How an atheist blogger converted to Catholicism – my discussion with Leah Libresco

by Michael Nugent on July 2, 2014

I had a very interesting discussion this week with Leah Libresco, who in 2012 converted from being an atheist blogger at Unequally Yoked to being a Roman Catholic. We discussed her atheism, her conversion and her Catholicism. Here’s the video, in three parts.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Malu July 3, 2014 at 6:22 pm

I tried to find the part, did she say she went to mass when she was dating or still has a relationship with a Catholic? – I did get the part where she studied Catholicism in order to argue with people, and they were smarter than she gave them credit to be etc. There wasn’t much differentiation between what is actually in the Bible and what the Church has added as dogma.

Her interpretation of how we’d behave if we were aware of an evil God is shallow speculation; God could be evil and leave us in total ignorance of it, and when a priest is overcome despite his prayers and abuses a child, or any other type of social predator is overcome by his ‘weakness’ or ‘evil’ side, this evil God could be acting regardless of our lack of awareness of it.

She feels totally uncomfortable, uneasy and interrupts you every time you bring up the historicity of the Bible or context, it’s very clear she doesn’t want to be rational about it, she’s not proficient in it and has not studied it enough, its very clear that if she wishes to continue the path of discussing Catholicism and faith, she’s going to have to confront those questions. It’s clear her faith has become emotional and personally connected to her intimate life, shes lost her ability to be rational. She tries to get away every time with: “it’s not my main focus, main source of interest” ?

What is the need for confession if all the people who go to Heaven treat their mother well, I thought we’re all sinners, that heaven was for everyone who repented, who confessed, even if only at death bed, and a priest, a human has the power to absolve them. How does she know the priest s a messenger of G.? I’d have touched on that, confession and its ‘power’. What happens to unbaptized babies? her new faith condemns those babies to eternal misery! is that part of her objective morality?

She can’t describe a diagonal or 3/4 view! ?!

You should have asked her about abortion, you see? she’s not gay, abortion and procreation would touch to the core of her contradictions.

I got to say she directed the conversation to only where she felt comfortable talking, you gave it a good shot sometimes, but she controlled the conversation, constantly interrupting and evading to address some issues directly. You were quite kind and diplomatic!

I’d invite her to have a debate with an atheist former priest. In fact, atheists go through the same voyages than theists, she’s living proof of atheists capacity to question their beliefs; I was brought up an atheist, was an agnostic between about 28-38, back to atheist-agnostic (only because I cant prove everything), many atheists would love to believe, would love to have a bit more evidence, we’d jump right on that wagon, we’d like answers to everything ideally, we can live without knowing everything, but between the 2, if it was an option, we’d try answering everything!! for sure!

I lost some words for both at the end in crucial moments.
Where is her evidence that morality is something objective and it’s a person, God himself by what I understand. Scientists are making enormous strides in this field! Nature seems to have a “code of ethics inherent in its engines”, not morality, but certainly economy and priorities, and so on.- To kill my child is immoral under so many circumstances including if my child is handicap, to kill my child in Spartan-type of society if the child is handicap might be the right thing for the group, or old people in Eskimo society used to undergo a type of euthanasia; or, to kill my child if I know she’ll die in the concentration camp we’re in, she’ll be forced to labor, be sexually abused and die anyway, I might consider this possibility if I see no escape, before I kill myself. Where is the absolute in morality to make it objective and sanctified? Other examples, such as animals sacrifice, eating animals, etc. Anthropophagy, I don’t condemn those soccer players in the Andes, they did what they had to do, and who saved them, was one who ate human flesh. I’d have tackled more her opinions on controversial issues. But I guess it wasn’t your intention 😀 Good job anyway!

2 Michael Nugent July 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Malu, thanks for those observations.

I’ll be writing about my thoughts on the discussion later, and I’ll think about your observations as part of that.

3 HarveyLM May 11, 2016 at 3:13 am

There are many reasons why an atheist would convert to Catholicism, whether the reasons are acceptable to another or not. In fact, some of the reasons may not even be completely acceptable to the one who is converting, but who says humans only make rational decisions? Fact is, most of our decisions either have a major emotional base, or a completely emotional base to them.

Among the many reasons (I was going to write “hundreds of reasons” but then I’d have to list them all), are the “homesick” ones, as in “coming home” where a former Catholic felt so homesick that they felt compelled to return.

Others may include the after-affects of positive exposure, magnified by the particular state of mind/emotion that the person evolved to (made more sensitive/needy after years of “searching”).

Selective Acceptance is another reason where the general aspect of being a member of the club becomes important enough to ignore some of the less acceptable aspects of membership, out of real psychological need.

Attraction to opposites. Yes, this can happen and happens all the time. It’s a form of identity confusion and may take on sexually based relief due to the underlying power issues (cross dressing is but one of many examples, though it’s rarely permanent (and therein lies some of its preference). Maybe she gets turned on when other consider her Catholic now. I mean the word “Catholic” does sound sexy, especially the last part of the word. And then there’s the Catholic Fetish aspects. I rest my case here.

Exhaustion in the search for meaning and truth where, at its extreme point, one just willfully gives up the fight, as in “if you can’t fight them, join them.”

Rationalization, similar to Selective Acceptance, but more broad based in that, even the negatives are acceptable via the artful use of rationalization, conscious or otherwise.

Exploration, similar to “method acting” where one, out of an extremely curiosity driven intellect, decides to live out the other side, just to get in touch with a feeling one can’t seem to obtain otherwise. Sort of like the fascination some people feel when considering what it would be like to “body switch”. In fact films and stories have been written to satisfy the fantasy. With Catholicism one can actually obtain and live in the body of Jesus, or at least other’s will think so, and for the explorer, that is the coolest thing, really. This, too, may have some base in sexuality.

I really can go on. There’s even the old, plain one that most of you seem to believe, that she simply had an awakening, or some sort of finding of truth, or figured out a way to mend her cognitive dissonance, or that she really changed her way of previously thinking.

It does happen. In fact, I’ll bet. when some of you are engaged in the height of sexual fantasy/play, that you haven’t felt that “melding” turn-on. Take that melding concept to religion and, well, there you have it! :)
As for why Catholicism. Well, besides its sexy name (read above) it’s very ritualistic and the rules are very certain and clear (read the Catechism if you can) and the popular concept of its old school extremes help to fulfill the extreme in fantasy for all those, so far, described here.

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