By Hilary White
April 4, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The young Lorraine V. Murray had not been prepared for the “onslaught of atheism” awaiting her in the world of secular academia when she left her sheltered Catholic home. The author and columnist told Carl E. Olson of Ignatius Insight, the website of Ignatius publishing, that the “one thing” that might have prevented her losing her faith was proper preparation in Christian apologetics, a work of the Church largely abandoned after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960’s.
“When I went away to college, the dragon of nihilism pounced on me,” she said. “No one had prepared me for the onslaught of atheism that awaited me at the University of Florida.” Her influences in her college philosophy classes were 20th century atheists like Jean-Paul Sartre and the feminist writer Simone de Beauvoir.
“One thing might have helped me,” she said, “some knowledge of the arguments against theism and Christianity, and ways to counteract them.” Murray is the author of “Grace Notes: Embracing the Joy of Christ in a Broken World”, “Why Me? Why Now?: Finding Hope When You Have Breast Cancer”, and “How Shall We Celebrate?”. Her essays on Christian themes appear in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Georgia Bulletin, and The National Catholic Register.
Murray was interviewed to promote her new book, “Confessions of An Ex-Feminist”, which is about her explorations in faith and return to the Catholic fold. Murray, born in 1947, is among many of her generation who was seduced away from Catholicism in university in the 1960s, the time when secularist anti-Christian philosophies were first becoming de rigueur in academia.
She describes herself as having been “a radical feminist, championing the belief that there was no such thing as innate masculine and feminine natures”. It is not widely understood by Christians that feminism has moved far away from its origins in the movement simply to grant women the right to vote. Murray describes her radical feminism, also called “gender feminism”, as the idea “that social conditioning produced the obvious differences between male and female behavior. Thus, to equal the playing field between men and women, one had to tweak the conditioning of children.”
From their origins in the radical feminism described by Murray, gender feminist theories have become the foundation of the homosexualist political movement and philosophies. “The feminist agenda” she said, “emphasized that conflict, unhappiness and misery were part of every woman’s journey, and then placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of men.”
She says that “free sex” is essential to the feminist philosophies. “Radical feminists generally disparage marriage and family,” she said, “seeing them as restricting women’s freedom, so sex without commitment is somehow a positive thing,” a belief she describes as “poisonous”.
Gender feminism, she says, has become entrenched in academia and “women’s issues” are “synonymous with a rigid creed” extolling lesbianism, transgenderism and paganism and in which abortion is essential to freedom. When Catholics and other Christians “point out the blinding light of the obvious,” that abortion destroys a human life, radical feminists “see traditional religion as some monstrous conspiracy to keep women unhappy”.
After gaining a doctorate in feminist philosophy, Murray taught philosophy in college, in which capacity she carried out a “personal vendetta against God and the Catholic Church… and touted feminism as the cure for many social ills.” But her first idea that feminist theories were wrong came after an abortion, which she describes as a “shattering” experience.
Her journey back to the faith, she said, began when she came to an abrupt realization. “I realized I had never prayed for the repose of my parents’ souls, although they had been dead many years,” she said. After that, she says she experienced a “mysterious sense of someone reaching into my life and tugging at me.” She re-entered the Catholic Church as a “cafeteria” Catholic, retaining much of her feminist ideas, including the support for abortion. After suffering breast cancer and fearing she would die, she says her life transformed. She found a spiritual director, a priest, who carefully explained the rationale behind the Catholic doctrines she found problematic.
Murray was influenced by the Catholic American author Flannery O’Connor whose letters defended Catholicism from the fashionable nihilism of the 1950’s and 60’s. She describes her final return to the fullness of the Catholic faith in connection with finding spiritual healing and forgiveness for her abortion.
To read the Ignatius Insight article see: