We’ve lost an atheist blogger…to Catholicism


Leah Libresco, atheist blogger behind Unequally Yoked, has just announced that she’s converting to Catholicism.

…Um…what the fuck?

I love Leah, and I’ll continue to be friends with her and have fun discussing Harry Potter genetics over dinner. But being friends with someone doesn’t mean you stop telling them when they’re wrong, so:

Leah, you’re wrong.

I’m seriously disappointed. Of all religions to join, you choose Catholicism? One of the most despicable, nonsensical, homophobic, misogynistic religions on the planet? Because of its system of morality? I could understand saying you’re converting to deism or unitarianism or maybe even buddhism, but Catholicism?

I know some people will say I’m an asshole for not being supportive of her personal decision…but that’s not how friendship works in my mind. When my friends make terrible decisions, I don’t shut up about it.

What’s really scary is how dozens of Catholics are flocking to the comments of her posts, gushing about how happy they are that she’s come home. Providing social incentive to adhere to certain beliefs? Nope, nothin’ culty about that. Seriously grosses me out.

EDIT: Please no “She was never a True Atheist” idiotic arguments.

Comments

  1. says

    Hold on, Jen. About that last paragraph, don’t you think if a high-profile religious blogger deconverted to atheism we would be really welcoming and excited? It’s not culty, it’s human.

  2. says

    It’s still fair game for criticism. And I’ll go so far to say any woman who converts to Catholicism is a quisling to her gender. Seriously.

  3. "Michelle" says

    In all fairness, if a staunch Catholic became an atheist, we’d probably be just as enthusiastic (at least, I know I would be).

    Absolutely agreed otherwise, though. I’m sure she’s done a lot of research, but hopefully at some point she’ll realize that the horrendous social positions of Catholicism are not worth whatever moral comfort she gets out of it.

  4. says

    While I disagree with her choice, I can fully understand the pain and the struggle of trying to work out what you believe. I was a christian up until 18 months ago and I was close to suicide when I lost my faith. Even now it is still painful and although rationally I know I have made the right choice I still wonder if emotionally I could be dragged back to christianity, or even back to catholicism.

    Just don’t give her too hard a time over what can be a really difficult choice.

  5. says

    Well, I certainly won’t be on the list that thinks it’s asshole-ish. It’s much more important to respect people than beliefs, and picking a fight is respect — it means you care about someone and want to lead them out of error.

    I’ll be trying to address some of the reasons you’re reacting in horror in subsequent posts, but they’re a lot for a comment section.

    Looking forward to the conversation,
    Leah

    P.S. Yeah, some Catholic bloggers sent people over to buck me up, but all the support makes it a lot harder to find the criticism comments, which are obviously the ones I’m looking for in comments triage!

  6. carlie says

    They argue that moral dispositions are evolutionarily triumphant over selfishness, or they talk about group selection, or something else. Usually, these proposed solutions radically misunderstand a) evolution b) moral philosophy or c) both.

    That’s… some pretty weak sauce. Her qualifications for assuming that all of the arguments that social cohesion is evolutionarily beneficial is… what now?

  7. baal says

    I don’t really understand how one can go from not believing in ghosts, alien abductions, and magic to accepting transubstantiation and male priests who are the only ones able to tell you what the biggest ghost of all wants.

  8. says

    It was the way they said things. They formed it emotionally like she was “coming home,” not that she had made a rational decision. That’s manipulative. Maybe atheists would do it, but it would still creep me out.

  9. Adam says

    I think that pretty much describes the tribal mind: we all do this because we are drawn to create and/or sustain whatever we consider our tribe to be, whether that’s based on religion or race or nation or something smaller or something larger. So you’re about right on that. What would be most uncomfortable to me is not so much a welcoming message, but one of disdain for anyone who did not convert.

  10. Adam says

    I am not sure that Catholicism can really be accurately painted this way. The “flock,” so to speak, is usually very different than their leaders. I don’t have statistics, only anecdotal evidence, but I have met Christians who are just downright vile towards LGBT and I have also met Christians who are quite nice and loving to all. Catholics I have met seem more on the latter end, whereas just about every other Christian sect seems the former.

    That’s not to say converting to Catholicism is right. I personally think it’s a step down in intellect. But I also don’t think the entire religion, or even most of it, can be painted as “One of the most despicable, nonsensical, homophobic, misogynistic religions on the planet.” Christianity, on the other hand, maybe.

  11. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    You don’t see some SMALL difference between those?

  12. Lindsay says

    Yeah, wow, I can understand why you’re puzzled at the choice. Going from atheism to Catholicism is a pretty giant leap. Not one I could ever see myself making in good conscience. Just because you may agree with certain philsophical elements of the church doesn’t mean you need to convert :/ it’s like me registering as Libertarian simply because I agree with a few of their platform beliefs while I diverge on most of the others (and dislike them as a group, to boot!).

    What *really* grosses me out are all of the comments over there. I get they’re supposed to be encouraging and sweet, but it just … makes me feel entirely uneasy. Probably because they’re all rooted in “omg one of them evil atheists done converted to the right side see see god exists right guys” condescension/ass-patting.

  13. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I am not sure that Catholicism can really be accurately painted this way. The “flock,” so to speak, is usually very different than their leaders.

    But not different enough to not give them money and do lip service to obeying them…

  14. Adam says

    That’s a bit difficult to argue about because I would say that there are many reasons the “flock” might not even know or care what their leaders are doing, which is not isolated to Catholicism.

    To be clear, I’m not defending organized religion at all.

  15. says

    While I respect that you have to go where your beliefs take you… Catholicism wouldn’t be my first choice either.

    Catholicisms teachings and actions on subjects like abortion, birth control, homosexuality, how they’ve handled aids in Africa, have all really despicable to my mind. Not to mention their self serving and appalling handling of sexual abuse in the church. Their take on ethics frankly seem to care more about themselves then improving peoples lives.

  16. unbound says

    I’m with Jen on this…of all the religions, Catholicism? It makes me wonder if Leah has been paying attention to number and scope of the scandals they’ve been complicit in (and it is a lot).

  17. Gnumann says

    I am not sure that Catholicism can really be accurately painted this way. The “flock,” so to speak, is usually very different than their leaders. I don’t have statistics, only anecdotal evidence, but I have met Christians who are just downright vile towards LGBT and I have also met Christians who are quite nice and loving to all. Catholics I have met seem more on the latter end, whereas just about every other Christian sect seems the former.

    There is one serious flaw with this: Hierarchy is one of the core tenets of the cat-lickers. You can’t be a good cat-licker without viewing Benny-the-rat as the supreme being on Earth.

    So, in many ways – cat-licking is Benny-the-rat and his predecessors.

    Individual people self-ascribing to cat-licking might be good people, but that is not by design of the religion.

  18. jamessweet says

    Yep, me too. I have been to a couple of UU services and one Quaker service, and I’ll tell ya, I find only a few tidbits here and there that are objectionable on a philosophical level. (On a personal level, the UU services creeped me the fuck out, but that’s just because, in addition to being an atheist, I also don’t like church — I didn’t even when I was a believer. Orthogonal issues) You could transition from humanism to UU or Quaker, and barely notice a change.

    But Catholicism??? Weird.

    It’s clear that Leah was just never truly touched by His Noodly Appendage. I also don’t believe for a minute that she was born in Scotland.

  19. says

    Going to play the dark horse bet here and wait for the eventual reveal that this was either a ploy to troll one side or another, or be construed as a “social experiment”.

    Either way, I’m generally more curious why someone converted or deconverted rather than that it happened. The latter doesn’t establish truth, just popularity.

  20. Josh, Official SpokesKraftDinner says

    I’m sorry for Leah that her brain fell out. But I’m much, much more sorry for the women, LGBT people, AIDS sufferers, raped children, and impoverished third-world citizens that now have one more person lending credence to one of the most oppressive and evil institutions in human history.

    This is not just an intellectual lapse on Leah’s part; it’s a morally depraved act.

  21. Rex says

    I agree with you Jen, both in the way friends should support one another (especially with poor decisions) and that of all groups to join up with, the one that has the most openly wrong about it.

    Don’t give up. I had my swings back and forth into theism and this may be one of those swings, however I didn’t have friends to help me with the troubling times of doubt (a little weird in this context). She is lucky to have someone that won’t just let it (or her) drop.

  22. raymoscow says

    I hope she doesn’t portray her joining the largest religion on Earth as some sort of courageous, daring intellectual move.

  23. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    She made a conscious decision to convert from atheism to catholicism?
    I can’t say it any differently, she’s an idiot. Or mindless contrarian maybe?And while I will refrain from claiming that she was never a true atheist, I really do wonder whether she makes any intellectual efforts for reaching opinions.

  24. mcbender says

    I really don’t understand this. I read her post, and it sounds hopelessly confused to me. I doubt she’ll be flattered by the comparison, but the impression I get is that she’s another Antony Flew.

    Hers was not a blog I read frequently, but I have on occasion and nothing I’d seen suggested anything out of the ordinary that would precipitate this kind of change. Catholicism seems a very odd choice, too, but there may be other factors involved there.

    I am disappoint.

  25. says

    I’m going to have to presume at this point that either Leah has found proof of the existence of God (which I would very much like to see) or no longer cares. It’s her decision, of course, but I don’t quite understand how one can go from caring about whether something is true or not based on objective knowledge to no longer caring whether something matches reality.

    Again, that’s under the assumption that she hasn’t found incontrovertible proof for God (or at least solid evidence), which she very well may have, and I hope that she’ll share with us if that’s the case. Otherwise she’s decided to believe in fairy tales for the sake of a moral system that is roundly ignored by the group she’s joining. It’s a bit of a shame, but again it’s her decision.

  26. says

    I share Jen’s revulsion at all of the ignorant, clueless, and downright power-oriented teachings of the Catholic Church — but I can also understand why someone who wants to think of herself as mature and cultured would be attracted to it. They’re an old institution, with a lot of institutional wisdom and accumulation of art and culture under their belt (too bad so much of it STAYS under their belt); their cathedrals in Europe are pretty awesome; they do have some pretty good charity-work agencies; and if you squint at them right, they’re a Hell of a lot smarter, more civilized, and more reliable than the bigoted Protestant sects with whom they share our national stage.

    And it’s very possible that the particular Catholics Leah fell in with are better than their hierarchy and their Pope; so that might have made her conversion a little more palatable.

    Also, there’s no reason to think of this as a permanent loss: I was a Catholic, then an atheist, then a sort-of-Born-Again-Christian, then an agnostic, and now I’m a Pagan — but I still totally respect atheism and atheists, and don’t consider them adversaries in any significant way.

  27. ewan says

    “Please no “She was never a True Atheist” idiotic arguments.”

    More likely I’d have thought that she’s no True Catholic now. I can well imagine someone changing their mind on an issue, and even going in the atheist->theist direction, but there’s a lot more to Catholicism specifically than theism. The conversion described would require instant simultaeous mind changing on issues as diverse as the existence of god, the divinity of Jesus, transubstantiation, papal infalibility, the inferiority of women to men, and a whole host of others.

    That just seems unlikely.

  28. Caliguy7281 says

    If she was catholic before deconverting(I’m unfamiliar with her personal history), then it would seem to make sense why she’d revert back to catholicism. It would functionally be her “default religious setting.”

  29. Jon H says

    I can understand her desire for morality to be the way she describes it, but it seems to me a bit unfortunate that she’s basing this decision so much on how she feels inside. I mean, I could be wrong and I’ll go back, I certainly don’t mean that she doesn’t have arguments to back it all up but it seems like the underlying motivation is a desire to see morality as something other than what it is.

    I’m also perplexed by the choice of Catholicism , like I said I can understand wanting to believe in some sort of transcendent, objective morality, but I can’t think of a religion with more baggage than Catholicism.

    Still, when I think about it I am happy that she’s being honest with herself and I wish her the best in everything she does.

  30. jamessweet says

    So, if you read what Leah wrote, there is an aspect of this that is a bit No True Scotsman-ish. Obviously it’s absurd to say that Leah was never a “real atheist”, but she admits to having dualistic beliefs, there’s no doubt she is a moral realist (I’m not knocking that; I’m almost a moral realist myself), and she discusses a number of other metaphysical beliefs that, while not incompatible with atheism, are pretty clearly incompatible with materialism.

    A non-materialist atheist converting to theism is not really all that surprising, at least not on the level of a staunch materialist converting to theism. That said, I still remain surprised at the choice of Catholicism. She says it comports the most with her metaphysical views, but… still! I mean, seriously? Even if you find Catholic metaphysics tenable (I’m about to spit out my coffee, but anyway…), how can one get behind The Vatican?! There are liberal congregations in the Catholic tradition which are not part of the RCC; perhaps Leah would be better off there?

  31. Josh, Official SpokesKraftDinner says

    Still, when I think about it I am happy that she’s being honest with herself and I wish her the best in everything she does.

    I, however, do not. Please spend some time thinking about the people her chosen venue-to-support has raped, killed, and disenfranchised. This is not merely a “my truth. .my path” decision. It has direct political consequences. It’s not just about Leah’s happiness.

  32. Matt says

    Perhaps she is just a seeker on the path.

    I view religion and conversion as traveling a path seeking truth.

    I started as an atheist. I became a fundamentalist because they had answers. I joined the charismatics because the had life. I moved on and am now with the Unitarians who allow most any belief. They give me a community that resembles church.

    Sometimes the path returns home. I’m back, but with more answers now.

  33. says

    It’s one thing to view the Catholic church and Catholics as separate when talking about people who were born into it and grew up only really knowing membership in that church. It’s another thing when an adult willing chooses to become a member of that church, no matter how nice and progressive some of its adherents are.

    I’m going to Godwin this whole thing right now, but I don’t care how loveable Sgt. Schultz was or how puppy-like Col. Klink was in his ineffectuality. They were both still working on the side of the friggin’ Nazis.

    And no, the Vatican isn’t going around murdering people. They’re just so pro-life they’d rather people die than use condoms.

  34. Interrobang says

    I view religion and conversion as traveling a path seeking truth.

    That’s weird, because I view truth as something empirically verifiable, and there’s damn little of that to be found in religion at all. Even a lot of those great “why” questions so-called “seekers” like to bring up just annoy me:

    “Why are we here?”
    “Why do you assume there has to be a why?”

  35. says

    The part that bothered me most was where she said she was “still confused by the Church’s teachings on homosexuality”. It’s not confusing at all–Catholic teachings on this matter straightforwardly wrong. Religion is basically a huge weight pulling discussion downwards. It prevents us from discussing more sophisticated topics like femmephobia or biphobia, because we’re too busy arguing over the basic right of people to have consensual sex with who they want. Leah may still be on the right side of this issue, but watch the window of reasonable disagreement drop like a stone.

  36. says

    As someone who has never been any sort of theist AT ALL, I cannot for the life of me understand how someone can simply embrace irrationality this way, especially a very specific sort of irrationality like Catholicism.

  37. sc_18bb74cc0bf3e9e9ebafa353a69e5a10 says

    Since it seems unlikely that the church is going to close up shop any time soon, I suppose the best I can say is that the church can probably use more people like her, people who at least give some serious thought to what they believe and don’t believe. More and more I fear that such people are in the minority.

  38. says

    That part struck me as well. I’m consistently confused by people who are pro-LGBT rights and then pay to fight against them. There’s nothing “confusing” about the Catholic position on gay rights: they are to be respected, so long as that respect doesn’t actually involve treating them like human beings.

  39. says

    From Leah’s “About” page…

    “And then I started dating one of these smart Christians. We knew that religion could be a pretty big impediment to our relationship (the title of this blog comes 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers”). We ended up making a deal: I’d go to Mass every week with him, and he’d go to ballroom dance class with me…”

    “Neither my boyfriend or I looked likely to switch teams in the near future, and, after two years of dating, we were at the point where a relationship that was incompatible with marriage seemed foolish, so, regretfully, we had to split up.”

    I guess she can track that guy down and get back together! God is love. And He works in mysterious ways.

  40. says

    So, Catholics welcoming a new convert is “culty” because it provides social incentives? Then what does it mean with an atheist tries and shame a friend’s decision to leave atheism? Isn’t that just a form of social disincentive? And if you had a friend who was already Catholic, but suddenly announced their atheism, wouldn’t you congratulate them?

    And, finally, there’s a major difference between the Catholic Church as an entity and the Catholic Church as the sum of its people. If you don’t understand that, then you need to take a look at the polls that show an overwhelming number of Catholic disagree with the Catholic Church’s position on birth control and abortion. Equating Catholicism with the contemporary leadership and its asinine stances on… well, everything, is lazy thinking on your behalf. There’s more to Catholicism that Pope Benedict, and I would hope you would base your opinions on your friend’s individual beliefs within that Church, rather than on how the Church comports itself.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  41. says

    I’m not an idiot. I’ve blogged about how not all Catholics follow the church’s teachings. I don’t think Leah is homophobic or misogynistic, but joining a religion that *is* supports that institutionalized homophobia and misogyny. Catholics who don’t actually follow Catholicism need to stop fucking calling themselves Catholic.

  42. says

    And you formed it like she was “lost” to your belief system, as though she left home. How is that not a parallel sentiment? You’re picking and choosing what is and is not culty to confirm your existing opinion that the Catholic Church is a cult. It’s kind of sad.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  43. says

    No, I didn’t say we lost a member of my belief…I said we lost an atheist blogger. Because we did. She will no longer be an atheist blogger, the end.

    I explicitly said I’d be okay with Leah adopting a religion that isn’t totally fucking misogynistic and homophobic. This isn’t about an atheist quota or shaming her into atheism. This is pointing out that she’s supporting a vile institution in the name of “morality.”

  44. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    If you don’t understand that, then you need to take a look at the polls that show an overwhelming number of Catholic disagree with the Catholic Church’s position on birth control and abortion

    No. The Catholics need to take a stand and stop giving real (donations) and tacit (calling themselves Catholics) support to the corrupt leadership. Break off. Speak up. Stop propping it up.

    There’s more to Catholicism that Pope Benedict, and I would hope you would base your opinions on your friend’s individual beliefs within that Church, rather than on how the Church comports itself.

    Fuck you. How the Church comports itself involves my goddamn legal rights, yours, and the health, safety, and enfranchisement of millions of people. I don’t give a flying fuck what some lay Catholic believes in her heart of hearts. I care about her lending cultural support to an institution that hates me, hates women, and uses the law to put that hate into practice.

    There will be no “peace” while people like that are propping up the church.

    In case I wasn’t clear, fuck you.

  45. Godlesspanther says

    On rare occasions an atheist, one who has written insightful criticisms of theology, decides to embrace religious ideology. Catholic? Of all things, that one is strange. I have been to the Catholic church a couple of times. Sermons, long boring sermons. Brutally sadistically boring. It’s like being assaulted and abused with intense boredom.

    People can and do go through profound changes in thinking. Usually is is accompanied with an extreme situation or event, but not always. Sure the Catholics are delighted to have someone come in a join the flock, particularly someone who would seem very unlikely to do so.

    I can see that desire to do that for some people. There is a social network, a strong mass bonding. I, personally don’t feel an attraction to that. I like to be alone. I need to be alone more than most people do. Perhaps the rituals involved in Catholicism are appealing. There is a degree of comfort in repeating behavior on a regular basis. Life can be a roller coaster and ritual enables a person to feel in control of things, at least to some extent.

    This is not to lend credibility to the 2 out of 3 fundamentalists who “used to be an atheist. Yes, they are full of shit.

  46. says

    I think the Vatican should publish a magazine like the JW’s and give every Catholic a subscription. If Catholics could read up on what their church is for and against every month there would probably be fewer subscriptions come renewal time. Though, I can see the subscription card:

    Renew? (Please check one.) [] Yes [] Sure [] Hellfire

  47. Katkinkate says

    Was it a conversion to Catholicism or a return to the religion of her youth? The first is inconceivable to me as a woman who cares about kids. The latter makes sense, at least a little bit.

