link Rhayader Sunday, 13 November 2011 20:11 posted by Rhayader

    This is well-written, and of course I wish you the very best no matter where you lie philosophically.

    Still -- I can't see the need to answer the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything with a collection of writings drafted before the scientific age. Christians like to talk about the notion of faith as if it's strictly a theistic one -- but what is wrong with the faith of not knowing?

    What's so depressing about having faith in the idea that we're taking part in a infinitesimally small piece of a majestic, unknowable reality? Why must we apply labels and stories and personalities to a phenomenon that is clearly far larger in scope than any of those man-made containers? Even if those containers were compatible with what we actually can and do know, they would still be woefully ineffective at capturing the totality of reality.

    I guess my point is that the rejection of theism isn't necessarily materialistic. Rather than seeing religion as too grand or sweeping, many of us tend to see it as almost comically small and inadequate for the job with which it is tasked -- explaining the inexplicable. One gaze at a starlit sky on a clear night awes me in a manner that could never be captured by language or ideas. This is all bigger than anything we're capable of understanding, let alone describing in books.

  • Comment Link Jared Sunday, 13 November 2011 20:21 posted by Jared

    I come from the opposite background as Jennifer. I grew up in a rather fundamentalist Southern Baptist church, and as rebellion set in in high school, I set out on a path to truly define my religious experiences instead of simply letting them happen to me.

    For a time, this led me into a deep search for truth inside the more progressive reaches of the church, because I had already pieced together that the modern fundamentalist, Protestant theology of the American church was focused on making followers into better American citizens, instead of better citizens of the Kingdom of God. The deeper and deeper I got into Christian theology, the hungrier and hungrier I became to exorcise every false principle that my personal history in the Church had built up. However, even the most honest, progressive Christians couldn't help me to address the most basic and fundamental questions of faith or religion. Why would a perfect God NEED or CARE about any being outside of itself? Why is it fair for those early Jewish followers to have the presence of Christ serve as their basis for faith, while we're left to hunches, guesses, and games? Why would a perfect God ever need to hide the ball, so to speak? All these questions we're left with a simple, "Well, we just need to have FAITH." I couldn't see myself dedicating my life (which is the only true response in religion) to a God that played life-and-death games while leaving me stranded.

    Even more, my new life as an atheist is just that: a brand new life. Much like the folks I saw in my church anointed in a new life in Christ, I found myself with a new sense of clarity and meaning. Perhaps, as many alluded to above, it was my experience with Bodhisattva. I was sick and tired in my past life attempting at every turn to align myself with a Creator whose goals I never knew, instead of attempting to do what I could in this little time I had on Earth to make it better for those around me, and leave a legacy of peace and hope. It hasn't, either, led me to work more, rest less, or any of that, in fact, it's done the exact opposite. If this it, there's no reason to amass pointless bobbles instead of experiencing those things that give me the most fulfillment - nature, the company of the people I love, occasional solitude, quiet, etc. Perhaps, for me, that's all I've ever needed anyway.

    I really think some people have an inherent need to find a God, or even religion for that matter, that provide some meaning for their lives, or to make them not break down in terror that we're simply on our own to make it in this massive universe. And for that, I never judge those in my life who are religious; in fact, I would never rob them of the opportunity to have the same "conversion" experience that I did, which healed so many parts of my "soul" that we're broken and confused by my religious life.

    Just a thought, thanks for your honesty, Jennifer.

  • Comment Link Valas Sunday, 13 November 2011 20:50 posted by Valas

    A really nice story, thanks Jennifer!

    I'm an atheist and I can relate dearly to this profound statement: "By simply living my life, I felt like I was living a lie."

    I do live a lie, right now, exactly in a sense you described - believing, in a rational realm, that life is meaningless, yet pretending that there is some meaning to it. I tried, in many different ways, to find a meaning through religion and spirituality, but it recoiled, I felt I was living in an even greater lie, or at least a lie to my rational brain, which would refuse to accept theistic dogmas for granted.

    I guess everyone is just wired differently. When I read story like yours, I must admit I feel slight envy for your capability of faith.

  • Comment Link Jeffrey G. Johnson Sunday, 13 November 2011 20:55 posted by Jeffrey G. Johnson

    Why would consciousness arising from bio-chemistry be a mirage, but consciousness arising from God's magic energy field not be a mirage?

    You have found that believing in transcendence makes you happy. This is perfectly ordinary for our bio-chemically produced consciousness; as natural as it is for a child to feel secure and content within the loving embrace of powerful adults, who so magically transcend the small world of the infant mind.

    But isn't it the projection of human intentions and purposes onto the cosmos the real illusion here?

  • Comment Link Sean T Sunday, 13 November 2011 22:07 posted by Sean T

    to each their own.

    Having been raised catholic/jesuit, I went through precisely the opposite journey, and could not be happier for it.

  • Comment Link jon Sunday, 13 November 2011 22:18 posted by jon

    It's a lovely story but it's about adopting a fantasy worldview that fulfills a need to feel more important, immortal and special than you have any actual reason to. More power to you. We have a right to believe whatever we want. I'm going to adopt the belief that I'm Zeuss because it feels more fulfilling, less empty and frightening than being me. I have every right to adopt this worldview but I really don't think I should call it a search for 'truth.' Our comforting dogmas represent a flight FROM painful truth to comforting delusion.

  • Comment Link Elizabeth Sunday, 13 November 2011 22:37 posted by Elizabeth

    Bless your heart, Valas. I am with you. I was an atheist with a full, incredible and totally empty life! I became jealous of those who had faith. I kept being told it was a gift, therefore, how could I ever get it, I wondered? No one could help me. I decided to read some of the New Testament as though it were true, as through the eye of a believer. Bingo - it started to become true for me. The bible is a conversation with God and he talks to anyone who reads it. Faith is simply a decision to decide that what you read there is true, and do not waver. Have a go! You won't regret it!

  • Comment Link Russell Sunday, 13 November 2011 22:52 posted by Russell

    Elizabeth writes:

    "Faith is simply a decision to decide that what you read there is true."


    It's interesting that both the believer and the rationalist understand faith to be exactly what Elizabeth describes. To the believer, it is the first step to spiritual fulfillment. To the rationalist, it is a conscious act of self deception. The same act, understood the same.

    I suspect there also is a broad range of human capacity with regard to the practice of faith. I could no more "decide that what [I] read there is true" than I could decide to leap tall buildings. I'm not tempted. But I understand the posters above who are tempted and find they can't. So there is at least two dimensions to the practice of faith. The capacity to do so. And the desire. And they are somewhat independent. Which explains the various works of inspirational literature that try to help those with little or small capacity.

  • Comment Link Dave Wyman Sunday, 13 November 2011 23:31 posted by Dave Wyman

    "If everything that we call heroism and glory, and all the significance of all great human achievements, can be reduced to some neurons firing in the human brain, then it's all destined to be extinguished at death."

    This is the truth that turned you towards Catholicism?

    Puppies are hit by cars, our favorite restaurants go bankrupt, planes crash, floods wash away the multitudes - yes, things most of us don't like do happen. That's no reason to turn away and believe in magical thinking. The truth - reality - is still there, whether we like it or not.

  • Comment Link Sven Sunday, 13 November 2011 23:31 posted by Sven

    Jennifer,

    Your decision appears to be a total emotionally driven one not an intellectual one as you claim. You didn't like the reality of the world so you sought refuge in an emotional construct.

    An intellectual review of the facts would you to the honest assessment that Christianity is, and always has been evil.

    You can be a happy Christian if you ignore its core teachings. But that also makes you a deluded Christian.

    Sorry, but getting to Christianity via CS Lewis is intellectual bankruptcy.

    And reading all the weepy comments here certainly confirms this notion.

  • Comment Link Dr. Beef Monday, 14 November 2011 00:58 posted by Dr. Beef

    Wishful is still just that...wishful thinking. Look, you are a very good writer, and your story is a nice one, but you seemed to have done exactly what you told yourself that you wouldn't. You reached your decision based on emotion. You can try to explain it away by citing C.S. Lewis, and other reasonable Christian writers, but it seems as though you have to be aware you're deluding yourself a bit.

    You had problems realizing just how small, and meaningless we are in so far as a cosmic purpose. That doesn't mean one can't find meaning for their individual lives. What set you over the top is that you couldn't bear the thought of your child dying, and simply ceasing to exist. You could handle it as long as it was just you. This isn't that unusual, but let's not be confused as to what it is. It's wishful thinking cloaked in intellectual garbage.

    That said, if makes you happy...

  • Comment Link zachary braverman Monday, 14 November 2011 01:05 posted by zachary braverman

    I truly, not sarcastically, hope you find joy and comfort in your religion. Some part of you has to realize, though, that it's a doubling-down on illusion and distraction instead of a nullification of it. Your love for your son made the impermanence and meaninglessness of life too much to bear, so you opted for the soothing balm of telling yourself lies.

    Like you said, in the long run it matters not one bit, and you seem like a nice person, so best of luck with the whole believing in pretty stories thing...

  • Comment Link zak Monday, 14 November 2011 01:46 posted by zak

    Oh yeah, you say "That's an easy claim to disprove if it's not true."

    But, surely even an believing Catholic has to admit that it's an impossible claim to disprove, regardless of whether or not it's true.

    A guy 2,000 years ago claimed to be the son of God; now prove that he wasn't!

    Impossible, of course.

  • Comment Link Dave Monday, 14 November 2011 02:34 posted by Dave

    So the basis for religion is to fill an emotional need and has nothing to do with the way things are or aren't. Personally, I find this a bit more pathetic than someone who adheres with blind loyalty to the religion they've been indoctrinated into. At least they never stood a chance. This way of thinking demonstrated above is to entertain a willful delusion because it makes them feel better.

  • Comment Link Suzanne Monday, 14 November 2011 04:15 posted by Suzanne

    For many years I was an agnostic/atheist, but I too became a Christian after being, as C.S. Lewis puts it, "surprised by joy". It makes me a little sad to read all of the comments above from atheists who insist upon reminding you that you're believing some kind of lie, and that your motivations are purely emotional rather than rational. As if emotion and reason could be so neatly separated, and as if admitting to yourself that you really do have faith, regardless of why or how it happened, is more of a lie than pretending that you do not. What is the impetus for this hostile reminder, one wonders? The atheists may well be entirely correct, and if so, I congratulate them as much as they congratulate themselves for it. Meanwhile, since I don't plan on harming anyone else or changing any laws for the sake of my faith, or attempting (as if I could) to push it onto anyone else, I suppose that my emotional lie-telling shouldn't trouble them any.

    Like Camille and Clara above, I was most taken by the paragraph that ends, "I had experienced real love." This was my experience too, when I decided to see what would happen if I stopped ignoring faith, and instead let it guide my heart for a while. For the record, there is nothing contradictory to being rational in this experiment, any more than it's contradictory to rationality to stand before a canvas and see where the play of light takes your hand and paintbrush. I found that the more I followed the insights of faith, the better and happier my life became. Not because I had found some purpose that was lacking, or because I felt greater comfort (in fact, quite the opposite), but because I found myself more readily able to love others and show them love and compassion. I found more and more of my actions being motivated by a deeper compassion for and patience with other people, including patience with myself. It's not that reason would have guided me to a different set of actions; rather, it's that I was astounded by the joyful quality of the lived experience that comes from acting with and through faith. Maybe some people can get to this place with a six-pack and a good movie, but for me, this is real and it works. I couldn't deny it any more than I could deny that I have a hand, or that 2+2 is 4.

  • Comment Link evenu Monday, 14 November 2011 04:26 posted by evenu

    It is said that we pick and wear ideas that best suit our life circumstance -- not unlike clothes. That's because, well, we are comfort-loving creatures. We want to be physically, emotionally, and mentally comfortable and secure.

    I'm an atheist; but I also observe parts of Hindu tradition that I like, that I couldn't dismiss outright as wrong. Received wisdom does not have to be wrong, ipso facto. In fact, they might as well be right. And, the idea that we could comprehend everything there is to be known though scientific method alone is unscientific, except by definition.

    Moreover, we live in a society, as husbands, wives, sons, daughters, parents. It is inevitable that those around us subscribe to some form of 'truth'. It is only proper (I believe) for us to respect these truths. And, the more tied we are with human reality, with relationships, with hopes and fears, the less likely we are to remain aloof, as atheists, at least in its purest form. We compromise. We relent. We love. We hate. We rejoice. We live.

  • Comment Link Russell Monday, 14 November 2011 04:51 posted by Russell

    Suzanne, I have no reason to doubt that the consequence of your faith is "real and it works." I have no reason to doubt that for Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, or any other religion. More, you have no reason to doubt the real working of these other faiths.

    The rational conclusion there isn't that all religions are true. Nor even that they are all true for those who believe them. (Which doesn't even make sense.) But that religion works, that its truth claims are irrelevant to its working, and that its working is irrelevant to its truth claims.

  • Comment Link theo d Monday, 14 November 2011 06:53 posted by theo d

    Someone who chooses Catholicism really needs to justify how such a grand religious tradition so easily & effortlessly countenances an International Pederasty Ring of Corruption and Enablement within its hierarchy for centuries. This, especially, in a religion that claims its priesthood is a necessary intermediary between its God and its flock. Ignoring such criminal institutional behavior is strange. If indeed, the religion "worked," then its hierarchy would be consistently and overwhelmingly above such tawdry behavior over the centuries, methinks. Of course, history says otherwise, and we haven't even touched, yet, on the history of the RCC with respect to its comfort with Nazis, whether during the war or helping many escape to S. America.

  • Comment Link Plea Monday, 14 November 2011 07:13 posted by Plea

    Interesting how these conversions don't come about when people are clear-headed, rational, and pragmatic, but when they are vulnerable. You couldn't handle the truth so you ran. Fine, I just hope you're more willing to put the mystical grocery list of nonsense aside when it comes to the health of your son. He doesn't deserve to suffer because of your lack of intellectual courage. If medical professionals tell you something is best for him and the church disagrees, for his sake, please please please listen to the doctors. Harming yourself because you want false comforts is one thing. Harming your offspring because of it is child abuse.

  • Comment Link John Monday, 14 November 2011 08:12 posted by John

    Oh well you're half way there. I really enjoyed the first bit, but could not comprehend your transition to Catholicism. CSLewis was not a Catholic. If you joined him for the rest of the journey you wouldn't have to worry about unbiblical constrictions on the freedom you have in Christ to use contraception. I used to be a Catholic, but I came to realise that the Pharisee like religion Jesus criticised so heavily in the New Testament was too similar to the practices of the Catholic Church. But however, you are a welcome Sister in Christ and God bless you.

  • Comment Link Josh Monday, 14 November 2011 12:49 posted by Josh

    No one more devoted than a convert. I'm sorry, but having convinced yourself there is a God does not enlighten the rest of us. In my eyes all you've done is finally drink the kool-aid. Read as many books as you like. Talk to as many people as you can. You'll believe what makes you feel better, like you belong. It's natural. I'm glad you've managed to shed your negativity on life, but I'm saddened that you had to brow-beat yourself into it.

    I don't know why we can't accept the non-divine miracle of random chance, and revel in just being part of the history of intelligent life.

    I would suggest your obsession with death and entropy was an extension of self absorption.

  • Comment Link Will Glen Monday, 14 November 2011 15:31 posted by Will Glen

    I enjoyed reading this piece. I can't say I'm on the same page with your beliefs, or the logic that brought you there, but more importantly, it's great that you feel happy, motivated, at peace with life and with yourself.

    My only dissenting comment would be that it seems, from your very introductory paragraphs, that you had confused atheism with nihilism. The two do not necessarily go hand in hand, although the nihilists will try to tell you they do.

    There is much more to this topic than just black or white, or as people mistakenly assumes, "two sides" to the story. Belief or lack of, runs the gamut from all-in, to nihilism, with lots and lots in between. It's a bit of a disservice to humanity to paint it with a broad brush, or to gloss over the myriad details involved in human spirituality and belief systems. Unfortunately, atheists, as well as organized religion, have not done a very good job of delineating this topic.

    I like your effort to put more into the subject, aside from my comment on the confusion of nihilism vs. atheism.

    The positive is that it will generate discussion, hopefully productive, and debate, also productive.

  • Comment Link rb6 Monday, 14 November 2011 16:00 posted by rb6

    I too was once like Jennifer, at my most vulnerable and emotional low point I did turn to the religion that my parents didn't quite manage to bring me up in -- giving it an allure that my other friends found comical given their own forced idoctrination. At any rate, I was more or less dutiful for a while, and then became increasingly skeptical based at least in part on the sheer magnitude of its claims -- and at its penchant for starting with the answer and then fixing the questions and logic to match the preordained truth it needed to uphold. And that is the ultimate problem with much of Christianity and Catholicism, with its rigorous doctrinal demands, in particular. However irrelevant to one's own interior or material life, the answer is declared to have been found, and your job is to figure out how to believe it. Ultimately, I think, real grown ups have to learn how to think for themselves. There are Christian denominations that allow this to happen (within limits -- always limits), but many people, apparently like Jennfifer, simply want a warm and comfortable bed to be tucked into at night without needing to confront the seriously difficult challenges of life. How exactly does trading the big bang for the biblical story of Creation make the drama of your life more consequential?

  • Comment Link Ghislaine Monday, 14 November 2011 16:07 posted by Ghislaine

    I was saddened to read your blog. I agree with Plea, medical doctors are tangible and you can have a two way dialogue with them. I don't wish you any ill will, but I wonder if any children had a curable disease would you leave that in God's hands or would you turn to the medical professionals? If you pick and choose when to listen to God and when to listen to modern science then unfortunately you are showing a hypocrisy that your children will grow up learning as well. I have briefly touched on my changing from Christian to an Atheist viewpoint so it was interesting to read about someone going the opposite direction. http://k-ghislaine.blogspot.com/2011/08/religions-first-impact-on-me.html.

  • Comment Link Vivien Tuesday, 15 November 2011 03:46 posted by Vivien

    Wow. What a powerful story.It gives me hope for some of my lost friends as well as myself. I'm in the process of becoming Catholic and I only pray that I will be as strong in my convictions of truth and morality as you have been, even when it might be dangerous for your health.

  • Comment Link Jeff H. Tuesday, 15 November 2011 04:45 posted by Jeff H.

    I'm a bit perplexed by this:

    "Christianity is the only one of all the major world religions to be founded by a guy who claimed to be God. That's an easy claim to disprove if it's not true."

    Oh, really? Perhaps a simple explanation is in order here.

    Having been born and raised a Roman Catholic, I distinctly recall having serious reservations about Catholic doctrine as early as the 4th grade, including its central tenet that God gave his only son as the redeemer of our sins. This is a key issue as I recall. And yet precisely what was given? Christ lived 30 some odd years, enduring pain and humiliation during his last days, certainly. Only to be resurrected to the right hand of God in perpetuity. A few days of pain and suffering is certainly a small price to pay for over 2000 years of such exalted stature, and counting. Meanwhile, here on planet earth, some poor folk in places like Somalia, Bangladesh, and Haiti eek out the most painful existences from start to finish, nonstop, with no chance for salvation from their original sin lest they find some means to subscribe to Catholic doctrine. Are we to take all of this seriously?

    Better to find some meaning in your life, perhaps through outreach to others less fortunate, than to bemoan your mortality. What other parts of nature do you consider meaningless for their transience? Is a flower less meaningful than rock?

  • Comment Link Ray Ingles Tuesday, 15 November 2011 20:37 posted by Ray Ingles

    A very good essay I read on the 'meaning of life' makes the point:

    To say that some event means something without at least some implicit understanding of who it means something to is to express an incomplete idea, no different than sentence fragments declaring that “Went to the bank” or “Exploded.” Without first specifying a particular subject and/or object, the very idea of meaning is incoherent.

    Yet too often people still try to think of meaning in a disconnected and abstract sense, ending up at bizarre and nonsensical conclusions. They ask questions like: What is the meaning of my life? What does it matter if I love my children when I and they and everyone that remembers us will one day not exist? But these are not simply deep questions without answers: they are incomplete questions, incoherent riddles missing key lines and clues. Whose life? Meaningful to whom? Matters to whom? Who are you talking about?

    Once those clarifying questions are asked and answered, the seeming impossibility of the original question evaporates, its flaws exposed. We are then left with many more manageable questions: What is the meaning of my/your/their life to myself/my parents/my children? These different questions may have different answers: your parents may see you as a disappointment for becoming a fireman instead of a doctor, and yet your children see you as a hero.


    In other words, 'meaning' doesn't just hang in the air, unsupported. I'm glad you find your life means something to you now, but it's possible for other people to find meaning in their lives in other ways...

  • Comment Link leonp Tuesday, 15 November 2011 20:50 posted by leonp

    You confuse what you wish to be true with what actually is true. Your story is nothing more than an is-ought fallacy. You're trying to make an is argument out of an ought argument.

  • Comment Link MikeofED Tuesday, 15 November 2011 21:25 posted by MikeofED

    It’s fascinating to see the many atheists who have commented on this article. Why are so many atheists bothering to even read this article? I would suggest two possible reasons. The first is that they are desperate not to lose a fellow atheist and so they do their best (well, I assume it’s their best) to convince Jennifer of the ‘errors’ of her decision. Rather like the Devil will do his best to tempt people into sin so that he can claim them on Judgement Day. It’s quite amusing watching the atheists showing their annoyance that one of their number has defected. The second possible reason is that they are so insecure about their atheism that they see an emotional need to keep on defending it. Sad, really.

  • Comment Link contrararian Wednesday, 16 November 2011 10:26 posted by contrararian

    @MikeofED

    Yeah, when Atheists challenge the bilge of religionists who claim that atheists must be "depressed" and have no meaning in life, its just us whining and being insecure.

    But when Christians bear false witness about what non-believers feel and believe, they are glorifying "god".

    If Jennifer Fulwiler came across a several-thousand-word article written by an Evangelical Christian or a Muslim describing how she must be somehow defective because she's a Catholic, how do you think she would react?

  • Comment Link Len Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:01 posted by Len

    Interesting story, but I don't think you're being totally honest with yourself. But if that helps you get through life, then that's OK for you.

    Regarding C.S.Lewis and Mere Christianity, you might want to check this out: http://blog.evangelicalrealism.com/2010/07/04/xfiles-the-myth-of-mere-christianity/#more-1402

    It's on the old blog address, but quite interesting.

  • Comment Link FO Wednesday, 16 November 2011 13:01 posted by FO

    So the brain is JUST neurons firing!?
    JUST!? O_O
    Have you aver studied Emergence, Self-Organization, Chaos Theory?
    Many small things can build breathtaking beauty of amazing complexity, where all sort of strange phenomena appear.
    Your mind thinks the very same way that flocks of birds fly in the sky!
    How can you diminish such a marvelous thing, just because it's made of simple stuff?
    It is something so awesome and yet it keeps you connected with the whole universe.

    Those too concerned with the supernatural just miss the natural.

    BTW, I have never smoked in my life, barely tasted alcohol, never drink coffee and yet I find life highly intoxicating.

  • Comment Link FO Wednesday, 16 November 2011 13:34 posted by FO

    Also, Jennifer, if you bear with me... I assume you have friends that do not believe.
    And we know that true believers are really few.
    Jesus Christ seem to agree that these people deserve to go to Hell, ie, deserve to be tortured for eternity (Matthew 7:13-14 and 25:41-25:46, Luke 13:23, Mark 16:16, John 3:18 and 3:36, Apostoles 3:23, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Jude 5, Apocalysse 20:15 e 21:8).

    Do you support torturing 95% of the people that ever lived for ETERNITY, your friends included?
    I confess I am a bit scared of a group that considers torturing me for eternity just.
    Do you consider it fair, righteous and/or proper?
    I mean, I do consider Christianity evil, but I am horrified at the idea of Christians (or anyone else!) being tortured for eternity.

