Your answers: “What is the religious climate in your country?”

Since so many of you told me that you were fascinated by the comments to the post from last week but didn’t have time to read them all, I did the hard work for you! Below is a distillation of the 100+ comments that I received from readers all over the world: What is church attendance like in your area? Are there many churches? Do they seem to have active memberships? Ciska in Belgium: The part where I live is probably the most Catholic part of the country…Most people consider themselves Catholic, but they don’t attend church…We... Read More

What is the religious climate in your country?

UPDATE: Check out the summary of responses I posted here! Back in 2008 I asked readers from outside the United States to tell us about the religious climates in their countries. It ended up being one of the most fascinating discussions we’ve had here on the blog, and so I wanted to bring it up again: If you live (or have recently lived) outside the U.S., we want to hear from you! Some questions: Where do you live? (Or, if you’re not currently living there, what part of the world is it that you’re familiar with?) What is church... Read More

Explore your doubts, but do so in peace

I hear from a lot of people who fear they’re losing their faith. They’ve had some doubts come to mind that they just can’t seem to get past, and they’re rattled to the core to think that their entire belief system just might be false. Since I’ve spent so much time in the spiritual desert, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I’ve spent a long time thinking and praying about how to respond to people in this difficult situation, and thought I would share my answer, which has two key parts, in case it’s... Read More

A Life Beyond Reason

I had another post all ready to go for today, but I’m going to bump it because I just read something that so moved me that I had to share it with you. Go read this stunning article called A Life Beyond Reason, in which Professor Chris Gabbard recounts how his severely disabled son made him take a hard look at his views on the value of human life. An excerpt: I was inspired by Socrates’ statement that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Similarly, Aristotle’s dictum that man is the animal having “logos,”... Read More

How I went from lifelong atheism to orthodox Catholicism (Audio)

My story + 7 lessons I learned about conversion Thursday night I was honored to be asked to share my conversion story with the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) group at St. Elizabeth’s parish here in central Texas. I wanted listeners to be able to take something away that they could apply to their own lives, so I wove in seven lessons I learned about the conversion process. Click here to view the handout I gave to attendees (PDF). It includes a list of my seven lessons, as well as a page of recommended reading. You can listen... Read More

Reaching gracepoint

One thing that’s missing from the sidebar here at the newly-designed blog is my Why I Believe in God post. I used to keep it up there to give new readers a high-level explanation of what convinced me of God’s existence, thinking that it might even offer fellow seekers insights that could help them walk their own paths of conversion. But when I re-read it in the process of transferring my files over to the new host, I realized that it doesn’t give the full picture of how I came to believe in God. Back then, I thought of my conversion... Read More

Where there’s help

A few months ago I was dropping some of my kids off at our parish’s Mother’s Day Out program, and a woman approached me in the hall. “I need help,” she said. I wasn’t sure what she meant. “The registration office is down that way,” I said, pointing to the Mother’s Day Out coordinator’s office. A gaggle of moms and toddlers walked between us, pausing our conversation, and I noticed that she looked tired. Her body language was tense. It dawned on me that when she’d said she needed help, she... Read More

Maybe it was the music

One day last year I told an atheist acquaintance that I’d cried at Mass that morning. It was one of those times that I just felt overwhelmed with the presence of God, I explained. I was so perfectly at peace, so surrounded by love that I couldn’t help but be moved to tears. “Maybe it was the music,” he responded. He went on to offer an erudite analysis of how music is known to produce certain positive sensations in the brain, noting that religious leaders from time immemorial have used the evolved human response to the stimulus... Read More

Finding rest

The comments to my last post reminded me of an interesting moment I had in my recent interview with Nona Aguilar for the National Catholic Register. She surprised me when she asked about something I’d never really tried to articulate before: what the biggest changes are in my daily life since my conversion. We ended up having a long discussion about the countless ways my day to day life is different now, but when she initially asked me the question I was caught off guard, and just blurted out the first thing that popped into my mind. “I... Read More

Reach for the Light: The moment I was no longer an atheist

These cucumber sprouts my husband put on our window sill caught my eye this morning as I was washing dishes. I noticed that they were growing at an angle, reaching out towards the sun rather than standing vertically. It reminded me of a key moment in my conversion. Somewhere in this plant’s DNA are instructions that say something like, “By default, grow vertically. Unless the sun can only be found one side; in which case, reach for the light.” BY DEFAULT, GROW VERTICALLY…REACH FOR THE LIGHT… If I were to see these statements... Read More

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