  48. Loqi says

    I read a bunch of stuff about having a consistent basis for a moral philosophy, but I interpreted “I wanted morals, so now I financially support child rape, backward sex education, and anti-equality laws.”

    Some fine morality, there.

  49. says

    Your ideas on Catholicism are confused. You seem to think that Catholics either believe everything the Church teaches or they aren’t Catholic. Ironically, you’re aligned with the current group of hardliners at the Vatican today.

    Except, that’s not how Catholicism works. You seem to be citing a form of infallibility, and that if you disagree with any Church teaching, then you are denying the Infallibility of the Church, and therefore aren’t a true Catholic. That’s not even close to true.

    First of all, Infallibility is limited to dogma: Jesus rose from the dead, Mary was a virgin. It doesn’t apply to social doctrine. So, just because the Catholic Church says birth control is bad and I say birth control is good does not make me a bad Catholic. It pisses off the Pope and he likes to shake his pointy hat at people like me and question our faith, but NOWHERE does ANY Catholic teaching say that those who question the Church are not true believers.

    The Church is about more than social issues, despite what the contemporary Church seems to say. Catholicism is about taking the teachings of Jesus and living them. Anything above and beyond those simple beliefs is window dressing.

    Your railing against the Church betrays your ignorance of the Church actually works. It seems like to you the Catholic Church is all about the Pope and what the Pope says we can and cannot do. But that isn’t the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is, and has always been, the sum of her people. Some of her people are good, some of her people are assholes. But no one person, not even the Pope, can change the essence of the Church was founded to be: an extension of Jesus.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  50. Adam G says

    Fail. You need to re-read Josh’s response below, a part of which I’ll post here:

    The Catholics need to take a stand and stop giving real (donations) and tacit (calling themselves Catholics) support to the corrupt leadership. Break off. Speak up. Stop propping it up.

  51. says

    While I don’t often agree with Josh, I’m going to have to go with him on this one. We’re not talking about a “you believe what you want to believe” thing here. We’re talking about lending credibility to an organization that actively and financially opposes my rights and the rights of millions of people around the world. This sort of decision doesn’t happen in a vacuum and it doesn’t just affect her. It contributes to institutional misogyny and homophobia, it contributes to a culture that denies effective AIDS treatments, it contributes to a group that covers up pedophilia and rewards the best coverup artists and sometimes castrates victims. It contributes to baby snatching. Whether lay Catholics agree with these things or not, they are financially propping up the organization that commits it, using their money to pay off child rapists and hire spokesmen to try and spin the Vatican’s horrendous lack of a moral compass.

    So I don’t much care what lay Catholics have to say. The polls are meaningless if the Church won’t respond to them, and they won’t. All you have are people who don’t think much about what they’re donating their money to or think that the hierarchy much cares about their opinions. I assure you, the organization that thinks their main issue is a PR problem (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/06/17/catholic-bishops-think-a-pr-campaign-will-improve-their-image/) and not that they’re investigating the Girl Scouts and nuns for “radical feminism” won’t be “changed from the inside.” Those on the inside will only lend their cash and credibility toward opposing gay rights, protecting pedophiles, adding to AIDS denialism, and a whole host of other atrocious things that the Church engages in daily.

  52. carlie says

    You seem to think that Catholics either believe everything the Church teaches or they aren’t Catholic.

    How to become a Catholic:

    The Christian fully enters the Church by profession of faith and formal reception. For the profession of faith, the candidate says, “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.”

  53. says

    I’m a little busy right now, so I’m afraid you’re going to have to go fuck yourself.

    You clearly don’t understand Catholicism, and you’re just a bitter jackass who wants everyone to jump in line behind your brand of morality. Perhaps if you actually talked to Catholics and saw what they were doing to support gay rights you might not be so hostile.

    People aren’t going to abandon their Church because they don’t agree with its stance on homosexuality or birth control or abortion. And for you to expect people to do so because you insist that they must do what you think they should do is the most childish, idiotic, self-absorbed bullshit I have ever read.

    You’re not the fucking spokesman for gay people, unofficial or otherwise. Your an idiot with a blunt opinion and little tolerance for the complex ways that people express their faith.

    Get off your fucking soapbox and get a fucking clue.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  54. says

    I love this. I love how people who are completely ignorant about Church Doctrine are quote Church Doctrine to prove that I’m wrong.

    There’s a difference between the Church’s political beliefs and its spiritual beliefs. So, yes, to be a Catholic you have to believe that the priest transforms the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. But you DON’T have to believe that every sperm is sacred or that women can’t be ordained.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  55. says

    They weren’t directed at you, they were directed at Josh, who was a dickweed in the first place.

    Who knew atheists were such tender souls.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  56. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    No. No peace, Shannon, until the Catholic Church is denuded of its power to influence laws and encourage female servitude and death. Do your good works, but if you actually care about humanity stop doing them in the name of Catholicism. If there were any chance there were enough humane people like you to make a difference in the Church, I’d say go for it. But that’s not the world we live in. That’s not the world I live in.

    Don’t care if you think I’m a dickweed. I’m not tolerating your Church’s inhuman and evil activities. Your problem if you’re pissed about your brand-name taking a drubbing. You don’t have to use it.

  57. says

    Okay, you go ahead and thread that semantic needle. You’re not using social disincentives, you’re giving her a proper send-off from the world of Atheism bloggers.

    Huge difference, clearly.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  58. Loqi says

    And you need to start looking at what YOU (not some nebulous “they” or “we”) are doing to harm gays. And victims of child rape. And AIDS victims. You are donating money to the biggest anti-equality institution in the world. You are actively fighting against us. If you truly wanted to help gays, you’d stop giving money to an organization that fights them. But you don’t. And you won’t. Because it’s not what you actually do that matters, just what you “believe,” amiright?

  59. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    That’s interesting, because I’m consistent in my positions (to the best of my ability). What, exactly, is it that you usually don’t agree with? That’s a separate question from whether you like or approve of the way I express it, note.

  60. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    People aren’t going to abandon their Church because they don’t agree with its stance on homosexuality or birth control or abortion.

    I absolutely agree, Shannon. One cannot assert the truth of catholic doctrine based on whether or not the conclusions derived from them are pleasant or, as happens to be the case, horrific.

    I merely insist that one has to be a fucking braindead, intellectually bankcrupt idiot to actively move from atheism to believing any significant parts of the catholic doctrine.

  61. says

    By the way, can you do society a favor and make a list of all the religions that it’s okay for Atheists to convert to? That way, we know the official Jen-approved that we have to pick from before we begin our spiritual journey. Thank you Gatekeeper of Ethical Conversions!

    Peace,
    Shannon

  62. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    You’re not the fucking spokesman for gay people, unofficial or otherwise.

    Am so! It says so right in my ‘nym.

    Your an idiot

    Perhaps.

    with a blunt opinion

    Yes.

    and little tolerance for the complex ways that people express their faith.

    Very close, but not quite. No tolerance at all for the complex ways people express their faith when said complexitarianism lends tangible and cultural support to an institution that wants me erased.

  63. Adam G says

    That link is such an own goal it’s kind of hilarious. Did you read the comments on that post?

    You’re not the fucking spokesman for gay people, unofficial or otherwise.

    This coming from the spokesperson for Catholics, of course. Do you think the homophobes in the comments on your link would agree with your assessment of Catholicism?

    People aren’t going to abandon their Church because they don’t agree with its stance on homosexuality or birth control or abortion.

    Sure they will. They already are. I’m sure there are people on this very thread who have.

    And for you to expect people to do so because you insist that they must do what you think they should do is the most childish, idiotic, self-absorbed bullshit I have ever read.

    WTF does this even mean? Try writing for clarity if you have a legitimate point you’d like to discuss.

  64. Sili says

    Thinking critically is pretty damn hard work. Some of us are intellectually lazy.

    I can certainly see the attraction of getting an old dude in a dress to tell you some answers to everything, rather try to work out the right ones to yourself.

  65. says

    The idea isn’t that Catholics cannot dissent from Church teachings and still call themselves Catholic. The idea is that they should not do so. They may oppose Church teachings, but they tacitly give them power through their own affiliation. If the Catholic Church teaches that lay people should stay within the fold despite serious dissent, then I guess that’s just another Catholic teaching I disagree with.

  66. says

    Loqi,
    Nice assumptions, but you just made an ass out of you.

    I’m a lapsed Catholic. I don’t give money to the Church and even if I were an active Catholic, I would donate the money to charities directly so as to avoid paying for defense counsels.

    I’m not the only one. But, again, this entire forum seems bent on judging individuals by the action of the Church, rather than listening to, and respecting, the justifications that an individual has.

    What a bunch of sanctimonious bullshit.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  67. says

    I’m sorry, Shannon, but you’re missing the point by a long shot. You linked to an article showing that a majority of Catholics support gay rights. Good for them. That’s awesome and I appreciate it. It might just possibly outweigh the over $1 million the Knights of Columbus spent to pass Proposition 8 with support of the Los Angeles diocese (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/knights_of_columbus_contributes_1_million_to_prop_8_campaign/). And those believers might use contraception while they pay for the USCCB to investigate the Girl Scouts for “radical feminism,” specifically in regards to teaching them about contraception (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/05/15/vatican-investigating-girl-scouts-for-links-to-safe-sex-education-groups.html). They can tout their adoption services, stocked with babies that were stolen from their parents (http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=UG&feature=relmfu&hl=en-GB&v=hTOapFh2Wk4).

    I’m sure many Catholics don’t agree with the Church’s stance on certain things, but what are they doing about it except disagreeing? Are they still financially supporting these atrocities? Are they still lending credibility to an organization that engages in them? Because if the answer is “yes” to either of those questions, then their personal feelings are pretty much meaningless in context of the Church because the USCCB and the Vatican *doesn’t care what you have to say*. The “but Church members don’t always agree with the Church” argument is a red herring to cover the more important issue of whether they are financially and socially contributing to what the Church does, and the answer is yes.

  68. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    I mean, seriously, if you really want to be good, but discover that thinking and compassion are simply not your cup of tea -what are you gonna do?!

  69. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    So, wait, we have someone joining the Raping Children Church because she likes their take on morality?

  70. Jon H says

    I should have spoken more clearly, I wish her the best in that I hope things turn out well for all involved, including the people who are impacted by her actions. If she ends up being an apologist for misogyny, child abuse, homophobia and the other ills that Catholicism has had a part in over the years I wish her nothing but failure, though even that would be for her own ultimate good.

    Notice that she hasn’t come out approving of everything the Catholic church does, she’s admitting that she believes some essential part of Catholic church’s teachings. I’m of the opinion that if you think something is true you should admit it, even if people will argue the consequentialist point that you should keep your mouth shut if you believe things that could potentially have negative consequences.

  71. Adam G says

    Another link, another own goal

    We’re trying in a very small way to empower the laity to realize that they do have power to change this church

    Yes, clearly much has changed in the church in the 4 years since this article was published. Clearly Catholics are giving less money to the church than in previous years, and this has caused the church to change its view on many of its inept and utterly evil positions.

    OH WAIT none of that actually happened.

  72. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    By the way, can you do society a favor and make a list of all the religions that it’s okay for Atheists to convert to?

    She already did.

    a religion that isn’t totally fucking misogynistic and homophobic

    Seems pretty straightforward to me.

  73. Jon H says

    Read her blog and if you come back still thinking she doesn’t think about things critically I’ll know that you’re in fact illiterate.

  74. says

    People don’t deserve cookies for supporting marriage equality. They certainly don’t deserve cookies for 43% support for marriage equality and 74% support for same-sex civil unions.

  75. Adam says

    Tabby, you make a good point about adults making the choice to convert having not grown up in the faith. Presumably one should know a little bit more about what the faith is supposed to be about than a child who was raised on it. Still I think it’s a bit of a stretch to label even all of the by-choice adults as adhering tot he recently nutty things some of the leaders have said – some of which are in contradiction to the positions held by the Vatican. And there’s stuff the Vatican wants that local Catholic Bishops don’t, etc.

    Personally I think the leaders of Catholicism in this country are being far to active in the political fights happening, there’s the “Nuns on a Bus” thing, and so on. Seems like a lot of infighting is going on there and I can’t for the life of me figure why someone would convert to a religion that can’t even make up its own mind… then again maybe that’s a draw for some people.

  76. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Why insist on being member of the organization if you condemn its actions and its values? For the glamor?

    Btw, you really believe the virgin birth thing and that the wafers turn into the body of jesus literally?

  77. says

    There’s a difference between the Church’s political beliefs and its spiritual beliefs. So, yes, to be a Catholic you have to believe that the priest transforms the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

    For a moment there I thought that you were defending the Catholic Church.

  78. says

    You clearly don’t understand Catholicism…

    What do you understand that we don’t? Some ineffable, inconprehensible mysterious lucky special magic whatchacallit that’s more relevant to us than the Church’s actual deeds and their consequences in this world?

    …and you’re just a bitter jackass who wants everyone to jump in line behind your brand of morality.

    Coming from a defender of a Church that wants to impose its own brand of morality on everyone, even at the expense of innocent lives, and won’t even tolerate polite dissent from within its own ranks, that bit of bitter defensiveness is just plain laughable. Yes, we have our own ideas of what is right and what is wrong, and we want others to act in accordance with those ideas. That’s pretty much what morality IS. Are we supposed to not have any morality at all?

    People aren’t going to abandon their Church because they don’t agree with its stance on homosexuality or birth control or abortion. And for you to expect people to do so because you insist that they must do what you think they should do is the most childish, idiotic, self-absorbed bullshit I have ever read.

    Expecting people to recognize evil and not support or enable it is “childish, idiotic, self-absorbed bullshit?” I bet you say that to everyone who questions your opinion. So it’s okay to expect everyone to do what the Pope expects us to do, but it’s “childish, idiotic, self-absorbed bullshit” to expect anyone to heed any advice from anyone else? How does that work, exactly?

  79. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    It’s an entirely selfish act. She’s wanting her eternal beach party with Jesus and saying to hell with the damage the church does to the human race.

    No matter how one would try to dress that up as a moral or positive act, the emporer is wearing no clothes.

  80. gussnarp says

    Wow is that condescending.

    I really hate when Christians read stories of other Christians converting to atheism and make all sorts of condescending statements about their conversion, but rarely have I read a Christian being as condescending as you were. Maybe try to have at least a piece of an argument.

  81. Epistaxis says

    Obviously she’s just joining the Catholic Church because she got fed up with atheists’ sexism.

  82. says

    I never said I represented Catholicism. I’m speaking as one former Catholic who is familiar with Catholic teaching and history.

    But fuck this. This forum is just a big atheist circle jerk, and I try not to make it a habit to discuss complicated issues with simple-minded twits.

    To you, anyone who self-identifies as Catholic may as well be sucking off the Pope himself. You’re all too busy congratulating yourselves on your self-righteousness to see another point of view, so I’ll leave you to your indignation and Truth-telling, and I’ll get back to living my life.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  83. Jacob V says

    Yea, religion’s appeal is pretty much totally emotional and that a human left rationalism to meet an emotional need is understandable. I guess what we don’t know is what personal and family history may have been a significant influence on this decision; and as an atheist and someone who aspires to a rational life I recognize, as did Maslow, that people will forgo and subvert many reasonable and rational views to meet more pressing emotional and interpersonal needs. Sad, regrettable but understandable behavior for the needy shaved apes that we are.

  84. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    It’s like you are trying to tell me that someone just joined the baby seal clubbing and roasting elephants alive club, but really, go read the blog, xe has such a big heart for animals.

  85. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    If you don’t understand that, then you need to take a look at the polls that show an overwhelming number of Catholic disagree with the Catholic Church’s position on birth control and abortion.

    Of course they agree with its position, otherwise they’d stop giving it their monetary and material support. I mean, DUH.

  86. Quatguy says

    You should listen to yourself. You may have answers, but I believe they are not worth the paper they are written on. What religion is next for you? There are so many out there it must be hard for you to choose! The answers provided by science work for me and they are supported by experiment, observation and testing. Lots of testing. Religions, not so much.

  87. says

    I’m a lapsed Catholic. I don’t give money to the Church and even if I were an active Catholic, I would donate the money to charities directly so as to avoid paying for defense counsels.

    So…you don’t support the Church — presumably because you disgree with how they’d spend your money — but here you are bashing otehr people because we’re also pissed about how the Church spends its money. Is there a point to your transparent hypocricy?

  88. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Peace,
    Shannon

    You don’t want peace with people like me any more than an I want peace with you, passive-aggressive fuckweasel. And trust me, I don’t want peace with you when it comes at the cost of mollycoddling your fucking bullshit while real people are harmed.

  89. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Atta girl! Show us that good xtian luv. LOL

    P.s. Why do you assume that we don’t know anything about Kiddie Rape, Inc.’s “doctrine” ,etc? You do realize that most of us were religious at some point, right? Lots of us have even read the bible.

    And yes, I am laughing at you and your magical crackers.

  90. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I’m a lapsed Catholic. I don’t give money to the Church and even if I were an active Catholic, I would donate the money to charities directly so as to avoid paying for defense counsels.

    Then why fucking call yourself Catholic?

  91. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    LOL. Well, sure. I mean, it’s not like she find any of that with Kiddie Rape, Inc.

  92. says

    People who normally think clearly make bad decisions. I wouldn’t say Chris Hitchens was incapable of critical thinking, but his opinions on a number of issues from the Iraq War to women was backward and lacked any sort of element of critical thinking whatsoever. Otherwise smart people occasionally make bad decisions. I’m not saying that she’s engaging in critical thinking right now, but she is certainly capable of it on a lot of subjects.

  93. Sili says

    But you DON’T have to believe that every sperm is sacred or that women can’t be ordained.

    So you’re saying it’s an accident when bishops get excommunicated for ordaining women.

    Sorry, but you seem to be mistaking “doctrine” for “buffet”.

    You can’t be a little bit Catholic anymore than you can be a little bit pregnant.

  94. says

    People aren’t going to abandon their Church because they don’t agree with its stance on homosexuality or birth control or abortion.

    No, but I abandoned the Catholic Church when it was made clear that because I don’t agree with it’s stance on homosexuality, birth control and abortion that I am not welcome to receive communion. Volunteering for Planned Parenthood and using contraception are sins. I am not sorry for them. I will not confess them. I am knowingly in a state of sin (as defined by the Catholic Church), I cannot take part in the Eucharist. I am not welcome in the Catholic Church, so I showed myself out before they could kick me out.

  95. says

    Now that you’ve asked, I suppose “often” should be “always.” Mostly I disagree with the bar you set for alliance. I think a lot of the demands you make on people in order to be considered allies overstep any reasonable expectation for it. It’s a personal preference for how one approaches others and nothing that I can objectively say that you’re “wrong” about. I am with you on the need to fight, I’m with you on how to fight most of the time, but I think there’s a place for education in places where you’re ready to draw a line in the sand.

  96. Sili says

    To you, anyone who self-identifies as Catholic may as well be sucking off the Pope himself.

    Ah! You have been listening.

  97. ewan says

    Quite. There’s a lack of honesty in the idea of being “confused by the Church’s teachings on homosexuality”. You can argue about the rights and wrongs of it, there’s space to quibble about interpretations of the bible, but the position of the Roman Catholic Church is utterly unequivocal.

  98. Sili says

    Life is short and there are many blogs, but these titbits don’t exactly scream “critical” to me:

    A virtue ethicist atheist whose transhumanism seems to be rooted in dualism? Who won’t shut up about moral lapses as wounds to the soul and keeps trying to convince us it’s better to be sinned against than sinning? Who has started talking about mortifying her pride and keeps pulling out Lewis and Chesterton quotes? C’mon, convert already.”

  99. jufulu says

    Or that goddidit is a good answer for why. Seems to me that begs the question as to why god did it. Every answer following this question could then be followed up by another question why and you are at the same place as before: I don’t know.

  100. Sili says

    I didn’t say she was incapable of it.

    Just that it’s obviously a lot easier to follow than to think.

  101. Sili says

    Ironically, you’re aligned with the current group of hardliners at the Vatican today.

    Newsflash! Those “hardliners” are the ones who decide what it means to be a Catholic.

    War,
    – Jens

  102. Sili says

    Because I am the centre of the Universe an the idea that all creation is not solely their to glorify makes me wet my pants.

  103. raymoscow says

    I don’t respect those who claim they don’t ‘support’ or accept many of the beliefs of a religion and yet still actually support the institution. So, if she doesn’t ‘understand’ the RCC’s anti-gay stance, why is she joining it?

    As Bill Donohue and Bill Keller say, if you don’t agree, just leave: http://bit.ly/NERZNw

  104. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Thank you—that’s very clear and easy to understand. I appreciate it.

  105. robmccune says

    I found leah’s reasons pretty lame, especially for making a commitment to silly mythology and rituals, and an abhorrent institution. A theist gets her to say “I don’t know” while arguing secular morality into the ether, plus a desire for a warm fluffy morality, is enough to make her become a catholic? Even if she accepts the general moral and theological arguments, choosing to identify with the RCC is stupid given the fact they’re wrong on just about every major social issue.

    I could understand saying you’re converting to deism or unitarianism or maybe even buddhism, but Catholicism?

    You never know, she may finder herself unable to refute the idea that suffering is caused by desire, then she’ll have no choice but to convert to buddhism.

  106. baal says

    Your railing against the Church betrays your ignorance of the Church actually works.

    The way it works is that the hierarchy directs orders down from above and the priest carries out their will. Most Catholic churches have a board (or something similar) and a small staff that oversees maintenance and does social programming (luncheons, CCD classes etc.).

    Single individuals can complain to a priest all they want but there isn’t really a route for change to come from below. The only thing that changes the hierarchy’s mind on anything is donations dropping or enrollment lists decreasing count (since it leads to less money donated).

    The current Pope is against heresy and pro-Dogma. The Vatican is clearly in support of the US Catholic Church turning more political and even more so, republican. That is not a mistake, they mean to do it. So while you love the fellowship, the institution’s impact on the material world is, at best, pernicious.

  107. carlie says

    So it’s ok to lie when you convert and say that you believe all that the Church teaches, then?

  108. Loqi says

    It was an assumption based on the admittedly flimsy basis that it has been drilled into my head that if you don’t put money in the collection plate, you are not welcome in the church. For accuracy’s sake, I should have written “I now support, financially, politically, and/or socially, child rape…”

  109. Utakata says

    Now here’s a fine example of a person who has his/her head clearly up their ass. And making a complete ass of themself in doing so. Thus giving me even more reason why I should never convert to such a religion even though it’s in my background. Thanks Atchka! Lol!

    Peace,
    Utakata

  110. Sethra says

    It is not rational or logical for a woman to convert to Catholicism unless she truly thinks men and women each have their place and that a woman’s place entails being inferior to men and the basis of all sin. The Bible is pretty clear on that as are Catholic catechisms and church doctrine.

    If Leah hasn’t paid attention to how Catholic nuns are currently being treated for the horrible crime of preferring to care for the poor and needy rather than fight the evils of birth control and abortion, I hope she’ll look into it.

  111. Loqi says

    “Complicated matters?” Nothing about Catholicism is complicated. Some people who see how unbelievably wrong it is but still want to check the privledge box labeled “Catholic” try to invent complication (like your “social vs spiritual” beliefs crap) in order to make it seem more nuanced than it really is. That way, they can play the “it’s not wrong, you just don’t understand” game that you’ve been playing this entire thread.

  112. Rory says

    So, a bunch of philosophical masturbation translates into ‘Catholicism must be true?’

    Uh, okay. Good luck with that. Try not to lend too much support to the child molesters and reality deniers.

  113. Jason says

    It’s unfortunate when people are having adult conversations about difficult and complex topic for others to throw around cliches and stereotypes.

    How about we critically evaluate her decision and read some of her explanations instead of fall back to the same old crap that plagues atheist websites far and wide!

  114. Jason says

    The loss is great for the atheist community because she was one of the few atheists who was willing (note, I didn’t say no one else is able) to approach matters with civility and intellect.

    If you are unsure what I’m talking about .. take a quick read again over all the comments before this one and you’ll get the jist of things.

    It’s so easy to toss half-truths and common misconceptions around.

    How about we take some time to reflect on her conversion. Let’s read some of her follow-up blog posts to see where she’s coming from. Then, let’s investigate what Catholicism really is and not only what we might think it is. And then finally formulate a decision on her actions.

  115. Adam G says

    let’s investigate what Catholicism really is

    Yes, lets. Should we start with the child rape, the homphobia, or the misogyny?

  116. Jason says

    Let’s! .. all of those are excellent examples of how a minority can have such a profound impact on the majority. I agree 100% that all of those have been (and continue to be) human problems facing the Church. The challenge is then to study whether these issues are fundamental to the Church itself. If they’re represented in their teachings? Or, if they’re representative of human failings.

    The Roman Catholic Church, along with all similar organizations, is a human organization and is subject to human failings. The Church, because of their place in society should be held to a higher standard and all possible measures should be taken to protect the weak and vulnerable from anyone, religious and not.

  117. Brice Gilbert says

    But…what…how… this needs to be studied. Holy shit I don’t understand it at all. Not only because of the all reasons others have said about Catholicism containing a bunch of horrible teachings, but how do you take some shared beliefs (which we all have) and decide that’s enough to join a religion? Believe in God if it makes sense for your dualism or moral beliefs, but what does it have to do with Jesus? The Bible? Did the inconsistencies in the Bible never matter to you before? What does it have to do with praying, or going to church, or the Pope or…AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

  118. Adam G says

    There’s no way I’m rehashing this stupid argument which we already had on THIS VERY FUCKING THREAD.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/06/weve-lost-an-atheist-blogger-to-catholicism/#comment-91322

    The Church, because of their place in society should be held to a higher standard and all possible measures should be taken to protect the weak and vulnerable from anyone, religious and not.

    That’s all well and good that you think that, but it does fuck all to help the women, children, and LGBT individuals the church is actively engaged in harming.

  119. Lindsay says

    Yeeeah. Plus, with all of this hubbub brewing about atheists being ~mean~ and bullying her for her choices, etc., it sounds like whomever was telling her to convert is the real culprit. Seriously, who tells a friend to convert to their religion (or any religion, really) and *isn’t* a jackass for doing so?

  120. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Then, let’s investigate what Catholicism really is

    Obviously, no one here has a clue what sophisticated catholocism is about. But, you know, after a certain number of crimes and offences, people simply stopped caring what it is supposedly all about. As they say, intent is not magic; and, to add insult to injury, we dare have doubts about the former.

  121. Jason says

    I am an adult convert but I admit I don’t know what ‘sophisticated’ Catholicism is. Don’t be fooled, though .. I’m the first one to speak out against something the people within the organization do! Joining the Church does not mean blindly accepting everything dogmatic and not. And please don’t bring up infallibility .. it doesn’t apply here ;)

  122. Adam G says

    The catholic church.

    Demonizing the use of contraception is harmful to women.

    Disallowing abortion in all cases, including when the mother’s health is at risk, is harmful to women.

    I could go on.

  123. Adam G says

    I’ll post Josh’s comment here again because you obviously failed to read it the first time.

    The Catholics need to take a stand and stop giving real (donations) and tacit (calling themselves Catholics) support to the corrupt leadership. Break off. Speak up. Stop propping it up.

    If you call yourself a Republican, or give money to the republican party, you are giving tacit or monetary support to all positions that organization represents. Same principle applies here.

  124. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    I am an adult convert but I admit I don’t know what ‘sophisticated’ Catholicism is. Don’t be fooled, though .. I’m the first one to speak out against something the people within the organization do! Joining the Church does not mean blindly accepting everything dogmatic and not.

    This sounds odd to me. Can you explain to me why you call yourself a convert to catholicism if you don’t agree with its entire doctrine? (I am pretty certain that catholic doctrine insists on an all or nothing principle). What is it that makes you feel that you have to be a catholic, as opposed to a christian who shares some common ideas with catholicism, so much so that you feel inclined to become part of this organization? This is an honest question.

  125. Jason says

    You’ve nailed it. This is a battle that is currently playing out in the Catholic Church and it’s coming from both sides. The Church 20 years from now will be quite different than that of today!

  126. Jason says

    I didn’t see a ‘Reply’ button to your comment so I’m replying here. The position on contraception is simply one part of a larger group of teachings on the value of human life. It is not intended to be isolated and is not designed to hurt the man or the woman. I’m sure you’re familiar with Pope Benedict’s expansion of this teaching when he explained that there are situations where contraception is a valid ‘lesser-of-two-evils’ and its use is not contrary to the Church.

    The abortion issue is much more complex, yes. I am not a doctor so I really can’t have a medical opinion on this. Some doctors say it is never medically necessary to perform an abortion to save the mother and I’ve read the exact opposite position.

  127. bullet says

    Joining the Roman Catholic Church ABSOLUTELY means having to believe all the dogma. Go get a book. It’s called the Catechism. You have to believe everything in it. And then when the Bishop says something, you have to believe him, too. And the Pope. They are the successors of the Apostles and the only true teachers of the Gospels.

    If you don’t believe what you’re told, you’re a heretic. Heretics don’t get to be part of the Church. At the very least, you have to accept that all the dogma constitutes THE RULES and you have to follow THE RULES and shut up about whether you believe it or not.

    My uncle is a Benedictine priest. They don’t shut up. John Paul didn’t pay so much attention to them, but Benedict is kicking them out left and right for disagreeing with virtually everything he says. Which is kind of funny.

  128. Sili says

    That’s a nicely doublesided bet you have there. What side do you fall on?

    I’d gladly put a coupla bucks on the RCC being even more backwards and repugnant in two decades time.

    But I seriously hope we’ve managed to at least make them stop raping kids.

  129. summerseale says

    I feel as if I have to reply to some people here:

    I keep reading comments about how the Catholic church really teaches this, or that, or how it really works, or how people don’t understand how it really works. Quite frankly, I don’t care.

    It’s the most incredibly insanely stupid argument. The first thing that you have to do, that anyone has yet to do in the entire bloody history of mankind, is to prove that a god even exists. That’s the first bloody step.

    Every single philosophical argument stemming from that is literally mental masturbation. Throw whatever book you want at me, whatever philosophical argument about morality, whatever philosopher’s grand revelation about the nature of humanity – it doesn’t make a bloody whit of difference.

    Nobody has proved that god even exists. That’s the first bloody step. Nothing else matters. And I’m sorry to say this, but Jen has it absolutely right. Not only has Leah not taken that required first step, she’s taken a leap based on the same stupid assumption which we all know, and which she herself once knew, is utterly unbelievable.

    That’s what it amounts to.

    I couldn’t care less about what the church says, or supposedly says, or how it runs it’s affairs, because it’s sort of like listening to Star Trek fans discuss the intricacies of a warp engine drive. Only, Star Trek fans know that it’s not actually real and don’t go around telling people that it is.

  130. Jason says

    That’s a great question and something that I battled with before my conversion and since. Simply stated, I separate official Church teaching from some of the people that are in the Church (or appear to represent the Church). Accepting all or nothing refers to dogma (or doctrine as you said). The Church has been around for about 2,000 years now so pretty much all dogmatic issues have been discussed and delved into.

    As for the members of the Church .. I agree completely that the Church, along with all social organizations, have to do everything possible to protect the weak. For example, they should be required by law to report incidents of abuse. I don’t want to go on too long in a reply but I hope you get the idea.

  131. Adam G says

    That’s great for you that you’ve joined up with an organization that might maybe be sorta different in 20 years but really we don’t know.

    In the mean time, I remain unable to marry an individual who I love due in no small part to this entity.

    Enjoy your Jesus wafer, fuckwad.

  132. Jason says

    Yup, that’s correct. The most recent Catechism is go-to guide for Catholic teachings and yes, you are supposed to believe all matters of dogma. However, not all Church teachings and practices are dogmatic.

  133. Jason says

    I don’t get asked that often :) I would prefer a smaller, more orthodox Church. It was never meant to be an organization for all and it shouldn’t try to be now.

  134. Jason says

    It sounds like you’re confusing matters but you probably don’t care either. I’m sorry you and your loved one aren’t able to marry but I am sure the Catholic Church has nothing to do with that (if you’re American). Your ‘enemy’ in the USA are the fundamentalist which are a whole other kettle of fish.

  135. Jason says

    Assuming you’re homosexual .. you’re free to move to Canada :) They have gay marriage and Roman Catholics. Anyway, it’s a political/economic question rather than a religious one.

  136. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Thanks for the reply, but that’s not really the answer to the question I was looking for. Feel free to be more verbose, words are cheap on the internet :D
    In particular I would like to understand why you were inclined to formally identify as a member of the catholic church, both in light of all its problems of human rights etc., and why you decided that this body of mandatory beliefs – which were partly simply decided upon in councils – is one you would like to adopt or at least identify with.

  137. neuroturtle says

    Jason –

    As has been said many times, many ways: Intent is not magic.

    It does not matter what the pope *intends.* What they are *actually doing* is hurting women. You can’t doublespeak around that.

  138. Anonymous says

    I believed that the Moral Law wasn’t just a Platonic truth, abstract and distant. It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth. And there was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth…

    She’s anthropomorphizing a concept, and she’s enamored with the “Person” she’s constructed in her mind. Mankind has a long history of doing this.

    I think she’ll crash hard when she realizes that “Moral Law” isn’t a thing, but that the moral standards of any given society are fluid, and change over time as understanding about reality grows. For example, it used to be the proper and moral thing to keep disabled family members hidden away at home or put away in an institution, and now the moral thing is to integrate them in society and provide supporting assistance to them so that they can participate within their capabilities. (I’ve watched this change proceed within my lifetime, though we still have a long way to go)

    There is truth out there, but it’s found by careful observation and test (experimentation) to determine what is real, and what is false assumption. Abstraction of thought is of no use in that pursuit, other than for the design of tests, and identification of new avenues to pursue.

    But abstraction is great for creating fantasy tales. I enjoy fantasy, but I’m not going to use it as a guide for life. Abstracting the concept of morality into “Law” and “Person” is just a fanciful self-deception. It robs us of our agency, and takes a certain amount of responsibility for our own actions out of our hands.

  139. Tony... therefore God says

    Josh:
    I’m right there with you.
    I mean, we are talking about a belief system that has not even proven the existence of its deity, yet acts like they are the moral guides for the world with *his* blessing. The sexism, misogyny, and homophobia coupled with the support at various stages for Nazi Germany, and oh yeah…all the children whos lives have been ruined because priests raped them…all of that doesn’t matter because someone got the warm fuzzies and decided not to follow the evidence, but to indulge in wishful thinking.
    I just can’t fathom knowingly affiliating oneself with a hierarchical organization as vile and depraved as the Catholic Church.

    (and the sickly sweet comments from Catholics welcoming her home…shudders)

  140. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Yes, indeed, don’t worry about replying to any of my above posts and go fuck yourself thoroughly.

  141. says

    But other than that and various bishops & the pope speaking against efforts to legalize gay marriage, the Catholic Church has absolutely nothing to do with this, right?

  142. Jason says

    Yes, gay marriage is contrary – I believe – to nearly all theist belief systems. Regardless, the right to marry is a legal matter and shouldn’t have anything to do with the opinion of any religious leader.

  143. bullet says

    The number one opponent of gay marriage in the US is the National Organization for Marriage – a Catholic group. In every state that has had a referendum or legislative decision on the issue, the Catholic Church has been incredibly vocal and unflinchingly against marriage equality. To say that the Church is not an enemy of marriage equality in the United States is an unequivocal lie.

  144. Jason says

    I’m sorry if I offended anyone. Rereading my reply it does come across as flippant and that was not my intention.

    I simply meant that regardless of any belief system .. The right to marry is a legal matter and should have nothing to do with any religion at all.

  145. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Meh, since when can people throw out statements like “It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth”, talking about friggin morality in all earnest and still considered critical thinkers?

    I anthropomorphize my Hamster, but I don’t go around telling people that lil Nibbler is God (well, not all the time).

  146. Adam G says

    The right to marry is a legal matter and should have nothing to do with any religion at all.

    That’s nice that you feel that way. So then why do you give tacit (and perhaps even monetary) approval to an organization that is dedicated to making the right to marry a legal matter?

  147. Adam G says

    That should read ‘religious matter’ and not ‘legal matter’

    rage induced typo.

  148. Jason says

    Thank you for the clarification. I am not an American nor do I live in the States. I based my comment on the fact that the % of professed ‘religious’ is majority Protestant based. There are countries, Canada for example, with a higher % of Catholic followers which do allow marriage with no discrimination for sexuality.

  149. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Don’t bother apologize for offending anyone. With your statement you are heaping hateful cynicism on an already marginalized and suffering group. This comes from someone who just claimed allegiance with an organization that contributes to making hell on earth real for some homosexuals.

    Think about why you did that, and then decide whether you actually mean it or whether you are sorry and were simply failing at a thoughtless attempt at humor.

    I simply meant that regardless of any belief system .. The right to marry is a legal matter and should have nothing to do with any religion at all.

    No, sorry, you really didn’t mean that.

  150. says

    Jason said:

    Regardless, the right to marry is a legal matter and shouldn’t have anything to do with the opinion of any religious leader.

    Oh, I agree. But these religious leaders do not agree and thus are not limiting themselves to state that it is against church doctrine. They are actively campaigning against this civil matter and, as has been pointed out, some Catholic groups are financially working against this civil matter.

  151. Jason says

    @Adam G .. The Church’s definition of marriage is very narrow because it calls for reproduction as a requirement. Society’s definition is much broader (and rightfully so!). When I originally converted this was a non-issue. I’ve been actively involved in the gay community (from before we called it LGBT) in the Toronto area and I never had to reconcile this particular matter. So to answer honestly, I haven’t given it much thought.

  152. neuroturtle says

    Oh dear FSM, did you forget Prop 8? Did you miss Il Papa tossing a tantrum over how American nuns aren’t anti-gay enough? Do you exist in the same universe as the rest of us?

    Face it, dude. You give money to misogynist homophobes. You make life significantly worse for a large number of people. You. You personally.

  153. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    As Leah said, it’s a particular feature of virtue ethics:

    Meanwhile, on the other side, I kept running into moral philosophers who seemed really helpful, until I discovered that their study of virtue ethics has led them to take a tumble into the Tiber. (I’m looking at you, MacIntyre!).

    I believe the whole system encourages too much fantastic anthropomorphizing of The Good Man, and she spent so much time elaborating on her modeled ideal person that it eventually activated her HADD.

  154. says

    Jason wrote:

    I based my comment on the fact that the % of professed ‘religious’ is majority Protestant based. There are countries, Canada for example, with a higher % of Catholic followers which do allow marriage with no discrimination for sexuality.

    I really don’t think that there’s a correlation. I think that this was achieved despite Catholic Church opposition.

  155. jose says

    It’s strange that she thinks of math as an existing thing in the world outside humans’ heads, theorems and operators just waiting to be discovered, much like laws of physics or animal species. But whether math already exists beforehand or we invent it as we come up with more theorems is one of those mystical questions outside science that can’t really have an answer, like whether we live in the Matrix. If I understood correctly, she does the equivalent of saying we do live in the Matrix, and the same guy who programmed our mathematical rules (because they exist even if we don’t know them) made also morality.

  156. ewan says

    “complex topic”

    This is not a complex topic. It doesn’t matter how much fluff you dress the basic insanity up in, the basic ideas are still insane.

    If I tell you there’s a unicorn in my garden, you already know I’m making it up. You don’t need to ask me what colour it is and which way its horn spirals first.

  157. Adam G says

    That’s nice for you. I’m glad you ‘haven’t given it much thought.’

    Before you derailed this thread, you claimed that posters here were espousing “the same old crap that plagues atheist websites far and wide”

    I have yet to see you present a single example of this.