  • Comment Link Popeye Kahn Wednesday, 16 November 2011 15:51 posted by Popeye Kahn

    To have meaning and "ever-lasting life" we must submit to spend our days in heaven incessantly praising a all-powerful being that holds over us the power of life and death?

    Welcome to North Korea, folks.

  • Comment Link Nox Wednesday, 16 November 2011 18:22 posted by Nox

    It is telling how none of these “atheist-to-christian” converts ever seem to have even the most elementary understanding of why someone might be an atheist in the first place. If someone ever gave me a clear statement of real reasons why they were an atheist and what convinced them of the truth of some religious claim, I might not convert to their religion but it would certainly give their conversion story a little more credibility.

  • Comment Link FO Wednesday, 16 November 2011 18:46 posted by FO

    Indeed, after I saw this really bad article of hers: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/5-catholic-teachings-that-make-sense-to-atheists/ I am convinced that Fulwiler has no clue what atheism is and never met someone that consciously left Christianity and became and atheist.

    I feel very gullible now.
    She is not interested in making a point, maybe to the atheists, but just to reassure other Christians and prevent them from honest inquiry in their faith.

    She's just another Liar for Jesus.

  • Comment Link Suzanne Thursday, 17 November 2011 00:29 posted by Suzanne

    Nox, I converted to Christianity after actually leading an atheist group. Why atheism? Because at a young age I started reading philosophy--things like Epicurus, Hume, Nietzsche, Descartes, Aquinas, Anselm--and I decided that there was no successful proof for the existence of any sort of God. I decided that we had no relevant evidence of the kind that we normally demand to support our beliefs, be it empirical or rational evidence. The other part of it is that I grew up in the Bible Belt and was really, really sick of being told the many ways I was going to end up in Hell, despite the fact that I was a fairly decent person living a decent life even according to most religious standards. After studying history, you find out all the horrifying evils that are done in the name of religion, and you aren't too interested in joining that club even if there were evidence for a God, which there isn't.

    And then, I converted to Christianity because I started reading MORE epistemology and taking MORE science classes, not less, and I realized that atheist epistemology is really crude. Not sure how else to put it. Crude. So I moved on. It's that simple. I get why someone would want to be an atheist. I don't get why atheists are often so full of vitriol about articles like these, because I never felt the need to do that. It wasn't worth the time or effort to tell someone they are delusional. Why do you care so much?

  • Comment Link Russell Thursday, 17 November 2011 02:33 posted by Russell

    Suzanne:

    And then, I converted to Christianity because I started reading MORE epistemology and taking MORE science classes, not less, and I realized that atheist epistemology is really crude.


    So, you would take religious discussion in an entirely new direction by writing the better epistemology that led you to it. The problem is that we see this kind of claim a lot. But never the underlying basis for it.

  • Comment Link Nox Thursday, 17 November 2011 03:40 posted by Nox

    1) There is no evidence for the existence of any god, and religions have commited countless atrocities.

    2) ???

    3) Ergo christianity is true.

    I'm a little unclear on step two. You say you became a christian because you studied more, but you haven't really said what you studied or what convinced you. If you had actually stated how christian epistemology was less crude your claim might mean something.

  • Comment Link Kayla Thursday, 17 November 2011 06:56 posted by Kayla

    I just wanted to say something about the widely quoted fable of the elephant and the blind men discussed above. Don't you think that by saying that all religions are pieces of of the truth, you are presuming that you have some knowledge of the bigger picture that all these blind men don't' have? That the followers of all the world religions are blind, while you are wise enough to see?

    Ask any devout Muslim, he will say that Islam is the Truth. Same for Christians and the rest of them. And, for example, the Muslim and Christian Gods cannot be the same thing. The ideas of God contradict each other. They can't both be true at once, if truth is to be of any objective value outside of oneself. (And once 'truth' is only considered to be subjective without any objective reference, is it anything at all other than opinion in lofty clothing?)

    It's fine if you reject the truth of any religion and think they are part of a bigger puzzle, but you must recognize that such a belief is requires just as much faith as any organized religion. I don't understand why we should think the one who tells this tale should be able to see the entire picture while everyone else is unenlightened and blind? Do you know what I mean?

  • Comment Link Micha Elyi Thursday, 17 November 2011 09:12 posted by Micha Elyi

    contrararian wrote...
    Cool story, bro.

    But seriously. God created the universe knowing in advance most people would burn in hell? Seriously?


    Your phrase "knowing in advance" is undefined for all cases in which time does not exist - e.g., eternity.

    Catholicism is right but every other religion is wrong and delusional?

    /facepalm.


    "Delusional" is your word which you pulled from somewhere out of yourself - not from Mrs. Fulwiler's article, so well you should bury your face bro.

    Catholicism is as correct as 1+1=2 but if others are as close as 1.999999 or 1.867 you choose to call them "wrong and delusional" but folks who are less smug than yourself may more charitably see those others as just a little off.

    (I invite you to try again.)

  • Comment Link FO Thursday, 17 November 2011 10:50 posted by FO

    Kayla: No, I don't need faith not to assume that a god exists, exactly as you don't need faith to assume that Santa does not exist, pink unicorns do not exist or an infinity of other imaginable entities do not exist.

    Ask yourself: how do you decide that something does NOT exist?
    Because none talks about it?
    Because none takes it seriously?

    Phylosophycally speaking, most atheist do not categorically exclude the existence of God, just as we don't categorically exclude the existence of Santa and a host of others fantastic creatures.
    But for all practical purposes, we do consider God and the other infinity of imaginable entities not supported by evidence as non-existant.

  • Comment Link Steve Thursday, 17 November 2011 11:28 posted by Steve

    I wrote a response to some of these comments, you can find it here http://virtuouspla.net/2011/11/16/atheist-agnostics-and-the-search-for-meaning/

    -Editor

  • Comment Link Brent Thursday, 17 November 2011 12:08 posted by Brent

    "If you pick and choose when to listen to God and when to listen to modern science then unfortunately you are showing a hypocrisy that your children will grow up learning as well."

    No, it means you understand the difference between empirical knowledge and other types of knowledge. "Hypocrisy", for example, is not an empirical category. I.E., the sentence assumes a type of knowledge other than empirical knowledge in the defense of only knowing empirical knowledge. Fascinating.

    Hell is the absence of God. Atheists and/or non-believers seem fine living there. Any fantastic claim as to what that place might be like, the atheists and/or non-believer is free to accept another vision. However, we can both agree that "hell"-or whatever one might want to call it-is a place absent of God. Again, that should be consoling for the atheist and/or non-believer. The fact that we, lover's of God, would consider that torture is beside the point for the atheist and/or non-believer. Be consoled: God won't be there so you won't be tortured by the cultural meme, the genetic defect of the "believer".

    To assume that the classical theistic conception of "God" is just as plausible as "Santa" is to ignore most of human history, thinkers like Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Maimonides, Aquinas, Leibnitz, Spinoza, Newton, the very intellectual tradition that makes the prior sentence intelligible, and to argue against a red-herring, canard or straw-man. Keep bringing up Santa and you will lose this debate because at the end of the day people don't experience a sunset and say, "I wonder if Santa made that?", look into their newborn's eyes and experience intense love and wonder "From which of Santa's sleigh's did this love come?", or notice a principle of causality in the universe and think, "I wonder if Santa was the first-mover?"

    I will happily admit that a combox is not the place to work out the details of that debate.

  • Comment Link Andy Thursday, 17 November 2011 12:14 posted by Andy

    "The other atheists I knew seemed to feel like life was full of purpose despite the fact that we're all nothing more than chemical reactions."
    - "Purpose" is completely subjective, and all you need to assign meaning / purpose to certain actions and processes is a conscious mind. The fact that we are finite beings with a short life span might be a depressing thought to some people, but I don´t see how this diminishes the sense of purpose that we have in any way.

    "I could never get there. In fact, I thought that whole line of thinking was unscientific, and more than a little intellectually dishonest. "
    - If you need to believe in gods, angels an eternal afterlife etc. to have a sense of meaning and purpose I feel sorry for you.

  • Comment Link Andy Thursday, 17 November 2011 12:35 posted by Andy

    @Brent:

    "Hell is the absence of God."
    - Evidence please.

    "Keep bringing up Santa and you will lose this debate because at the end of the day people don't experience a sunset and say, "I wonder if Santa made that?","
    - Dude, do you seriously believe that god makes rainbows ?

  • Comment Link philosophers friend Thursday, 17 November 2011 13:18 posted by philosophers friend

    @Andy

    1. The comment was in response to someone else using a definition of hell--as being an awful place--as an argument against Christianity. You are asking whether or not we can have empirical knowledge of Hell. See Socrates's Phaedo. Your question assumes a "kind" of evidence that you will claim is only valid. I can argue that one will have to make an argument that undermines his conclusion--in other words one cannot get to "only empirical evidence is valid evidence" empirically. Also, common experience belies that only that which is empirical evidence exists. One then is left to explain how non-material qualities can exist in a material-only world.

    2. I think he was talking about sunsets. The point was not whether or not people believe "God makes "x"", but rather the causal explanation of "why" it is there to begin with. This common experience of the grandeur of beauty is a formal cause of the material question, "Why?" This underlying experience, as Brent said, is not something people ask of "Santa". In other words, it is a red herring to bring up Santa since no one claims that Santa is "that which nothing greater can be conceived", the "first cause", etc.

  • Comment Link kayla Thursday, 17 November 2011 15:01 posted by kayla

    FO, my contention elephant story isn't necessarily to do with the arguments of the existence of god, and u think you may have missed my point. (Although Brent deals with your arguments nicely. My point is that the popular trend today with "spirituality" and "tolerance" is that people assume that a bunch of contradictory truths can all be part of a bigger truth. But someone who says this is really presupposing that they have a knowledge of the bigger picture that followers of systematic religions don't have. If we value reason at all, this doesn't really make any sense and seems to me an excuse to make up your own system of beliefs that caters to your preferences.

  • Comment Link contrararian Thursday, 17 November 2011 15:53 posted by contrararian

    @Micha Elyi

    "Your phrase "knowing in advance" is undefined for all cases in which time does not exist - e.g., eternity."

    So, did God know when he created mankind that most of it would be sent to eternal hell? Or did God not know this? It's a simple question. No wonder you have to dodge it.

    Catholicism is as correct as 1+1=2 but if others are as close as 1.999999 or 1.867 you choose to call them "wrong and delusional" but folks who are less smug than yourself may more charitably see those others as just a little off.

    Ha ha ha ha ha!

    Oh, you were being serious.

    /facepalm

    Up until the late 20th century the Catholic Church was very sure that only true believers would be saved from eternal hell. Now it's not so sure. Funny that...

  • Comment Link Suzanne Friday, 18 November 2011 16:52 posted by Suzanne

    Re: epistemology... not all atheists have a crude epistemology, but the ones who feel the need to show that believers must be wrong generally do. They will say things like, where is the empirical evidence that God exists? (or insert any other religious claim) Obviously, there is none. However, there isn't empirical evidence of a lot of other things that most people, including most atheists, believe, or take into account in their lives. Put another way, if you think that the only things people can "believe" are things that deserve to have an existential quantifier placed in front of them because of some sort of empirical data, then you're missing out on a lot of things in life you'd consider perfectly acceptable so long as they didn't have "religious" connections. I believe that Superman is vulnerable to Kryptonite. I believe that the Guernica is the most amazing artwork of the 20th century. I believe that it's possible to love someone else, and derive meaning, joy, and hope from that love. I believe in forgiveness. I believe baseball is art. I believe there is something rather than nothing (which as many Buddhists might tell you, is going out on a bit of a limb). If you apply the usual atheist standards to these sorts of beliefs, it's all hocus pocus and you should be embarrassed to take any of it into account when living your life.

  • Comment Link Russell Saturday, 19 November 2011 19:47 posted by Russell

    Brent writes:

    To assume that the classical theistic conception of "God" is just as plausible as "Santa" is to ignore most of human history, thinkers like Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Maimonides, Aquinas, Leibnitz, Spinoza, Newton, the very intellectual tradition that makes the prior sentence intelligible, and to argue against a red-herring, canard or straw-man.


    That point would have more traction, if we were presented with someone who said, "I believe in god X because of philosophical argument Y, and will stop believing if that argument is rebutted." I can't recall ever encountering someone who believed in that fashion. But so long as we get conversion stories like the one above, the Santa rebuttal is playing in its own weight class.

  • Comment Link Dan Riley Saturday, 19 November 2011 23:41 posted by Dan Riley

    Sorry, but I find this conversion story contrived and unconvincing:

    http://thenobbyworks.blogspot.com/2011/11/who-you-gonna-thank.html

  • Comment Link Jeff Monday, 21 November 2011 00:47 posted by Jeff

    Beautifully felt and written. I'm happy that you've found a belief system that works for you. Just, please, don't vote for right-wingers who profess to have a faith similar to yours. They are not your equal and will not move the country in good directions..

  • Comment Link rb6 Monday, 21 November 2011 15:49 posted by rb6

    "To assume that the classical theistic conception of "God" is just as plausible as "Santa" is to ignore most of human history, thinkers like Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Maimonides, Aquinas, Leibnitz, Spinoza, Newton, the very intellectual tradition that makes the prior sentence intelligible, and to argue against a red-herring, canard or straw-man."

    1. Of the above, the one who directly took on the Judeo-Christian conception of God --and that would be Spinoza (and it is right to note that he took on both Jewish and Christian conceptions) -- was mocked and despised by many as an atheist even in his own lifetime. Indeed, he was fearful of publishing the Ethics, even in the relatively tolerant Netherlands. His Ethics was a repudiation of/alternative to an ethical system based on authority from revealed or supernatural truth.

    2. I would not put the Christian conception of God as Santa Claus, although it's not far off when it comes to some peoples' views -- that is, the notion that if you truly believe God will grant your prayers. However, assuming a slightly more mature believer, nonetheless, the Christian God is still anthropomorphic, only if in a reverse sort of way: it is a principle of Judeo-Christian understanding that man is made in the image of God, thus making man God's special creation. I don't think anything written by Aquinas, certainly, would be alien to that principle. The pre-Christian thinkers frankly don't count even if the Christian theologians of late antiquity incorporated their philosophy into Christian doctrine.

  • Comment Link Kayla Wednesday, 23 November 2011 16:21 posted by Kayla

    You don't have to be a rocket scientist or stellar logician to see the reality of the situation here. How many forums are dedicated to arguing over the existence of Santa Claus or pink unicorns? I haven't seen too many. How many people have written books and articles on the subject of God? Countless.

    Common sense and observation alone tells us all that questions about the existence of God is in an entirely class of discussion than Santa and the North Pole.

  • Comment Link Barry Bozz Saturday, 26 November 2011 16:02 posted by Barry Bozz

    Thanks, Jennifer for an insightful account into the nature of conversion, and by the many responses given it 's clear you have hit a nerve. I'd just like to offer a quick analysis of the word "meaning" which many of the commentators seem to misunderstand in your story.

    First. Martin Buber made a wonderful distinction about the primary way we address the world and others. I-thou and I-It. The latter word we use when we address non-personal beings. The Grand Canyon, trees, the sky, the earth and so forth.These things don't address us back. They may beautiful or ugly or interesting and have a purpose, but of themselves they don't confer meaning, because these are not persons. It's only when we address and use the primary word I-Thou that meaning emerges because only persons can MEAN, intend, signify value. So, as an atheist you did find meaning in your relationship with your husband and child; however, the meaning was incomplete because it pointed toward a deeper and higher transcendent meaning which you could not grasp and which you then experienced as emptiness and nothingness and thus, despair. The Atheist and the Buddhist can and do experience meaning.
    The Atheist must be satisfied with the finite immanent meaning in personal relationships and do his best to avoid the real feeling of despair, for who has loved deeply and not, at least, wished for the beloved and their love to live forever?
    The longing for transcendence is implicit in the primary word, I-Thou. The Buddhist solves the pain by attempting to annihillate the primary word I-Thou by destroying all desire and the Self, which they call an illusion and the Atheist calls a delusion. But everyone desires Transcendence,and it must be an eternal Personal I-Thou relationship to satisfy one's personhood.
    Some commentators said they see no purpose in the Universe because of the apparently meaningless suffering one observes and experiences. But if the purpose of one's existence is to dwell in the presence of the Eternal Primary WORD, all suffering becomes meaningful because somehow suffering perfects that eternal relationship for which we were made. Then All the I-Its and I-Thous become personal love letters from Love itself to you.

    I'm a singer/songwriter. Please visit me at barrybozz.com

  • Comment Link rb6 Monday, 28 November 2011 15:54 posted by rb6

    Barry Bozz, I am sorry, but your post is the kind of backward and fallacious reasoning that is commonly used to denigrate non-believers (whether they classify themselves as atheists or not). You make a series of sweeping conclusions (people universally address natural things as "it" and only persons can "MEAN, intend, signify value") with the purpose of arriving at a pre-ordained conclusion that, for all your reasoning you fail to identify as the importation of Plato into Christian thought (the notion of the "transcendent" or perfect or, if you will "ideal") -- which is, that our earthly relationships are marred by the fact that they and we are mortal, but that there is the possibility of a perfect relationship not marred by the "defect" of mortality. Thus, while atheists have to be content with their imperfect, earthly relationships, believers have the possibility of the perfect, transcendent relationship (with God).

    I am not going to harp on the use of specific words like "meaning" to get there, but for many atheists, and for thinkers as varied as Montaigne and Spinoza, there is no getting past the question of how any meaning, let alone higher meaning, can be plucked from a relationship that they think is fundamentally a figment of a person's imagination. I am not trying to insult believers, I am trying to explain to you that from the point of view of a non-believer, the relationship about which you exult strikes them as a nice story that (a) avoids painful reality and, like most forms of denial, (b) prevents many from living more fully the life that indisputably does exist, and that is the one here on earth. To them, "believing" would diminish not enhance their relationships.

    Thus, many non-believers might conclude, contrary to your statement, that their earthly relationships are much more meaningful because they are fully lived instead of being viewed through the lens of the possibility of something better.

    Others may view absence of "higher" meaning as a cause for existential despair, as you point out. And then there are others who are simply offended by Christian notions that we are God's play things, with no "free will" worth celebrating (this is how ministers I have heard interpret various passages of Romans, e.g., God knew you before you were even born, and so on).

    Somewhere, there is a point at which "belief" and "psychology" and "emotion" intersect, which allows a person to extract meaning from life under a given set of circumstances. I don't think Christian believers have a lock on that point.

  • Comment Link kayla Monday, 28 November 2011 16:28 posted by kayla

    Dear rb6,

    I think it is ignorant to claim that the religious are looking through the lens of something better while atheists are enjoying meaning in the world as it is.

    Look around you at all the political unrest and turmoil in the world. Athiests and theists alike are always looking for something better, for an improved situation on earth. And theists do not ignore meaning in the here and now. Its just that the subjective meaning that they experience points to and is rooted in something objective and unchanging. I still fail to see why someone could rejoice at being responsible for constructing their own subjective meaning...without being rooted in a deeper reality it seems to me arbitrary and not very meaningful at all.
    I really do wish I could understand exactly what someone is thinking when they think this subjective meaning thing alone is satisfying. I really want to be able to see it and feel it from this perspective, but I just can't make any sense of it!

  • Comment Link kayla Monday, 28 November 2011 17:13 posted by kayla

    There's another thing that's been bothering me about this whole atheist subjective meaning thing. If everything is material, then your mind and brain are the same right? Everything thought you have is the result of neural firings whether caused by genetics, the environment, what you eat, etc.
    Thus, any meaning that you construct is also the result of neural firings. My firings happen to construct a god, yours do not. Just biology. No room for which view is right or wrong or preferable. Its just the way my chemicals happen to be.
    If you know this to be the case, why are you trying to change minds that do not exist by arguing on this forum? The best you can do is persuade my chemicals to align with your chemicals, but there seems to be no real reason to do this.
    There's no free will involved. How can we blame anyone for anything? Why should we judge someone for not creating a subjective meaning for themselves that you approve of? There's nothing reigning over the chemicals to judge them! At least if god exists there's the possibility of free will, even if we don't understand how it works.

  • Comment Link rb6 Monday, 28 November 2011 17:13 posted by rb6

    This is my last comment because I can't keep this up: First, read through your comment and note the value laden terminology -- "subjective meaning" versus reality that is "objective," "unchanging" and/or "deeper." These are all subjective statements on your part on what you deem to be the relative difference between your experience and that of someone else. Calling your own reality rooted in objective or unchanging circumstances does not make it so. If I said that I obtain my guidance from the stars I could easily trump your claim to some kind of unending objective guidance, because the stars were in the sky long before the emergence of the Judeo-Christian conception of God. But it's what I make of the stars, just as what you make of your religious beliefs, that ultimately determines what your experience is. Thus, your "belief," whatever it is, is necessarily subjective as something that is rooted first and foremost in you as opposed to someone else, and their experience is as inscrutable to you as yours is to them.

  • Comment Link kayla Monday, 28 November 2011 17:40 posted by kayla

    Rb6, I do think its true that people necessarily come to an objective truth subjectively, just like everyone comes to know math and science through the filter of their senses. Does this mean we can decide on our own laws of math and science because we come to the knowledge subjectively? Could I just decide that 2 plus 2 equals 5?

    The same with words and concepts. We all trust that we are speaking of the same thing she we use a word, say "tree" or "freedom." Maybe our shades of meaning vary and we have differing understanding of different words, but unless there was something uniform in the concept of the word we speak, expecting the other person to understand, then communication becomes impossible.

    It only seems right to conclude then, that our subjective notions of the highest things can also be rooted in something objective. The problem with modern thought is that its all about me, me, me. If you haven't come to a certain subjective knowledge of an objective truth, it doesn't mean it isn't there. Just because someone hasn't learned about gravity doesn't mean they can't fall off a cliff.

    I hope you are not too put off by my reply. I know you are weary from dealing with all of us uneducated religious folk.

  • Comment Link barrybozz Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:50 posted by barrybozz

    Dear Kayla and rb6, Kayla , I think you do hit on something important, namely, that objectivity can only be posited by a subject from his/her subjectivity. But I think rb6 is confusing subjectivism with subjectivity. Please let explain. Every time we make an assertion we are claiming it is an objective statement of reality that is independent of our subjectivity. So, rb6 claimed my argument to be"fallacious". He was asserting that I was wrong ( and maybe he is right) and that his subjective insight is objectively true.But rb6 , you are making a claim to an objective statement. Only a subject (person) can make an objective statement, but it does not follow that because we are subjects, all assertions are invalid and incapable of describing an objective state of facts or that all subjective statements are equally true. That is subjectivism. The philosophical position that we are locked in our own subjectivity. However, the position is self-contradictory because it lays claim to a state of reality that is outside of one's subjectivity! By claiming that "there is no objective truth" we make a statement that claims to be objective. Truth is subjective, because only a subject has the ability to grasp objective truth. Soren Keirreggard ( forgive the misspell) who said that Subjectivity IS Objectivity.

    Rb6, you said my argument denigrates non-believers. The argument recognizes everyone's ability to grasp truth, but does claim non-believers have not seen all of it, that that non-believers are capable of seeing truth and giving meaning to existence, but that meaning is incomplete and points to a transcendent meaning.

