Atheist Anne Rice’s Surprising Discovery


Bestselling Author Anne Rice:

Noted for the painstaking research behind her historical fiction, an atheist of 36 years makes a surprising discovery when she turns her attention to the mystery of the historical Jesus

Excerpt from Author’s Note in Christ The Lord Out Of Egypt
©2006 Anne O’Brien Rice.  Used by permission.

anne_riceEvery novel I’ve ever written since 1974 involved historical research.  It’s been my delight that no matter how many supernatural elements were involved in the story, and no matter how imaginative the plot and characters, the background would be thoroughly historically accurate.  And over the years, I’ve become known for that accuracy.

If one of my novels is set in Venice in the eighteenth century, one can be certain that the details as to the opera, the dress, the milieu, the values of the people- all of this is correct.

Without ever planning it, I’ve moved slowly backwards in history, from the nineteenth century, where I felt at home in my first two novels, to the first century, where I sought the answers to enormous questions that became an obsession with me that simply couldn’t be ignored.

Ultimately, the figure of Jesus Christ was at the heart of this obsession. More generally, it was the birth of Christianity and the fall of the ancient world.  I wanted to know desperately what happened in the first century, and why people in general never talked about it.

Understand, I had experienced an old-fashioned, strict Roman Catholic childhood in the 1940’s and 1950’s, in an Irish American parish that would now be called a Catholic ghetto, where we attended daily Mass and Communion in an enormous and magnificently decorated church, which had been built by our forefathers, some with their own hands.

Classes were segregated, boys from girls.  We learned catechism and Bible history, and the lives of the saints.  Stained-glass windows, the Latin Mass, the detailed answers to complex questions on good and evil – theses things were imprinted on my soul forever, along with a great deal of church history that existed as a great chain of events triumphing over schism and reformation to culminate in the papacy of Pius XII.

 

Left The Church At 18

I left this church at age eighteen, because I stopped believing it was “the one true church established by Christ to give grace.” No personal event precipitated this loss of faith.  It happened on a secular college campus; there was intense sexual pressure; but more than that there was the world itself, without Catholicism, filled with good people and people who read books that were strictly speaking forbidden to me.

I wanted to read Kierkegaard, Sartre, and Camus.  I wanted to know why so many seemingly good people didn’t believe in any organized religion yet cared passionately about their behavior and the value of their lives.  As the rigid Catholic I was, I had no options for exploration. I broke with the Church.  And I broke with my belief in God.

When I married two years later, it was to a passionate atheist, Stan Rice, who not only didn’t believe in God, he felt he had had something akin to a vision which had given him a certainty that God didn’t exist.  He was one of the most honorable and conscience-driven people I ever knew.  For him and for me, our writing was our lives.

In 1974, I became a published writer. The novel reflected my guilt and my misery in being cut off from God and from salvation; my being lost in a world without light.  It was set in the nineteenth century, a context I’d researched heavily in trying to answer questions about New Orleans, where I was born and no longer lived.

After that, I wrote many novels without my being aware that they reflected my quest for meaning in a world without God.  As I said before, I was working my way backwards in history, answering questions for myself about whole historical developments—why certain revolutions happened, why Queen Elizabeth I was the way she was, who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays (this I never used in a novel), what the Italian Renaissance really was, and what the Black Death had been like before it.  And how feudalism had come about.

In the 1990’s, living in New Orleans again, living among adults who were churchgoers and believers, flexible Catholics of some sophistication, I no doubt imbibed some influence from them.

The Central Question of All Western History

But I also inevitably plunged into researching the first century because I wanted to know about Ancient Rome.  I had novels to write with Roman characters. Just maybe, I might discover something I’d wanted to know all my life and never had known:

How did Christianity actually “happen”? Why did Rome actually fall?  To me these were the ultimate questions and always had been.  They had to do with who we were today.

I remember in the 1960’s, being at a party in a lovely house in San Francisco, given in honor or a famous poet. A European scholar was there, I found myself alone with him, seated on a couch.  I asked him, “Why did Rome fall?” For the next two hours he explained it to me.

I couldn’t absorb most of what he said.  But I never forgot what I did understand—about all the grain for the city having to come from Egypt, and the land around the city being taken up with villas, and the crowds being fed the dole.

It was a wonderful evening, but I didn’t leave with a feeling that I had the true grasp of what had happened.

