June 22nd, 2012
11:27 AM ET

Prominent atheist blogger converts to Catholicism

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – She went from atheist to Catholic in just over 1,000 words.

Leah Libresco, who’d been a prominent atheist blogger for the religion website Patheos, announced on her blog this week that after years of debating many “smart Christians,” she has decided to become one herself, and that she has begun the process of converting to Catholicism.

Libresco, who had long blogged under the banner “Unequally Yoked: A geeky atheist picks fights with her Catholic boyfriend,” said that at the heart of her decision were questions of morality and how one finds a moral compass.

“I had one thing that I was most certain of, which is that morality is something we have a duty to,” Libresco told CNN in an interview this week, a small cross dangling from her neck. “And it is external from us. And when push came to shove, that is the belief I wouldn’t let go of. And that is something I can’t prove.”

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According to a Patheos post she wrote on Monday, entitled “This is my last post for the Patheos Atheist Portal,” she began to see parts of Christianity and Catholicism that fit her moral system. Though she now identifies as a Catholic, Libresco questions certain aspects of Catholicism, including the church’s positions on homosexuality, contraception and some aspects of religious liberty.

“There was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth,” Libresco wrote about Catholicism in her conversion announcement post, which has been shared over 18,000 times on Facebook. “I asked my friend what he suggests we do now, and we prayed the night office of the Liturgy of the Hours together.”

At the end of the post, Libresco announces that she is in a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults class and is preparing for baptism. She will continue to blog for Patheos, but under the banner, “A geeky convert picks fights in good faith.”

According to Dan Welch, director of marketing for Patheos, Libresco’s post has received around 150,000 page views so far.

“Leah's blog has gotten steadily more popular since she arrived at Patheos, but a typical post on her blog is probably closer to the range of 5,000 page views,” Welch wrote in an email. “Even now, a few days later, her blog is probably getting 20-30 times its normal traffic.”

Libresco’s announcement has left some atheists scratching their heads.

“I think atheists were surprised that she went with Catholicism, which seems like a very specific choice,” Hemant Mehta, an atheist blogger at Patheos, told CNN. “I have a hard time believing how someone could jump from I don’t believe in God to a very specific church and a very specific God.”

Mehta says that Libresco’s conversion is a “one-off thing” and not something that signals any trend in atheism. “The trends are very clear, the conversions from Catholicism to atheism are much more likely to happen than the other way around,” he said.

But while atheists were puzzled by the conversion, others commended Libresco.

“I know I’ve prayed for her conversion several times, always thinking she would make a great Catholic,” wrote Brandon Vogt, a Catholic blogger. “And with this news, it looks like that will happen. Today heaven is roaring with joy.”

Thomas L. McDonald, a Catholic Patheos blogger, welcomed Libresco to the fold: “Welcome. I know this was hard, and will continue to be so. Don’t worry if the Catholics make it as for difficult for you as the atheists. We only do it to people we love.”

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Libresco says one of the most common questions she has received is how she'll deal with atheists now.

“The great thing about a lot of the atheist and skeptic community is that people talk more critically about ideas and want to see proof provided,” Libresco said. “That kind of analytical thinking is completely useful and the Catholic Church doesn’t need to and should not be afraid of because if you’ve got the facts on your side, you hope they win.”

Libresco is just switching the side she thinks the facts are on.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Catholic Church

soundoff (7,475 Responses)
  1. rtbrno65

    She'll convert from Catholicism to something else in a year or two. She'll probably be a Buddhist by this time next year. To be enough of a militant atheist to go on line and push it on people, and then to discard all that and assume a religious faith, shows a weakly founded belief system.