    Either Kayla's assertions are objectively tru or objectively wrong or somewhere in between, but you can't defeat her argument on the grounds that everyone is a subject ship wreaked on the island of subjectivism.
    Peace

  • Comment Link rb6 Thursday, 01 December 2011 16:47 posted by rb6

    1. The hallmark of Christian theology is essentially the Pauline NT doctrine of "justification by faith alone." This is quintessentially a faith system that depends on subjective or subjectivist belief. The most objectively horrible person has a better chance at salvation if he "truly believes" than does the most objectively kind and generous person who has doubts. Christians have difficulty with this, of course, who wouldn't, but this theological point was a major trigger for the reformation and has been confirmed by all Christian denominations that consider themselves at all mainstream, including the RCC. We aren't talking here about an atheist who converted to Buddhism or Hinduism, but to Catholicism and it's not wrong to point out that bandying words like "objective truth" is problematic in light of the primary theological underpinnings of its belief system.

    2. Kayla may be objectively right or wrong about what she believes in, but there is no objective, provable way for her or you or me to show that. It would be helpful if people simply understood the limitations of the transferability of their "beliefs" to others in light of the absence of objective reality to support them. That's why they call it faith.

  • Comment Link Kayla Thursday, 01 December 2011 17:31 posted by Kayla

    Rb6, the hallmark of Protestant Christianity is justification by faith alone. That is not a Catholic thing, which correct me if I'm wrong, this article is about. Catholics don't believe that you can just accept Jesus into your heart and do whatever you want. Good works plus faith come into play. And i suspect that Protestants who do think you can live how you want after being saved are missing the marks of their own systems anyway.

    As for your second point, as Barry pointed out it is again self-defeating. You are saying that there is no objective way to prove my statement as true. That is itself an objective claim to truth. Can you objectively proof that? Its fine if you want to believe that we are all trapped in our own subjectivity, but you might as well stop talking, because by virtue of the fact that you are presenting an argument for other people, you are presupposing that what you are saying is objectively true. It seems that someone who truly believes in subjectivism must remain silent in order for their worldview to hold any weight.

  • Comment Link kayla Thursday, 01 December 2011 17:43 posted by kayla

    And if by prove objectively, you mea prove scientifically by the scientific method, you are presupposing that science is the only means by which I can claim objective knowledge. Can you prove to me objectively that this is the case? You can't, because you cant use the scientific method to prove the sole reliability of the scientific method.

  • Comment Link rb6 Thursday, 01 December 2011 18:49 posted by rb6

    Kayla, you are wrong about justification by faith. It is not just a Protestant thing. You can look it up. Try here:

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0027.html

    By objectively I mean objectively in the way we normally use the word -- in a way that can be concretely demonstrated to others. It's not a mark of disrespect to say that. It's what separates religious faith from scientific method. I don't know why believers are so defensive about it.

  • Comment Link kayla Thursday, 01 December 2011 19:10 posted by kayla

    The Catholic church does not uphold sole fide, a term coined by Martin Luther, or justification by faith alone. When I am at my hone computer I will provide you with citations.

    I didn't imply that you meant disrespect but you are mistaken in your assumption that reason has no place in theology. In fact, the writings of some of the church fathers are some of the most reasoned writings around. They weren't just a bunch of nimwits running around expecting people to abandon everything they knew blindly with no good reasons to do so.
    The Catholic church has long held that faith and reason, far from being opposed to one another, work together to bring us to the fullness of reality. Moreover, you did not answer my objections to your position.

  • Comment Link rb6 Thursday, 01 December 2011 20:06 posted by rb6

    The use of reason is not the same as objective proof. You are wrong about justification by faith alone. The issue was definitively clarified within the last decade and a lot of Catholics seem to have missed the news.

    Maybe you'll take a cite from the Vatican:

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html

    "15.In faith we together hold the conviction that justification is the work of the triune God. The Father sent his Son into the world to save sinners. The foundation and presupposition of justification is the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. Justification thus means that Christ himself is our righteousness, in which we share through the Holy Spirit in accord with the will of the Father. Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works."

  • Comment Link Deiter Sunday, 04 December 2011 21:56 posted by Deiter

    "I asked Joe to take a look at this stuff in case I was missing something, and, to his own amazement, he also found the Church's arguments to be airtight."

    "Atheist" looks at the teachings of the Catholic Church and decides that they are "airtight"! This is funny!

  • Comment Link Nick Saturday, 10 December 2011 22:39 posted by Nick

    Wonderful story Jennifer. Your faith in the Lord's body, His Church, struck me here:

    "And, in the first statement of faith I'd ever made, I told my doctors that I would not use contraception, because I was Catholic."

    God Bless

  • Comment Link Alan Monday, 12 December 2011 03:43 posted by Alan

    I became an atheist in my mid-teens and at the time went through a period of depression - due to the sudden absence of a purpose to life. I thought deeply and realized that we each have to find our own purpose for being here. I concluded that for me, I would like to be able to look back from my deathbed and feel content that I had made the world a better place and left a lasting impression.
    I'm a "moderate" atheist and feel that everyone should be free to believe in whatever they want or need. I'm not going to try to change anyone's mind on the subject of God. I do however think that religion should not provide a substitute for thinking

  • Comment Link Theresa Saturday, 17 December 2011 09:52 posted by Theresa

    Jesus Christ is a genuine historical reality, not a comforting delusion. Quite the opposite is true. To live as a faithful Catholic Christian is, more often than not, a difficult way of life, not a comfortable one. You may have heard the saying that "Jesus came to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable." I would definitely agree with that. He is either liar, lunatic or Lord. And frankly, I've seen too many miracles to doubt that He is, indeed, the Lord. Seek and you will find.

  • Comment Link CK Tuesday, 20 December 2011 01:36 posted by CK

    Woah, which atheist blog sent all of its readers to troll on this page?

  • Comment Link Bruno Friday, 23 December 2011 19:27 posted by Bruno

    I feel pity for this woman. She is risking her life because of what a few men in robes said about what she is supposed to do and not do.
    If God exists, and I believe He does exist, I'm pretty sure He does not asks of His people to sacrifice themselves needlessly. And I believe that not taking contraceptives, in her case, may provoke a needless sacrifice.
    Yes, it is her choice, but it is a stupid choice, nevertheless.

  • Comment Link TimC. Friday, 30 December 2011 11:53 posted by TimC.

    @Bruno--The Church does not ask anyone to risk their life. My wife had cancer and the doctor told us under no circumstances should she get pregnant. We simply abstained during her therapy. Nearly all contraceptives have failure rates, even if very small. Abstaining is always permitted in the Church when a couple is dealing with grave health or financial difficulties.

    I noticed the comments are filled with false choices and straw man arguments by other atheists. The Church makes no claim to teach science only faith and morals. I suggest ready John Paul II's "Faith and Reason".

  • Comment Link Ding Wednesday, 04 January 2012 10:52 posted by Ding

    You have a beautiful sharing. God is good indeed. God bless you always.

  • Comment Link Rafferty Sunday, 26 February 2012 16:20 posted by Rafferty

    You got scared when you had a child, and that fear drove you to the fallacious comforts of religion.

    It happens to so many people, and it's very sad.

    I'm sorry you became afraid of death, and of the death of your loved ones, but that's the inevitable circle of life.

    It's very sad that you were brainwashed for comfort.

  • Comment Link Christopher Lake Sunday, 26 February 2012 21:10 posted by Christopher Lake

    Rafferty (and many other atheists who have commented here),

    Why do you feel the need to engage in psychoanalysis of Jennifer as to why she converted? Your comment contains many speculations about her, but the fact remains that you simply don't know her. Even if you did, you are not privy to her innermost thoughts and feelings. She maintains that her conversion from atheism to Christianity (and then, specifically, to Catholic Christianity) was a genuine change of mind and heart on her part. Why not take her at her word-- especially given that she, herself, once liked to poke holes in the faith of Christians, and apparently, has genuinely come be to convinced, now, that she was wrong, and they were right?

  • Comment Link tlj Saturday, 07 April 2012 21:27 posted by tlj

    Here's the thing - atheists who criticise her here cannot fully comprehend the entire story of Jennifer's conversion - this piece is a mere tip of the iceberg in the whole process of her conversion - because until you have also read what the Catholic Catechism actually teaches about this and that - this formed a big part of her being persuaded of the Church's eternal truths - you have really no idea of the full reasons for her conversion. It's like not even bothering to watch a film but immediately trashing it based on your opinion of it that has been formed only from other people's blurbs about it. The usual tired arguments against religion, and Catholicism in particular, are trotted out by those who would criticise Jennifer - without truly knowing those specific doctrines and dogmas of the Catholic faith that did hold true for her.

  • Comment Link GBA Tuesday, 24 April 2012 00:24 posted by GBA

    Jennifer Fulwiler thank you for a truly amazing story. Ignore the naysayers. Some people are just not happy unless they are putting someone else down.

  • Comment Link Janina Mousley Tuesday, 24 April 2012 09:04 posted by Janina Mousley

    What a beautiful witness you have given of God's love and mercy Jennifer.......and what a pity that some of those (professed atheist) who have made derogative comments on your very personal statement have missed the point entirely.
    They seem to have set themselves up as 'judges' to determine whether first, you were an atheist at all... and second.... whether your new found faith in God, Christ and His Church was the result of genuine, non emotional, reasonable decisions...and whether such a move to accept Christ (considering there are other 'contenders' out there to satisfy the impressionable and the gullible) was wise!!!!
    Since you have explained already and beautifully, your conversion from atheism to Catholicism I wonder why have so many atheist (and Protestants also) have basically protested your action and insisted on this debate? Who gave these people the right to question and argue against your decision.
    Jennifer, yours is a very personal testimony ...a history of your life and beliefs and how God has revealed Himself to you. Thank you for sharing this with us and let us Catholics pray for all those who do not yet beleive in God - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

  • Comment Link Nick Thursday, 10 May 2012 15:02 posted by Nick

    Great story, mine is somewhat similar, though I do not consider myself a convert, I am giving it time with an open mind.

    I was born and raised in a mainly Presbyterian family, and stopped believing around the age of 13 or so. I then considered myself an athiest, and remained that way for a few years before dabbling in paganism, Buddhism etc, I finally considered myself Wiccan for around 8 years. Around 6 years ago I grew out of that, and have considered myself a non christian agnostic ever since.

    My family and I have have been church "shopping" for awhile, but the fiery sermons have always left me feeling angry and I caught myself always leaving the services. The doom and gloom attitude never appealed to me.

    I went to my first Sunday Mass two weeks ago and instantly felt something, it felt like the mass was talking directly to me, and I felt moved in a way that I have never experienced before, I can't explain it. Now I have been a non christian for so long that I am hesitant to call myself a convert, but I am catching myself thinking of the next time that I go back to mass. I've been to two Sunday masses and two weekday masses. I'm thinking about going back tonight actually.

  • Comment Link Arkanabar Thursday, 10 May 2012 18:18 posted by Arkanabar

    Jennifer's conversion story began with her (formerly) anonymous blog, The Reluctant Atheist ( http://thereluctantatheist.blogspot.com/ ). The story there and in the archives of Conversion Diary is much more comprehensive, though obviously still not complete.

