This story is a couple of years old, but I just heard about it, and find it fascinating. Leah Libresco, who writes at the Patheos website Unequally Yoked (on the Catholic Channel), was an atheist blogger but became a Catholic in 2012. The American Conservative names her as one of its employees:
Leah Libresco is an editorial assistant at TAC. She is a graduate of Yale University and lives in Washington D.C.
In this video interview of CNN, Libresco explains her decision (see also her written explanation below):
The reason she came back to Catholicism? “I’m really sure that morality is objective.” Libresco affirms that Christianity, in the Catholic form, offered her explanation that she found compelling. (I guess she doesn’t find evolutionary or secular explanations compelling. The rejection of those alternatives, especially given the evidence for them, baffles me.
So what “objective” morality does Libresco choose? Catholicism! What’s the objective morality there? That gays are “disordered” and doomed to hell if they don’t confess their “immoral” acts. That a fertilized egg is a fully human creature? That birth control is wrong? That sex outside of marriage is a sin, as is having sex with someone if you’re civilly divorced but haven’t had an annulment?
If I were the CNN reporter, I’d immediately ask Libresco exactly what aspects of morality—what moral dicta—she considers objective. I’d ask her if she buys into the espoused “morality” of the Catholic church. And I’d ask her how she knows that Catholic morality is the real objective morality rather than, say, the “objective” morality of Islam, Jainism, or Judaism.
There’s nothing more cringe-making that a naturalist who becomes a supernaturalist, especially if they go over to something like Catholicism. Their reasons always seem wonky.
Libresco explains more at her website:
And, ultimately, I decided the bit of my model of the world that didn’t fit was my atheism. Theism seemed like the most plausible bridge across the is-ought problem. Christianity seemed like the theism that best matched the moral laws I was most sure of. And Catholicism seemed like the most trustworthy form of Christianity. So I bit the bullet, signed up for RCIA (again), and am to be received into the Catholic Church on November 18th.
I got to where I am by thinking about how morality works (working through a lot of thought experiments and case studies) and then trying to figure out what that system implied. So the best way to understand my conversion might be to page through some of the posts in the Morality in Practice category (or, more specifically, the “whence moral law?” “sin-eaters/dirty hands” “radical forgiveness” “pride” and “high mask theory” tags). If you agree with me about what’s right, then we can fight about how that system has to work. If not, then we should probably start arguing at the first point where we diverge.
I wonder if CNN would give equal time to a religious blogger who became an atheist. I doubt it, for that wouldn’t sit well with religious America.