    Why are you here? What exactly do you hope to accomplish?

  158. Tony... therefore God says

    Josh:

    No tolerance at all for the complex ways people express their faith when said complexitarianism lends tangible and cultural support to an institution that wants me erased.

    I heart you right now!
    I’d add that some attempt by *any* Catholic to explain the following would be nice:

    1- The Catholic Church has sold peoples’ children. They’ve lied to expectant parents. They’ve made money off of selling babies. They’ve ruined lives. They’ve ruined the very family structure they supposedly believe is the sacred foundation of society. Why would anyone be part of an organization that does such a thing in one breath and in the next, asserts that life is sacred from conception?

    2- Pope Ratfink has helped cover up pedophilia and reassigned priests. The Catholic Church hierarchy is corrupt. That’s demonstrated time and again when priests are simply moved to other locations, or paid off. Why would anyone affiliate themselves with an organization that would allow *1* child to be raped, let alone tens upon tens of thousands more?

    3- The Catholic Church’s hardline stance against contraception use and HIV/AIDS in Africa is appalling. There are human beings suffering right now and condom use could put a significant dent in the spread of HIV/AIDS. But condoms make baby jebus cry. Who cares? If he ever was alive, he isn’t any longer. Why belong to an organization that places more value on its teaching than the lives of human beings?

    4- The Catholic Church would deny me, Josh, and every other GLBTQI person the right to get married, simply because of their mistaken view that marriage is between one man and one woman (still waiting for someone to point out *that* bible passage). Why would you be party to an organization that would deny the potential for happiness that we all deserve?

    5- The God of the Bible killed a *lot* of people. Anyone remember that stupid, virtually impossible flood? Yeah. People still believe that. People still believe the Earth is only 6-10K years old. Some people still believe that evolution isn’t true. The Catholic Church continues to be an impediment to educating people across the world. Their ridiculous appreciation for faith…for things that have not been demonstrated to be true is an insult to many who feel that the pursuit of truth is more important than antiquated doctrine. Why actively take part in an organization that places higher value on lies, deception, wishful thinking, and a metric shitload of cognitive biases and logical fallacies?

    Answers to those questions would be nice. I don’t know that I’m going to hold my breath waiting.

  159. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Jason:

    feel free to move to Canada:)

    You fucking bastard. I will fight motherfuckers like you until you’re relegated to the lunatic fringe where you belong. Evil, smug, hateful, inhumane FUCKER.

  160. jose says

    So this is how believers deal with the most hateful and unacceptable bits of their religion – they just don’t.

  161. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I’d rather they held their breath Tony. For as long as it takes. Bastards.

  162. Tony... therefore God says

    Jason:

    It was never meant to be an organization for all and it shouldn’t try to be now.

    Really? I never knew this.
    Which book of the bible is that in?
    What priest told you that?
    Why would you just believe something this fantastic (genocidal baby killer 8 year old on meth (sorry PZ, that was good)?
    What is your evidence?
    How do you know it’s valid?
    Do you know what faith is?
    Do you know how unreliable faith is?
    Did you take the time to explore all the other world’s religions before you decided on the Raping Children Church?
    God kills the guilty and the innocent, as well as virtually everything in between during Noah’s flood. That’s not the action of a highly moral individual. There are real life monsters that haven’t killed as many people as God has. Why do human murderers get condemned for taking the lives of a *few* people, but God gets to commit genocide?
    There’s a lot more questions to ask. I figure you have the answers, since you’re educated and all.

  163. Jason says

    Coming back on topic .. What does Jen mean by this, “Please no ‘She was never a True Atheist’ idiotic arguments.” I shared this story with an atheist friend and he replied: “If she thought that morality existed outside of human experience in some personified form, that’s theism.”

  164. Shplane says

    I went and read her post, and it was utterly absurd. Even assuming that “Morality is a person” isn’t moronic, somehow going from that to Catholicism takes some form of mental contortion that I have no idea how to describe. Does she have any idea what Catholicism entails? What kinds of horrors the Church condones, facilitates, and acts out? The untold fucking oceans of human blood and tears lapping at the feet of every Cardinal, Bishop, Priest, and Pope in history?

    I may get some flack for this, but honestly? Fuck her. Fuck her for lending even tacit support to these murderers and rapists. As far as I’m concerned, her post could just read “I am ok with children being raped.”

  165. JC says

    Why is this called ‘objective morality’ though? It’s still supposed to come from a sentient entity with desires and plans.
    Also, not even in Leah’s writings have I seen the defense of objectivity, if it exists, as superior. Although I must admit to not having read them all.

  166. says

    Jen is probably referring to the fact that when you have such conversion stories you’ll often have “they were never a true Christian/Muslim/atheist” type responses.

    As to your friend’s comment, I guess it would depend on where morality existed. If it did not exist in the mind of some god like entity then that person would probably be an atheist. It is as simple as that. Nevertheless, atheists (rightfully) tend to be distrustful of the holding of supernatural beliefs including dualism.

  167. Loqi says

    Jason, you’re not sorry. Don’t even try to pull that shit. You don’t get to be a Catholic, actively work against gays, tell people “you’re free to move to Canada :)”, and then turn around and claim “but I’m not one of those bad Catholics!” You are one of those bad Catholics. People like you are the problem.

    Anyway, it’s a political/economic question rather than a religious one.

    So get your ass out there and make your religion butt the fuck out of things that are none of its business. If you’re not on every news show shaming the Pope, writing to every newspaper in the world decrying the evil of the Catholic church, picketing in front of the Vatican, and doing everything else humanly possible to stop the Catholic church from being the atrocity that it is, you’re quietly supporting it. The protecting of child rapists? You. Working to stop us from slowing the spread of AIDS? You. Trampling the rights of women and gays? You. Take some fucking responsibility for your actions.

  168. says

    Murder is bad until the point god tells you it isn’t (see most of the Old Testament –with the principle of absolute obedience being illustrated by the command of God to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac). If that isn’t relativism, I don’t know what is.

  169. Tony... therefore God says

    Jason:

    Yes, gay marriage is contrary – I believe – to nearly all theist belief systems.

    Really? You’ve check all the other theistic belief systems? Or did you just check 21 of the religions currently running their scams…?
    . Christianity 2.1 billion
    2. Islam 1.3 billion
    3. Secular/Irreligious/Agnostic/Atheist 1.1 billion
    4. Hinduism 900 million
    5. Chinese traditional religion 394 million
    6. Buddhism 376 million (see also buddhism by country)
    7. Primal indigenous 300 million
    8. African traditional and diasporic 100 million
    9. Sikhism 23 million
    10. Juche 19 million
    11. Spiritism 15 million
    12. Judaism 14 million
    13. Bahá’í Faith 7 million
    14. Jainism 4.2 million
    15. Shinto 4 million
    16. Cao Dai 4 million
    17. Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
    18. Tenrikyo 2 million
    19. Neopaganism 1 million
    20. Unitarian Universalism 800,000
    21. Rastafari movement 600,000

    That’s a lot of reading you did. Hopefully you *did* read enough of the relevant materials. I mean, you wouldn’t have just made a generalization based on your limited subjective experiences, would you?
    I’ll check back next week when you start looking into ancient religions.

    Assuming you’re homosexual .. you’re free to move to Canada :) They have gay marriage and Roman Catholics.

    Ah, the trusty, “If you don’t like it move” argument. There’s a few convenient facts though that make that choice, not completely reasonable. For those of us in the United States, we have every bit as much right to live here as any other citizen. Oh, and we’d have to abandon all our friends and loved ones. We would have to worry about finding a place to live. We’d have to have money to move up there. We would need to find a job. Hmmm, there are more than a few things that keep this from being much of an option. Then there’s this wacky notion that the fight for equality is a battle worth fighting. Not just for ourselves, but for others.
    Thanks so much for showing your privilege, insensitivity, and rationality.

  170. Loqi says

    It’s the No True Scotsman fallacy, and it’s annoying as hell. When people leave the church, believers insist they weren’t “true” Christians without fail. The number of times I’ve been told I never really found Jesus or I never *really* understood the bible or I never got the right teaching is innumerable, and it makes my blood boil every time someone rehashes it.

    Because believers don’t have a monopoly on logical fallacies (as hard as they try…), you occasionally see the reverse. And when you do see the reverse, you’ll also see people who are sick of it calling the offender an idiot.

  171. kagekiri says

    John 15:18-19 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

    Matthew 24:9 Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.

    Holy crap, you’re not a very knowledgeable Catholic, huh?

  172. says

    Your atheist friend misunderstood. It’s clear that she did not always believe morality exists in personified form, and that when she began to believe this, that was her conversion.

  173. Jason says

    Thank you. I always assumed atheist was a belief, or an assuredness, that the Abrahamic god does not exist. I had never considered the existance of morality outside of humanity to be ‘theist’. So can we safely say that one who believes in spirits or karma also isn’t an atheist in a traditional sense? Are there levels (or types) of atheism?

  174. Jason says

    You’re speaking fundamentalism ;) I’m not persecuted and neither is my church. However, I live in a Catholic, South American nation. I suppose it depends where one lives .. In Nigeria, for example, there is a very real persecution of anyone who is not Muslim.

    I’ve also read that there is a persecution of atheists in the USA. Is this true?

  175. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I’ve also read that there is a persecution of atheists in the USA. Is this true?

    Obvious troll is obvious.

  176. Jason says

    An atheist blog isn’t the place to discuss how atheism might be defined by the very same atheist community? The same community that an ex-member chose to leave .. I’m not interested in what wikipedia has to say. I’d rather hear a real person give me their perspective.

  177. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I’d rather hear a real person give me their perspective.

    We’re not obliged to help you JAQ off.

  178. Jason says

    I’m neither American nor atheist so I have no idea. Hence, the question. America appears, to outsiders, to be a nation of extremes where everything is racism or classism etc .. The topic of persecution was mentioned in another reply and I wanted to know if the atheist community in the USA feels that they are also persecuted.

  179. Jason says

    “The strategy is to keep asking leading questions in an attempt to influence listeners’ views” You’re confused .. I’m the one that is open to being influenced by your (plural) views. I’m in no position to be influencing anyone ..

  180. says

    No, an assuredness that the Abrahamic god does not exist would make one (to believers of Abrahamic religions) an infidel, not an atheist. All atheists are infidels but not all infidels are atheists (most Hindus would not be atheists). All that being an atheist means is that one does not believe in a god or gods. Nothing more.

    As to whether one believing in spirits or karma is not an atheist, it would depend on whether these entities are to be considered gods.

    As I understand it, karma is some impersonal universal “force” which is not meant to have god like characteristics so believing in karma would not make one an atheist. Belief in karma is, generally, a supernatural belief (unless you loosen the definition of it so much as to not resemble traditional conceptions of karma –i.e. be nice to others and others will tend to be nice to you) and thus it is probably likely to be associated with one or another form of theism. Again, supernatural beliefs tend to make many atheists suspicious because many of the same reasons to not accept the existence of gods tend to make one not accept the supernatural.

    As to belief in spirits, if these spirits could be seen as having god like properties perhaps it would make one not an atheist. I suppose it would be partly a matter of definition and opinion and partly a matter of what the belief in spirits actually entails (what does the word “god” even mean and do these spirits fit the definition?).

  181. Jason says

    That’s most pragmatic definition I’ve read! Thank you, I appreciate it. Can you recommend a good atheist author?

  182. Loqi says

    Holy crap, you’re not a very knowledgeable Catholic, huh?

    One can only hope that if they were knowledgeable about Catholicism, they would leave the Church. Unless, of course, they are cartoon-with-twirly-moustache-style evil. Which, based on my observations, is an alarmingly high number.

  183. Loqi says

    “I’m not trying to influence anyone, I’m open to convincing! I’m just asking questions!”

  184. Loqi says

    Wait, “being an atheist means is that one does not believe in a god or gods” is some sort of revelation to you? You’re either woefully uneducated or dishonest. Based on your other posts in this thread, I’d wager both.

  185. Jason says

    What congregation would you recommend? Many people are attracted to the intellectual history of the Church and in that regard no other group comes close.

  186. says

    You clearly don’t understand Catholicism,

    Courtier’s Reply.

    and you’re just a bitter jackass

    Yes, of course, people who are justifiably angry and who won’t stand down are “bitter.” The same thing is said about feminists, too.

    who wants everyone to jump in line behind your brand of morality.

    His “brand” of morality is big on granting women full autonomy over our own bodies, letting people have whatever consensual sex they please, and neither raping small children nor protecting those who rape small children. I had no idea it was such an objectionable “brand.”

    Perhaps if you actually talked to Catholics and saw what they were doing to support gay rights you might not be so hostile.

    Oh, not this bullshit again. It doesn’t matter what individual Catholics do to “support gay rights” so long as they’re still lending credibility to and, more importantly, tithing to the Vatican.

    People aren’t going to abandon their Church because they don’t agree with its stance on homosexuality or birth control or abortion.

    Then they’re fucking stupid and/or hypocritical.

    And for you to expect people to do so because you insist that they must do what you think they should do is the most childish, idiotic, self-absorbed bullshit I have ever read.

    No, actually, you know what’s childish, idiotic, and self-absorbed? Putting the happy fee-fees you get when you smell the incense and hear the chants ahead of the well-being of raped and impregnated nine-year-olds whose mothers get excommunicated for getting them abortions, ahead of women in Africa who are getting HIV from their husbands because condoms are a “sin,” ahead of all the queers in the world who have been beaten, “correctively” raped, left to die of AIDS because the decrepit virgins in Rome have declared their sexuality, which can be widely observed in a multitude of animal species, “unnatural.”

    You’re not the fucking spokesman for gay people, unofficial or otherwise.

    BAHAHAHA! We have another one, Josh!

    Your an idiot

    /points and laughs

    with a blunt opinion

    Oh, noes, bluntness! Everyone should instead take a cue from Shannon and passive-aggressively end their comments with “Peace” after they’ve stomped their ickle feetsies at people who bring up inconvenient facts.

    and little tolerance for the complex ways that people express their faith.

    And we end up where we started out: the Courtier’s Reply.

    Take the word “Freethinking” out of your blog name. You befoul it.

  187. Jason says

    It doesn’t take a genius, Loqi, to see that I am very uneducated when it comes to atheism. Was it the questions that tipped you off?

    One of your fellow community members wrote a thoughtful reply to my question regarding spirits and karma. Does it offend you that he/she replied intelligently or that they did so without being offensive?

  188. F. Bacon says

    One way to think about it is that if you don’t counter it, you don’t care.

    Obversely, I often tend to feel that my silence is a sign of disapproval-and it also saves me from involvement in a particularly disturbing event.

  189. kagekiri says

    Ahh, you’re one of those half-assed “a la carte” Catholics then, where even quoting Jesus to them or bringing up inconsistencies is apparently solved in your mind by saying “la la la, I can’t hear you!”

    Jesus even says he hates lukewarm believers and will damn those who think they’re saved but really aren’t (sheep saved, goats burn), and that most won’t be saved, and that denying Jesus in front of man is a surefire way to go to hell, but as with the many other despicable parts of your religion, I guess you just pretend they don’t exist (or that those parts were just “a metaphor”).

    You can prattle on about absolute morality, except when you want to do what you want or don’t want to stand behind your scriptures. How convenient for you.

  190. Jason says

    I answered this question seriously in a previous reply. I’m far more orthodox than most. And nope .. still not persecuted.

  191. Loqi says

    It doesn’t take a genius, Loqi, to see that I am very uneducated when it comes to atheism. Was it the questions that tipped you off?

    No, the questions tipped me off to the fact that you aren’t actually curious about atheism. Because if you were, you could type “atheism” into Google. Second result. In the very first sentence. It’s not like it was hard to find. Which tells me you either weren’t trying, or are being dishonest about not knowing.

    Does it offend you that he/she replied intelligently or that they did so without being offensive?

    Yes, I’m horribly offended. /sarcasm

  192. raven says

    To put this in perspective, the US Catholic church has recently lost 22 million people, 1/3 of their membership.

    One person going the other way isn’t even a rounding error.

    10% of the US population are ex-Catholics!!!

    To be sure, about half of those 22 million people join Protestant churches and half “remain unaffiliated” whatever that means.

    Vancouver Sun Douglas Todd

    The Catholic church is losing huge numbers of members. If ex-Catholics were their own denomination, they would make up the third largest denomination in the United States, according to The National Catholic Reporter. Canadians have much to learn from a powerful new study released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which

    shows that one out every 10 Americans is now an ex-Catholic. {Scroll through my take on more Catholic church issues.}

    “Any other institution that lost one-third of its members would want to know why. But the U.S. bishops have never devoted any time at their national meetings to discussing the exodus. Nor have they spent a dime trying to find out why it is happening,” writes Jesuit Father Thomas Reese continues

  193. Jason says

    There are many, myself included, that is happy with this exodus! I’m in favour of a smaller, more dogmatically pure group. I’m not really interested in what name you give it .. On the plus side .. let someone else be the punching bag for all things theist!

    For sure the same applies to your community. There are those that hang around simply because .. I don’t believe that anger, animosity and insults represent your entire community. Imagine a cull that cleaned up your group and left you better identifiable and better positioned to present your ideas and positions without being sidetracked all the time by side issues.

  194. raven says

    I got about 1/3 of the way through this thread and had to bail. Too many brain cells were screaming and dying.

    I have to admit that, of all the churches to join, the RCC is one of the weirdest and evilest, just slightly above Reverend’s Jim Jones People’s Temple, the FLDS, or the Branch Davidians.

    I did my part at least, a xian for 5 decades, now a militant atheist.

    Whatever, it is a strange world we live in.

  195. says

    Loqi said:

    Wait, “being an atheist means is that one does not believe in a god or gods” is some sort of revelation to you?

    I don’t think that it is particularly productive to condemn this particular instance of ignorance; though it does seem surprising to see it on display in the context of this particular exchange. Nevertheless, I think it needs to be noted that the need to have to point out something as seemingly trivial as that definition is surprisingly common and that this often happens in surprising contexts (i.e. contexts in which one would assume that one’s interlocutor would know better).

    Basically, in the popular mind, being an atheist often seems to be a word that means one who eats babies. That’s just how it is.

  196. raven says

    Jason:

    There are many, myself included, that is happy with this exodus! I’m in favour of a smaller, more dogmatically pure group.

    Good for you Jason.

    A cult that is shrinking, losing members like a cut artery, and becoming more extremist, is dying.

    It was the fundie xians that drove me out of xianity after 5 decades. A religion that produces such malevolence couldn’t be true.

    So Jason, have at it. Do whatever you can to make Catholics look like ignorant but dangerous kooks.

    The fundies, cult Catholics, and their leaderships produce more atheists in a day than Dawkins and PZ Myers do in a year.

  197. says

    Not to mention the ever increasing priest shortage. I reckon that as a priest you probably personally feel less leeway to not take church authority seriously than what is the case for your average US Catholic. I wonder if this has anything to do with the shortage of priests?

  198. Jason says

    I had an oversimplified understanding of the word before today. I thought an atheist was someone who doesn’t believe in God and that’s it. As I mentioned earlier, your reply was much more pragmatic and certainly more so than about.com or wikipedia. As for this blog, I came here after reading Leah’s post. This is my first real interaction with an atheist blog. I’ve only ever just read posts (but rarely comments).

  199. says

    I had an oversimplified understanding of the word before today. I thought an atheist was someone who doesn’t believe in God and that’s it.

    I guess I don’t get any points for clarity, then, since I thought that the gist of what I wrote was that an atheist is someone who doesn’t believe there is a god and that’s it.

  200. Jason says

    Not fundamentalist Christian but rather fundamentalist Catholic. Regardless .. this isn’t the place for this discussion. I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe that someone would come to an atheist blog to learn more about atheism. I’m obviously interested and my only contact before today has been a long-time friend and a couple of Hitchen’s articles.

  201. Jason says

    Lol! Yes, you’re gist was clear and understood. It was the way the perspective that I appreciated :) So .. no author recommendations? I’ve only read ‘The Portable Atheist’.