    June 25, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Frank

      Looks like she just adopts the faith of her current boyfriend. I don't know how one goes from lacking a belief in a deity to the mammoth leap to adopting a set of obvious myths.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Doc Vestibule's Non-Working Cat

      While I agree that she will change her beliefs again (especially after she discovers the reality of Catholic morals), she was way too mild in her writings to be considered militant. And she really wasn't pushing it, because readers would have to actively search for atheist bloggers to even find her – she was incredibly obscure prior to this (shame on you CNN for claiming otherwise)

      Weakly-founded belief system – yes, that is pretty undeniable. Based of abstruse abstractions, as is her new choice.

      I would also advise Buddhism as her ultimate choice if she must be religious. Buddhist morality is VASTLY superior to Western religions like Christianity and Islam. It's still bullsh!t, but it is superior bullsh!t.

      June 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  2. AGuest9

    So, why is this piece of op-ed higher up on the home page than the new Egyptian president urging unity in a country on the verge of civil war, and the story of the brave park ranger who gave his life for another on Mount Rainier?

    June 25, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  3. Marlon The Great


    June 25, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  4. Fufu

    I love checking in here once a month or so and seeing the same angry "atheists" in here making their hateful, sarcastic and demeaning comments. Sort of weird to spend all your time commenting on something you don't even believe in.....

    June 25, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • J.R.

      Personallly, I love posting the same comment on every article in the belief blog. We should form a club.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • AGuest9

      Sad when people want lies like a "young earth" and that "evolution is a myth" or that "some god caused" the big bang taught to their children in their schools, paid for by their tax dollars.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Fufu

      J.R. your contribution to the discussion is very valuable. Thanks for the feedback.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • ImIsaid

      WHAT!! We are not allowed to read now ! we are not allowed to comment ! We are to say mushrooms growing in the s8it of believers. WRONG There are no more hateful, degrading comments on here from Atheists than Theists. Remember buddy our rights are the same. I'm on here because learning never ceases, and I like to be informed, whether is Atheism or Theism. You just seem to hate us because you CANNOT answer a simple question, proof? So I'm educating myself on the teeney weeney little bits of information that they struggle with, as proof. STILL ATHEIST.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      I think it's funny Christians wants everyone to pay attention to their religion, they want it included in laws and gov't and public school, they put up billboards and have TV channels deicated to it. And then when atheists pay attention they say "you shouldn't even care why not just ignore us".

      News update, you are impossible to ignore, when you want attention so bad not all of it is going to be positive.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • motherearth

      She is still Atheist, you are so easily fooled. She still has the same belief so she has no conscience for changing her stance for money. She knows she will not be punished for lying and cheating for a few extra bucks, like the church does. She was PROMINENT,? then why is it so many Atheists and myself, never heard of her? She is doing this simply to line her pockets, and we all fall into the trap. Look at the instant fame and offers to her. You think any religion cares about 1 person, NOT! But they know with 1 ex-Atheist as their token proof of god, her 1 dollar will bring in thousands of people with 1 dollar each. Good old religion, the biggest scam that ever existed.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Fufu

      It's great to just sit back and let the responses validate my original post......

      June 25, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Deb

      Once your damn cults stop using my tax dollars to fund their unproven theories, I will not give one hoot what you do to each other, but my money inadvertently gets spent on something I have no use for. Then you can say why are we commenting on here !

      June 25, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Fufu

      Get it all out, Deb. Let that anger flow.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Voice of Reason


      Every time you open that mouth of yours you validate your ignorance and misinformation.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Fufu

      VoR I am actually typing, no mouth opening involved......

      June 25, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Frank

      If 90% of people believed in fairies and votes and meddles in public policy based on this belief then we would be here harping on that as well.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Cq

      About 60% of Americans admit to being superst.itious about something. Should we all have our black cats put to sleep if these folks organized and all said we should?

