The conversion from atheism to Catholicism was a rewarding journey full of triumph and trial for Jennifer Fulwiler, as outlined in her recent book, “Something Other Than God.” Fulwiler told CNA that “before we were Catholic, we were caught up in a very selfish worldview.” Although they were not trying to be selfish, she explained, atheism contained “a worldview where the self was the center of everything.” Today, Fulwiler lives in Texas with her husband and five children. She runs a personal blog, ConversionDiary.com, and also blogs for the National Catholic Register. However, her life was not always focused on faith. Fulwiler’s conversion began with the birth of her first child. “I hadn’t been part of the full human experience,” she explained. “I was raised in this culture where I was just completely isolated from new life or from babies, this whole cycle of life.” Having a child compelled her to start asking “the big questions” concerning the meaning of life and its value. From there, she began her exploration of Catholicism through blogging. “Blogging was important to me because I hung out in entirely atheistic social circles and I was too embarrassed about the fact that I was exploring religion in my personal life,” she said, explaining that because she had “isolated” herself from most Christians, she had a hard time finding someone to answer her religious question. Her blog became a safe place to “express her views anonymously.” Gradually, many of her views changed. Among these changes was a radical transformation in her “pro-choice” stance on abortion. “Seeing the value of my own children and seeing them move and kick on the ultrasound screen made me realize I certainly considered these children I was seeing on the ultrasound screen fully human babies who were worthy of life and had just as much human dignity as I did.” “Catholicism taught us how to appreciate the value of human life, and our entire worldview…is that there is no greater gift than the gift of a child,” she added. Fulwiler suffers from a blood disorder, and doctors recommended she take birth control after her second child, as a precaution against complications that could arise if she were to conceive while she was undergoing treatment. When she discovered Natural Family Planning, she recognized it as a great gift that “does involve sacrifice,” but “a sacrifice that is worth it.” Fulwiler and her husband experienced conversion to Catholicism together. She revealed that her husband learned to detach himself from worldliness and find peace. She “began to crave that kind of detachment and peace” for herself as well. Although the process has taken time, the spiritual growth has been a huge blessing on her entire family, and a drastic change from the self-centered view it replaced. “Now that Christ is at the center, it has really taught us how to love ourselves and our family members.” Fulwiler encourages those considering conversation to “not be afraid to ask the tough questions of the Church.” Doing so, she said, will lead to 2,000 years’ worth of answers. “Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidently Found It” is available now from Ignatius Press.
Catholic News Agency was founded in 2004, in response to Pope St. John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization." It is an apostolate of EWTN News.