  202. Jim says

    “But I didn’t have an analogue for how humans got bootstrap up to get even a partial understanding of objective moral law.”

    Wow, she was converted by a completely false premise and didn’t even bother to question it during the conversation?

    I’ve never heard of this persons blog before but from the face of things it doesn’t seem like she was exactly a illuminant intellect.

    Speaking from a dispassionate, non-friend perspective, I’d say this pretty much represents a boon for the atheist community. The last thing we need is atheists disseminating information and opinion with such a poor mental tool kit.

    Even after the acceptance of such a faulty premise there’s still a massive emotional non-sequitir leap from that to “so there must be a god”.

  203. Happiestsadist says

    Agreed. I can almost understand someone being born into it and feeling a cultural connection, but someone who actually latches on to that disgusting organization has made her hatred of her own gender clear.

  204. Happiestsadist says

    Yes. If you choose to support that organization, you are automatically a shitty person. There is no way a decent person can see violated children, people dying of diseases that could have been prevented were it not for lies, women bred to death and corrupt priests and be like “YES! This is a good idea for me to join!”

  205. says

    Last I checked, you can go to Mass, call yourself Catholic, and generally do stuff with other Catholics as a group, without having to give any money. They always pass the plate at Mass, but donation is voluntary, though you might get a covert dirty look (which you’re free to ignore) if you don’t kick in. IF Leah is doing some or all of the above, and not actually giving support to any bigoted or evil cause, then fine. The Church demands everyone believe what they’re officially told to believe, but everyone knows they can’t enforce any of that (yet) unless you’re actually in the hierarchy or trying to get into it.

  206. says

    I clicked through, read the first three paragraphs, and stopped. She’s a “philosopher.” She’s never had an intellectually honest thought in her life.

  207. says

    The position on contraception is simply one part of a larger group of teachings on the value of human life.

    Calling it “part of something larger” doesn’t make it right — either on its own or as part of anything else.

    It is not intended to be isolated and is not designed to hurt the man or the woman.

    How do you know that? Have you seen the design specs? Here’s a news flash: it DOES hurt people, and whole populations, by depriving sane adults of their ability to control their own fates. What some lying bigoted fool intends (or says he intends, it’s not like his word is all that trustworthy) is absolutely irrelevant.

  208. says

    That’s a nice excuse to adhere to a dogma that’s completely divorced from reality, and completely disregard the legitimate interests of nearly all of Mankind.

  209. raven says

    Not fundamentalist Christian but rather fundamentalist Catholic.

    Yeah, I caught that. There isn’t much difference between a fundie Protestant, fundie Catholic, or for that matter, a fundie Moslem or fundie Jew. That is why the fundie Protestants can love Rick Santorum. A lot of them don’t even know he is a Catholic because he sounds exactly like them.

    If you want to see atheists up close, lurk for a while. They tend to be well educated and intelligent, by survey data much more than the general population.

    When I started reading the blogs I was a scientist and a moderate xian. I even tried to defend the moderates. I couldn’t do it. That was the end of my xianity and it wasn’t missed.

  210. Loqi says

    She absolutely is supporting the church, even if she’s not putting money in the plate. Every time a bishop exerts political power by talking about how many millions of Catholics won’t vote for the pro-choice candidate, she’s supporting the church. The church’s ability to do evil is directly related to its size. If she’s part of the size, she’s part of the problem.

  211. Jim says

    If you didn’t see it it didn’t happen. And if you don’t look you won’t see it.

    Problem solved.

  212. Jim says

    I think you’re over estimating the amount other people generally have to think about things before committing to them.

    Such conversions often occur emotionally within minutes, hours or days.

    Once you’ve had that emotional change, all you then have to do is not think about it too hard, which isn’t especially difficult to do if you surround yourself with like minded people and feel bad any time you have to think about something that conflicts with your belief.

  213. Loqi says

    I’m supposed to be believe that you’ve read Portable Atheist and have been around atheist blogs long enough to know what “plagues” them, yet you didn’t know the definition of the word? Please. You’re not being honest here.

  214. Suido says

    It’s nice of you to tell us that you don’t care about child rape, AIDS deaths in Africa and the system of privilege that ensures women are second class citizens.

    It means you can go off on your high horse and fight the good fight against boogie monsters, while other people deal with all those nasty issues you don’t care about.

  215. Mark says

    This is depressing. I don’t understand how you can “convert” to a religion unless you already are religious. I feel like going from atheism to Catholicism is like… consciously deciding to make some really stupid choices one day. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

  216. Tony... therefore God says

    There are many, myself included, that is happy with this exodus! I’m in favour of a smaller, more dogmatically pure group. I’m not really interested in what name you give it .. On the plus side .. let someone else be the punching bag for all things theist!

    For sure the same applies to your community. There are those that hang around simply because .. I don’t believe that anger, animosity and insults represent your entire community. Imagine a cull that cleaned up your group and left you better identifiable and better positioned to present your ideas and positions without being sidetracked all the time by side issues.

    Dogmatically pure?

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dogma?show=0&t=1340073539a : something held as an established opinion; especially : a definite authoritative tenet
    b : a code of such tenets
    c : a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds
    2
    : a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church

    by ‘dogmatic’ do you mean the last definition? And what do you mean by pure? Do you realize that dogma already exists? It doesn’t magically become impure the more people adhere to a set of beliefs. Nor does it become more pure if fewer people believe.
    Further, there’s no reason to follow dogma. You have to establish that a God exists. Then you need to show how you know this-with empirical evidence. Then you have to determine if it’s your evil god or any of the thousands of other gods humanity worships(-ed). Even if it *is* your god, you have to then show how and why you’re supposed to worship him. I could go on, b/c there are a lot of questions about the nature of your imaginary friend in the sky that any non believers are still waiting on (and contrary to what you believe, many, many atheists and skeptics came from heavily religious backgrounds, so many of us know the Babble quite well).

  217. says

    To be fair your list is full of umbrella labels that are not terribly useful. Christianity has dozens of large denominations, islam has 2 big ones, there are several variations of hinduism and that’s not getting into your using things like primal indigenous. But I’ll take a crack at it. Here’s a quick break down as I understand it.

    Against it or leaning negative

    The abrahamic religions (jews christians and muslims) are generally fairly negative on the subject at least out side of more progressive groups. Hinduism doesn’t speak directly to it but often lump them in with a third sex that is often seen as a pariah group. Bahai are against it as are the Jains that believe it leads to bad karma. Zoroastrians don’t seem to be infavor of it.

    Neutralish quiet on the subject
    Budhists are vague though traditionally it would go against sexual misconduct but again vague. Similarly Chinese religions are more philosophies and don’t cover sexuality so they are fairly quiet on it. Sikhs don’t say anything on it and are divided.

    For it
    Neopagans, UU, Satanists and tend to be fairly positive on lgbt. As are many atheist agnostics etc.

    Of course there are progressive and more conservative groups and values in many of these traditions as well. Still in broad strokes I wouldn’t call it a great landslide for LGBT side.

  218. Happiestsadist says

    I am LOLing at you indignation at our SpokesGay’s ‘nym. But then, I don’t expect anyone who’s drinking the magic jesus blood kool-aid to be too swift.

    So, how do you defend the church that systematically violates children and covers it up? And allowed HIV to ravage Africa because condoms are a sin donchaknow? And preaches that raped women should die in childbirth rather than have an abortion? How do you defend that? And, while we’re at it, how the fuck do you sleep at night?

  219. codelette says

    I was born and raised Catholic. Today I consider myself Agnostic (or apathetic atheist, as really I don’t give a fuck about a “God”). Back to the topic, I’m siding with Atchka on this one, most of you don’t have a clue what being a Catholic is. Catholicism is not a monolith and depending on which part of the world you live at, the Pope can be just a freaking decorative figure.
    The discussions of birth control and the catholic church are not the same in Puerto Rico as in Chile, for example. In Puerto Rico, for example, a woman can pretty much do whatever the fuck she wants regarding those matters (short of an actual abortion) within getting any flack from the church. In Chile, not so much.
    Further, back when the US was helping keep in place right-wing dictators all over Latin America, it was mainly jesuit Catholic priests the ones driving the guerrillas (google Liberation Theology, Marxist Catholic, Sandinistas and the Society of Jesus) and educating the people (and by educating I mean Science, Math, etc).

  220. crayzz says

    From now on, whenever some condescending christian asks me about my religious beliefs, I’m telling them I worship Nibbler, the Hamster God.

  221. Loqi says

    Several of the posters here are former Catholics. Or they not “true Catholics?”

  222. crayzz says

    In Puerto Rico, for example, a woman can pretty much do whatever the fuck she wants regarding those matters (short of an actual abortion)…

    So, even in Puerto Rico, at least according to the catholic church, a catholic woman does not have full control over her own body? Duly noted.

  223. codelette says

    Did I mention “former Catholics” as part of that group? I said “most” not “none”. I didn’t mention “true catholics” anywhere on my post; but now that you bring it up: if one is a former Catholic, then one is not a “true catholic”.

  224. LB says

    Bible verses out of context ≠ Catholic teaching. Give us a catechism citation, please.

  225. codelette says

    “So, even in Puerto Rico, at least according to the catholic church, a catholic woman does not have full control over her own body? Duly noted”

    The Church cannot stop women willing to terminate a pregnancy from doing so, they just tell them that they’ll burn in hell. But then, they way Catholic church works they just confess to the priest, repeat like a 1,000 hail marys and they’ good until next confession.

  226. M Groesbeck says

    It’s much more important to respect people than beliefs

    I’m not sure how that idea squares with Catholicism, which prohibits respect of just about anyone unless “respect” means “I choose not to destroy you in the name of my doctrines…though I’d be totally morally justified in doing so, and I’ll insist that you must agree with me on that.” There’s really not much room for “agree to disagree” with those of us who are on the Church’s “does not deserve to live” list.

  227. LB says

    (Catholic-raised atheist, reporting for duty)

    You’re thinking in Protestant fundie terms here. That’s now how most Catholics are educated, even now that we’re allowed to actually own bibles and stuff. My parish was on the liberal side, but so are most in America now. We were taught, in religious ed and in homilies during mass, that the bible isn’t literally true, and that everything coming out of Jesus’ mouth needs to be understood in the context of the time and place when he said it, not yanked out of context. Those quotes have zero to do with the institutional Roman Catholic Church of the 20th century, and everything to do with how people reacted to a wacky Jewish cult in the first century C.E.

    My own “for Catholics” bible has extensive footnotes with historical context, often pointing out things that are anachronistic or that there’s no outside evidence for. My favorite example is supposed tradition of letting a death row prisoner go free that’s an important part of the crucifixion narrative because the people chose to let a murderer, Barrabas, go instead of Jesus. But the bible I’ve been given to study for confirmation goes right ahead and points out that was probably made up.

    The problem with this approach, of course, is that it means Catholics aren’t told to go to the source material and form their own opinions–that’s what church hierarchy is for. It’s all been digested for you and the rules written down in this big green book, so sit down and do as the clergy tell you, missy.

  228. Loqi says

    You said, “most of you don’t have a clue what being a Catholic is.” Yet many of us were Catholic, and thus know what “Catholic” means. Your charge that they didn’t *really* know what Catholic means is a No True Scotsman.

  229. M Groesbeck says

    Ah, the standard Catholic apologist — along with the assumption that nobody being condescended to has ever been subjected to Catholic indoctrination.

    No, really — a good number of us do understand Catholic doctrine. A number of us were also raised Catholic, and understand all the sophistry that lets people who don’t actually believe in the horrendously immoral doctrines and practices of the Church continue to support said horrendously immoral doctrines and practices while abjuring any responsibility for the horrendously immoral (to the point of genuinely supporting millions of deaths) that they continue to support by propping up the Church hierarchy.

  230. Drivebyposter says

    It’s a shame those answers are so freaking stupid though.

    Try for quality over quantity.

  231. M Groesbeck says

    It’s a variation on the Courtier’s Reply — “If you really understood the depth and complexity of Catholic experience, you’d stop complaining about the doctrines, moral failings, and straight-up evil crap that the Church pushes; since you’re objecting to the SUEC, you clearly don’t understand.”

    Sorry, I was raised Catholic in a family where people were mostly of the “culturally Catholic” (a.k.a. “screw-the-Pope”) school of Catholicism; I quit when I just couldn’t justify any support for that kind of inhumanity, even if it was a family tradition to do so.

  232. FlickingYourSwitch says

    I am sure she can tell us about the reason, rational thinking and scepticism that lead to her conclusion that god is real and should be celebrated in this particular way

  233. Albert Bakker says

    It’s about meta-ethics. A position one can take is to say that if you have a sentence expressing a moral proposition then it has an objective truth value that is either true or false. This means that it is true or false in fact, independently from circumstances, (subjective) opinions informed by culture or progressing insight.

    She seems to be taken this to a metaphysical extreme and says these moral propositions form a body of morality (or she calls it the ‘Moral Law,’ mind the capitals) in a Platonic sense, but then seems to perceive of this as an equally real, but parallel world. Which is a truly ancient philosophical viewpoint. She then struggles with an answer how to have access to this Platonic body and retrieve objectively truth values to moral questions (is X wrong? is Y good? is M worse than N? etc.) that she can then be sure to be objectively true. She doesn’t know how.

    Yet she has to acknowledge that all the time somehow she quite effortlessly and seemingly flawlessly knows right from wrong. She casually remarks – in quotations – that maybe this body of morality tells her these things because it just loves her. But then she realizes that loving someone isn’t a capability of abstractions, but an act that has to be done by a person that has to be in the appropriate psychological state of feeling love for someone. So she concludes from this, that in order to be objectively sure about what the correct truth values are to moral propositions it has to be revealed to her by this person that can be identified with morality itself. This person is then identified with God obviously and for reasons that are known to her this God has to be accessible – to speak even more clearly – through becoming a Catholic.

    Mind you I’m not saying this isn’t an an extremely tortured argument that has all the appearance of a hand waving rationalization after the fact, but this seems to be pretty much the train of thought as revealed to us per blogpost.

  234. FlickingYourSwitch says

    I could see anyone speculating on the possibility that maybe this universe is created as a simulation by advanced beings, or deism or something. But to go from atheism to Catholicism? It doesn’t work that way, unless you either have extraordinary evidence, or you just want something to be true. But why would anyone want their worldview to be true? What kind of reason went into this? This is truly puzzling. Suddenly, there is plenty of evidence for that particular deity, and his superhuman son whom they feast on in their rituals?

    No, of course not. We’re being trolled.

  235. M Groesbeck says

    They can also run (and/or take over) hospitals that will let women die rather than end a pregnancy. And they can use their position of social and political power, and the trust their followers place in them to (at the very least) tell the freaking truth about unambiguous realities, to spread lies about contraception (leading to increased STD transmissions, botched abortions, death, suffering, etc. among large populations as a consequence of believing the Church).

  236. Wren says

    “Providing social incentive to adhere to certain beliefs? Nope, nothin’ culty about that.”

    c.f. feminism

  237. marella says

    Indeed, I’ve never been a believer and I’d be more likely to take up astrology than Catholicism!

  238. Matt Penfold says

    Even in the US the Catholic Church is happy to let women die rather than have an abortion. There was a case in Phoenix not so long ago where a Catholic hospital terminated the pregnancy of a woman who would otherwise have died. The local bishop went ape-shit, and made it very clear that in future the hospital was to let such women die.

    Leah Libresco says she has struggled to understand morality. Hardly surprising when she willing joins an organisation devoid of any. Still she is in good company. Tony Blair also became a Catholic, and we all know what a good person he was when in office.

  239. says

    Well, yes, in a sense, but what choice do you have? When people, say, register or support the Republican or Democratic or Conservative or Liberal or New Democratic parties, they are never saying that they agree with everything that party stands for, but just that in their mind their either get most of it right, or more than the alternatives, or even that they get the really important things right. So, any support is aimed at providing those things while accepting that sometimes the support will go for things they don’t really support. I’m sure, for example, that even you disagree and likely disagree strongly with whatever political party it is that you generally support, even if only with your votes.

    Leah seems to be taking this tack. If you read what she’s said, she still disagrees with a lot of things, but thinks that the Catholic view of morality is a better fit than all of the other alternatives, but not in some specific interpretations, but as an overall … approach to morality. That’s in the same sense as one can disagree, say, with Kant’s views on lying and on homosexuality and still think that Kant’s moral system is generally right. She has already argued against their stance on homosexuality and clearly doesn’t support it, but she does not need to support everything to think that this is best for her. So bringing up those specific cases doesn’t indicate any problem for her, at least in terms of the support she’d be giving that you mention here.

  240. paulmoloney says

    Part of the reason I find this whole episode baffling is that, up to yesterday, no offence to her, I’d never heard of Leah despite the fact I follow many prominent atheists online. So when I saw a report of “renowned” atheist converting, I was immediately curiously & wondered why the heck I hadn’t heard of her. And then I read that and wondered anyone writing such, well, twaddle was considered renowned.

    P.

  241. says

    Ask, and ye shall receive (although sorry, Josh, I’m not going to hold my breath until I die).

    1) Part of the problem here is that in this case there are two things that might make one call oneself Catholic. The first is that one might want to join the organization itself, which is what you’re talking about. The second is about the faith/principles/spiritual dogma, and that one might feel that that is something they are convinced of regardless of the specifics of the organization. I believe that Leah is of the latter. And if you are of the latter, how should you react, if you think that the spiritual message or dogma of the Catholic Church is mostly right but that the organization is wrong about some very important things? Should you refuse to associate with the spiritual/intellectual side because of the organization? That seems a bit harsh, and rather against what is supposed to be really important about being Catholic. So, it is easy to support the “faith” while not supporting the organization, and an insistence that supporting those principles means supporting the organization seems rather unfair. That being said, being clear about what one does and doesn’t support is important.

    For me, there’s an exceptionally good chance that I do neither, as for all important matters I turn to philosophy and not religion and I don’t generally attend services. But then I’m odd.

    2) The Church hierarchy has been corrupt before, which was a big reason for the formation of Protestant relgions. The Church did reform out of that. It might have to reform again. But if it does, it will people who insist that the faith is worthwhile while the organization is not that will make that happen. Yes, it will have to change from the inside, from people who insist on remaining Catholic while opposing the things that don’t really follow from Catholic doctrine.

    3) The problem here is that if everyone followed all of the Church’s teachings, condoms wouldn’t be required. My own view is that in these cases they are already sinning, and are using the Church’s teachings as an excuse to not use a condom, since after all they’re already wrong and one little extra wrong — especially to save a life — isn’t going to make it any worse. And I do believe that there was a softening (no pun intended) of that policy lately from Benedict as well that would cover most of the cases I’m talking about here. Anyway, you can see the issue where, essentially, the Church is being held responsible for people picking and choosing what precepts to follow and then being told that they must change their precepts because … people are following some and not others.

    4) I find it hard to see this as anything other than a disagreement, and one that Leah disagrees with the Church over. It may seem obvious to you, but it is not obvious to them and to at least some people. For me, I see all sexual matters as Stoic indifferents and so don’t really see the demand one what or the other, but again all that is is a different stance. That you feel strongly about it does not make you right and any who disagree evil.

    5) The Catholic Church accepts evolution, at least mostly. It is not a YEC religion. It does not support teaching creationism in schools. Blame it for the positions it has, not the positions that other similar things have.

    As for faith, a full discussion on that would occupy books. Again, that you feel strongly that faith is bad does not make you right and the people who disagree with you evil. And for the record, I don’t believe I have faith at all, and actually don’t believe myself capable of it, but that’s based on my own definition of faith that some people disagree with … which also does not make me right and them evil.

  242. paulmoloney says

    “relationship that was incompatible with marriage…”

    Have been going out with/married to a Catholic for 10 years with nary a problem. Thank goodness I ain’t no hifalutin philosopher and can be just dumbly happy instead.

    P.

