Video: My conversion story interview

For those of you who missed my EWTN appearance but wanted to check it out, here’s the full episode:

To see more episodes featuring other guests, check out the Renewal Ministries website!

New here? Take a moment to introduce yourself, or say hi on Twitter at @conversiondiary.



Enter the Conversation...

38 Responses to “Video: My conversion story interview”
  1. Thanks for sharing. I’ll have watch when the kids are napping. What a great program, I love getting EWTN.
    Holly Rutchik recently posted..Seven Quick Takes – The Return

  2. Barbara C. says:

    I thought you did an excellent job!!

  3. Jackie says:

    I found it and watched it last week and I thought you did an awesome job, you are so comfortable and well spoken. I really am in awe of you and your story and mostly how far God has brought you in, seemingly, such a short time. You have taught me so much even as a cradle Catholic who seems to know more than the average Catholic…you are truly an inspiration! And also you are beautiful…inside and out. Thank you for all that you do!

  4. julie foley says:

    Jennifer, my husband is in the same boat you were as an intellectual who can not see how the God and the resurrection could be true. He is an amazing man who goes to church with us and lives a life of love. THank you so much for your inspiring me to be a saint for him and our family. I hope one day he could see this video..keep up the good work!!

  5. Mary Kay says:

    Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed hearing your story after following your blog for several years.

  6. I really enjoyed listening to your story “in person.” Great interview!
    Grace in my Heart recently posted..The Salad I’ve Had Everyday for Lunch this Summer

  7. el-e-e says:

    You look beautiful and are such a wonderful speaker! I really enjoyed this – brought tears to my eyes several times. :) God bless you in your ministry, Jennifer!

  8. Brent says:

    Jennifer,

    That group that could “hang with you” sure reminds me of St. Justin’s description of 2nd century Christians in his Apologia.

    Great interview!
    Brent recently posted..Communion of the Saints and a Few Other Things Protestants Could Ruin

  9. Kara says:

    Thank you for posting this! Love it! You did a great job.

  10. Tacroy says:

    I read your articles in the NC Register, and was curious about the history of your conversion from atheism – as an atheist myself, I always wonder what could convince someone else to stop being an atheist. After all, who wouldn’t prefer to believe they live in a universe with a kind and loving God?

    Unfortunately, I’m in no danger of converting after hearing your story. It really sounds like you never really thought about your atheism, and then that nonexistent foundation toppled when you had a child.

    Fundamentally, it seems like you converted because you hadn’t thought much about atheism besides (it seems) watching Spock on Star Trek. The word only means “no gods” – it does not mean “no emotion” (that would be apathy) or “no spirit” (apsyche). You can certainly be an atheist and feel emotions, even the sort of spiritual elevation that comes with holding a newborn child; atheism itself does not say anything about the value of children or what you may feel about them, it merely says “no gods”. Atheists are just as human and feel love and spirituality just as much as you do, and yet somehow that doesn’t lead them to God. Funny, huh?

    And then, good grief, you base part of your conversion on The Case for Christ? There are so many problems with that book that someone else wrote another book explaining them (The Case Against the Case for Christ, Robert M. Price, there’s an audio interview with the author here: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=9075).

    Basically, I came looking for something I’d missed and found only the same thing as always – appeals to emotion and appeals to bad books. I am disappointed.

    • Elizabeth K. says:

      I believe you misunderstood, and are misrepresenting, what Jennifer actually said in this interview.

      First, as Jennifer pointed out, her atheism was deeply rooted both in her raising and her experiences in college. It was rooted in empiricism and materialism. It seems presumptuous to assume that simply because she changed her mind, she did not understand atheism; indeed, your argument here is circular: because, for you, atheism is the only rational choice that exists, anyone who rejects it hasn’t thought it through. I sincerely doubt that is the case.

      Secondly, you misunderstood what Jennifer said about emotion. Her point was that those who tried to convert her used anecdotal evidence and experience based in feelings, reinforcing her initial belief that faith and reason are separate. This is, of course, untrue; the simple fact that we are indebted to Christianity for the development of the modern university system. Jennifer’s point was not that atheism eschews emotion, but that religious experience seemed to her to be fuzzy, based only in emotional, and therefore untrustworthy, experiences.

      Thirdly, her experience with her child did not in any way express the viewpoint that atheists feel no love. Of course atheists love; I know many who are better at acting out their love than some Christians I know. Her point was deeper than that: essentially, why do we love? What are we, really? The answers she found in atheism (which are usually based in evolutionary biology and materialism) were unsatisfying. She in no way claimed that an experience of love leads people to God; for her, though, this was the initial step. It’s not terribly funny, in any sense, that this is not always the case: instead, it is a sign of profound irrationality at the heart of materialist atheism.