      June 25, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  5. DearbornGuy

    Gotta be honest, atheist folks. I'm astounded ... astounded ... at that hate, contempt and all-out disgust so many of you are showing Leah, or anyone who dares be happy for her. If you are all-knowing, all-powerful, all-:reasonable" as you so proclaim so loudly and vehemently here in these posts, then why the hate? If she's wrong, and you're right, so be it. If she's right, and you're wrong, so be it. Did she do anything wrong to you, except change her mind to a belief that BILLIONS of people have also believed? "Don't shove your religion down out throats" has been spouted more than once in these pages. How about you don't shove your hate down her's and other's? Goes both ways, ya' know? I have a family member who is a "devout atheist", and the thing that always astounds me is the hate and disgust for believers. I don't get it. She chooses to believe. Many of you choose not to. If she lives a good life, great. If you do, great. Everyone wins.

    June 25, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      First-off numbnuts, being an atheist is not a religion, we do not claim to be all knowing (actually just the opposite), never once claimed to be all powerful but the reasoning part is the bane of our debates because the religious are not reasoning, they are being emotional and make baseless claims. This is issue that we cannot accept, it is their intolerance to logic and critical thinking. Your post is so untrue but typical. Just because we disagree with you doesn't mean their is hate. But when a person stands on the ground of something that is destructive and unproven and claims it is the truth that's when we have to draw the line. But, you know what? You don't see it that way, right?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      >>>"Just because we disagree with you doesn't mean their is hate. But when a person stands on the ground of something that is destructive and unproven and claims it is the truth that's when we have to draw the line."

      Interesting a person who declares that it is just standing ground and not hate begins his post by name calling. Voice, I think you just proved Dearborn's point.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Dunk

      Philosophers proved a long long time ago, you can't disprove the non-existence of anything.

      Atheism is logically incoherent.

      The most you can rationally claim to be is a skeptical agnostic.

      But like DearbornGuy said, a lot of the atheists here are not defined by reason. A lot of the atheists are defined by anger, bitterness, vitriol, and insecurity. These posts are evidence.

      Perhaps atheists, the angry ones, will angrily jump on this post as well.

      There are a few reasonable atheists here. Their well thought out posts are a joy to read. You can tell they are quietly frustrated at the lack of civility from other atheists.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Mark From Middle River

      No, Dearbornguy made is own point in his first couple of sentences by claiming something that is not true. "All-knowing, All-poweful, All-reasonable.
      You people just don't get it, that's the problem here. And by the way, grow-up about name-calling please.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      "Philosophers proved a long long time ago, you can't disprove the non-existence of anything.
      Atheism is logically incoherent."

      So, I guess philosophers have all the answers? Fail.

      How is atheism logically incoherent? How is being without god incoherent? I would tend to think the believer is logically incoherent, but that's just me, go figure!

      June 25, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      >>>"You people just don't get it, that's the problem here. And by the way, grow-up about name-calling please."

      What do we not get ... that if you are a Atheist you are allowed to insult with name calling anyone that does not hold Atheist views?

      Time for you to grow up Voice. If you have to open up with insults and name calling, your argument was weak from the first sentence.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Matthew

      Perhaps one of the reasons that the commenter above cites the hatred that exudes from so many atheist sources is an opening statement that includes the word “numbnuts”? I love how you and so many other atheist / agnostic individuals accuse “believers” of acting in emotional, unscientific ways, yet it is often your side that fails to debate in a coherent, logical, and civil manner. I have been in countless debates where I provide sound, well-reasoned, fully supported and cited arguments in favor of the theist worldview just to be berated by self-fashioned “atheists” who fail to intelligently defend their position. Based upon my experience, it is all too often the atheist / agnostic audience that poses emotional, baseless, illogical arguments that show a lack of actual critical thinking. It is your intolerant post, good sir, which is “typical” in this debate.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Dunk, many things cannot be proven, do you therefore believe those others things to be actually true? Of course not. You need to understand that most atheists don't believe in a god, but that does not mean we are claiming 'there is no god' . There is a big difference.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Voice of Reason


      You religious types, the oh so righteous ones, the intellectual theists, the philosophers, every single one of you make claims that you cannot prove. There is no debate. If there is, where is it? You claim there is a god? Prove it. I'm without god, until there is proof why in the world should anyone make claims? Thoughtful, thought provoking debate and conversation? Give me a break. I've been on both sides of this so called debate and the atheist side makes perfect sense in this natural world. If you do not agree with or you dislike my way of conversing then don't respond. The last time I checked this is an open forum, right?