  243. Jett Perrobone says

    Jen, it’s so cool that you are still friends with Leah. I have heard of too many Christians who broke all ties with their former Christian friends upon discovering that they became atheists.

    But it’s equally cool that you are not afraid to tell her that she’s wrong. I hope that she still wants to be friends with you despite your differences.

    Just recently I noticed that there’s a lot of infighting in the Furry community of which I am a member. I just wish we could all put aside the petty differences we have and just get along with each other as brothers and sisters. :3

  244. says

    I don’t have scorn. I have compassion.

    I live in a former Christian nationalist state which is… well… still a Christian nationalist state. We’ve just appointed a police chief who’s said her job was ordained by God. Context is important, and I wonder what McCreight’s context is and how it overwhelmed her to such an extent that she was able to surrender logic and reason for blind belief.

    Critical thinking in overwhelmingly fundamentalist contexts isn’t easy. In places like the southern tip of Africa there’s significant advantage to being Christian outside of peer acceptance. You can get free schooling and at times free university. In South Africa we’re ruled by a power elite with very strong connections that include religious connections. This creates economic advantage – people who choose atheism can expose themselves to a loss of privilege.

    In some areas sexual availability is determined by religiosity. In fundamentalist strongholds families want their children to marry and rear infants in ‘the faith’ and I’ve heard of atheists (particularly from places like Nigeria) who are must choose between being single and celibate or compromising. Tough call – who wants to be a celibate atheist die-hard when there is no guarantee of a here after – when the fruits are in this life only?

    I think it is way too simple and easy to demonise someone just because they’ve chosen another life. Surely the loss of critical thought is punishment enough? Just imagine having a fine brain and then turning your back on your cognitive capacities to become a Catholic. If there ever was a hell on earth, surely that must be it?

    Christ – a self-elective hell – what could be more torturous and conflicted than that?

    I think McCreight has chosen her own hell. And for doing so I can only offer her my compassion, knowing that once you’ve tasted truth – delusion is a saccharine substitute. Lovers of truth will always hanker for their true north regardless of why they’ve turned their back on it.

    McCreight talks about morality and the struggle for morality. All I can say is like others who have struggled with morality I have these issues to be the most taxing and testing. As a lover of science I embrace empirical thinking for determining truth, but morality has no such easy outcomes.

    Unlike other areas of life, morality is an eternal, evolving struggle (well for me anyway). It is hard to understand philosophically and intellectually, and torturous to reason because of the complexity of challenging moral issues which have no easy answers.

    I don’t know if all humans can bear the cognitive dissonance associated with sweating morality. Experience shows me that it is easier for humans to hand this thinking over to someone else – a leader or a ‘God’ that will do the thinking for them so that they don’t have to suffer and stand up for what they believe in on issues of life and death that live in their own homes.

    So I can’t pick up any stones here and hurl them at McCreight. She has lost too much already. She is gaining too little.

    All I would hope is that reason, which once flourished inside her, will find its own oxygen and begin to grow inside here once more despite her ‘best’ intentions. I don’t think it is that easy to let reason die once you have learned to love it.

  245. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Are you maybe confusing Jen McCreight and Leah Libresco? Otherwise what you write doesn’t make much sense.

  246. roland72 says

    This is weird. But the most BORING part of all this is the same tired, tired old style of religious argumentation which is all over this thread and absolutely pathologically all over Leah’s thread – totally content-free cargo cult arguing. The giveaway is when your religious person says things like “To answer your questions about Absolute morality, you need to have a good grasp of Aristotle’s teaching on Actuality versus Potentiality” (to take an example from that thread) and then basically doesn’t explain anything, but requires the rational person to go and “grapple” with whatever it is. It’s a classic combination of the Courtier’s Reply and avoiding the question – and you see it EVERYWHERE in discussions about the truth value of religious claims. And Non-True Scotsmen everywhere you look. The amount of evasion is really startling – I hadn’t read a Patheos thread for a while and I’d kind of forgotten that people still argue that way.

    Religions make claims. Some of the claims are at least in theory testable, and are at any rate claims about the material world – e.g. Jesus rose bodily to heaven. These claims are generally false. The rest of the claims are not testable – e.g. God is Love – and these claims are generally meaningless. The art of managing to pin a religious person down to this is one I have yet to master – they are intellectually slimy on these points and I suspect it’s because they (the intelligent ones at least) know deep down that they can’t defend their faith against them.

  247. says

    My tentative translation was “Burn in Hell unless you submit to my God.” Though that’s also a possible translation of “I’ll pray for you.”

  248. paulmoloney says

    “I was a Catholic, then an atheist, then a sort-of-Born-Again-Christian, then an agnostic, and now I’m a Pagan”

    Even just thinking of the amount of conversions there makes my head spin. I think I change my underwear less infrequently…

    PO.

  249. sc_0894be237a7db86576bbe80a54f00879 says

    Very disappointed. I have a 15 month old daughter, and I’m wary of the female role models and images she encounters in popular culture that devalue her gender or place women in a subordinate position. A shame that I must now place Leah in the same category as Snooki, Joyce Meyers, and Ann Coulter.

  250. neuroturtle says

    Your name is on their roles. They use that name for their own power. *Even if* you manage to not spend a dime (and I doubt that) at all on your church, you are still supporting them and allowing them to speak for you.

  251. says

    Further, back when the US was helping keep in place right-wing dictators all over Latin America, it was mainly jesuit Catholic priests the ones driving the guerrillas (google Liberation Theology, Marxist Catholic, Sandinistas and the Society of Jesus)…

    Yeah, that was BEFORE Pope John Paul II officially pronounced Liberation Theology WRONG, and pretty much said his Church should only be fighting Communist tyranny (in his home country), not fascist tyrannies that were longstanding allies of the Church. The Poles got to organize to overthrow the USSR; Latinos just had to accept their fate and pray about it.

    And since all those leftist insurgencies got crushed in Latin America, women have lost nearly al their rights and have been reduced to baby-making vessels; and people in the US barely notice. That’s how your cult “works” for the poorest of God’s creatures.

  252. says

    I’m in favour of a smaller, more dogmatically pure group.

    Yeah, because small, isolated cults that hide from reality and tie themselves in knots to maintain their “doctrinal purity,” regardless of the cost to their own followers, do SOOO much good for humanity. Also, hiding from reality in a cult that offers comforting delusions is just a lot easier than being a responsible adult and dealing with the messy reality that lurks outside the compound gates.

  253. says

    I find it hard to see this as anything other than a disagreement, and one that Leah disagrees with the Church over. It may seem obvious to you, but it is not obvious to them and to at least some people. For me, I see all sexual matters as Stoic indifferents and so don’t really see the demand one what or the other, but again all that is is a different stance. That you feel strongly about it does not make you right and any who disagree evil.

    Translation: “Because it doesn’t affect me, I find it hard to give a shit about this problem. Therefore I roll my eyes at your call for people to stop supporting an organization that shits on people for no good reason, and I bury you in codswallop.”

  254. says

    The Church cannot stop women willing to terminate a pregnancy from doing so, they just tell them that they’ll burn in hell.

    Oh, they can’t stop them from terminating a pregnancy, but they can certainly influence the political landscape so that the only ways to do so involve knitting needles, coathangers, and poisonous concoctions.

    Fuck but you’ve got your head in the sand. Not unusual for liberal xtian apologists, but that sentence I quoted above was especially dumb.

  255. says

    As a former cult member I’m fairly sensitive to the tactics they use when I see them used by other groups. Whenever I see someone announce their deconversion and the responses from some atheists that are borderline love-bombing as well as a denigration to the other side (“glad you’ve finally decided to grow a brain”), it takes me back to the days when I–along with a few others–would pounce on every new person who walked into the Kingdom Hall and pretend to be their best friend despite knowing nothing about them.

    When I see some in the atheist community doing the same thing, it gives me the willies. There’s nothing wrong with congratulating someone on their deconversion or making them feel welcome, but it can go overboard.

  256. Tom Singer says

    “Just because you may agree with certain philsophical elements of the church doesn’t mean you need to convert.”

    This is exactly what I don’t get. There’s a huge leap from agreeing with a philosophy to worshipping a deity, believing that he arranged for a virgin to bear his son, etc, etc, etc. Christianity (and all other religions) are a mix of philosophy and “history”.

    I’m not sure how rigidly Catholicism adheres to the “literal truth of the Bible”, but they certainly officially believe in some strange stuff like virgin births, miracles, and transubstantiation. I’m curious whether Leah accepts all of that as part of her conversion. Maybe I should read her comment triage post….

  257. Zengaze says

    At this point in time I am unconvinced.

    I think it’s a Turing…… See the post directly under her “coming out” post about the paladin character, and then take a look at where she says she is cracking eggs. I love language, I also love language games o perhaps I am seeing something that isn’t there, but what leads me to be über skeptical about this being a conversion I the absolute insanity of it.

    Atheist to deist/spiritualist/philo Buddhist I get, but to catholic! It just doesn’t compute. Going from the reasoned position that you are not going to shake hands with Einstein in your life, to a wafer is magically made into the body of a dead guy which you then eat is just so ridiculous that I had a calendar fail and checked to see it wasn’t April.

    If I am wrong, and this is a genuine case of nuttiness it is so absolutely absurd that I really do think this person needs psychological help.

  258. says

    The issue for me is that you’ve chosen to support an organization that has purposely exacerbated the AIDS epidemic in Africa. You’ve chosen to support an organization that has and continues to unapologetically harbor pedophiles in its midst. You’ve chosen to support an organization that sided with Adolf Hitler in World War II. And you’ve decided to join this organization because of it’s morality? I understand your defense to this will be “but most Catholics aren’t like that,” and I recognize that, but it is utterly irrelevent. We all know not all members of the Nazi party where tossing Jews into gas chambers, but they still supported the organization that facilitated those heinous acts, and that in of itself carries implicit guilt.

    I find it incredibly disingenuous that you would praise a rotten, morally reprehensible organization for it’s “superior morals.”

  259. Tom Singer says

    The comment triage post explicitly points to this comment from Dan, in which he asks, why Catholicism, and points out, “It’s not obvious (to me, anyway) why any of this would have anything to do with Jesus, the Pope, or any of those kinds of things.” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked/2012/06/this-is-my-last-post-for-the-patheos-atheist-portal.html#comment-22879

    And Leah’s response to that seems to be, “The why Catholicism is mostly based in the fact that, while I’ve been fighting with Catholics for the last two years, they had a lot of times where they or the books they recommended exposed a major error I was making and helped me live better when I changed my philosophy or behavior on smaller scale things than this.” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked/2012/06/this-is-my-last-post-for-the-patheos-atheist-portal.html#comment-22905

  260. Jeremy Shaffer says

    To the posters that are telling us that there is a difference between the average Roman Catholic and the institutional RCC leadership; yeah, you’re correct. There is a difference. Many Catholics today have far different views compared to the clergy and quite a few couldn’t care less what the Pope thinks on any given issue. Indeed, there are many that fall on the correct side of many issues in direct opposition to the official Church position. I know this because I once was one of those Catholics.

    As a result, I stopped calling myself a fucking Catholic!

    The real difference between the average Roman Catholic that goes on with their lives without concern about what comes out of the Vatican, while still calling them selves a Catholic, and the Bishops and Vatican officials, is that the church leaders haven’t deluded them selves about to what they ultimately give their support. So long as the common Catholic believer goes around declaring them selves a Cathloic, every word that comes out of the Pope’s mouth or position taken by the Vatican may as well be a statement of what you believe, whether you agree with it or not.

  261. Snoof says

    I would prefer a smaller, more orthodox Church. It was never meant to be an organization for all and it shouldn’t try to be now.

    You… uh…
    Do you even know what the word “catholic” means?

    From Wiktionary:

    catholic

    1. Universal; all-encompassing.
    2. Pertaining to all kinds of people and their range of tastes, proclivities etc.

  262. Brian says

    This will sound condescending, but it is amusing how you regard Catholicism in such an unoriginal and stereotypically liberal way. I relish the bewildered responses, and I find it, well, cute.

    Blessed Henry Cardinal Newman, himself a convert to Catholicism, said that either Catholicism is true, or atheism or nihilism is. Non-Catholics, atheists and theists alike, are so perplexed by Catholicism that it is difficult for them to see how Catholicism could be anything but an arbitrary and quaint choice. They would be baffled by the notion that Catholicism must be true or nothing is. I mention this only to suggest the possibility to the non-Catholics here that a conversion to Catholics is not the unprincipled leap you think it is – maybe, just maybe, Catholicism is THE rival to your worldview.

    “Of all the religions, Catholicism? Really? Catholicism?!”

    Yup. :)

  263. Zengaze says

    So because so eejit ( Irish colloquial for village idiot) with the title cardinal says something, therefore it is worth quoting without examination for the glaring logical fallacy.

    How about either Catholicism is true, or Buddhism, or spaghetti monsterism or atheism or…… ad nauseum

    Logical fail please try again

  264. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    maybe, just maybe, Catholicism is THE rival to your worldview.

    For certain values of “rival.”

  265. says

    So we express anger at some pretty ignorant, uncaring and downright disgraceful things the Catholic Church has done, and (without disputing any of the chrages, mind you) you label us “cute.” FUCK YOU, you condescending tribalistic smug uncaring sack of shit.

    If your son was upset because he’d been raped by a priest, would you call that “cute” too?

    Yet another example of that superior Christian moral reasoning.

  266. FlickingYourSwitch says

    Yes, to go from atheism to Catholicism is an enormous step. Lots of new insane stuff you have to convince yourself is true. Impossible.

  267. says

    “Some doctors say it is never medically necessary to perform an abortion to save the mother and I’ve read the exact opposite position.”

    I’m sorry, what doctors say that abortion is never medically necessary? Because they should have their licenses taken away. This is like, “Some scientists say that Creationism is viable” and “some scientists say climate change is a hoax.” Yes, some scientists, like some doctors, are morons who let their ideology get in the way of seeing actual, real things happening in the world around them. Such as this example: http://www.newint.org/features/2008/01/01/colombia/

    You notice how that’s a real person who died because it was illegal to get an abortion? She is one of many reasons why doctors who say it’s “never necessary” are only correct if they mean they don’t much care if the mother dies. Doctors who say that have also clearly never heard of ectopic pregnancies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ectopic_pregnancy), the many infections and diseases that could cause a mother to be unable to safely carry a baby to term, or any number of causes of maternal death (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2409165/).

    Just because people say things doesn’t make them true.

  268. Andrew says

    Nanky, Zengy, et al: putting aside the philosophical/theological debate, your posts alone seem fantastic reasons to avoid atheism. Anger and name calling seem to be your credo. I’m fascinated that atheists who claim to be driven by logic and are so evidently driven to act based solely on emotion.

    Stay classy!

  269. says

    The condescension pales beside the lack of self-awareness. Your comment is a verbose form of “Nuh-uh, yes, it is!” bolstered by appeal to authority. You decline to even remotely addressing the points raised in this thread.

    Once again, xtians are their own worst advertisements for their religion(s), except to other dimwits.

  270. says

    Blessed Henry Cardinal Newman, himself a convert to Catholicism, said that either Catholicism is true, or atheism or nihilism is.

    The fact that you would a) quote this guy’s full title like it’s supposed to impress us and b) fawningly quote a statement that is so demonstrably wrong, pretty clearly proves what a mindless brownnosing suck-up you are. I’d call your drooling sycophancy “cute,” if I couldn’t smell the raw sewage from here.

  271. says

    Assuming you’re totally unable to tolerate people your doctrine tells you to hate…you’re free to move to Saudi Arabia. :) They have a whole police force dedicated to keeping “those people” invisible (yes, for a broad range of values for “those”).

  272. Brian says

    No, no, no. I find that atheists are so embattled that they fail to make all kinds of necessary distinctions – in this case, between a comment and an argument. You can only fall prey to fallacious appeals to authority when you are, um, actually making an argument. I was merely quoting someone to suggest a mere possibility, not to establish that possibility as true by argument. I was merely proposing something without at all intending to argue for it.

    It’s this kind of equivocation that makes talking to atheists such a chore.

  273. raven says

    Blessed Henry Cardinal Newman, himself a convert to Catholicism, said that either Catholicism is true, or atheism or nihilism is.

    Cardinal Newman is both an idiot and a liar.

    This is a false dichotomy, a basic logic error.

    There aren’t 2 choices. There are thousands or tens of thousands. The number of religions and cults.

    You could say the same thing about Paganism, Moonie-ism, or Jedi-ism. And be equally as wrong.

    There are tens of thousands of religions at the least, maybe more. They can’t all be right. But they can easily all be wrong.

  274. raven says

    Andrew is Tone Trolling. The refuge of the mentally and morally bankrupt.

    If your religion was true, you wouldn’t have to lie, tone troll, or burn people alive on stacks of firewood.

  275. Andrew says

    Wow – that is awesome! are you a sophomore or a junior? let’s talk later at the quad. You are so smart!

  276. says

    I was merely quoting someone to suggest a mere possibility, not to establish that possibility as true by argument. I was merely proposing something without at all intending to argue for it.

    In other words, you were dutifully quoting something you thought would sound impressive; and when you realized we were seeing through the BS, you ran away and disowned your words. And you couldn’t even bring yourself to admit your quote (and your blessed cardinal) might not be as intelligent as you had thought.

    Like most suckups, you’re also a coward.

  277. says

    You can only fall prey to fallacious appeals to authority when you are, um, actually making an argument.

    That’s, um, a non-sequitur. Not that any of us are in danger of falling prey to your appeal to authority…

  278. Utakata says

    BTW:

    “Blessed Henry Cardinal Newman…”

    What’s so blessed about him? He’s just a human with an irrational opinion.

  279. says

    Agreed, at least to the extent that she’s publicly identifying herself as “Catholic” and allowing herself to be counted as such in some list, database or poll. (And, of course, to the extent that politicians allow themselves to be bowled over by the bishops’ hyperbole and numerical claims.)

  280. says

    If you joined the Ku Klux Klan, and told people about it, but then insisted that just because you’re a KKK member doesn’t mean you’re a racist, and that you just joined for the community aspect and the fact that a lot of KKK members are really nice people aside from the racism, and that not all KKK members are racist, would that make any fucking sense at all?

    What the main organization does matters a whole lot fucking more than what the individuals do. Even if individual Catholics aren’t telling Africans lies about condoms and that getting AIDS is better than sinning against your invisible sky friend; even if individual Catholics aren’t harboring and sheltering pedophiles from justice according to the law of the land, they are still supporting an organization that does.

    If you’re not an anti-semite and don’t support an ethnic cleansing campaign against them, would it make a whole lot of sense to donate money to Adolf Hitler? How can you expect people to believe you have a certain set of values when you give monetary or even just vocal support to a group who regularly and blatantly acts against those values? It’s like Edwina Rogers becoming the head of a skeptical organization despite years of her supporting politicians and a political party whose stated agenda was to oppose the values of that skeptical organization, and then her claiming to have been constant in her value system the entire time. It just doesn’t pass the smell test.

  281. says

    Here’s an illustration for you.

    Say you have a cherry tree. This cherry tree produces some amazingly delicious cherries. Cherries that are so wholesome and good. But, the tree also produces some very deadly cherries, and people have died eating the wrong ones. Others have been driven insane enough to commit terrible acts on others by the toxins in the fruit.

    So the question is, what do you do with the cherry tree? Do you keep the cherry tree around because it produces a lot of good fruit? Or, do you chop the tree down because the consequences of its bad fruit outweighs the good fruit it produces? I’m going to assume you’re a sane person who would do the latter. You get the tree out of your life because the few good pieces of fruit it produces are not worth the toxins it also produces along with it.

  282. says

    None of that was all that wrenching for me, because: a) I got a pretty good education, and my parents encouraged me to see through lies and question BS, so I never got all that emotionally invested in any set of unfounded beliefs; and b) religion was never much of a tribal-identity-marker for me, or for my friends, so none of those conversions entailed much social cost. Also, I’m talking about decades here (starting in the early ’70s), not just a few years of lurching wildly about.