Catholic Church history had given me an awareness of our cultural heritage, although it was presented to me early and quite without context.  And I wanted to know the context, why things were the way they were.

When I was a little child, maybe eleven or younger, I was lying on my mother’s bed, reading or trying to read one of her books.  I read a sentence that said the Protestant Reformation split Europe culturally in half. I thought that was absurd and I asked her, was this true? She said it was. I never forgot that. All my life I wanted to know what that meant.

In 1993, I dug into this early period, and of course went earlier, into the history of Sumer and Babylon and the whole Middle East, and back to Egypt, which I’d studied in college, and I struggled with it all. I read specialized archaeological texts like detective novels searching for patterns, enthralled with the Gilgamesh story, and details such as the masonry tools which the ancient kings (statues) held in their hands.

I stumbled upon a mystery without a solution, a mystery so immense that I gave up trying to find an explanation because the whole mystery defied belief. The mystery was the survival of the Jews.

As I sat on the floor of my office surrounded by books about Sumer, Egypt, Rome, etc., and some skeptical material about Jesus that had come into my hands, I couldn’t understand how these people had endured as the great people who they were.

It was the mystery that drew me back to God. It set into motion the idea that there may in fact be God. And when that happened there grew in me for whatever reason an immense desire to return to the banquet table. In 1998 I went back to the Catholic Church.

But even then I had not closed in on the question of Jesus Christ and Christianity. I did read the Bible in a state of utter amazement at its variety, its poetry, its startling portraits of women, its inclusion of bizarre and often bloody and violent details.  When I was depressed, which was often, someone read the Bible to me, often literary translations of the New Testament—that is, translations by Richmond Lattimore that are wondrously literal and beautiful and revealing and that open the text anew.

In 2002 I put aside everything else and decided to focus entirely on answering the questions that had dogged me all my life.  The decision came in July of that year.  I had been reading the Bible constantly, reading parts of it out loud to my sister, and poring over the Old Testament, and I decided that I would give myself utterly to the task of trying to understand Jesus himself and how Christianity emerged.

“I was ready to do violence to my career…”

I wanted to write the life of Jesus Christ. I had known that years ago. But now I was ready. I was ready to do violence to my career. I wanted to write the book in the first person. Nothing else mattered.  I consecrated the book to Christ.

I consecrated myself and my work to Christ. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do it.

Even then I did not know what my character of Jesus would be like.

I had taken in a lot of fashionable notions about Jesus—that he’d been oversold, that the Gospels were “late” documents, that we really didn’t know anything about him, that violence and quarreling marked the movement of Christianity from its start. I’d acquired many books on Jesus, and the filled the shelves of my office.

But the true investigation began in July of 2002.

In August, I went to my beach apartment, to write the book. Such naiveté.  I had no idea I was entering a field of research where no one agreed on anything—whether we are talking about the size of Nazareth, the economic level of Jesus’ family, the Jewish attitudes of Galileans in general, the reason Jesus rose to fame, the reason he was executed, or why his followers went out into the world.

 

Vast Landscape of Jesus Scholarship

As to the size of the field, it was virtually without end. New Testament scholarship included books of every conceivable kind from skeptical books that sought to disprove Jesus had any real value to theology or an enduring church, to books that conscientiously met every objection of the skeptics with footnotes halfway up the page.

Bibliographies were endless. Disputes sometimes produced rancor.

And the primary source material for the first century was a matter of continuous controversy in which the Gospels were called secondary sources by some, and primary sources by others, and the history of Josephus and the works of Philo were subject to exhaustive examination and contentions as to their relevance or validity or whether they had any truth.

Then there was the question of the Rabbis.  Could the Mishnah, the Tosefta, and the Talmuds be trusted to give an accurate picture of the first century? Did they actually mention Jesus? And if not, so what, because they didn’t mention Herod, who built the Temple, either.

Oh, what lay in store.

But let me backtrack.  In 1999, I had received in the mail from my editor and longtime mentor a copy of Paula Fredriksen’s Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. I had read a substantial part of this book in which Fredriksen re-created beautifully the Jewish milieu in which the boy Jesus might have lived in Nazareth and in which he might have gone to the Temple for Passover along with his family.

Fredriksen made the point strongly that Jesus was a Jew. And that this had to be addressed when one wrote about him or thought about him, or so it seems to me.