      June 25, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Dunk


      You wrote "So, I guess philosophers have all the answers? Fail."

      If atheists don't read philosophy to inform them on ethics, society, & ontology then where do you turn for answers?

      Magic 8 ball?

      Voiceofreason. Where does your voice of reason come from, if not philosophers? Who? Answer that.

      Answer it.

      You can't.

      You've painted yourself in corner.

      You're done.


      June 25, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Matthew

      “You need to understand that most atheists don't believe in a god, but that does not mean we are claiming 'there is no god'.” This statement is false by definition. Per the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, atheism is defined as, “the denial of the existence of God.” This is clearly different from a lack of belief in God. If the trace the term back to its roots, you will find that atheism is properly understood as a positive claim to knowledge that God does not exist. Too many “modern” atheists fail to understand this concept or try to sidestep this issue by creating terms such as “strong” and “weak” atheism. A lack of belief in God is traditionally distinct from the atheist worldview and occupies a somewhat muddled space somewhere between agnosticism and atheism.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • eyeofHorus

      @Dunk......how does your brain work, really? No one sits around trying to prove the non-existence of anything. Who ya kidding. We are simply stating the person making a statement of the existence of something bring forth their proof. We just don't think of something and try to prove we are right of it's nothingness. Really think faster than your fingers type.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Deb

      @Dunk...yeah right I'll get it out, when my money doesn't get used by people like you...You are pretty lame to think that you would have no morals if you didn't read what you should do. Morals have been around as long as men formed tribes. With evolving, so did a new set of morals. Philosophers did not set our morals nor did the bible, silly. If you think without reading or being told how to act you would be a rapist, murdered, thief, then you my friend are still a Neanderthal.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Matthew


      “You religious types, the oh so righteous ones, the intellectual theists, the philosophers, every single one of you make claims that you cannot prove. There is no debate. If there is, where is it?” If you are asking me to provide evidence here for the existence of God, my reply would be that such a discussion is a tad difficult to have on a forum such as this that is quite limited in terms of functionality and comment length. However, the main point that I was trying to make is that I object to you blindly asserting that “believers” cannot furnish logical, well-reasoned arguments in support of their position. Why must you take such an antagonistic stance and tone? Why assume ignorance and ill will on the part of the opposition when such has not been concretely demonstrated?

      It seems to me that the natural state of ignorance in reference to the question of the existence of God should lead one to adopt an agnostic viewpoint, not the atheist worldview. As an illustration, if I were to point to a closed box sitting on the floor and asked you if the box contained a football, your natural response (assuming no prior knowledge) ought to be, “I do not know.” The atheist perspective would have one respond, “no, there is no football in the box until you have proven to me that there is.” From my point of view, this is a very hostile and pompous manner of reasoning.

      While I would hesitate to engage in a full-out debate of theism vs. atheism on this forum for reasons that I have already stated, I would be interested in hearing your response to the traditional ontological and moral arguments in favor of the existence of God as well as the argument from contingency. Perhaps this may serve as the basis for a rational discussion on the topic?

      June 25, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Cq

      I use to be astonished by all the people who believed that everyone who disagreed with their opinions about God somehow deserved to be tortured for eternity, but I've sadly gotten use to it.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  6. CB Pfeiffer

    Check out the column Religious Skepticism Examiner. Some 300 columns, all of a skepticical or atheistic theme. Good reading, good information, good fun.

    June 25, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  7. p41

    No news here, a catholic is an atheist. All catholics do is say a quick hale-mary after murdering someone. The catholics are simple mafia people. The italians, hispanics, other caucasians, and a handful of blacks. Again, no news here.

    June 25, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Wow! Look at the bigot!

      June 25, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  8. Roger

    Morality is within us. At the age of 6 I learned what "keeping up with the Jones'" meant. Immediately it occurred to me what a stupid and wrong thing that is. Christians call this covetousness. I knew wrong from right at a very young age and didn't have to have it taught to me. It seems to me that some people need to have the rules of common decency written down so they can refer back to them, and others understand common decency inherently. I've made it to age 50 and never once had to be threatened with 'eternal damnation' to continue to be a decent man. You can too.

    June 25, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Cq

      Good post! 🙂

      June 25, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Dunk

      I'm not saying atheists can't understand morality.

      I'm asking, why do atheists say hurting a human who will just go back to being dirt is any more immoral than kicking actual dirt. Why, in the grand scheme of things, does it matter?

      If an asteroid comes & wipes out Earth & all life on the planet, why should the universe care?

      The universe won't. Atheists can't explain why it should.

      Atheists can't explain how morality is anything more than a neurological illusion.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Cq

      Weren't our bodies created from materials coming from food our mothers digested? Didn't we grow using materials from food we ourselves digested? When we die our bodies do go back to the earth, become ingested by other organisms, and end up back in the food cycle, yes?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Voice of Reason


      I don't have a clue what the heck you are saying but the morality part. Morality is a social evolutionary product. It was born via natural selection as a way to interact within groups. It has nothing to to with your so called god or religion. Religion uses the product of morality to further its control over people. Religion and god is a scam, the biggest ever perpetrated on humankind.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Dunk

      @CQ – all you've described is less entropy. By random, I don't mean a higher state of organization. I mean random, as in meaningless.

      If you're going to push up grass when you die, why do you matter any more than grass right now? You don't.

      You don't matter moments after you die. That means it's a lie to say you matter now. You disagree, emotionally. But rationally, do you have an answer?

      Sure George Washington, Alexander the Great are remembered, but do you think they know/care that they're remembered? They're grass, dirt & perhaps a little bit of fossil fuel now.

      Random. Meaningless.

      Again, explain how morality is not just a neurological illusion.

      Why does anything matter?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • ????

      "Atheists can't explain how morality is anything more than a neurological illusion."

      Sure they can, because it's not.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth


      If the only thing keeping you from assault and murder is your religious belief than by all means keep believing. Personally I can reason that causing less harm to others actually helps me in the lng run.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Cq

      Your belief in God is just a part of what gives your life meaning, right? If you didn't have God to believe in wouldn't you still find meaning in your life through your friends and family? Wouldn't you still have your work and pass times to stimulate you? Would music, art and play lose their appeal? We all find things to give our lives meaning.

      I'll still matter after I die because I'll leave behind people who love me, and so will you. I'm sorry if their feelings are meaningless to you, or that you somehow need more to give your life meaning. We're sentient beings on this planet, but not the only ones. The whales, the dolphins and other apes may think of themselves as much as we think of ourselves. If you believe that we have an eternal soul how can you tell if they don't have one as well?

      June 25, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Dunk

      @Just Claims, No Truth – if you're just random particles, then "harm" is a meaningless concept. "Harm" is just an increase in entropy. Random particles do not care about states of organization or entropy. Entropic state is not a moral issue.

      Again, morality is just brain waves for atheists. Why is one set of brain waves more right than another?

      Atheists can't explain why in a situation with two people who disagree on morals, one person can be wrong, and one person can be right.

      One bag of random particles is not more right another.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Cq

      Just Claims, No Truth
      Some people have good self-control and others don't, I suppose. People like Dunk seem to believe that morality is like alcoholism, that we all need to be in "Sinners Anonymous" just to keep us from slipping completely into full-blown, hedonistic, rampages. I've been to Church where parishioners have gotten up and testified just how terrible they were/ are as people without their faith to keep them in check.