  • Comment Link Carl Sundell Sunday, 27 May 2012 04:22 posted by Carl Sundell

    Why I Am a Catholic
    By Carl Sundell

    I have not always been a Catholic. I was baptized at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Lubbock, Texas at the age of 10. My mother and stepfather were not churchgoers, but apparently thought I was misbehaving sufficiently to require more moral guidance than they were equipped to provide. For several Sundays they took me on a tour of churches throughout the city, then asked me which one I liked. I told them I wanted to go back to the one with the bells and candles and statues and the man up front in the neat costume. “Well Carl,” my mother said, “it looks like you’re going to be a Catholic.”
    On top of that, I became an altar server. That was in Carlsbad, New Mexico. During my junior year at the high school there I had an excellent English teacher, John Hadsell. He was not a Catholic, but he introduced me to a book by G.K. Chesterton. One day in class he dramatically changed my life by reading to the class St. Anselm’s ontological proof for the existence of God. Imagine an English teacher getting away with that today in a public high school! I was so impressed (but confused) by Anselm’s logic that I asked him to read the proof again. He graciously did, and from that moment on I began my very serious search for (and flight from) God. I still wrestle with Anselm’s proof.
    While at the Carlsbad school I encountered another formidable influence. At that age anyone interested in religious writers soon enough finds plenty of reading material. In the school library I came across a paperback by Jacques Maritain, the premier Catholic philosopher of the twentieth century. I found out that he was living at Princeton University and wrote him a letter congratulating him on his book. I was in shock for several weeks after receiving a kind, if briefly worded, reply. Our correspondence continued about five years and I still cherish about seventeen letters kept safely in my filing cabinet. My daily reach into the mailbox was an adventure. Maritain was a very modest man, never drawing attention to himself and always offering advice on how to advance my spiritual rather than my intellectual life. He urged frequent confession as good for the soul.
    In 1958, after graduating from St. Peter’s High School in Worcester, Massachusetts, I attended one year at Cardinal O’Connell minor seminary near Boston. Originally I had planned to become a monk at the Trappist Abby in Spencer, Massachusetts, but the priest in charge of vocations at the Worcester diocese persuaded me that I was too young for such a life, and that anyway I had all the making of a secular priest (I had, and still have, no idea what that meant).
    Seminary life I found alternately dull and disagreeable. Many of my fellow seminarians seemed to lack a deep spirituality. I now wonder if they did not see me as even more lacking. Once I was mistakenly disciplined for an infraction of the rule of silence committed by someone else in the library. I did not inform on the culprit and silently accepted a stern rebuke by the priest who was dean of discipline, a particularly disagreeable character. I met him twenty years later in an elevator wearing layman’s clothes. We spoke briefly, but I know he did not remember me. He had left the priesthood, married, and seemed even grumpier than I remembered him as a priest.
    My mother, still not a churchgoer, actively opposed my desire to become a priest. After a year in the seminary I lost the urge. There followed four years in the Air Force, during which time the letters from Maritain stopped. His wife Raissa, a Jewish writer and poet who had converted to Catholicism with him, had died, and he had gone to live with the Little Brothers of Jesus in Toulouse, France. One of the monks he lived with answered my last letter to Maritain, explaining that old age and illness made it necessary for him to cut back on his correspondence. Since Maritain had been a great father figure for me (even though I never met him in person) I was crushed by the loss of his affectionate attention.
    After the Air force I finished college, where I studied literature and the great philosophers. Unfortunately, most of the philosophers were atheists … the one I vividly remember is Bertrand Russell, especially his essay “Why I Am Not a Christian” (which I now believe has seduced many young would-be intellectuals who cannot see through the flippant shallowness of Russell’s logic). I finally came to think of myself as rather too intellectual to be taken in by religion. This seemed to me also the posture of my highly educated colleagues in the college where I taught English and Humanities for thirty years.
    My first wife was an atheist. She had many varied talents and seemed to enjoy pursuing all of them at the same time. After college we were married by a Justice of the Peace. God was not mentioned during the ceremony nor ever by either of us thereafter. During the second year of our marriage my wife’s brother committed suicide by a shotgun blast to his head. Since I had spoken to him the day before about his drinking problem, I deduced, rightly or wrongly, that I had somehow helped him to pull the trigger. I went into deep depression for some time and only came out of it after I broke down in tears before my physician, He prescribed a long-term medication that eventually restored me to relative calm. To this day I have not been able to shake off the feeling there was some connection between my brother-in-law’s suicide and me.
    My relatively joyless marriage lasted ten years. During the last year or so my wife qualified for and joined a club called Mensa, with membership restricted to people who have an I.Q. measured at genius. I remained a bachelor for the next twenty years, always feeling guilty that I had not tried harder to save our marriage. I was torn between deciding whether it was my doing, or hers, or both of us who failed each other. I now suspect that the absence of God in our lives made all the difference. I hope she too has reached the point of making that discovery.
    For about twenty-five years I was more a practical atheist than a militant warrior for the cause (though I once wrote a letter of support to America’s most hated atheist, Madalyn Murray O'Hair). But when my father and grandmother died within six months of each other in 1990, I began to sense some vague rumblings of spirituality. It took me about two years to search my soul and realize that the twenty-five years of my life without God had been the worst years of my life, even though I had not imagined during those years that they were all that bad.
    I searched for and found Sister Ann Marshall, who had been my eighth grade teacher. She put me in touch with a Worcester priest, Father Bernard Gilgun, who had been active in the Catholic Worker movement and knew Dorothy Day. Father Bernie was the kindest man I have ever known. During my first confession as a born-again Catholic I broke down in tears at one point and he followed suit. Before long I was ladling food out to hungry visitors at the Mustard Seed dining hall in Worcester.
    Now in my early fifties, I was attending the Eucharistic Adoration hour weekly and praying for guidance as to how I should spend my renewed life as a Catholic. I’ve been told it often happens to many people soon after they turn to God, and especially after they have taken up weekly Eucharistic Adoration, that they are greatly blessed. That happened to me. Within three months I met Louise. She had been reared in the Church of Christ in Hugo, Oklahoma, but had drifted away from churchgoing. Soon after we met, Louise told me that I was the third Catholic whom she had known and loved. I asked her if she didn’t think maybe God was trying to tell her something. About a year later she was welcomed into the Catholic Church by the same good priest who officiated at our wedding, Monsignor John Kelliher.
    In 2001 Louise and I, after we retired from teaching, moved to Lubbock, Texas where we still live. Searching for a new ministry that I had never tried before, one day in a second hand bookstore I happened to pick up a biography of my old hero, Jacques Maritain. The author mentioned Maritain’s last literary act before his death, the autographing of one of his own books for a man who had just been released from prison. Soon thereafter, for about five years, Louise and I were kept joyfully busy teaching RCIA classes in a state prison near Lamesa, Texas.
    Here are some thoughts I’ve had about why I returned to the Catholic Church.
    To the agnostic and to the atheist I would say that any philosophy declaring the universe to be meaningless is itself meaningless, since that philosophy is part of a “meaningless” universe. We look for meaning (purpose) everywhere in our lives. That being the case, why shouldn’t the universe itself have meaning or purpose? And why should the only creature who can imagine a Thing greater than the universe not reach out to that Thing in search of its own purpose? I know God because there is a voice in me that tells me nothing makes sense without God to make sense of it. There is a voice in me (and whose voice could it be but God’s?) that tells me what is right and what is wrong, that makes me feel good when I do right, and bad when I do wrong. This conviction in me is so strong I have come to agree with Chesterton that life is not an essay; it is a story; and if it is a story, there ought to be a storyteller, and the storyteller should not specialize in the theatre of the absurd.
    The world we live in today seems to me on many levels absurd. The world has lost some common sense, to be sure, when it is argued that pornography cannot be defined, the killing of life in the womb can be done with impunity, men should be able to marry men and women to marry women. Some kind of moral anchor has been pulled up and we are caught up in a moral tempest. The Catholic Church alone, it seems to me, knows that common sense resides in the natural law; and the Catholic Church, attacked from all sides as the great enemy of progress, is in fact the only loyal friend left to the human race.
    As to the cheap canard that only science can save the human race from itself, all the discoveries of modern science are now pushing us to the realization that the universe does have some kind of intelligent design behind it. Astronomers tell us the universe at one time did not exist, and suddenly exploded into being. Carl Sagan, a scientist and atheist, said the early universe was filled with light. “Let there be light!” God said, we are told in Genesis. That image is too clever by far not to have been planted in the mind of the prophet by a Mind greater than his own thousands of years ago.
    Max Born, quantum physicist, offered the following remark: “Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist must be rather silly.” Scientist Werner Heisenberg saw into the self deception of “scientific” atheism: “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”
    While I used to see some merit in the advance of science as a way to discredit religion, this now seems to me a superficial and totally incomplete approach to life. There are too many issues that science is completely incompetent to address; not least of which are wisdom, ethics, aesthetics, politics, theories of knowledge, religion itself, etc. The usual canard that science will displace religion as a guide to human happiness seems to me absurd on the face of it. Science has no doubt made many people. But has also made many people miserable. Even the future of life on this planet has been raised as an issue, not because of religion, so much as because science has found ingenious ways to plunder the earth of its natural resources. The success of science has raised doubts about whether it might, after all, lead as likely to Armageddon as to Utopia.
    The fundamental dilemma of all atheist and agnostic thought is that it considers religion to be a neurosis, a failure of nerve. Atheists and agnostics, as Sigmund Freud often insisted, like to think that religion is wishful thinking for the immortality that is denied by the fact of death. It never occurred to me when I was an atheist that I might be the truly neurotic one. It never occurred to me to ask whether or not I was an atheist because I did not want God to exist. Since I have learned that we can always change our wants, I have taken it as a special ministry of my own to converse with atheists and to pray for their conversion.
    I do believe that someone somewhere prayed for mine. I now believe that such prayers are necessary and that they work wonders. The problem with atheism is that it cuts short the approach to God. Look at the biographies of many of the most famous atheists and you see they have chosen to deny God in their teen years. The ones who come back to God sometimes take decades to do so, and in most cases it only requires a little nudge here and there to make that happen. Some wait until the very end of their lives, and some return to God on their deathbeds without our knowing about it. To know God and know Him well one needs to behave like a child, greeting Him with open arms as He greets us all the time. “Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1-6)
    Here, briefly, is my favorite proof for the existence of God. The whole human race can be divided into two types: those who seek God, and those who flee from God. Nobody is sitting on the fence, even if they like to think they are. As Jesus succinctly put it: “He who is not with me is against me.” (Matthew 12:30) Now there is no reason to seek a Thing unless you think in your gut the Thing exists. There is no reason to flee from a Thing unless you think there is a Thing from which to flee. Seeking or fleeing, we all believe in our gut that the Thing called God exists. Catholic theologians call this a dictate of the natural law. God planted in us a desire to know Him. We are free to embrace or reject that desire. But we are not free to pretend there is no Thing calling us to draw near, or no Thing from which we flee. And as Augustine put it, we cannot rest until we rest in Him.
    Here is my second favorite proof for the existence of God. It rightly belongs to Thomas Aquinas, and is called the argument for a Prime Mover. This so-called proof relies upon a willingness to believe that the universe was created by a Prime Mover. The only question to follow this concession is whether this Mover is a mindless Mover or a Person. At the very least, the Prime Mover, if it is to be regarded as a Person, must have will and intellect.
    That the universe did not exist and came to exist suggests very strongly that the Prime Mover willed it, or it would not have come to exist. That the universe not only came to exist, but is also dominated by laws that have produced not only order, but also minds (our own) capable of discerning the existence of that order, suggests intellect in the Prime Mover. As Isaac Newton put it, “This most beautiful system [the universe] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”
    That the Prime Mover might want to have a personal relationship with his creatures is suggested by the fact that he chose to create them in the first place. If he doesn't want personal relationships, he would not bother to make creatures who also want a personal relationship with him. I sometimes think that when Nietzsche said God is dead, he must have been talking about the impersonal God of the 18th century Deists. Yes, I believe that God is dead and pretty much forgotten today.
    To followers of the world religions outside of Christianity: I am a Catholic because, if God exists, this God must have created us for a reason that was clearly explained by Him to his prophets and to his Church. If God is truthful, God would have set up his true religion to compete successfully with all the other major religions of the world. And so He has. From one Jew in Israel, nailed to a tree, the ancient Jewish religion He (the Son of God) founded through Abraham and transformed through Himself has today gone out to well over a billion Catholics throughout the world. This is a miracle of the highest order that cannot be compared with the miracles of growth claimed by all other religions, fractured and fragmented as they have been through the thousands of years of their existence.
    Likewise, the compassionate life and death of Jesus leaves not one doubt for me that if God is Love, there can be no greater love for humankind than the love of the God-Man who laid down his life for his friends. The religions that do not say first of all that “God is Love,” as the apostle John said, have no appeal for me. They are at bottom either indifferent or malicious. They tend to go the way of all flesh.
    A true religion should be the most beautiful thing on earth. I love the beauty of the Catholic Church, warts and all, above everything else. For me there is no more beautiful religion in all the world; and surely the truest religion would be wrapped in the greatest beauty. The Catholic Mozart said it best in his sublime “Ave, verum Corpus,” his tribute to our Lord in the Eucharist. A ten-year old stranger to religion in Lubbock, Texas said it best when, out of half a dozen different churches, the only one he wanted to visit again was Saint Elizabeth’s Catholic Church
    To my Protestant friends: all Protestants surely know that the oldest of their denominations cannot trace themselves back any farther than Martin Luther. Going farther back, they see that virtually the entire Western World was Catholic. If all Protestants of European descent trace their family lineage back far enough, all their ancestors at one time were Catholic. The earliest of those ancestors who were Christians in the early Church always called themselves Christians, but at some point between the third and fourth centuries they began to call themselves Catholic (Universal) Christians to distinguish themselves from those who were calling themselves Christians but had signed onto the various heresies that that spread throughout the empire. These “Christians” were making it confusing for traditional Christians to distinguish themselves from the newer “Christians” who existed in various locations, but who were not universally found throughout the empire as the traditional Christians could be found.
    Protestants will also see, if they study history, that the Catholic Church produced the Nicene Creed; that it collected and authenticated the books of the New Testament; that it defended the Western world from the violent advance of Islam into Europe; and that centuries later it was a Catholic who invented the printing press and printed first the Holy Bible so that the word of God could be sent by book into every home in Christendom. Wouldn’t all these marks of distinction be signs of the true Church of Christ rather than the “harlot” mentioned by Martin Luther and others? As John Henry Newman, a nineteenth century convert from the Anglican Church, said about his conversion: "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”
    I invite Protestants to reflect that thirty thousand denominations are a clear sign that a partial truth is in them, but certainly the whole truth cannot be in all of them, since they have added to or taken away from each other’s creed thirty thousand times. Thirty thousand denominations do not make the one Church that Christ built upon the rock called Peter; for it was a Church (not Churches) that Christ promised the gates of Hell would never prevail against. (Matthew 16:18) The lack of unity among Protestant Christians has been no less dangerous to the modern world than the lack of unity among Catholics today. Aesop’s fable of the “Bundle of Sticks” should have taught all Christians that if we do not stick together, we will be more easily broken than it is to break a large bundle of sticks tied together.
    I regret having been an on-again, off-again Catholic, slow both in my head and in my heart to hear the words of wisdom the Holy Spirit spoke to me in my youth. Once I might have been a priest. I threw that away. Then I threw away the truth of God. I walked away from my wife to start a lonely journey of my own. But then I found God again, and Louise too. I have learned the hardest ways possible to look for signs … signs that come in dreams, in coincidences, in narrow escapes, in seemingly chance meetings, in all the strange and winding curves of my life; signs that the Father has spoken many words of truth to a stubbornly deaf child, who at last has learned to hear … and to obey.