Now six years later, I have produced a book which is obviously inspired by that scene which Fredriksen wrote, and I can only offer my humble thanks to her and acknowledge her influence.

Of course my beliefs are the polar opposite of Fredriksen’s as the book Christ the Lord reveals. But it was Fredriksen who steered me in the right direction as to exploring Jesus as a Jew, and there my serious research of him began.

 

Health Crisis

But to return to the year 2002. As I began my serious work, a call came from my husband.  He was experiencing the first symptoms of a brain tumor from which he died in less than four months.

We had been married for forty-one years. After my return to the Church, he had consented to marry me in the great old church of my childhood with a priest who was my cousin saying the words. This was a marvelous concession coming from a committed atheist.  But out of love for me, my husband did it.  Forty-one years. And he was gone.

Was I given the gift of purpose before this tragedy so that it would sustain me through it? I don’t know. I do know that during his last weeks, my husband when he was conscious became a saint. He expressed love for those around him, understanding of people he hadn’t understood before. He wanted gifts given to those who helped him in his illness.

Before that he had managed, though half paralyzed, to create three amazing paintings. I must not neglect to say that. Then after that period of love and understanding, he slowly lapsed into a coma, and he was gone.

He left more than three hundred paintings, all done in fifteen years, and many books of poetry, most published during the same period, and thousands of unpublished poems. His memorial gallery will soon move from new Orleans to Dallas, Texas, where he was born.

I went on with my quest right through his illness and his death. My books sustained me. I told him about what I was writing. He thought it was wonderful. He gave me glowing praise.

From that time on, December 2002 when he died, until 2005, I have studied the New Testament period, and I continue to study. I read constantly, night and day.

I have covered an enormous amount of skeptical criticism, violent arguments, and I have read voraciously in the primary sources of Philo and Josephus which I deeply enjoy.

 

Taking The Jesus Skeptics Seriously

Having started with the skeptical critics, those who take their cue from the earliest skeptical New Testament scholars of the Enlightenment, I expected to discover that their arguments would be frighteningly strong, and that Christianity was, at heart, a kind of fraud.  I’d have to end up compartmentalizing my mind with faith in one part of it, and truth in another.

And what would I write about my Jesus? I had no idea. But the prospects were interesting. Surely he was a liberal, married, had children, was a homosexual, and who knew what? But I must do my research before I wrote one word.

These skeptical scholars seemed so very sure of themselves. They built their books on certain assertions without even examining these assertions. How could they be wrong?

The Jewish scholars presented their case with such care. Certainly Jesus was simply and observant Jew or a Hasid who got crucified. End of story.

I read and I read and I read. Sometimes I thought I was walking through the valley of the shadow of Death, as I read. But I went on, ready to risk everything. I had to know who Jesus was—that is, if anyone knew, I had to know what that person knew.

Now, I couldn’t read the ancient languages, but as a scholar I can certainly follow the logic of an argument; I can check the footnotes, and the bibliographical references; I can go to the biblical text in English. I can check all the translations I have and I have every one of which I know from Wycliffe to Lamsa, including the New Annotated Oxford Bible and the old English King James which I love.

I have the old Catholic translation, and every literary translation I can find. I have offbeat translations scholars don’t mention, such as that by Barnstone and Schonfield. I acquired every single translation for the light it might shed on an obscure line.

Skeptical Arguments: Some of the Worst and Most Biased Scholarship

What gradually came clear to me was that many of the skeptical arguments—arguments that insisted most of the Gospels were suspect, for instance, or written too late to be eyewitness accounts—lacked coherence.  They were not elegant. Arguments about Jesus himself were full of conjecture. Some books were no more than assumptions piled upon assumptions. Absurd conclusions were reached on the basis of little or no data at all.

In sum, the whole case for the nondivine Jesus who stumbled into Jerusalem and somehow got crucified by nobody and had nothing to do with the founding of Christianity and would be horrified by it if hew knew about it—that the whole picture which has floated in the liberal circles I frequented as an atheist for thirty years—that case was not made. Not only was it not made. I discovered in this field some of the worst and most biased scholarship I’d ever read.

I saw almost no skeptical scholarship that was convincing, and the Gospels, shredded by critics, lost all intensity when reconstructed by various theorists. They were in no way compelling when treated as composites and records of later ”communities.”