      Finally, Jennifer has hardly based her entire conversion of Strobel’s book, nor, I think, would she not acknowledge that there are arguments against those raised in his book. Nonetheless, Strobel offered her arguments based on reason and interpretation of evidence. Are there other interpretations of the evidence for Christ’s existence and/or deity? Of course there are. But what Strobel offered, I imagine, was a basis: what so many don’t realize is that Christians have reasons for believing what they do. You, of course, are free to refuse those reasons (though some contemplation of where that freedom comes from might prove fruitful for you); I wouldn’t rely on Price’s book to do so, if I were you, as he asserts things that have already been asked and answered, for two thousand years, by Christianity.

      Finally, Jennifer was not, in fact appealing to emotion–she was appealing to reason. Unfortunately for you, this particular interview was directed towards Catholics, not towards atheists, so I am not surprised you found missing pieces. I would invite you, if you are interested, to read further into her conversion story, or the visit a site like Catholic Answers to understand more about why other atheists have converted.

      God’s grace be with you!

      • Heloise says:

        Hi,

        I think Elizabeth makes great points, though I’m sympathetic to Tacroy. This interview was not (probably not meant to be, either) a thorough presentation of Catholic theology in response to atheism, but a personal account of someone who is trying to summarize years of life and intellectual struggle in a brief interview.

        To Tacroy, I would ask what I am always compelled to ask of people struggling with these questions: what evidence would it take to convince you? And have you asked for it yet?

        I find it very interesting that you came here open-minded and am grateful that you shared your thoughts in a nonjudgemental way. I hope you keep asking until you find the truth. Bless you.

  11. Pick One says:

    If this woman is already actively brainwashing five innocent children into her baseless mythological nonsense – please, somebody stop her before she reproduces again. Don’t we have enough ignorance in the world to go around already?

    • Laurie says:

      Hi, Pick One, I’m afraid I’m finding your comments a little… well… baseless. Unless you have some solid, compelling evidence that Christianity is false. In which case, I’d love to hear it. I’ve been trying to break out of Catholicism since I was a teenager, but it keeps answering all my questions in an intellectually satisfactory manner. Such a pain… If you’re going to read blods with which you disagree so strongly, do us a favor & engage them in a constructive way.

      I’m also having difficulty understanding why you’re so keen on treating like a joke the democratic and human right of parental influence. Don’t you want the right to raise any children you have with your philosophy? (Even, of course, if you believe children aren’t worth having?)

      I’m sure you’d have to agree that in our society people have a right to raise their children with their beliefs and express them publicly, with the ultimate ideal that this allows all philosophies to be tested in the marketplace of ideas. Her kids could grow up and apostacize, for instance, and become baselessly belligerent atheists. Or are you afraid, if you have any, yours might grow up and convert?

      Jennifer, bless you & keep up the great work. I love your blog. And remember–reactions like this are signs that it’s working! “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12

      • Jared says:

        Pick One, how rude.

        • Pick One says:

          First you have to get the donkey’s attention. So I guess that much worked. Now if you could just teach it to think.00

        • Pick One says:

          First you have to get the donkey’s attention. So I guess that much worked. Now if you could just teach it to think.

          • Laurie says:

            I think we would all be interested to hear a thoughtful response from you.

            It’s certainly easier for us believers to disregard such abuse when atheists/non believers show they are more interested in mocking than discussing the truth. Yet, I think believers are more willing at times to debate these issues, because whatever is true cannot be contrary to God. If we truly seek the truth, our searching must bring us closer to Him. Jennifer’s beautiful story reflects this, that it does not matter where you begin. In fact, perhaps even visiting her site might indicate that someone deeply desires to hear more satisfactory answers than they have been able to give themselves. Our prayers are with all of you seekers to find the answers to the questions that brought you here.

  12. Kimberlie says:

    I got goosebumps listening to your interview. Thank you for sharing the link! I think the statement you made that really touched me was “bathe them in the light, the light of the Holy Spirit.” As the only Catholic in my family of either Protestants, or fallen away Catholics, I think to myself often, “how can I convince them of the truth of the Catholic faith?” I get so weary of having my faith attacked and from a very intellectually dishonest viewpoint. I think “just read the Church fathers. Just read early Christian Church history. It’s all there!” Yet, I find myself coming up short in my arguments. Today, listening to you, I realize, I don’t have to do the convincing. The Holy Spirit can guide them to the Truth if I would just let the Holy Spirit operate through my life.

    I hope we can hear more interviews from you in the future because you have something worth listening to.

  13. Lindy says:

    Great interview. Succinct and engrossing. I was sad it was over so quickly. Keep it up.
    Lindy recently posted..So, what am I doing this morning?

  14. e says:

    I’m a Christian so at the same end point as you – but I really find this unsatisfying and nothing I could take or show to atheist friends. Of course you felt that “love” bond with your newborn child, because biology has demanded that attachment. Even atheism can’t be separated from our biological and physical realities and evolution, etc. It really is nothing that is rationally justified, your stepping out as you did into a supernatural or nonmaterial kind of belief.
    Praise God who has dealt with you! Faith is not purely an intellectual path. But atheists who convert and share their stories only display this truth, they do not prove a point or satisfy the truly rational.

    • As much as I enjoyed seeing and hearing Jennifer “in person,” I agree with you, e. There’s nothing here I could take to convince my atheist friends. I don’t think that’s Jennifer’s fault, though. Her writings are much more thorough and compelling. The host of this show, however, skipped from her initial “what if?” wonderings straight to her entrance into the Catholic Church. We missed all the stuff that happened in between – along with a lot of Jennifer’s cogent arguments – and the result is an interview that merely preaches to the choir. Nevertheless, as a member of the choir, I enjoyed it immensely!

    • Jessica says:

      e,

      Our Savior has “dealt” with all of us – and we ALL need His mercy.

      Jennifer, thank you for sharing your story. May the Holy Spirit work through you to inspire the conversion of souls.

  15. Krystyn says:

    Thanks so much for posting this. I don’t have a TV, so I often miss these sorts of resources! Been reading your posts for awhile at the National Catholic Register & really enjoy them, but hadn’t had a chance to get your full story. May God’s glory continue to shine in your life & through you to those most in need of His Love & Truth!

  16. Deanna says:

    Great interview. I loved the baptismal candle story, so really you are a revert, not a convert:)
    Deanna recently posted..Peeling Peaches

  17. Genny says:

    Jennifer,

    I loved this. Thank you for sharing.

    I love that you ask the hard questions, the “but whys,” and that you present the logical side of believing. (I’ve heard Lee Strobel speak and his story is powerful!)

    I tend to be more of an “emotional experience” type and didn’t necessarily ask the tough questions until later in my journey, but when I did research and read and really start to dig into my faith, it was only strengthened. I will definitely share this link with others!
    Genny recently posted..Get to know other moms at Mom-Monday!

  18. Kerri says:

    You are so well-spoken and engaging- I caught my husband, who only looks at a computer for work or Netflix, standing behind me watching. In fact, he said he would like to share it with an agnostic at his workplace who has been asking him questions. :^)

  19. Amy says:

    Great job! Thanks for sharing it here, I wouldn’t have gotten to see it otherwise. I really enjoyed hearing you tell your story… and I’ll try to check out a few books you guys mentioned.
    Amy recently posted..Lightening!

  20. Jennifer, I very much enjoyed viewing this. You are a great witness and I am confident the Holy Spirit is working through you to bear fruit! Congratulations on your youngest child!
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  21. Erika Ahern says:

    Jennifer,

    You are so pretty!

    You did a wonderful job here and also at your latest Register post. You’ve been getting a lot of tough comments for both of these pieces, and I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your willingness to open yourself up to receive the good and the bad. It must be hard with the sleep deprivation and madness at home to also read some of these comments, but I believe that you are an irreplaceable gift to the world because of your willingness to suffer them.

    much love in Christ, Erika

  22. thank you so much for posting this.

  23. I entered the Church on the 2007 Easter vigil, too. Twins!! :)
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  24. Carl says:

    Jennifer,

    It was such a joy to watch and hear you telling your story. I had read it on your blog a while back but it was very special to view this broadcast. You are a blessing to all Catholics and all Christians because we all need reinforcement and encouragement from each other. I think that is part of the reason God pursued you until you could tell your story and His!

  25. Katie says:

    I was surprised initially to recognize Peter Herbeck on the screencap of the video! I remember when I was a teenager he and his wife led summer camps for Catholic kids in my parish. After thinking about it, it’s not so surprising to see him with a show on EWTN, he was always on fire for the Lord in his talks – its also readily apparent that he’s got a gift to showcase his interviewee.

    Jennifer – well done! Your story of conversion is a powerful thing! The Holy Spirit is working through you. Yours seems to be a very credible example to other atheists, agnostics, and many others of the intellectually honest path to the feet of Jesus! I’m finding your writings an inspiration to my daily life, and pray that I can be that light for still others!

  26. Misty says:

    Love this! I read your blog as much as I can when I’m not juggling a family. It is so nice to read intellectual discussions that are relevant to where I am in life right now. God Bless!

  27. Yesenia Workman says:

    You, of course, are free to refuse those reasons (though some contemplation of where that freedom comes from might prove fruitful for you); I wouldn’t rely on Price’s book to do so, if I were you, as he asserts things that have already been asked and answered, for two thousand years, by Christianity. I think Elizabeth makes great points, though I’m sympathetic to Tacroy.

  28. Tanya Carr says:

    It must be hard with the sleep deprivation and madness at home to also read some of these comments, but I believe that you are an irreplaceable gift to the world because of your willingness to suffer them. And also you are beautiful…inside and out. I think we would all be interested to hear a thoughtful response from you.
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