      It's the prodigal son effect; they value mean sons of ___ who manage to control themselves (most of the time) by regular church attendance more than the meek souls who never hurt a fly in their whole lives, and would continue to if they never set foot in another church in their whole lives. But, like the fact that not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic, not everyone who lives has trouble controlling themselves.

      Christianity is being sold as the only cure to immorality, and that everyone is terminally ill with it, but this is simply not the case.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Cq

      "Why is one set of brain waves more right than another?"
      Why is Christian morality more right than any other religion's morality, or our atheistic morality?

      June 25, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth


      You are setting up a false dichotomy, saying we are either just particles or there is a god and specifically your god are not the only options. My life does have meaning without a belief in a god. My life affects all my family, friends and people that I interact with everyday. I define my life, it is not defined by some flawed version of an unproven god people asserted 2000 years ago. If you accept beliefs that others tell you is true. they are not really your beliefs are they?

      June 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Dunk

      @CQ – stop assuming I'm a Christian.

      Come up with real argument instead of diverting.

      June 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Cq

      Well, if your not a Christian then why is whatever your religion's moral code better than any other?

      Concerning all this "randomness" you see in our arguments, how random was your parent's choice to have you? Not everyone is the product of some casual one night stand, and even then people usually have their reasons to jump in the sack with someone specifically. Organisms don't breed as randomly as you might suppose, and why would you suppose that doesn't go all the way back t the earliest forms?

      June 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  9. Ray Evans

    Opportunistic shill...

    June 25, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Dunk

      She's a shill because you disagree with her?

      Atheists say they have a monopoly on logic – which is fine. The arguments are complex. It's easy for all sides to think they're right.

      But atheists claim to have a monopoly on open-mindedness and tolerance.

      Clearly not.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  10. Alverant

    1) She was not prominent.
    2) Why aren't there stories when a catholic blogger turns to Atheism?

    Once again christian privilige rears its ugly head.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Mark From Middle River


      Not Catholic but the Belief Blog editors offered this article a week ago. As I said, its all a game to them and we are the toys to them. Its like the Belief Blog editors are just setting in a office at CNN searching the net for any story that they feel will cause both sides to be at each others throats.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Cq

      There are simply too many Catholics and other Christians becoming atheist to make it rare enough to be newsworthy like this case, perhaps?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Dunk


      Read #2.

      It's because atheists come out like packs of wolves.

      You atheists, not the religious, drive the web traffic here.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Cq

      This blog is set up to stimulate discussion of religion, something that most atheists are keen for. Perhaps what you don't like is the fact that people are discussing your beliefs, and not just accepting them without consideration? Does this frighten you?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Nethaniel

      I know. Good for her and whatnot, but this notion of "prominence" in the atheist community? I hardly think so. I've been an active atheist for a decade and read all sorts of atheist blogs and I've never heard of this lady. Dawkins, Harris, Dennet, that doushe that runs the Atheist Coalition that puts up all the rude billboards, Hitchens...those are prominent atheists.

      This lady is the equivalent of the local priest in training in some parish you might have heard of but never been to leaving the faith, not a bishop or high-ranking Vatican official.

      She's a blogger who fell in love with a Catholic guy and adopted his religion while still denouncing half all based on the flimsy idea that she had a predetermination that "morality" is "external" to man based on essentially nothing other than she believes it. Even now, she's not actually saying "I believe in Catholicism." She didn't have a major spiritual conversion. She's saying "It was the closest match for what I'd already determined to be true and it is still wrong on this, this, this, and this other point." Sounds like a solid "convert" to me.


      June 25, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  11. Dunk

    All you atheists need to calm down. Your clamor proves the contradiction you live.

    You say people are just random particles. You're dirt and when you die, you go back to being random particles.

    "Common sense" and "logic" then dictate that your lives have no meaning. Your confused morals have no meaning.