Contempt for Jesus & the Sneer of Secularism

I was unconvinced by the wild postulations of those who claimed to be children of the Enlightenment. And I had also sensed something else. Many of these scholars, scholars who apparently devoted their life to New Testament scholarship, disliked Jesus Christ.  Some pitied him as a hopeless failure.  Others sneered at him, and some felt an outright contempt. This came between the lines of the books. This emerged in the personality of the texts.

I’d never come across this kind of emotion in any other field of research, at least not to this extent.  It was puzzling.

The people who go into Elizabethan studies don’t set out to prove that Queen Elizabeth I was a fool.  They don’t personally dislike her.  They don’t make snickering remarks about her, or spend their careers trying to pick apart her historical reputation.

They approach her in other ways. They don’t even apply this sort of dislike or suspicion or contempt to other Elizabethan figures. If they do, the person is usually not the focus of the study. Occasionally a scholar studies a villain, yes. But even then, the author generally ends up arguing for the good points of a villain or for his or her place in history, or for some mitigating circumstance, that redeems the study itself.

People studying disasters in history may be highly critical of the rulers or the milieu at the time, yes. But in general scholars don’t spend their lives in the company of historical figures whom they openly despise.

But there are New Testament scholars who detest and despise Jesus Christ. Of course, we all benefit from freedom in the academic community; we benefit from the enormous size of biblical studies today and the great range of contributions that are being made. I’m not arguing for censorship. But maybe I’m arguing for sensitivity—on the part of those who read these books. Maybe I’m arguing for a little wariness when it comes to the field in general. What looks like solid ground might not be solid ground at all.

 

The Gospels: Written Long After The Fact?

Another point bothered me a great deal.

All these skeptics insisted that the Gospels were late documents, that the prophecies in them had been written after the Fall of Jerusalem. But the more I read about the Fall of Jerusalem, the more I couldn’t understand this.

The Fall of Jerusalem was horrific, and involved an enormous and cataclysmic war, a war that went on and on for years in Palestine, followed by other revolts and persecutions, and punitive laws. As I read about this in the pages of S.G.F. Brandon, and in Josephus, I found myself amazed by the details of this appalling disaster in which the greatest Temple of the ancient world was forever destroyed.

I had never truly confronted these events before, never tried to comprehend them. And now I found it absolutely impossible that the Gospel writers could not have included the Fall of the Temple in their work had they written after it as critics insist.

It simply didn’t and doesn’t make sense.

These Gospel writers were in a Judeo-Christian cult. That’s what Christianity was. And the core story of Judaism has to do with redemption from Egypt, and redemption from Babylon. And before redemption from Babylon there was a Fall of Jerusalem in which the Jews were taken to Babylon. And here we have this horrible war.

Would Christian writers not have written about it had they seen it? Would they not have seen in the Fall of Jerusalem some echo of the Babylonian conquest? Of course they would have. They were writing for Jews and Gentiles.

The way the skeptics put this issue aside, they simply assumed the Gospels were late documents because of these prophecies in the Gospels. This does not begin to convince.

 

2000-Year Embarrassment

Before I leave this question of the Jewish War and the Fall of the Temple, let me make this suggestion. When Jewish and Christian scholars begin to take this war seriously, when they begin to really study what happened during the terrible years of the siege of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple, and the revolts that continued in Palestine right up through Bar Kokhba, when they focus upon the persecution of Christians in Palestine by Jews; upon the civil war in Rome in the ‘60s which Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., so well describes in his work Before Jerusalem Fell; as well as the persecution of Jews in the Diaspora during this period—in sum, when all of this dark era is brought into the light of examination—Bible studies will change.

Right now, scholars neglect or ignore the realities of this period. To some it seems a two-thousand-year-old embarrassment and I’m not sure I understand why.

But I am convinced that the key to understanding the Gospels is that they were written before all this ever happened. That’s why they were preserved without question though they contradicted one another. They came from a time that was, for later Christians, catastrophically lost forever.

 

Notable Jesus Scholars

As I continued my quest, I discovered a scholarship quite different from that of the skeptics—that of John A.T. Robinson, in The Priority of John. In reading his descriptions, which took seriously the words of the Gospel itself, I saw what was happening to Jesus in the text of John.

It was a turning point. I was able to enter the Fourth Gospel, and see Jesus alive and moving. And what eventually emerged for me from the Gospels was their unique coherence, their personalities—the inevitable stamp of individual authorship.

