Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jennifer Fulwiler's Conversion Diary: Part 1

A few years ago when I was just beginning to question the existence of God, I desperately wanted to give him as many chances as possible to prove himself. With this purpose, I Googled the hell out of "proof of religion", "proof of God", "does God exist?", "atheist to Christian", "origin of religion", and all manner of variables of God, religion, truth, proof and philosophies. I thought that surely someone had been through what I had gone through, but had found the answers to all the questions and had related their story and not lost their faith.

And so I read testimony after testimony, but no one had any sort of explanation or experience that was in the least bit compelling. I asked as many friends and acquaintances as I politely could: What do you believe and why? I got answers all over the place, but the most consistent, basic reason for belief that I encountered was "I know it in my heart to be true; I have faith." Um, how can you know anything in your heart? The heart is an organ that pumps blood, firstly; we have someone come to colloquially referring to the heart as the origin of emotions and feelings. So obviously what people meant is that they felt something was true.

This was enormously unsatisfying. Their rock-solid convictions were based on feelings? Really? *facepalm* Feelings and faith aren't much different. They are both based upon, at some point, a decision to believe in something for which there is no evidence. Believers find this action endearing and dub it faith; I find it plain foolish. If you base your entire life on--and would die for--something, it should damn well be real, and it had better be able to be understood and proved to people with zero familiarity with your religion. Irony of ironies: my mother, brother and sister--who have collectively disowned me for my lack of religion--remain the only ones who refused to discuss religion to me when I asked. Oh, but religion is so unifying. Bitch, please.

For a while I gave up hope of finding anyone who could explain and prove their faith to me, coming from a "does God even exist?" basis. There were millions of stories of Catholics becoming Baptists, or Christians becoming Muslims. All these people never questioned God's existence. But what about starting from the ground up? Let's build a strong foundation, and go from there. And no, saying, "look, trees exist! There is beauty and love! Life is so complex! Therefore, God did it!" does NOT count.

Then one day the Google gods had mercy on me and guided me to Jennifer Fulwiler's Conversion Diary. Fulwiler went from 0 to 60, i.e., atheist to Catholic--finally, someone who was going to explain it all! I was so curious and excited. To make a very long story short, after reading many, many things on her site I am just as clueless as before as to how she came to her beliefs from an atheistic position.

Since then, I pop on to her blog every few months just to sniff around and see what she has to say. She seems to be a very beautiful person, inside and out, and not a religious nutjob--although, obviously, the dogma she believes makes me nutty. But lo and behold!!! I checked her blog yesterday and she had just posted the video of her one-on-one interview at EWTN. I was E-X-C-I-T-E-D! I will finally get to satisfy my curiosity--but oh shit, will it make me be Catholic again?

My response to the video would make for one very long post, so please see Part 2.


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