  • Comment Link T. Thursday, 07 June 2012 13:57 posted by T.

    I don't get a lot of the comments. A person was atheistic, is not anymore and explain why.

    Period.

    I have read of catholics becoming atheist or agnostic and never though of pointing out what I though was wrong. God knows and he probably doesn't care (no, Catholicism accepts that people of other religions and atheist can go to heaven. Yes, till Council Vatican II it does. Which is one of the best thing about my religion :D)
    She knows and she is ok. So why not me?

    You want to believe God is like Santa? Be my guest. Honestly don't care
    But trolling other people site is rude.

    There are forum for attacking Catholicism elsewhere. Plenty of them.
    I don't go to atheist forum and spew hate.
    Never.

    So please, same here :)

    Great story, btw.

    And peace of heart for all the commenters :D

  • Comment Link mcewen Sunday, 10 June 2012 13:57 posted by mcewen

    I am an american catholic living in prague, i attend mass to st thomas in the small quarter, this church is 750 years old, i wondered is that Prague behind you it looks like the national theater. i hope it is because this a most beautiful city. thanks for your story and God bless you and your family, i will pray for at mass tom

  • Comment Link mcewen Sunday, 10 June 2012 14:28 posted by mcewen

    Jennifer To the Atheists, there is evidence and empirical evidence. I have lived in an atheist society, where it was unlawful for a Catholic priest to introduce belief into a conversation.This society was run by atheists and the change over 60 years was remarkable. You said one thing and thought another. The Czechs had a saying if you are not stealing you are stealing from your family. I was stopped by a atheist psychologist who said,'Why do believe, I am so unhappy.....' I told I believe because i want to thank someone for the beauty i see. The Atheists over 60 years built nothing of beauty, no buildings where beautiful, no painting was beautiful, no beauty was shown to the women, just ugliness . Czech had what you wanted and they do not want it. the polls show that Czechs are not religious, but when they were asked by atheists before they would lose their children's chance at higher education or a home, or a car. so they became very good at lying, i mean who is this person asking these questions? there is harm in telling the truth in an atheist society. so keep it okay. Yes I am a catholic and there will be Christians to the end of the world. You should talk to some Russians atheists they killed the priests and the nuns and the believers. but it is alive and the atheist society is dead. why because of the need for beauty.

  • Comment Link Jeff Smith Monday, 18 June 2012 21:16 posted by Jeff Smith

    Found your write up after reading this article:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked/2012/06/this-is-my-last-post-for-the-patheos-atheist-portal.html

    and deciding to google atheist catholic conversion. We hear quite a bit about those leaving Catholicism but seems harder to find those who are willing to share their stories of conversion. So, thanks for sharing yours!

  • Comment Link Robin Wednesday, 04 July 2012 09:18 posted by Robin

    There is no reason for God because I see so many religions committing atrocities.
    There is no reason for atheists because I see so many atheists being good.

  • Comment Link 3 SIM Card Wednesday, 18 July 2012 01:37 posted by 3 SIM Card

    I like it when folks come together and share opinions.
    Great site, stick with it!

  • Comment Link diane Wednesday, 25 July 2012 00:54 posted by diane

    I saw you on ewtn today, I have allot in common with your story, I was raised up in a Pentecostal home, which I have found was a cult, my Dad was a Freemason, he died 10 years ago, I was diagnosed bipolar at 23 and am 56, I am very distressed to find out these things and am so glad I was blessed to find your website, God is helping me my husband was raised up as catholic, and I have found the true church, I was taught to detest anything but Pentecostalism as a child and well, I know my family loved me, I have a very different story, have 6 yrs college., its a long story...wi;ll write again as I am a bit tired and my husband is needing me to be here for him tonight while we relax and watch baseball, which by the way I was taught sports were evil, as a child. I am, so thankful for mu catholic faith. My aunt has disowned me and I am in a way glad, Mary Mother of God, blessed are we for not listening to cults and those who hate us for what we believe....Lots more to write about and I am on Hub pages.com diane woodson...you may want to read ...take care God Bless YOU

  • Comment Link Rich De Vitis Friday, 27 July 2012 23:05 posted by Rich De Vitis

    Hi Jennifer. I just watched your interview on the Journey Home. Think about what you had to say this is what came to mind.

    The Power of a Baby

    In today’s society the most powerful person is a baby.
    A baby is an individual’s worst enemy.
    A baby is the Government worst enemy.
    A baby can take away an individual’s and the Government’s chance of being happy.
    As in any war the enemy has to be destroyed.

    It harkens back to Bethlehem.

  • Comment Link Timothy Johnson Monday, 30 July 2012 01:51 posted by Timothy Johnson

    Jennifer, I saw you on EWTN's The Journey Home, and I heard about you for the first time on Catholic Answers a couple of months ago. Thanks, for creating this blog. I am a cradle Catholic, but a took a long journey in the weeds. I am back in communion with the Church where my wife, Teresa, and I are very active in the Respect Life Ministry, Youth Ministry and the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Daughters. I look forward to every new day where I can give praise to God and do his will.

    Thank you,

    Tim

  • Comment Link Hyginus Wednesday, 15 August 2012 13:35 posted by Hyginus

    A very touching story. Like the great St. Augustin said, "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."
    Thanks for sharing your story with us all.
    May God continue to bless you and your whole family

  • Comment Link Docwyoming Saturday, 18 August 2012 11:52 posted by Docwyoming

    Hard to believe this person was a thoughtful atheist considering her view of atheism aligns with how most believers misinterpret atheism. In addition, there's nothing more ordinary than a person of marrying age returning to religion as they begin their own family.

  • Comment Link fxkelli Monday, 03 September 2012 17:28 posted by fxkelli

    You're story sounds so much like my wife's, it's scary, especially the blood clot during the second pregnancy.


    Sorry to go off on a slight tangent here, but why weren't you treated with heparin/ or low molecular weight heparin, which is perfectly safe during pregnancy? No fun to have injections, but you can take it immediately pre-pregnancy, and then until you deliver. Still an issue between pregnancies but if you're good at NFP, coumadin isn't absolutely contraindicated between babies.

  • Comment Link Mona Wednesday, 05 September 2012 02:11 posted by Mona

    It gladdened my heart to hear your story -- thank you. The Church is truly a haven of freedom and there is much room within the parameters of its laws of love -- great Aquinus and my little Mexican grandma both welcome and happily at home in it! Me, too! Thanks again.

  • Comment Link Loren Tuesday, 20 November 2012 20:31 posted by Loren

    Thank you Jennifer for courageously and honestly sharing your awesome conversion story.

    In addition, it was also very humbling to read other comments, especially those that disagreed with your viewpoints. I was not surprised by the dominance of Relativism and Subjectivism from the majority.

    Convincing our brethren to believe in God is, no doubt, a very sensitive as well as challenging task. I didn't say to believe "in the existence of God" because there is no need to do that simply because He has always existed. The fact of the matter is whether you believe in Him or Not. Speaking in philosophical term, when something is reasoned through to an outcome, that outcome is absolute. When a brethren atheist has reasoned himself/herself through to a belief that there is No God, it means that he/she has rejected God despite the truth that there is a God because reasoning will lead one to the truth of God. Allow me to clarify my statements: the sun rises everyday whether one believes it or not. The earth has gravity and thus will pull everything downward; this happens whether one believes it or not. Shooting someone with a gun or making someone consume poison will potentially kill the victim whether one believes it or not. As a result, objectivism (objective truth) explains that God exists whether one believes that or not. Nature- beauty in the world, order, progression and maturity and all the intricate processes that govern this physical universe is screaming for the Presence of God. However, none of these experiences can bring us to the conclusion of who God is. Our intellects tend to put God in a box so we can see, feel, smell, touch, or hear God but that will not happen. God, through his grace, will reveal Himself to us only if we have faith in Him first. I challenge all of you, brethren atheist, to give God a chance by having faith in Him first and utter your first prayer. He needs your permission as well as your humility to sincerely get to know Him. You might challenge me by NOT having faith in Him and I have done that; I was miserable then.

    Spice up your life by looking at this God person from a different angle. I know a dear friend of mine who used to hold atheistic view said that when she delved into Ouija board world, she realized that the devil does exist. If so, then God must exist as well. God bless!

  • Comment Link Sara Friday, 14 December 2012 22:20 posted by Sara

    I am a Catholic who is "returning to the fold" so to speak and I found this while looking for articles about dealing with my atheist friends (they actually don't know I'm Catholic "yet", but I probably can't keep it a secret forever, and as my faith strengthens I probably won't want to.) That said, I also found it interesting because the week after I had my daughter, I also had a severe pain in my leg and a DVT. I remember being told I couldn't breastfeed by the ER doctors and just feeling so crushed (it turns out they were wrong and we found a medication that would be ok.) I sympathize with the pain you were feeling though. I'm glad you healed, both physically and spiritually. :-)

  • Comment Link Student Tuesday, 15 January 2013 10:46 posted by Student

    so, you're an atheist before?