Of course John A.T. Robinson made the case for an early date for the Gospels far better that I ever could. He made it brilliantly in 1975, and he took to task the liberal scholars for their assumptions then in Redating the New Testament, but what he said is as true now as it was when he wrote those words.

After Robinson I made many great discoveries, among them Richard Bauckham who in The Gospels for All Christians soundly refutes the idea that isolated communities produced the Gospels and shows what is obvious, that they were written to be circulated and read by all.

The work of Martin Hengel is brilliant in clearing away assumptions, and his achievements are enormous, I continue to study him.

The scholar who has given me perhaps some of my most important insights and who continues to do so through his enormous output is N. T. Wright. N. T. Wright is one of the most brilliant writers I’ve ever read, and his generosity in embracing the skeptics and commenting on their arguments is an inspiration. His faith is immense, and his knowledge vast.

In his book The Resurrection of the Son of God, he answers solidly the question that has haunted me all my life. Christianity achieved what it did, according to N. T. Wright, because Jesus rose from the dead. It was the fact of the resurrection that sent the apostles out into the world with the force necessary to create Christianity. Nothing else would have done it but that.

Wright does a great deal more to put the entire question into historical perspective. How can I do justice to him here? I can only recommend him without reservation, and go on studying him.

Of course my quest is not over. There are thousands of pages of the above-mentioned scholars to be read and reread.

But I see now a great coherence to the life of Christ and the beginning of Christianity that eluded me before, and I see also the subtle transformation of the ancient world because of its economic stagnation and the assault upon it of the values of monotheism, Jewish values melded with Christian value, for which it was not perhaps prepared.

There are also theologians who must be studied, more of Teilhard de Chardin, and Rahner, and St. Augustine.

The Highest Task of the Modern Writer

Now somewhere during my journey through all of this, as I became disillusioned with the skeptics and with the flimsy evidence for their conclusions, I realized something about my book.

It was this. The challenge was to write about the Jesus of the Gospels, of course!

Anybody could write about a liberal Jesus, a married Jesus, a gay Jesus, a Jesus who was a rebel. The “Quest for the Historical Jesus” had become a joke because of all the many definitions it had ascribed to Jesus.

The true challenge was to take the Jesus of the Gospels, the Gospels which were becoming ever more coherent to me, the Gospels which appealed to me as elegant first-person witness, dictated to scribes no doubt, but definitely early, the Gospels produced before Jerusalem fell—to take the Jesus of the Gospels, and try to get inside him and imagine what he felt.

Then there were the legends—the Apocrypha—including the tantalizing tales in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas describing a boy Jesus who could strike a child dead, bring another to life, turn clay birds into living creatures, and perform other miracles. I’d stumbled on them very early in my research, in multiple editions, and never forgotten them. And neither had the world. They were fanciful, some of them humorous, extreme to be sure, but they had lived on into the Middle Ages, and beyond. I couldn’t get these legends out of my mind.

Ultimately I chose to embrace this material, to enclose it within the canonical framework as best I could. I felt there was a deep truth in it, and I wanted to preserve that truth as it spoke to me. Of course that is an assumption. But I made it. And perhaps in assuming that Jesus did manifest supernatural powers at an early age I am somehow being true to the declaration of the Council of Chalcedon, that Jesus was God and Man at all times.

I am certainly trying to be true to Paul when he said that Our Lord emptied himself for us, in that my character has emptied himself of his Divine awareness in order to suffer as a human being.

This is a book I offer to all Christian—to the fundamentalists, to the Roman Catholics, to the most liberal Christians in the hope that my embrace of more conservative doctrines will have some coherence for them in the here and now of the book. I offer it to scholars in the hope that they will perhaps enjoy seeing the evidence of the research that’s gone into it, and of course I offer it to those whom I so greatly admire who have been my teachers though I’ve never met them and probably never will.

I offer this book to those who know nothing of Jesus Christ in the hope that you will see him in these pages in some form. I offer this novel with love to my readers who’ve followed me through one strange turn after another in the hope that Jesus will be as real to you as any other character I’ve ever launched into the world we share.

After all, is Christ Our Lord not the ultimate supernatural hero, the ultimate outsider, the ultimate immortal of them all?

As for my son, this novel is dedicated to him. That says it all.