  283. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    your posts alone seem fantastic reasons to avoid atheism.

    Most pathetic criterion for evaluating claims of theistic belief systems, ever. You’re not really that interested in what’s true, eh?

  284. Adam says

    I’m not sure your analogy actually works but I see your point. Which seems to be Catholicism needs to be eradicated rather than just the bad apples (cherries). Your assumption seems to be there is no way to tell the difference. Then again, it is also possible that the idea that some are toxic and some re not might be subjective, and that your belief is that they are all toxic.

    I do not support Catholicism but I do support people being kind and loving to each other. If someone believes in something and it doesn’t affect anyone else around them negatively I see no reason to force someone out of that belief.

  285. Adam says

    How far do you take this line of logic? I mean, if Nazis or the KKK had discovered the cure for cancer, would you be “in support” of them by using that knowledge?

    I’m not defending the Catholic faith and their rhetoric and things that affect people negatively. But let’s assume for a moment you have a member of a church who is a genuinely loving person, and doesn’t give any money to the church at all, maybe doesn’t even go to church. Say they just CALL themselves Catholic. Are they still actually supporting those higher up initiatives? Even if they vote against any that cross the ballot box?

    Say someone is an alcoholic, trying to get help, but they slip back into alcohol abuse. Are they supporting those kinds of activities, or are they simply addicted?

    I understand you don’t support religion at all, and neither do I, but I’m talking about people here. It’s a bit like saying if someone voted for Obama and intend to again they are in full support of drone strikes. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t, but you don’t know that just from that. We can argue about what should and should not happen in the world we live in, but to assume that anything less than our 100% ideal is 100% support of the opposite is a bit much.

    Disclaimer: Some of my arguments are not meant to be direct examples, but meant to make one think. Which is the point of being rational, yes?

  286. Adam says

    Has anyone else mentioned that one extra person simply calling themselves Catholic has exactly ZERO net effect on all the people who actually believe all of the political and legal objectives of the church? They are not going to suddenly want to ban gay marriage MORE because of this, for instance.

    I am sure I’ll get a barrage for that one but seriously, can someone present to me a non-“fuck you” argument as to why this somehow makes it more likely all of these sick goals actually happen?

  287. rayndeonx says

    Eh, I don’t know anything about this blogger and I cannot say I agree with her reasons for converting, but if she felt that this was what she “had to do” per se, given her viewpoints, then so be it. I don’t think her sentiment is entirely uncommon either – probably a number of atheists are faced with similar questions as hers and feel that atheism simply does not measure up in answering those questions. Call it a “crisis of disbelief” if you will. It sounds like she had an extended one.

    I don’t think it’s as common as crises of belief, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a symmetrical situation exists amongst a not insigificant number of atheists. She perhaps felt that there was a “God-shaped hole” in her life, and she needed belief in a personal deity to make sense of it all. Perhaps, perhaps not.

    Whatever the case, best of luck to her. Hopefully she finds support from theists and atheists alike.

  288. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    You’ll get a barrage because that’s daft logic. You could say the same thing about one person publicly supporting any other institution you find objectionable. You could say that about one person voting. Find an organization you think does great damage (doesn’t matter which, and you can keep it private). Now substitute it for the Catholic Church. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t instantly rebut anyone who said “Just ONE person supporting this Horrible Group won’t make any difference!”

    You may as well say none of us should express any support or opposition to anything. After all, we’re just one person. That’s silly. And you’re not being honest with yourself if you don’t acknowledge that. The only way you can make this argument is because you want to apologize for the Catholic Church on some level and you just aren’t seeing how it could be on the same plane as any group that you viscerally disagree with. But it can.

  289. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I am sure I’ll get a barrage for that one but seriously, can someone present to me a non-”fuck you” argument as to why this somehow makes it more likely all of these sick goals actually happen?

    You know what? You’re begging for a fuck-you. You’re not that stupid and it’s tedious that you pretend you are. Numbers matter. Publicly expressed opinions matter. In polls. In cafes. On Internet forums. Social pressure, positive or negative, affects the ability of any organization to influence public policy. This is so elementary and obvious I’m having a very hard time charitably crediting you for not understanding this.

  290. raven says

    You are misssing a key piece of information here.

    Most atheists in the USA are ex-xians. They’ve already deconverted.

    Where do you think atheists come from anyway? They aren’t brought by the stork.

    The other key piece is the assymetry. Sure an atheist or two joins some cult or another.

    Last year 2-3 million Americans dropped out of the churches, according to NCC and other data. The RCC alone has lost an astonishing 22 million members in the USA.

    Do the numbers. One atheist converts to the RCC. A few million members of US xian churches leave in a year. This former atheist blogger isn’t even a rounding error.

  291. Derek says

    Here here. You wrote what I was wanting to post as a comment on her blog. Of all the religions in all the world she had to walk into that one.

    It feels to me like a triumph of sophisticated philosophy and wishful thinking over solid reason, but who am I to judge?

  292. wmdon says

    So, aside from the utterly inexplicable choice of the Catholic Church, here’s what I just don’t understand AT ALL:

    I asked my friend what he suggest we do now, and we prayed the night office of the Liturgy of the Hours together (I’ve kept up with that since).

    And

    I’ve been using the Liturgy of the Hours and St. Patrick’s Breastplate for most of my prayer attempts.

    Who the fuck is she praying to?

    I mean, this was the very first thing that made me start doubting: I could not picture an interested (let alone plausible) god to whom I could direct my prayers. Once that thought set in, it was pretty much curtains for Jesus.

    Who is she praying to?
    How can the intended recipient of her prayers hear her?
    What is she praying for?
    What is an acceptable response? How will she know when she’s received it?
    What relationship does her objective moral law have to the “The Three in One and One in Three” and “Eternal Father, Spirit, Word
    Praise to the Lord of my salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord” of the hymn she’s chosen for her “prayer attempts”?

    How can an objective moral law receive, understand, process, or act on repetitive, rote, dogmatic wishful fucking thinking?

  293. Adam says

    OK, Westboro Baptist Church. What does one person calling themselves a believer of that church do? Does it make public policy that gay soldiers should be burned at the stake (or something similar) instantly? This is the point I’m trying to get at.

    Sure, opinions and everything you listed matters. But what it doesn’t change is the mind of people who already support the crazy ideas. The entire Catholic and Christian faith, as well as other faiths, as far as I can tell, work off of fear that if you don’t agree something bad will happen to you. What I am asking for is where the nuance comes in that one person identifying with the group gets the flock to want these crazy ideas even more.

    And trust me, I have no desire to apologize for any church. I just think saying someone supports all those sick ideas by naming themselves a convert is far too absolutist, and likely wrong. As I noted before, the purist/absolutist stance would be that a vote for an incumbent politician means that you 100% support everything he’s done so far. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. But you don’t know just from that. If someone speaks in a theater you do not know their entire heart and mind, and if someone from a group individually speaks you cannot logically infer that the entire group believes everything you just ascribed to them.

    I agree that the organizational leaders are doing things I strongly disagree with. What I don’t agree with is that somehow everyone who identifies with the faith those in hierarchical positions TRY to lead also agrees 100% with everything they do “whether or not they realize it.”

    Atheism: Some say atheism means that you believe in science as a faith. It’s a mischaracterization and overly simplistic. And that may be a bad example but I’m trying really hard here to show how an individual person is not a group. I also find it very difficult to believe that there comes a point where suddenly one person identifies with a faith that does some good things and supports some really sick things, and suddenly that group has that one extra person to be able to do whatever they want.

    Now all that may be a bit rambling but I hope it helps clarify. If you simply want to yell at me and say fuck you and all that instead of trying to help me get a point you’re trying to make, go for it. Like you said, stuff like that matters. But if you actually care to look past the presumptions you made, like I want to apologize for the church or that not understanding some aspect of the point you’re making makes me somehow pretending to be stupid, then maybe you can help me figure out what the overall problem is here in logical terms.

  294. Jared says

    If I had to join a Christian denomination, it would be the Quakers: no contest.

    Thus I strongly agree with you: Morality exists as a Platonic ideal, therefore Catholicism? WTF?

  295. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    If you’re not angry, when people are being treated as they are by religion and the religious, then you’re either not paying attention or a complete fucking monster.

  296. Andrew says

    TS – please read my post again. No evaluation is being made; no argument is being made. Simply an observation: the over-emotional, angry atheism approach to life isn’t too appealing.

    I dig this paradox too: the atheist supposedly living the completely reasoned existence; making sound life choices based on logic, evidence and reason; silly things like faith, belief, emotion just don’t factor in. But, that’s really not the case. The venom spewed irrationally in a blog comment, indicates the easily agitated atheist living in a heightened emotional state making affective decisions and assertions based on fear, anger and arrogance.

  297. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    TS – please read my post again. No evaluation is being made; no argument is being made. Simply an observation: the over-emotional, angry atheism approach to life isn’t too appealing.

    No, you say it is a reason to avoid atheism. This means rejecting atheism, i.e. accepting the existence of a deity. You use tone of conversation as a cheap excuse not to question your beliefs. That’s pathetic.

    I dig this paradox too: the atheist supposedly living the completely reasoned existence;

    Straw man. No human being leads a completely reasoned existence. We are emotional beings, and draw our motivation not purely from “reason”. That is impossible. What is possible is getting really upset about people supporting damn criminal organizations, and dismissing their anger in a smug and cynical way as you do, is contemptible. You think you are being smart or superior, but you are thoroughly making an ass of yourself.

    making sound life choices based on logic, evidence and reason;

    That is true, however not a contradiction to anything. I don’t see the paradox.

    silly things like faith, belief, emotion just don’t factor in.

    That cheap stupid fucking straw man again. See above. You watch too much Star Trek. Atheists not the same as Vulcans be.

    But, that’s really not the case. The venom spewed irrationally in a blog comment, indicates the easily agitated atheist living in a heightened emotional state making affective decisions and assertions based on fear, anger and arrogance.

    So you’re a worthless tone troll – Who cares about substance, who cares about truth. The stupid atheist are angry, so let’s mock them for that and tell myself I’m superior because of it. Self-congratulations to you.

  298. Andrew says

    lol! You’ve convinced me. I want to be just like you – I want to feel your anger!! Yesss!!

  299. Jon H says

    For an appeal to authority to be effective you have to first make sure the people you’re talking to give a shit about your authority, and I can pretty confidently say that no one here cares about what a Cardinal says, devoid of any actual argumentation.

  300. DialsAdder says

    I am happy to hear I am not the only person who discusses Harry Potter genetics. It’s certainly a very interesting problem.

  301. says

    Did she do this so she can follow Bill Keller’s advice in his recent op-ed? If “parts” of Catholicism fits her understanding, being a Catholic isn’t ideal. The Unitarian Church welcomes both atheists and deists w/o the baggage. Any number of liberal Christian Churches are available. You know, where women can be priests, homosexuals can marry who they love, couples can use contraceptives, nuns saying masturbation is okay aren’t shamed etc.

    Sorry for you. This person lost her way.

  302. julian says

    EDIT: Please no “She was never a True Atheist” idiotic arguments.

    I guess that depends on what you mean by atheist then as she honestly doesn’t sound like she had been atheist to me. (I have just learned about her though so…) She sounds like a spiritualist or a very religion oriented agnostic.

    But an atheist? No, no not really.

    Which doesn’t honestly change anything as you still have a non believer converting to one of the most bigoted institutions on his Earth. It doesn’t make much sense but hopefully she’ll stay the liberal kind.

    I won’t hold my breath though. There’s a reason I avoid my Catholic relatives.

  303. Mark Sparrow says

    I’m not accusing her of it, but I find it so bizarre for a female atheist to convert to Catholicism at the absolute pinnacle of that particular religion being consistently publicly exposed as the Worst People On Earth club, that it *seems* like something that someone would do in some kind of desperate attempt to generate controversy and attention for themselves.

    I don’t know Leah, I don’t know her blog well, I’ve only read a couple of her posts including the one about the conversion, and I haven’t read all of her arguments or her responses to criticism, and I’m also not a psychologist and don’t mean to be pretending to diagnose anyone, so I want to be clear that I’m not at all saying that *is* the case. But knowing Catholicism, and understanding enough about feminism and how rational people engage their critical faculties when it comes to decision making, it’s the only rational conclusion I can come up.

  304. grumpyoldfart says

    I’ll bet she’s following a very watered down version of Catholicism. I’ll bet she will never ever believe that priests can literally turn grape juice into blood. She might say so out loud when the mugs in the pews are listening, but each time she swallows the stuff she will be thinking to herself, “Transubstantiation? What load of shit!”

  305. says

    Hi Jen — Greetings from a fellow atheist blogger from Seattle. Two questions:

    (1) Is it possible to exchange emails with you? (You can get my email address here.)

    (2) Do you know how to contact Leah? I’ve been writing something about Lewis’s argument in Mere Christianity, and would love to get her feedback, not in an attempt to de-convert her but instead just to get well-informed feedback from someone persuaded by Lewis’s argument.

    Regards,

    Jeffery Jay Lowder

  306. says

    Certainly the reaction from some Catholics about this – swamping blogs and Twitter with gratz, tearful prayers, songs of praise – comes across to me as, well, a little creepy (“lovebombing” as you said) and also seem to indicate a real sense of insecurity and an almost seige mentality. I can’t remember, and can’t imagine, such a reaction if the situation was the opposite. My own reaction to someone becoming an atheist would be perhaps slightly more than a shrug, a thought of “good for them” and then I’d probably get distracted ohlookpancakes.

    Her Twitter followers have almost doubled in a few days, so I guess it _is_ a great publicity tactic. Kim Kardashian to join Islam? :)

    P.

  307. AlanMac says

    From reading her article, it is obvious she is stoned on dopamine.

    I believed that the Moral Law wasn’t just a Platonic truth, abstract and distant. It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth.

    …for fuck sake , get a grip. Could be awkward when the nonepinephrine kicks in and she looks for more ‘love bombing’.

  308. NateHevens says

    Apparently, she grew up nonreligious, and was “convinced” by Catholic friends and a boyfriend in college.

  309. says

    Blessed Henry Cardinal Newman, himself a convert to Catholicism, said that either Catholicism is true, or atheism or nihilism is.

    If Catholicism is not true, then no assertion based on Catholic doctrine has any grounding; and Catholics like Newman can’t reliably say what is or is not true.

    Either Catholicism is true, or Catholic “philosophers” don’t know shit about anything.

  310. echidna says

    I’ve read her post, and most of the comments. Even as an ex-Catholic, I barely recognise what she’s talking about, but despite the centrality of the Vatican, there are differences within Catholicism. It seems to me that she really buys into the ritual, something that she cannot get from most denominations (although Russian Orthodox, among others, might also work for her). As for who she is praying to, I don’t think she cares about that. It does not seem to be at an intellectual level for her at all. She talks about feelings and the soothing effect of prayer.

    Grumpy, she may well accept transubstantiation as a Mystery that has “do not think about how this might work” stamped on it. It was like that for me.

    I could never go back and I really can’t imagine how anybody could, intellectually. But there she is.

  311. says

    When I joined the KKK, it was because of the spiffy outfits and the barbecues. Sure, you might think that because I am proudly announcing I am a KKK member, that I am a racist or subscribe to the KKK’s racial agenda. But, in fact, now that I have joined the KKK I have discovered that primarily it’s a useful social outlet and – because I am not participating in any lynchings or cross-burnings – I don’t feel it’s appropriate for any non-KKK-members to comment: after all, they haven’t tried the awesome barbecue sauce we’ve got here. I simply don’t understand why you people think I’m a racist asshole. Besides, some of my best friends are minorities.

    …or something like that. Ugh, that was a bit too easy.

  312. hkdharmon says

    Wait, is she saying that she suddenly believes that the pope speaks for the creator of the universe and that transubstantiation makes sense?
    Nope, looks like she is saying “Their morals kinda line up with mine”.
    So what? Catholicism is still bullshit.
    How much you want to bet she will disagree with tons of Catholic theology while still claiming it is all true. Such crap.

  313. Jamie says

    Jen, I am so sorry to hear this news.

    A few years ago I had a longtime friend suddenly tell me she was converting (for her it was joining the Assemblies of God). My shock, dismay, and (eventually) painful sense of loss can hardly be overstated. And I too took the view that I should be completely honest with my friends. So I told her repeatedly, (calmly and politely) just what a horrible mistake she was making, and detailed why.
    I told her I would always be her friend and that she could always count on me and we could still have fun; and she assured me likewise.
    It did not work out that way. I think we both really meant what we said about being friends, but what we ended up doing, in retrospect, was giving each other time to come to our senses. And even that would have been okay if that was all that happened. But eventually she was convinced by her ‘supportive friends’ that I was under the influence of Satan because I wasn’t ‘saved’, and so nothing I said could be trusted. (To her credit, she trusted me enough to say that to my face). She later told me we could still be friends, but that she would have to be the ‘lead friend’ from now on, and I was not to forward any articles or blog posts that might make her question her faith, and that swearing would no longer be tolerated in her presence–this lead to an outbreak of incredulous swearing by me, and of course a complete rejection and condemnation of her demands. Shortly thereafter, my ‘lifelong’ friend told me never to contact her again.
    I read Leah’s post and a lot of it is very similar to what I saw in my own friend’s initial conversion. She has abandoned logical thought (or has at least demoted it to a position somewhere below gut feelings). You cannot reason with someone who no longer sees the value of reason; you cannot convince someone through logic if they no longer see virtue in logic. I hope you will be prepared for that–I most definitely was not.
    I hope you have better luck than I did.

  314. says

    I STILL don’t understand how you do this! Fuckety fuck fuck FUCK!

    I mean really… “Someone asked me a hard question, so I embraced a gigantic fully-formed worldview that is antithetical to my formerly-claimed principles, rather than table the conversation and maybe think a little harder.” Seriously? It makes so much the opposite of any sense that I find my own IQ dropping the more I try to wrap my brain around it.

  315. Louis says

    The reason, in my opinion, that those people who commented on her board used such terminology is because to them the Church is a home. I mean, most likely, those people are apart of Catholic Culture and lead their whole lives based on their beliefs. The members consider themselves family, so I wouldn’t be to shocked if those members consider her to be a “new Lamb to the fold” or similar to the character of the Prodigal Son. Overall, I’m happy that she is doing what she wants to do. We should be happy and celebrate each other’s differences! :D

  316. Louis says

    Well, the Pope really isn’t the mouthpiece of God. I mean, he’s more akin to a Steward of the earthly throne who has to follow the rules/teachings left by Jesus who is considered a King.

  317. Louis says

    From my readings, the Catholic Church was,for the most part, neutral during World War II. I mean, while the church was neutral, the pope at the time did aid in saving a number of Jews by hiding them from German officials and he did privately and publicly condemn their actions against Jewish individuals. While he seldom publicly denounced the Nazi Party, it is understandable. Many in the church in Germany were terrified of the Nazis. Speaking out against the Party in any way could get you and your family killed.

  318. Louis says

    If I can recall, the Catholic church has nothing against gay people. They consider homosexuality to be not a personal choice, but something that you are born with. Catholics, from my experience, are split on gay marriage. Some state that gay marriage takes away from the “True meaning of marriage” while others don’t really care and don’t really see the point of getting involved with preventing gay people from getting married. From what my theology professor told me, Catholics consider any sexual act that doesn’t have the potential for children as a sin. That was before we had the discussion that back in the 50s, 60s,and 70s, seminaries taught that pedophilia and bestiality weren’t inherently evil acts (morally neutral) and that’s the reason why more pedophiles became priests or something like that.

  319. Tony... therefore God says

    Andrew:

    Nanky, Zengy, et al: putting aside the philosophical/theological debate, your posts alone seem fantastic reasons to avoid atheism. Anger and name calling seem to be your credo. I’m fascinated that atheists who claim to be driven by logic and are so evidently driven to act based solely on emotion.Stay classy!

