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Conversion Fascination

I have to admit that I am still fascinated by the recent conversion of former atheist blogger, Leah Libresco. Unlike the re-conversion of Patrick Greene, Libresco was a blogger and so I assume that she knew the standard arguments and was presumably knowledgeable about the plot holes, ridiculousness, and just factually incorrect aspects of Christianity.

Like I said before, I wasn’t a reader of her blog so I don’t know how much she really know anything about her positions. But I really have to assume she was knowledgeable. Her conversion is different than say Kirk Cameron’s conversion in that he wasn’t someone in the greater community of reason and he didn’t know the arguments against religion.

Libresco claims that her conversion was over Platonic Forms, but I am starting to wonder about that. It seems to me that Platonic Forms have been an outdated idea for some time now and that they are interesting for Introductory Philosophy students as a way of showing the history of thought. But aside from being a conversation starter, no modern moral philosopher would hold to such an idea as a moral theory. So my thought is that there was some emotional component involved as well.

It is possible that Libresco isn’t even aware of this emotional component, but I really do have a hard time believing that her conversion to Catholicism (and all the wackiness that entails) was a result of a belief in Platonic Forms.

I mean, Libresco has to have heard of Sam Harris, right? If she is into Plato’s Forms, she probably read Aristotle too. I think his view of morality is far better than Plato’s and even that is outdated. There is a huge history of moral thought that it seems Libresco has surprisingly ignored. This seems unbelievable to me given that she appears to be a fan of philosophy and someone who is interested in the field of morality. So how did some religious person get her with the old C.S. Lewis “Moral Law Giver” argument?

We have to be missing something here. Perhaps I can get a dialog started with her to try to reason this out.

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  • http://twitter.com/FictionFaith Faith or Fiction?

    I was chatting to a friend about this yesterday, and we basically agree that her “conversion” can only really be one of two scenarios:

    1). She was never really an atheist. She could very well have been agnostic, but the leap from atheism to Catholicism for morality, just strikes me as utterly bizarre, given what we know about Catholic morals…

    2). She’s trolling for attention with Ashton Kutcher and we’ll all be on the next episode of Punk’d.

    • dangeroustalk

      I reject both of those scenarios. The first is a No True Scotsman fallacy and the second doesn’t seek likely.

      • http://twitter.com/1diehard1 Nick Hammes

        I agree, but the first has an element of truth behind it. She was really an atheist in that she didn’t believe in a god, but she was a dualist, so she was really only-technically-an-atheist anyway.

        • dangeroustalk

          I don’t know the extent of her blogging, but she seems to be fairly knowledgeable so I wouldn’t put her in the Kirk Cameron category of “only technically an atheist.” I’m not even sure I like that category.

  • mikespeir

    Let’s face it, the emotional undercurrent can be very hard to swim against sometimes. Religion has had thousands of years to hone its heartstrings pulling techniques.

  • http://adultonsetatheist.blogspot.com/ Adult Onset Atheist

    though I am convinced that sexuality only tempered her desire to question her conversion I do believe it played a part. Libresco describes her reaction in the aftermath of her conversion event with her male friend this way: “Then I suggested hugs and playing Mumford and Sons really, really loudly.”

    When she started blogging as an atheist it was to deal with a gap between her and the Catholic boyfriend she had at the time. Her Atheist blogging is book-ended by Catholic boyfriends. In the beginning the Atheism is a wedge issue in the ultimately doomed relationship with her Catholic boyfriend. At the end she abandons her Atheism and gets hugs and folk music from her Catholic male friend.

    It is also interesting to point something out in the spirit of complete speculation. The blogger called “The Raving Atheist” who converted to rather conservative Christianity in December of 2008, and became “The Raving Theist”. He continued to blog as a Christian until October of 2009, and has been silent ever since. The raving Atheist/Theist was from Long Island NY like Libresco, and came from a “secular household. I wonder if they know each other?

    • dangeroustalk

      I wasn’t aware of The Raving (fill int he blank) until Hemant mentioned him in his blog about Leah. I will certainly be looking into his story.

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