 


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My Journey from Atheism to Faith

When the novel Christ The Lord Out of Egypt was published in 2005, I had no idea that the Author’s Note, especially the story of my own personal return to faith, would prove of such interest to readers, and that I would receive so many questions about the various points that I raised about belief, about the gospels, and about the source materials of this book. It’s been suggested that I write a work entirely about my own journey to Christ and I am considering this. But for now I want to address some of the questions which are still coming from readers today.

I returned to faith in Christ, and to the Roman Catholic Church on December 6, 1998. It was after a long struggle of many years during which I went from being a committed atheist, grieving for a lost faith which I thought was gone forever, to realizing that I not only believed in Jesus Christ with my whole heart, but that I felt an overwhelming love for Him, and wanted to be united with Him both in private and in public through attendance at church.

The process for me had been gradual and somewhat intellectual. I’d lost faith in atheism. It no longer made sense. I wanted to affirm the presence of God because I felt it. Yet I was tormented by a multitude of theological questions and social issues that I couldn’t resolve. No matter how strongly I believed in God I still considered myself a conscientious humanist.

How, I asked myself, could I express the love for God that I felt by becoming a member of a community of believers when I didn’t know what I thought about the literal truth of Adam or Eve or Original Sin?

How could I join with fellow believers who thought my gay son was going to Hell? How could I become connected with Christians who held that there was no evidence for Darwinian evolution, or that women should not have control over their own bodies? How could I affirm my belief in a faith that was itself so characterized by argument and strife?

Well, what happened to me on that Sunday that I returned to faith was this: I received a glimpse into what I can only call the Infinite Mercy of God. It worked something like this. I realized that none of my theological or social questions really made any difference. I didn’t have to know the answers to these questions precisely because God did.

He was the God who made the Universe in which I existed. That meant he had made the Big Bang, He had made DNA, He had made the Black Holes in space, and the wind and the rains and the individual snowflakes that fall from the sky. He had done all that. So surely He could do virtually anything and He could solve virtually everything.

And how could I possibly know what He knew? And why should I remain apart from Him because I could not grasp all that He could grasp? What came over me then was an infinite trust, trust in His power and His love, I didn’t have to worry about the ultimate fate of my good atheistic friends, gay or straight, because He knew all about them, and He was holding them in His hands.

I didn’t have to quake alone in terror at the thought of those who die untimely deaths from illness, or the countless millions destroyed in the horrors of war. He knew all about them. He had always been holding them in His hands.

He and only He knew the full story of every person who’d ever lived or would live; He and He alone knew what person was given what choice, what chance, what opportunity, what amount of time, to come to Him and by what path.

That I couldn’t possibly know all was as clear to me as my awareness that He did.

 

Faith Does Not Negate Reason or Exploration

Now this was not totally understandable to me in words at that time. I couldn’t have explained it in this way then. But it is essentially what happened: faith became absolutely real to me; and its implications became real. I found myself in a realm in which the beauty I saw around me was intimately connected in every way with the justice, the wisdom, the mercy and the love of God.

Did this mean that I thought doctrine and principles didn’t matter? No. Did it mean I thought everything was relative? Certainly not. Did it mean I did not continue to ponder a multitude of ideas? God forbid. What it did mean was that I put myself in the hands of God entirely and that my faith would light the pages I read in the Book of Life from then on.

Now why did this happen to me? Why did this love and trust fill my heart at that particular moment in time? The honest answer is: I don’t know. Had I prayed for faith? Yes. Had I searched for it? Yes. But faith is a gift, and it was a gift I received on that day.

Over the next few years, my conviction and my awareness of God’s love deepened; and no matter what crisis or dilemma I confronted, that trust in the power of the Lord remained.

In the summer of 2002, as I’ve explained above, I consecrated my work to Christ, but I really didn’t make good on my promise to work only for Him until December of that year. From that time on, I have been committed to writing the life of Our Lord in fictional form.

At the time that I began this work, I had no idea that my life would be transformed by this task, that the anxiety I took for granted as part of life before 2002 would almost entirely disappear. In fact, had anyone told me this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have believed such a thing. But my life has been completely changed.

Now what happened in 2002 was this: I was praying, I was talking to the Lord, I was discussing my writing with Him, and what came over me was the awareness that if I believed in Him as completely as I said I did, I ought to write entirely for Him. Anything I could do ought to be for Him. I told Him so. I set out to put this into practice.

