From Anti-Catholic Atheist to Church-Loving Convert | Catherine Harmon | CWR
“And what I saw was that the Church was right, and that nobody else was right—no one else on the face of the planet was speaking these truths.”
Jennifer Fulwiler is a popular Catholic blogger and homeschooling mother of six who writes about faith, family, media, and culture at her website, Conversion Diary. Fulwiler, whose memoir about her spiritual journey from atheism to Catholicism is titled Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It and is available today from Ignatius Press, has been published in America, Our Sunday Visitor, Envoy, and National Review Online and has appeared on Fox and Friends and Life on the Rock. She was also the subject of the reality show Minor Revisions with Jennifer Fulwiler for New York’s NET TV. She recently spoke with Catholic World Report'smanaging editor Catherine Harmon about the new book, blogging through the process of conversion, and the personal challenges she faced when the practice of the Faith became more than an intellectual pursuit.
CWR: Let’s start with the title of your book, Something Other Than God. Where did the title come from and why did you choose it?
Jennifer Fulwiler: The title came from this wonderful C.S. Lewis quote, which is particularly meaningful because C.S. Lewis is also an atheist-to-Christian convert. The full quote says, “All that we call human history…is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” And the reason I chose that is because at first, I thought this story was just a standard conversion story, but as I got into the writing I realized this was more of a story of a search for happiness. So that’s why I chose that quote, because it talks about how we’re all searching for what will really make us happy, and we can only find that in God.
CWR: In the book you describe the very intense, almost arduous intellectual process you went through of coming to understand Christianity and what Christians believe. During that time what was your attitude toward “cradle Christians” or those who believed in Christ in a perhaps somewhat unreflective—or at least less intellectually rigorous—way?
Fulwiler: It changed over time. When I was younger, because I had had some bad experiences with Christians, I was very disdainful of “cradle believers” and just thought that they bought into these lies for self-serving reasons. As I got older, though, I began to see it as just a cultural thing. I didn’t think that people’s religion actually meant anything to them; I thought that’s what they did because it was the tradition in their family, or whatever.
CWR: At what point do you think your attitude started to change?