    Meaning and morality are illusions caused by neurons and hormones. When you die, the illusion will end.

    Just chill out.

    You are not more than the sum the dirt that makes you.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Alverant

      "You say people are just random particles."
      No we don't.

      "Common sense" and "logic" then dictate that your lives have no meaning.
      No it doesn't.

      Your confused morals have no meaning.
      No we're not.

      You need to stop lying about Atheists.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Dunk

      @Alverant – if you're not made up of random particles, what are you made out of? Special atheist pixie dust that brings meaning & morality to dirt?

      Please explain what atheists say they're made out of if not random particles of dirt.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You're confused, sir.
      It is the Bible that says man is made of dirt and that females are clones grown from the first male's rib.
      Gen 2.6 "Then the LORD God fashioned the human from the soil, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the human became a living creature."

      June 25, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Roger

      Dear Dunk: You're putting words in people's mouths then telling them how wrong those words are. While that seems a fine basis for fooling millions of people into following your beliefs, it doesn't work on people who are smarter and wiser than you.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Dunk

      Argue Argue Argue

      I SAID: Can an atheist explain what they're made out of if not random particles?

      But you can't.

      Therefore you claim intelligence & wisdom without ever demonstrating it.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • rtbrno65

      Why does life have to have a meaning?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Trumpy

      "Your clamor proves the contradiction you live."

      And your use of hyperbolic logical fallacies proves yours.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Cq

      If God wanted us to believe in him he would change reality (make a miracle, or sign) to facilitate that, right? So, why are you so upset that so many people don't share your opinions? We're part of God's plan, right? Chill out! 🙂

      June 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  12. fousheezy

    I'm confused as to how this is news worthy of CNN, even in the religion section. Like the above comments stated, this person was not a "prominent" atheist, and the fact that she changed her mind isn't news. The tone in this article that this somehow indicates that atheism is wrong is just plain offensive.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Wow, now you know how the Faithful here feel when the Belief Blog editors find some minister or pastor and declare they are known through out the Christian community.

      >>>"The tone in this article that this somehow indicates that atheism is wrong is just plain offensive."

      Welcome to the Belief Blog club .... if it will cause you to post because you feel insulted then CNNs objective is complete.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • rtbrno65

      i've never even heard of this woman until now.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  13. Old Soldier

    Prominent atheist blogger! I live on the atheist blogosphere and have never heard of her.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • AGuest9

      No... Top atheist blogger, according to the top of the page. LOL.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Trumpy

      Yep, never heard of this lady. Her conversion may be a valid discussion story for CNN's Belief Blog, but the hyperbole of her "prominence" is a disservice to all.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  14. Sue

    She could only find morality in religion and more specifically, Roman catholics? Yikers. How do you explain that every tale of morality in the bible was told LONG before that book or the old testament was written? Morality is human based – period. She should have grabbed a better excuse.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  15. Star Performer

    Search planet.infowars.com for FAST LEARNERS!
    If you're a fast learner, you know how to get there already!
    Amen at last!

    June 25, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • atheist@heart

      How can you set up a group called FAST LEARNERS?
      It doesn't even sound nasty!
      You certainly know your stuff!

      June 25, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  16. Sue

    Having read her blog before and now viewing her on CNN, I doubt she was ever an actual atheist. She always defended religion and even her claims now hint at a finding of faith that was always inside her versus converting from something she believed in. I am sure followers of magic will be happy with her new path, but actual thinkers won't be surprised by the revelation.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Cq

      Yes, and C.S. Lewis was never really an atheist either. He went through an atheist phase in his life when he was young and experimental, but lots of people go through something similar at that age. Funny how none of his writing from that period circulates, isn't it?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Trumpy

      I've gone back and read a few of her articles and she does sound more "non-religious" than actual "atheist."