As I said, I didn’t succeed to full commitment until December of that year. But the day when I told the Lord I’d write for Him, and Him only, I now see as the most important single day of my entire life. Truly not the simplest things have been the same since. I am united in mind and body as never before. In fact it seems that every aspect of my life has been brought into a coherence that I’d never expected to see.

My early religious education, my long quest, my many experiences both dramatic and trivial, my losses, my developing writing skills, my research skills—all are united now in one single goal. There is a feeling in me at times that nothing, no matter how small, that I experienced has been lost. And of course I wonder if it isn’t this way with every human being; it’s just that most of us can’t see it most of the time.

There is much more I can say about my journey to conversion but I think this gives the emotional picture which is lacking above.

Finally, allow me to say this about the crafting of a novel about Our Lord.

As Christians, I feel most of us in the creative community must seek to be more than scribes. If Diarmaid MacColloch is right in his immense history, The Reformation, we had plenty of Christian scribes on the eve of that enormous and painful upheaval.

But it was the printing press that enabled the great thinkers of that time, both Reformer and Catholic, to transform our “assumptions about knowledge and originality of thought.” I suggest now that we must seize the revolutionary media of our age in the way that those earlier Christian and Catholics seized the printed book. We must truly use the realistic novel, the television drama, and the motion picture to tell the Christian story anew.

It is our obligation to tell that story over and over and to use the best means that we have.

In that spirit this novel was written—with the hope of exploring and celebrating the mystery of the Hypostatic Union as well as the mystery of the Incarnation—in a wholly fresh way.

But we, O Lord, behold we are Thy little flock; possess us as Thine, stretch thy wings over us, and let us fly under them. Be thou our glory.

-St. Augustine

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Anne O’Brien Rice
July 12, 2006

Go here to learn more about Anne’s book “Christ The Lord Out Of Egypt”


Anne Rice recommends the following books and scholarly works on the question of Jesus:

On the Historical Jesus and the Gospels:

David Alan Black’s simple and straightforward Why Four Gospels
Jean Carmignac’s The Birth of the Synoptic Gospels
The First Edition of the New Testament by David Trobisch
Craig S. Keener’s truly magnificent A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew
Redating Matthew, Mark and Luke by John Wenham
I’m also profoundly grateful for the writings of Fr. Benedict Groeschel CFR, J. Augustine Di Noia OP, Gerald O’Collins SJ, and the works of the great theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar
Larry Hurtado’s Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity
Craig L. Blomberg’s The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel

On apocryphal writings and artistic representations of Jesus in the early church:

The Apocryphal Jesus: Legends of the Early Church by J. K. Elliot
Art & the Christian Apocrypha by David R. Cartlidge and J. Keith Elliot
The Apocryphal Gospels of Mary in Anglo-Saxon England by Mary Clayton
The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre
Judgment to Passion: Devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary 800-1200 by Rachel Fulton
The Golden Legend, published as Legenda Sanctorum in 1260

