Why Love Is the Secret to Conversion

Thursday, March 07, 2013 1:59 AM Comments (351)

"God is love." I heard the phrase countless times when I was growing up. Even as an atheist, I couldn't avoid the concept: I'd see it on youth group pamphlets, bumper stickers, and the occasional Precious Moments figurine. It certainly didn't have any impact on me as a nonbeliever, and even when I began to research religion I didn't think much about it. The way I interpreted the phrase, it seemed to be a nice, throwaway statement that believers used to describe their deity: God (that Guy we believe in who's kind of like a dad, only nicer) is love (meaning he's really, really, really loving).

It was only late in the conversion process that I came to see that I entirely misunderstood the...READ MORE

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A Camp for the Next Generation of Catholic Apologists

Thursday, February 28, 2013 12:00 PM Comments (39)

When I first heard about the Envoy Institute's Catholic Apologetics Summer Camp, I immediately wanted to know more. It sounded like a unique opportunity for teens to strengthen their knowledge of the Faith before the tumultuous college years, but a bunch of questions came to mind, too: Do kids do anything else at the camp other than learn theology? Are modern teens even interested in this kind of thing? Fortunately I had the opportunity to post these questions to author, speaker, and apologist extraordinaire Patrick Madrid, who is also one of the camp's organizers.

Q: Walk us through a typical day at the Envoy Institute's Catholic Apologetics Summer Camp. What kind of activities do the...READ MORE

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6 Reasons Not to Say You're "Done"

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:34 AM Comments (288)

I think I've been pregnant forever. Those due date calculator thingies put me at 31 weeks and four days, but I'm certain that it has to have been at least 50 weeks by now. Also, has anyone heard reports of a rift in the time-space continuum that has caused the passage of time to slow to a crawl? Because I am positive that the weeks are going by at least twice as slowly as they used to.

Let me jump in and say right now that I realize that I have a gratitude problem. I should be honored to be able to participate in the miracle of new life, and should accept with joy the relatively small troubles that come with bringing this new soul into the world. Honestly, I'm working on that. It all...READ MORE

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The Atheists' Pope

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 7:03 AM Comments (380)

The beginning of my religious conversion was a lonely time for me.

I'd spent my whole life as an outsider to Christian circles, and it was hard to imagine that I could ever be comfortable being one of them, the Christians, the people whom I had firmly categorized in my mind as "Other." I'd come to believe in God on an intellectual level, yet I felt stuck, unable to move forward from there.

Years of looking down on the entire concept of religion left me with a lingering impression that Christians and Christian culture were different from anything I'd ever known. In my childhood home, the climate was one of a love of learning and reason, of amazement at the universe based on science...READ MORE

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Those Catholic Women Who Use Contraception

Wednesday, February 06, 2013 5:26 AM Comments (611)

When I was giving a talk early last year, two women in the front row caught my eye. They were about my age, nicely dressed, and seemed to be friends with one another. They attracted my attention because they radiated a certain anxiousness: They nodded politely through tense smiles, but I half suspected that there was another speaker after me whom they were waiting to see.

After the talk I chatted with some folks, then packed up my things to leave. When I reached the exit, the two women were standing there waiting for me. Let's call them "Amanda" and "Laura."

They introduced themselves and said a few kind words about my speech, which was about atheism. Then Amanda said bluntly, "We...READ MORE

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5 (Secular) Reasons Not to Live Together Before Marriage

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 5:52 AM Comments (132)

One interesting aspect of undergoing a dramatic conversion as an adult is that it's given me the opportunity to be deeply immersed in two rather different cultures. Up until my mid-20s, I was very much a part of post-Christian secular culture. Then my husband and I changed our religious beliefs, and though we're still in touch with many of our old friends, we've increasingly found ourselves in social circles where most people are religious.

In general, there are plenty of similarities between our old and new groups of friends. Both consist of smart, nice folks who are curious about the world and strive to be good people. They have the same types of jobs, like a lot of the same sports...READ MORE

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You Have to Be Terrified to Justify Murder

Monday, January 28, 2013 5:03 AM Comments (67)

Under what circumstances would you be okay with taking a human life?

It's safe to say that most sane, law-abiding citizens abhor the thought of homicide; however, most of us have a few narrow conditions under which we believe it would be morally acceptable to kill another person. And it always comes down to self-defense. You see this reflected in our laws, which state that murdering someone in the street because he's annoying you is a crime, but murdering someone who has broken into your home and is running at you with a knife is not a crime. You see it in popular opinion as well: Who among us wouldn't agree that a woman attacked in a dark alley has the right to use any means to defend...READ MORE

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Why My Support for Abortion Was Based on Love…and Lies

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 5:18 AM Comments (121)

A version of this post was originally published at my personal blog as How I Became Pro-Life. I wanted to run it here in honor of this weekend's March for Life. (Note: It includes a graphic description of abortion.)

Who is human?

When I was younger, I was always particularly shocked when I heard about societies where it was common to abandon or kill unwanted newborns. In college I once read a particularly graphic description of a family in ancient Greece "discarding" a newborn baby girl. I was shocked to the point of breathlessness. I was also horribly confused: How could normal people be okay with this, let alone participate in it? Nobody I knew would do that! Were people that...READ MORE

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About Jennifer Fulwiler

Jennifer Fulwiler
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Jennifer Fulwiler is a writer and speaker who converted to Catholicism after a life of atheism. She's a contributor to the books The Church and New Media and Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion, and is writing a book based on her personal blog, ConversionDiary.com. She and her husband live in Austin, TX with their five young children, and were featured in the nationally televised reality show Minor Revisions. You can follow her on Twitter at @conversiondiary.