Monday, June 21, 2010

Fool (for Christ!) of the Week: The Raving Theist (Part 1)

I used to laugh, but now I understand.
Shake the hand of a brand-new fool.

-- The Drifters

I used to be known (at least to the handful of people who read my site) as "Atheist Gal". In 2003, I changed my mind and became Theist Gal.

Frankly, I didn't think anyone had noticed, or cared - till one fine morning I discovered that a blogger styling himself "The Raving Atheist" had written the following:

This week’s Godidiot, Christine Lehman of A Theist Gal, was selected not for something she wrote but for what she is — an atheist who converted to Catholicism. Or, technically, a Catholic who converted to atheism who re-converted to Catholicism. Her site used to be called “Atheist Gal,” but she added the space between that “A” and the “theist” after Jesus snatched her back about a year ago.

Wow! I didn't know whether to be flattered or hurt. To be honest, I felt both! Hurt, because - come on, calling someone an idiot? Kind of mean. But flattered? Absolutely - because someone was actually paying attention to my little 5-hits-or-less-per-day website!

Anyway, if you read through the comments section, you'll see that I went to great pains to sound very amused, friendly and world-weary about the whole thing. But you know, there's just so many times you can say, "Thank you sir, may I have another?" without losing all respect for yourself.

So finally, I gave up, wished Raving well, and went on my merry way.

So imagine my surprise when, a couple of weeks ago, I was surfing the Net and wound up reading this, at Elizabeth Esther's lovely blog:

In December of 2008, the popular atheist blogger formerly known as "Raving Atheist" announced his stunning conversion to Christianity. He changed his blogging name to "Raving Theist" and dedicated his site "to Jesus Christ, now and forever."

I couldn't believe it! This had to be some sort of joke! Surely this couldn't be the same "Raving Atheist" who'd once written:

As far as I am concerned, people who wear their faith on their sleeve might as well be wearing dunce caps, “kick me” signs, or propeller beanies. They are shallow, self-centered, self-righteous and ignorant twits who should concentrate on educating themselves rather than imposing their half-baked, half-assed theology on everyone else.

So I checked the link in Elizabeth's article and found that - yes indeedy!! - on December 22, 2008, Raving had posted this astonishing statement:

Three years ago, I promoted and appeared in the atheist documentary “The God Who Wasn’t There,” dedicated to the proposition that Jesus never existed.


Um ... wow! Okay. I think. I was, shall we say, cautiously optimistic. I to believe it. But Raving did have a history of - shall we say - extreme sarcasm - as in this post from June 13, 2003, in which he pretended to apologize to me:

Christine Lehman is not a Godidiot. I will not longer permit that dishonor to stain her reputation. Upon his return, I shall direct my webmaster to delete forever that cruel and unfortunate post.

For I have looked into the mirror. Shouldn’t we all?

Yeah sure. And again, read the comments - I kinda realized it was a joke, but it took a while. Cause he was GOOD.

So before I started the "yay-an-atheist-is-a-Christian" victory dance (which all Christians must learn - it's in the Bible, as you know), I decided to email Raving for the straight dope. And in Part 2 of this story, I'll tell you what I found out!


Hey, good morning, everyone! And thanks so much to the seven wonderful people who commented on my blog last week - thus qualifying for a chance to win one of the 4 extra copies I purchased of Michael Spencer's Mere Churchianity!

The seven contestants are: AG, Brendan, E, IndieRoadie, joederbes, John, and Zach (and please note, I'm linking to your blogs, if you have them - free publicity! yay!).

I've just written their names on little pieces of paper (all the same size!) and put them into an empty vase (since the Tupperware bowl is currently in the fridge, full of leftover pasta).

I'm shaking up the vase (isn't this EXCITING??) and now I'm going to reach in - eyes closed! and pull out the name of the FIRST lucky winner! And that first lucky winner is: (drum roll please)

Congratulations, Zach! (Scroll to the bottom of the post for instructions on how to claim your prize.)

OK, time for winner #2, and it is:


Wow, congrats, IR! Let's move on quickly to #3:


Way to go, AG! Now there's just one copy left - who is it gonna be? (I can't wait!) - let's see:


Yayy! Congrats to all of you! Zach and Brendan, watch your email - I'll be contacting you to ask for your mailing addresses. IndieRoadie and AG, I don't have email addresses for you, so would you please contact me at Thanks!

And ... that's all, folks! I'm really sorry I didn't have more than four copies to give away - frankly, I'm so thrilled to have actually gotten SEVEN people to even READ my blog, much less COMMENT on it, that I would have been happy to give every one of you a free book. Unfortunately, economic circumstances being what they are, four is pretty much my limit.

HOWEVER - now that you've found this blog, I hope you'll stick around. Because later this week, I have a really cool story to tell you, about a popular Internet atheist who, rather quietly, became a Christian less than two years ago.

It's really a wonderful story, and had me smiling happily ever since I found out about it the other day - because as it happens, there's a personal connection between this former atheist and myself! So please, bookmark this page, and I promise to have the new post in place sometime before the weekend!

And to everyone who has managed to plod through this post so far - THANK YOU! Show's over - you may now proceed with the rest of your day!