    What are you, 12 years old? *
    You actually typed that? With a straight face?
    Getting angry (which of course, only atheists do) or calling people names (which only atheists do) is a reason to avoid atheism? Is that with or without looking at the evidence (or lack thereof when it comes to the biblical monster Yahweh)? You know, the evidence that shows there is no proof of nor any reason to believe in the existence of any one of the thousands of gods–including the Abrahamic God of the BIble–humanity has created.
    Or in simpler terms: “Mommy, he said ‘fuck’. Therefore atheism is wrong.” Is that what you’re trying to say here?
    Oh, and setting aside an argument because people used words you don’t like (and no, I’m not talking about something like gendered epithets), only to focus on the words you don’t like, is a great way of sidestepping the *actual* conversation. Did you have something relevant to the topic at hand that you wanted to add? Or did you just decide to drop in and do the exact thing that gets people called TONE TROLLZ?

    For the love of Odin!
    What is the deal with people and their inability to handle profanity? Does condom use *AND* profanity make baby jesus cry?
    How does the presence of profanity in conversations impede anything on your part?
    Are you unable to understand the ideas being presented because you’re too busy focusing on the fucks, shits, and goddamns?
    I would love, for once, just one fucking time, to hear *why* it is so damned important that people not use profanity in conversations.
    And no, because I don’t like it is not a reason; if we use that line of reasoning, then christians can’t talk about Zombie Jesus any more because I don’t like the idiot…or they can’t talk about the murderous god of the bible because I find him morally depraved and don’t like him. Who elected you tone trolls individuals Masters of Tone?
    And no (pt. 2), cursing doesn’t undermine an effective argument. If someone presents a valid argument, but uses profanity in the process, their argument doesn’t go poof.
    I would also like to know how many times we’re permitted by you Tone Masters to use profanity. If I’m mad that someone insulted me for being gay, am I allowed 1 curse word? If they compound that by insulting me for being atheist, do I get two curse words? Do I get three if I mention I’m a POC? This arbitrary line in the sand over words that ,*unlike* gendered insults, do not serve the function of insulting a marginalized member of society (let alone *anyone* in society) and does not appear to have any purpose.
    It’s like Tone Trolling is puritanical leftovers. Can someone please take out that centuries old trash? And take Christianity with it. Please. For the safety of the planet and the sanity of Gaea’s people.

    *I must apologize to 12 year olds everywhere. I’ve encountered some that do not make ridiculous arguments in such a manner. Perhaps 8-10 is better.

    P.S. Atheists are human just like you (though most of us are a bit more human than Rick Santorum or Pat Robertson. Or the pastor that wants parents to beat kids for ‘acting gay’. Or the pastor who wants to round up the gays and imprison them [complete with electrified fences, natch] ala Nazi Germany and watch them die off.)
    Atheists get mad.
    Atheists get sad.
    Atheists get royally pissed off.
    Atheists have a range of emotions just like all other humans. Why you seem to think that an atheist who values logic would not act solely on emotion is beyond me (take down the caricature of atheists that you have and perhaps you’d understand why your bewilderment is flat out stupid).

  320. Tony... therefore God says

    Jason:

    Many people are attracted to the intellectual history of the Church and in that regard no other group comes close.

    the intellectual history of the church??
    Whatchu talkin’ ’bout Willis?

  321. Tony... therefore God says

    Matt:
    Perhaps she is just a seeker on the path.I view religion and conversion as traveling a path seeking truth.I started as an atheist. I became a fundamentalist because they had answers. I joined the charismatics because the had life. I moved on and am now with the Unitarians who allow most any belief. They give me a community that resembles church.Sometimes the path returns home. I’m back, but with more answers now.

    A seeker of what?
    A path to where?
    How do you know there *is* a path?
    Is this a ‘meaning of life’ thing (probably not, as there is no meaning to life; we give life meaning)?
    Some snark aside, I can understand how religion-at one time-offered answers to many of the questions humans had. They were not correct answers, but they were answers that may have sufficed in the past. Science has come to supplant religion at so many turns; explaining much of the world around us. No, we don’t know everything there is to know, and likely never will. However, science has given us answers to questions religion never could (or would).
    For thousands of years, time and time again, religion has given us false answers to questions about the world. What makes anyone think religion has the correct answer to *anything*?
    As for Unitarians, why is allowing most any belief a good thing? Sure some beliefs may seem harmless (though even that is debatable), but others are not. Anti-Vaxxers I’m looking at you.
    Why is it a good thing to embrace a way of thinking based on absolutely *no* evidence?
    Why is it a good thing to embrace wishful thinking?
    Why is it a good thing to start your “quest for answers” with assumptions about the world?
    (btw, your last comment is vague. You have more answers now? To what questions? Did you have a list of questions you needed answered? How did you know the answers you got were correct?)

  322. Tony... therefore God says

    @30:

    Since it seems unlikely that the church is going to close up shop any time soon, I suppose the best I can say is that the church can probably use more people like her, people who at least give some serious thought to what they believe and don’t believe. More and more I fear that such people are in the minority.

    Have you been reading any of the comments in this thread? Did you read her last Patheos blog post?
    How much “serious thought” can go into making the decision to convert to a belief system that has zero evidence to support any of its claims?
    How much “serious thought” can go into making a decision to convert to a religious belief system that degrades humanity?
    If she were looking for a source of morality (one of her big mistakes is assuming there *is* a source of morality) why look to an organization as immoral and corrupt as the Raping Children Church?

  323. O'Hurlihee says

    If I’m not mistaken, he’s probably referring to the illustrious tradition of folks like Anselm, Augustine, Tom Aquinas, all the popes and their encyclicals (or bulls, which is an unintentionally apt term if ever there was one), etc. One problem I find it nigh-impossibly difficult to overcome with Catholics is their self-satisfaction at all that ink spilled in rational exposition of a bunch of unchecked assumptions, in creating logical structures with zero basis in objective reality, in endeavors of formulating high-sounding thoughts with little to no intellectual honesty behind them.

    I call those thoughts “thunks,” because that’s the sound they make when you yank out their fallacious underpinnings.

    You can see it in a few places on this thread, or in Mark Shea’s home court, or wherever you get the rump-patting congregation chattering at each other. “We’ve already come up with answers to all these theoretical problems! Neener!” Only 90% of the problems, and just about all the answers, are almost invariably completely asinine if you don’t accept the underlying assumptions. It boggles the brain at least as much with bile and frustration as with bewilderment.

  324. Tony... therefore God says

    Jason:

    I didn’t see a ‘Reply’ button to your comment so I’m replying here. The position on contraception is simply one part of a larger group of teachings on the value of human life. It is not intended to be isolated and is not designed to hurt the man or the woman.

    Do you preview your comments before submitting them?
    A larger group of teachings based on what? On who’s authority? It’s not based on human biology. It’s not based on human psychology. It’s not based on human social interaction. The teaching of ‘just say no to contraception or we’ll force you to’** is directed almost solely at women and has the very real effect of hurting women around the world. It’s not hard to do the research and see what many have been pointing out to you.

    **which is exactly what they’re trying to do in the United States.

  325. Tony... therefore God says

    Shplane:
    What kinds of horrors the Church condones, facilitates, and acts out?

    Not just the horrors. Can’t forget the stupidity.
    “We’re going to eat some crackers and play a game of ‘pretend this was jesus christ that we’re eating’ ”
    It’s right up there on the stupidity scale next to magic underwear.

  326. Tony... therefore God says

    I think you completely missed my point.
    Jason asserted that nearly all theist systems were against gay marriage.
    My point is that he would have to do a lot of studying since there are a lot of religions. In our time. Thus, I found a random list of 21 of today’s religious organizations. I could have tried to find a list that incorporated more of the ancient religions, but I thought my point was made. Apparently not. Again:
    If one holds the position that gay marriage is antithetical to most theist systems, where is the proof that you’ve studied the systems to begin with? To make that assertion with any intellectual honesty, you’d have to do some research.
    Moreover, in Jason’s case, he was confused about the very definition of atheism, which makes me question how much he would know about the various religions of the world (both today and in antiquity).

  327. Tony... therefore God says

    Jason:

    let someone else be the punching bag for all things theist!

    It takes a special kind of vile person to make light of the very serious charges against the Catholic Church. They are not a punching bag. Criticizing and condemning the RCC is an issue of moral outrage.

  328. Tony... therefore God says

    codelette:

    was born and raised Catholic. Today I consider myself Agnostic (or apathetic atheist, as really I don’t give a fuck about a “God”). Back to the topic, I’m siding with Atchka on this one, most of you don’t have a clue what being a Catholic is. Catholicism is not a monolith and depending on which part of the world you live at, the Pope can be just a freaking decorative figure.

    I’m sorry you were raised catholic. That religious belief system offers no proof that anything it teaches is an accurate representation of the world.
    I’m sorry you’re an agnostic or an “apathetic atheist”. If you don’t care about god, I wonder how much you care about the harmful effects god belief has on millions of people around the world.
    I’m sorry you’re siding with Atchka. You have a particular view of what it means to be catholic, and when others have views that don’t match yours, *they* are the ones who don’t know catholicism? Maybe *you’re* the one that’s wrong. Or maybe there’s something wrong with a belief system that’s so open to interpretation as to mean anything the believers want.

  329. In Reason I Trust says

    I don’t buy it.

    How would an adult, having understood that there is no Santa Clause, choose to start believing in him again?

    Leah was either lying about being an atheist, or she is such a coward-so afraid of the unknown, that she chooses a fairy tale over the hard truth.

    So there you have it, she’s either a liar or a coward. Neither is a virtue.

  330. Lee says

    In defense of the Catholic church their buildings are quite pretty and sometimes well air conditioned. Also the musty smell of old money is very attractive to some people.
    Seriously she probably joined in search of a social network. It’s what draws most people to religion and while the catholic hierarchy is provably evil the local congregations are often quite pleasant. If you close your eyes around them you can almost ignore the bullshit. All you need to do is stay away from certain subjects and remember not to think to hard. Then you could fit right in.

  331. brian says

    Wow. Reading through some of these comments I can’t help but notice that many of you have taken the decisions of someone else and turned them into something that is all about you. I’m not an atheist, but I have many atheist friends. FRIENDS. That means we respect each other. I know my friends don’t want me to go on and on about my religion, and they know that I don’t want them to go on and on about how much they disagree with me. Instead, we focus on the things we have in common. We listen to each others’ opinions and are always respectful to one another.

    The problem, if I may say so, is not that your friends have converted to religion; the problem is that you’ve made that conversion all about YOU because you’re selfish.

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  333. Tony... therefore God says

    Brian:

    Wow. Reading through some of these comments I can’t help but notice that many of you have taken the decisions of someone else and turned them into something that is all about you. I’m not an atheist, but I have many atheist friends. FRIENDS. That means we respect each other. I know my friends don’t want me to go on and on about my religion, and they know that I don’t want them to go on and on about how much they disagree with me. Instead, we focus on the things we have in common. We listen to each others’ opinions and are always respectful to one another.

    The problem, if I may say so, is not that your friends have converted to religion; the problem is that you’ve made that conversion all about YOU because you’re selfish.

    The vast majority of people in this thread have :
    expressed their disapproval of her conversion to an organization as vile, corrupt and evil as the Catholic Church
    or
    expressed their inability to comprehend how one can venture from non belief to belief (proof vs no proof)
    or a combination of the two.
    You cannot honestly believe that your example of ‘how to conduct yourselves the way I dictate’ is relevant to this discussion. Unless Leah is friends with most of the people here, no one is treating her like their friend (obviously I’m not talking about Stephanie, who is Leah’s friend).

    Now that we have that understanding out of the way (you *do* understand that right) I’d like to ask how you define selfish. Again, the inability to comprehend Leah’s conversion to an irrational belief system combined with the disbelief that she would choose the Raping Children Church for its morals is largely what is being discussed. Where is the selfishness you’re speaking of? Most of us are trying to understand where she’s coming from, and it’s incredibly difficult. Your choice to wade into this and accuse people of being selfish without even citing what you’re talking about (specific examples of who is being selfish, and why you perceive things that way) is an attempted derail of the thread. Instead of addressing the topic at hand, you’ve decided to play Tone Troll. In your case, you expect that people should follow your rules for conducting ourselves in conversation.
    I’m not sorry to tell you: Get Lost.
    If you have nothing of substance to discuss, no one is interested in watching you attempt to make sure that we all just get along and be nice to one another.
    By the way, I’m glad you don’t harass your friends. They’re lucky to not have you proselytizing with the religious holier than thou belief in invisible genocidal, baby killing deities. Religious beliefs are not deserving of respect (people, however, are deserving of respect). They are irrational beliefs with no evidence to back them up. They deserve derision.

    P.S. Even if everyone *were* selfish, it still wouldn’t change the fact that Leah has made what many see as a boneheaded, ill conceived decision.

  334. Tony... therefore God says

    Ack. I’m a moron.
    From my last post, this:
    obviously I’m not talking about Stephanie, who is Leah’s friend).
    should read as:
    “obviously I’m not talking about Jen, who is Leah’s friend.)

    Sorry about that Jen.

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  336. brian says

    That was a very long-winded version of the classic “nuh-uh, shut up” argument. I stand behind what I’ve written. It is my opinion, and I’ve shared it, whether you wanted to read it or not. Ms. McRight may censor and/or delete my comment at her own leisure.

    I have little interest in arguing over whether my point is valid, which, I’m sure, you will claim as some sort of victory. Congratulations.

  337. says

    …or even that they get the really important things right.

    Some things are sufficiently important that, no matter how much I might agree on other points, disagreement on that one point makes it impossible for me to give my support.
    The Catholic Church fails on a number of these non-negotiable points. They try to take away people’s rights, actively assist in the spreading of deadly diseases and protect people who rape children.

    Even if I agreed on every single theological point I still wouldn’t be a Catholic, for those reasons.

  338. Andrew says

    Many posts here, like yours, refer to a notion of rights. To what rights are you referring?

  339. Brandon says

    While I won’t pull the No True Atheist card, I’ve got to say, someone who can convert to a religion doesn’t share my particular form of disbelief in deities. For me, I need new evidence to emerge that doesn’t presently exist for me to settle on the existence of a deity. No amount of moral quandaries, philosophical wrangling, or crisis of conscience is sufficient for a conversion for me because my atheism is predicated entirely on the absence of actual evidence for a deity.

    Sometimes I forget that this isn’t always the position of other atheists. Leah’s a helpful reminder of that.

  340. says

    How about the right not to be unfairly discriminated against by the laws of the nation? The Catholic Church is very much in favor of discriminating against homosexuals with regards to marriage and adoption. I’m sure there are people in the leadership who’d like to go much further than that.

    Btw, you should be aware that when you completely disregard the actual point someone is making in favor of nitpicking some small detail, you come of as dishonest and trollish.
    Do you have anything to say about what I actually posted? You know, the part about important, non-negotiable values?

  341. Tony... therefore God says

    Brian:
    I have little interest in arguing over whether my point is valid, which, I’m sure, you will claim as some sort of victory. Congratulations.

    Thanks. Never said I was playing a game I was trying to win, but whatever…
    I take it you don’t feel like backing up your assertions?
    You’ve said that people were selfish. I asked you to prove this. I was trying to discuss your points with you, but for some reason you refuse to. Is that because you don’t have any justification for your beliefs? Perhaps it’s because you realized you don’t truly believe anyone is being selfish and you’re afraid to admit you’re wrong…?
    And no, my post was not a long winded way of saying “nuh uh. shut up.” See, I was trying to engage you in conversation. That’s the opposite of saying ‘shut up’ (technically, I did imply I want you to shut up, but that’s only if you have nothing to offer other than telling people how they should conduct themselves–stop tone trolling). I was trying to understand your position. Now I understand that you have no interest in providing any support for your own beliefs. In the future, maybe you could save people a lot of time by simply stating : “I have no wish to offer justification for any of my beliefs. I’m going to dogmatically hold them no matter what anyone says and I have no interest in discussing them. I’m just here to tone troll and speculate on peoples’ motivations.”

  342. Tony... therefore God says

    Ms. Daisy:
    It’s like dealing with idiotic religious nuts who assert that that we should respect their beliefs, yet they offer no justification for *why* their beliefs should be respected.

  343. sc_0894be237a7db86576bbe80a54f00879 says

    Gah! AN analytical – poor proofreading, not a grammatical deficiency I assure you.

  344. Jason says

    I just read through some of the comments on the post. Gotta say, I agree with Jen. What’s going on over there is a de facto love bombing.

  345. says

    Hey, just a heads-up.

    The “Ardent Atheist” podcast, hosted by Emery Emery (he of the Great PenisGate Debate in response to the whole recent TAM2012 sexual harassment issue) have spent an entire half hour doing the “She was never a True Atheist” argument.

    They don’t appear to have been able to do any research on all her thoughts about virtue ethics and recent secularism issues and the like. Their excuse? Couldn’t find her blog entries, even though they knew she writes on Unequally Yoked.
    (For the sake of anyone watching who is unsure on this issue, they couldn’t find THESE blog entries: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked/author/leahlibresco )

    Occasionally Emery Emery says some quite sensible stuff. He’s pretty opinionated (aren’t we all?) and I think he overstates his surety on some issues on occasion (particularly in relation to Buddhism oddly enough – though that’s because he’s come across several figures who do the whole, very western, ‘Buddhism is just a philosophy’ thing). Most of the time I haven’t had to worry about disliking his opinions because he always invites on comedians and they all turn pretty much everything into a joke. However, there’ve been a few awkward things recently. They had a phase of contesting Westboro Church homophobia by calling them ‘fags’ (which seemed like a bizarre choice). Emery tried to insist that the -etard word isn’t offensive to people with mental disabilities (???). Emery did a big defense of Penn Jilette’s ‘stident’ approach but seemed entirely unaware of Penn calling a female comedian the -unt word for making fun of superbowl adverts shortly before that podcast. He minimised Dawkins’ “Dear Muslima” comments. He insisted that TAM doesn’t NEED a sexual harassment policy at all. And now, most recently, he’s insisting that Leah Libresco was never a real atheist without paying any attention to her actual writing first (and comparing her to S.E. Cupp which I think is pretty clearly an entirely different case).

    Anyway, asides from the stuff I mentioned, I found the podcast pretty entertaining and often very interesting too. So these recent issues are a bit saddening really.

  346. KG says

    Those deeds far from cancel out the Vatican’s signing of concordats with both Mussolini and Hitler, unstinting support for Franco in the Spanish Civil War, support for clerical fascism in Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia and elsewhere, failure to excommunicate or threaten with such penalties any of the leading Nazis and other fascists for their crimes, and helping many Axis war criminals escape after the war’s end. Moreover, it was the Catholic Centre Party that gave Hitler the majority for the Enabling Act making him dictator. The Catholic Church has long been a force for evil, despite the goodness of many individual Catholics.

  347. Brandi says

    *My* name, among thousands, are on their roles and we don’t believe nor support them monetarily. The Catholic church is particularly sneaky and hard to deal with when trying to get your name removed, and that is a rude point to make IMO.
    I am not supporting them because I was baptized into the church before I knew any better and every attempt at removing myself has been thwarted by letters full of fancy jargon.

  348. Broggly says

    >Harry Potter Genetics
    What’s your take? Yudkowsky’s hypothesis (which he admits is a massive simplification) is that magic is a recessive allele, and squibs are mutants.
    More likely there are several allele pairs which produce an insufficient amount of the magic protein, if the muggleborn/squib phenomenon is based on a single gene. This would make wizards more likely to interbreed with muggles, as one whose alleles aren’t heteroinsufficient can still produce wizard babies (albeit ones with a 50/50 shot of making squibs with heteroinsufficent wizards).
    Either way, there’s a 25% chance that Dudley can potentially have magical children, which completely unimportant as nobody wants to write romantic fanfics about him.

  349. Trina says

    This is pretty sad. I still feel Leah is going to come out in six months going ‘totes joking about the God stuff!’.

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