Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Popular (and super smart) atheist blogger's stunning announcement

Leah Libresco is a young, funny and super smart (as in Yale graduate) blogger who's gathered quite the following with her honest and witty blog posts from her life-long secularist/atheist worldview. Her writing style is fresh and her humorous but respectful blog posts at Patheos have long made her a popular read among people with and without faith alike.

But two days ago, she made an announcement which has created quite a ripple. In her own words:

I tried to keep my eyes open for ways I could test which world I was in, but a lot of the evidence for Christianity was only compelling to me if I at least presupposed Deism. 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!). 
Then, the night before Palm Sunday…I was up at my alma mater for an alumni debate. I had another round of translating a lot of principles out of Catholic in order to use them in my speech, which prompted the now traditional heckling from my friends. After the debate, I buttonholed a Christian…prodded me on where I thought moral law came from in my metaphysics. I talked about morality as though it were some kind of Platonic form, remote from the plane that humans existed on. He wanted to know where the connection was. 
I could hypothesize how a Forms-material world link would work in the case of mathematics…But I didn’t have an analogue for how humans got bootstrap up to get even a partial understanding of objective moral law.
I’ve heard some explanations that try to bake morality into the natural world by reaching for evolutionary psychology. 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. I didn’t think the answer was there. My friend pressed me to stop beating up on other people’s explanations and offer one of my own.  
“I don’t know,” I said. ”I’ve got bupkis.”
“Your best guess." 
“I haven’t got one." 
“You must have some idea.” 
“I don’t know. I’ve got nothing. I guess Morality just loves me or something.” 
“Ok, ok, yes, I heard what I just said. Give me a second and let me decide if I believe it.” 
It turns out I did. 
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. 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). Then I suggested hugs and playing Mumford and Sons really, really loudly.

You can read her post, in its entirety here.

So, Libresco has begun attending RCIA classes in a nearby Catholic parish. She has begun a journey of faith which was sparked by intellectual honesty and philosophical objectivity. This is no easy feat - to parse reason and to actually follow where it leads. We Catholics have never been afraid to ask tough questions and many of us embrace this age-old Faith precisely because our questions and embrace of objective Truth led us (quite unexpectedly in many cases) to the Church that Christ founded, built on the apostles. Ms. Libresco is to be commended for her bravery because I can tell you first-hand that the journey towards Rome is not an easy one and is fraught with snares and difficulties that you cannot even imagine as you start.

She is deserving of our prayers. If you'd like to follow her on her journey, you can now find her blog, Unequally Yoked, under the Catholic portal of Patheos.