  • Comment Link katherine Sunday, 02 March 2014 02:18 posted by katherine

    This is what I pray and fast for, Thank you

  • Comment Link Steven Miller Friday, 02 May 2014 17:44 posted by Steven Miller

    Great story! My wife and I follow your blog and she just bought your new book for us to read on our next road trip. Both C. S. Lewis and NFP played a large role in my turning to Christianity from agnosticism and then joining the Catholic Church this Easter. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • Comment Link Jay Monday, 05 May 2014 01:19 posted by Jay

    I've read a number of Catholic conversion stories. Every convert seems sincere, but I can't help but note that their stories fail in one specific way: they all skip right over how their doubts were overcome.

    Your story started out very promising, but I see you doing the same thing. You leapfrog right over how, precisely, your thinking was changed.

    For example, you say that you had a big problem with accepting the church's view of contraception. Then, suddenly, you've completely convinced that the church's view of contraception is absolutely true. And you say this in the face of a serious reproductive crisis that had potential grave effects on your health and the health of your children.

    I'm just one reader, but I can't help but wonder why you and so many converts either can't or won't express the central point of the story: why you converted. You all tell a story, but you leave out the most important part. You leave out the reason why you're telling the story in the first place.

  • Comment Link dave Wednesday, 21 May 2014 20:42 posted by dave

    Jay. It is explained in the conversion story, that her doubts about contraception or anything else, were overcome by:

    1. Studying to know what the catholic teaching actually is,

    2. And studying to know the explanation of the reasoning for why the catholic church teaches this.

    3. And then thinking about it, and realising that it makes sense.

    4. And realising that it is also the view that makes the most sense out of all the ones available.

    5. We can also study other views, and see the negative results in the world, of not following catholic teachings.

    6. You won't know any of this, until you take the time to study catholic teaching, and the reasoning for this teaching, and the comparison with ills of other methods of living, when people don't follow it.

    Best wishes, I hope God one day draws you to take the time to study the catholic teaching and reasoning.

  • Comment Link Litesp33d Friday, 11 July 2014 08:32 posted by Litesp33d

    Fulwiler is following the tradition of the charlatans of religion and just being true to form. She may have been atheist, she may still be atheist. But what sells best to the religious market. Someone who says I am an atheist and you are all wrong. Or someone who says I was an atheist but through God and the Bible I found religion and I was wrong to have been an atheist. Oh and here is my story $22.99 that proves my journey back to faith and the truth. So good luck to her as just someone else ripping off the gullible.

  • Comment Link WHITE EAGLE FROM POLAND Monday, 08 September 2014 10:00 posted by WHITE EAGLE FROM POLAND

    This is the most important fragment of her conversion and the key to start caming closer and feeling God:

    My feelings of frustration and resentment towards God reached a head. And then, just at the right time, I happened to come across a quote from C.S. Lewis in which he pointed out:

    [God] shows much more of Himself to some people than to others -- not because He has favourites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favourites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.

    Of course. I'd been walking around talking trash, watching TV shows that portrayed all types of nastiness, indulging in selfish behavior...and yet wondering why I couldn't feel the presence of the source of all goodness. I realized that, if I were serious about figuring out if God exists or not, IT COULD NOT BE AN ENTIREY INTELECTUAL EXERCISE. I had to be willing to change.

    I wasn't sure if I was ready to sign up for that for the long haul, but I decided to give it a shot: I committed to go a month living according to the Catholic moral code. I bought a copy of the Catholic Catechism, a summary of the Church's teachings, and studied it carefully, living my life according to what it taught, even in the cases where I wasn't sure the Church was right.

    My goal with the experiment had been to discover the presence of God; instead, I discovered myself -- the real me. I had thought that cynicism, judgmentalness, and irritability were just parts of who I was, but I realized that there was a purer, better version of myself buried underneath all that filth -- what the Church would call sins -- that I had never before encountered.

    I found that the rules of the Church, that I had once perceived to be a set of confining laws, were rules of love; they defined the boundaries between what is love and what is not. It had changed me, my life, and my marriage for the better. I may not have experienced God, but, by following the teachings of the Church that was supposedly founded by him, I had experienced real love.

  • Comment Link John Friday, 03 October 2014 20:23 posted by John

    Jennifer’s conversion story seems to draw atheists like moths to a flame with comments ranging from condescending sympathy to desperately analyzing Jennifer’s weaknesses & flaws. When the logic & reason of so many of the greatest minds throughout history come to the same conclustion, “There is a God”, it seems hardly room for discussion but I guess it is still needed. While I certainly understand why conversations about types of worship, points of dogma, discovering the will of God, etc. are productive, it seems more discussion about how the beliefs in God and science are not mutually exclusive.

  • Comment Link Arthur Sunday, 22 March 2015 09:56 posted by Arthur

    Am a bit emotional upon reading your conversion story. God bless you Jennifer. Angels in heaven are rejoicing for finding 1 lost sheep. The joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh 8:10). Keep it burning and visible.

    It's my joy to hear more stories similar to yours.

  • Comment Link Charley Hart Sunday, 22 March 2015 16:57 posted by Charley Hart

    To all the naysayers. Read her book

  • Comment Link Rivka Sunday, 17 May 2015 06:48 posted by Rivka

    Kind of weird how so many of these comments don't understand that she is talking about her own personal individual story, that she is saying she personally considered that "meaning" has no existence, but she explicitly emphasizes that other atheists do find meaning.

    A little too defensive, atheist commenters. She didn't attack you, she just talked about herself.

  • Comment Link Stardusty Psyche Friday, 05 June 2015 20:57 posted by Stardusty Psyche

    Jennifer thought her feelings were the result of brain activity until she felt love for her child, which made her think her feelings were not brain activity. How does that make any sense?

    Jesus was the true Christ, Jennifer thinks, as evidenced by the people who changed their lives and died for him. So. that means Muhammad was the true prophet since many died in his cause. Likewise for the emperor/god of Japan. Sorry Jennifer, people simply become convinced of things and then end up getting killed because of it.

    Jennifer claims to have had an evidence based and reasoned adoption of Christianity, but all her explanations are fallacious.

  • Comment Link Rev. Daniel Musgrave Saturday, 25 July 2015 02:18 posted by Rev. Daniel Musgrave

    Simply Beautiful. A beautiful story of conversion.

  • Comment Link Rev. Daniel Musgrave Saturday, 25 July 2015 02:21 posted by Rev. Daniel Musgrave

    Wow, I'm not sure why that pic shows up for my posted message.

  • Comment Link Rev. Tim Gorski Saturday, 01 August 2015 17:23 posted by Rev. Tim Gorski

    Your story doesn't make sense in that blood clots in the veins - and even those that travel to the lungs and don't kill the patient - can certainly be treated - and are treated - in pregnancy. Nor do they preclude additional pregnancies. On the non-medical side, the emotional side of the human condition as it is experienced does not point to supernaturalism. It poits only to a) interesting things going on in the brain and b) interesting experiences that can be among the "peak experiences" of life. Also, the fact that life is finite does not reduce its value.

  • Comment Link Marc Thursday, 29 October 2015 14:53 posted by Marc

    While it is true that ppl die for many ideas or reasons. The central tenent of Christianity is that a man that had a perfound impact on the world died was buried and rose from the dead three days later. Jennifer readily believes in men that get their throats cut as did Pascal. By all accounts Roman judicial torture was brutal and excruciating. They could have easily advoided this end. In many causes they had many years to anticipate this horrific fate. She finds this witness along with others to be sufficient evidence for her to believe. Dosn't mean you will. Regardless of whatever you or she believes things are the way they are.

    But please what's with the straw men and Santa Claus be serious. Atheists get mad when Christians set up straw men and rightly so. The fact is that there are intelligent people on both sides of the debate.

    Also to those who choose to insinuate that her conversion was prompted by greed, how is poisoning the well a logical and resonable argument?

    As to what is objective fact the experimental scientific method is not the only way to arrive at objective proof. In fact you can't support the scientific method by using the scientific method unless you believe in it as an axiom or find circular logic true. If you believe in it as an axiom or as a piece of circular reasoning there is nothing I can do to dissuade you. I will however point out that such a belief would be the definition of blind faith.

    Someone may have a subjective personal experience of God they may base their faith upon this while not unreasonable it is unpersuasive. I have not had an experience or revelation of such a nature so while interesting it points me towards nowhere.

    I can't prove that my mother cares deeply about my well being however I know beyond any resonable doubt that she does. Furthuremore while not physically impossible I do not have the time or funding to prove 95% of the scientific facts the I believe. I believe them based on authority. But I also know full well that there is a high probability that many of the scientific beliefs that I have will be overturned as science progresses.

    I would contend that if someone converted for comfort the Catholic Church is not the faith they would convert to.

    Robin since religions cannot act they therefore cannot do bad things. As for religious ppl since we are considering primarily the Catholic Church the answer would be because we are corrupted. Being that this is a teleological belief I understand that few atheists would subscribe to it. So while it is a grave scandal especially when clergy do evil things it dosn't disprove God unless something like the following. You have a theological belief that God would not allow such actions. Or that once someone believe in God they would no longer do any evil for the rest of their lives. Also from a Catholic worldview that atheist behave well is no mystery.

    Also on the issue of the presence or absence of God being hell. When you take your world view and say but atheists are happy and God doesn't exist. That would be positive atheism meaning that you are certain about the none existance of God and therfore don't believe in Christianity because you have proved a negative.

    Rb6 do you seriously contend that just because the stars were in the sky before humans believed in God that therefore belief in God in unreasonable? A strict 6 day creationist would tell you the same. Stars first then man. Also an objective fact is true whether it is ever believed. Substitute God for whichever scientific theory you most cherish. The stars were in existence before any man believed in that theory

    While the Christian would say that God made and sustains you and is present through your whole life.

    So we are back where we started both beliefs fit the fact that this life while it has

    FO your understanding of Catholic doctrine on Hell is very incorrect.

  • Comment Link unknower Monday, 11 January 2016 17:10 posted by unknower

    I stumbled onto this site after watching your "conversion" video on Youtube. IMO the difficulty in defining what "love" is somewhat of a mystery. I'm sure there will never be a consensus on what it means. Perhaps love is not a collection of "chemical reactions", but the fact that we can't define this, or answer other impossible questions, does not mean a god exists (not even a Catholic one).

  • Comment Link MC Tuesday, 15 March 2016 02:17 posted by MC

    Good stuff Jenny

  • Comment Link Callaghan Bracken Tuesday, 15 March 2016 02:24 posted by Callaghan Bracken

    good stuff JENjen bludringole, keep up to top work and god is real

  • Comment Link Don Tuesday, 22 March 2016 04:39 posted by Don

    I guess the only real way we will solve this God/no god debate is to die. If a Christian dies and is wrong about God. they have lived a life based upon a system of values that asks them to serve other people and are dead. If an atheist is wrong and there is a God they will spend eternity with what they want - no God (hell)

  • Comment Link Mike ORourke Tuesday, 26 April 2016 02:06 posted by Mike ORourke

    Hi Jennifer, I picked up your book and read it and intend to give it to my daugher's best friend's dad, who is an atheist, and a good guy. I think he would like your book and your blog, and they live in Round Rock!

    Jennifer, I am also concerned that my 16 yr-old daugher's doctor wants to prescribe birth-control pills for her heavy, irregular periods. Any alternatives, suggestions, advice? God bless!

  • Comment Link Seb Thursday, 28 April 2016 03:31 posted by Seb

    What a touching story of conversión, as for people who are here debating if god exist or not, please remind that this is a belief an act based
    Mostly on faith on love, we are free to believe in what we want and we are not asking for evidences that god does exist, it there are people like me that by going to church to hear and learn from the word of god (Biblle) feels happy males them feel love for there family and their closed ones, and make them feel good im wondering whats the Issue with that? I respect other religions and beliefs, i dont have any intention to oblige others to be catholic as i am, please remembet people : truth is not the same as faith......

  • Comment Link Santiago Tuesday, 03 May 2016 14:49 posted by Santiago

    Just a question: which was that first book you found at the Religion section of a bookstore?

    Congratulations for finding the Truth.

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