      That is to say that she didn't find a religion that matched up with her ideas enough and therefore didn't follow one, but that the mere fact she always felt morality was "external" means that she had to always consider some sort of external source. And while she could be an atheist and think of that source as a non-god, the way she writes about it clearly shows she's always been quite open to the idea that it may be a god as well. Granted, that still doesn't make her "not an atheist" as at the time she might not have technically believed in a god, but it clearly puts her in the soft atheist camp and quite ready to convert if she had even the slightest reason to.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Dunk

      Cmon CQ, do you really think there's a Christian conspiracy to suppress CS Lewis' atheist writings or do you think that maybe the stuff didn't circulate because it wasn't as noteworthy? C'mon People. Breathe a little.

      You guys sound exactly like Christians. Christians always say "he converted so he was never a real Christian." You guys say "she was never a real atheist."

      Your fervor is the same as religious people.

      At least religious people know what they believe can't be proven.

      What atheists claim has been disproven by philosophers and yet you clamor.

      It's hilarious. Keep it coming. My sides are splitting here.

      June 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Cq

      "maybe the stuff didn't circulate because it wasn't as noteworthy?"
      Ah, that was exactly what I was implying. If he was such a persuasive writer then you'd think his writing as an atheist would be as impressive, but it obviously wasn't, because we atheists would be matching the man's quotes with Christians, right? Isn't that pretty convincing evidence that he really wasn't all that into atheism?

      "At least religious people know what they believe can't be proven."
      Are ... you ... kidding!?! Would a sane person go around protesting people's rights and telling unbelievers what Jesus will do to them unless they were dead certain that they were right? You'd have to be pretty perverse to do that, wouldn't you?

      June 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  17. AGuest9

    The best part of this "controversy" is the glee that believers express at this. Again, they truly don't understand. A freethinker doesn't require a Dawkins, a Sagan, a Hitchens or a Hawking to know that religion is a collection of falsehoods.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Funny, we Faithful do not require TD Jakes, Joel Olsteen, or any of the others so called major pastors to fulfill our Faith in God.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Cq

      Mark From Middle River
      However, without those guys Christianity wouldn't be the multi-billion dollar industry that it is today, right?

      June 25, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  18. CommonSense

    So some random atheist who really wasn't an atheist decided to change belief systems and it's news... Swing and a miss there. Try again when a Catholic Bishop switches or something. Some no name person on the internet looking for religion in their life deciding to turn to it is not news.

    June 25, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • AGuest9

      They are just deflecting the news that people are leaving churches of all forms by the thousands.

      June 25, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      According a Atheist blogger here, the churches... including the Catholic churches, are still growing. So they maybe leaving but it appears they repent and come back 🙂

      June 25, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Cq

      Mark From Middle River
      Or, believers are raising their children to be believers, and they are counted as such until many of them grow independent and feel comfortable enough to admit that they don't believe any more?

      June 25, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • AGuest9

      Mark, I can, off the top of my head, count on one hand the number of churches that have closed in the past two years in just one diocese, on top of that, several elementary schools and one high school. I'm not sure where you get your information that the church is growing. The only one's I see are the fleeting school auditorium and shopping mall meeting room congregations and the gigantic charismatic churches with people falling on the floor babbling during the services, whose congregants are in serious need of mental health professionals.

      June 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  19. Reality

    Only for the eyes of Leah:

    21st century conclusions about all religions:

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    June 25, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  20. Novakation

    Prominent? never heard of her. Turns catholic? really don't think this is news. And really don't care. BS story anyway.

    June 25, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      >>>"Prominent? never heard of her. Turns catholic? really don't think this is news."


      When Jerry DeWitt converted to Atheism and it was posted as an article here on the Belief Blog, the Faithful said the same thing you said in wondering who this guy was and why was it news worthy.

      The Belief Blog editors just want us to fight. Its like the conflicting studies they post as articles. We are their entertainment Novakation. Its just that simple.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:31 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.