1-Page Summary: What We Know About Jesus and the Resurrection

~~~
Book excerpt ©2006 Anne O’Brien Rice.  Used by permission.  Other material ©2006-2010 Perry S. Marshall

484 Responses to “Atheist Anne Rice’s Surprising Discovery”

  1. Dear Anne.
    Pleased to meet you. I do have one question; do you see The Lord Almighty as the Father of Jesus, or as Jesus himself?

    Kind regards
    Walter Muller

    • Alec O'Hare says:

      One in the Father Walter.

    • Hans Joachim Koempf says:

      God is Spirit, God is Holy and since he created the universe including us God is Father. Conclusion, God is the Holy Spirit and also our Father. He created a body (temple) called and dwelled in him after the baptism. Jesus was the chosen place of God where he wanted to put his name on. Therefore, there is no other name given by which we can call God.

  2. greetings
    thanks for sharing your experience and research conclusions. I am happy for you that you found a renewal of faith.
    After all you have read and learned, does it not bother you that the Roman Catholic Church is full of contradiction and pagan influence, Christmas and Easter being the 2 most obvious, the worship of the mother of God being perhaps even more important?
    I would be interested to hear your thoughts

    • Jude Galford says:

      Miss Julia who told you the Catholic Church worships the Blessed Mother? Who told you celebrating Christmas and Easter is a contradiction of Christ? That the Church replaced these pagan dates with a Christian celebration is a fact, does it mean the replacement is necessarily pagan too?

      • Bert Pursoo says:

        Unless you are living in an alien world or under a rock or totally out of touch with reality, you would surely know that Roman Catholics most certainly worship the alleged Mother of God (which in itself is an oxymoron, since the same woman could hardly be the Mother of God and of Jesus at the same time.
        Apparently Christ was NOT born on Christmas Day (which was picked by Rome for political reasons) and there is nothing to substantiate the erroneous belief that Christ rose from the dead and ascended into the sky – still considered to be Heaven by the uninitiated.
        And yes, if these so-called pagan dates were replaced with a Christian celebration then by extension the celebration (not the replacement)must logically be pagan!
        And by the way it may not be a bad idea to check the origin and real meaning of the word “pagan”.

        • Jude Galford says:

          Thank you for gently calling me a moron due to the fact that I do not think like you. As to your lessons in logic, let me go over it: B is replaced A, Therefore A is B.

          I guess you really are brainy. Educate us more.

        • max barker says:

          bert, it wouldn’t matter which day you chose to do anything it would be some type of pagen holliday. if you would stop trying to have the supreme logic and simply look around on some clear night i think some of your confussion would dissappear( along with asking for some help from someone besides your intelligent friends ). ps you are not going to figure out GOD and/or JESUS , just pay attention to what they say instead of your buddies.

      • Kalev says:

        It was pagan then and it still is today. Both faith systems, Cathoilic and Protestant have these pagan influences in them that are fatal to their systems but the are so decieved and deluded they cannot see it. If one could see the Scriptures through the Hebraic perspective they derived from they then could see the blatant paganism inherint in each system.

    • wanda moitoza says:

      Oh my, what a blessing it is to read your testimony on Christmas day. My husband had a stroke and is just learning to read after four years and we took turns on reading. We will buy your book for others that we know can relate to your life and story. You are really a very smart woman. God will use you for many years to come. Wanda

  3. Attar Singh says:

    dear lady,
    If you are really interested to know who the Jesus was I will suggust you to read and try to understand Gita as it is.Donot be influenced by the narration and explantions given by the others.From the above I came to understand that you are really in search of truth.If you like I can suggust you of some seekers of today

  4. There is —and will be— a vibrant debate between theists and atheists, sure. Some, like C.S. Lewis or Francisco J. Miranda, will change side, also sure.

    Here is another certainty: the main and strongest arguments against theism do not come from atheists, but from the history of Christianity and religion in general. As of mainstream theists, they could feel very good with themselves if the year 9999 comes and all mankind keeps exactly the same beliefs, without improvement.

    • Avon Bellamy says:

      The belief that the truth of God’s existence is based upon whether or not flawed humans failed to live out a series of precepts is illogical in the extreme. It’s tantamount to me saying that you don’t exist because your children refuse to do the things you taught them. Paying lip service to God while refusing to live the things that He teaches in no way invalidates God – it just further proves the truth of who we are. As Chesterton said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” No one who has ever authentically followed the life and words of Christ can be accused of adding to the world’s evil while doing so.

      • Bert Pursoo says:

        Interesting Bellamy, but since we are what God made us, then if we are flawed, it has to be concluded that this is what God wanted. So why must us pay forever for his shortcoming?
        And oh yes, do remember that Christianity is just another religion and that the thr underlying cause of most human conflict was and still is religion.

        • Tony Francis says:

          Indeed, you and your arguments are flawed. But the difference between you and stones and plants and animals is that God has given you a choice to improve. But the most important condition is that you should also want and have the will power to rectify your faults. You seem to be seeking Truth and I sincerely believe that you will also find it like Ann, after a lot of struggle.

  5. Chris Russell says:

    Dear Ann,
    In reading your return to Christ I couldn’t but compare your journey with mine; they are both quite similar including the time frame.
    I have experienced a Face-to-face encounter with Jesus the Christ (in this lifetime) as I was undergoing surgery (pneumonectomy) to remove my left lung. I had been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. According to my doctors, while under anesthesia and very unconscious, I began “talking out loud” to Jesus. I was on the operating table at the Brody School of Medicine in Greenville, NC in the year 2000. Following my conversation with Jesus I died and was pronounced dead by my surgeons. Then, when I returned to my body the first thing I noticed was my surgical team across the operating room. They were in a football-like hudle and were engaged in prayer for my soul! When I was checked again I was cancer free! I have been cancer free for 10 years and know how much longer I have to live.
    I had been entered into a clinical trial with 11 others and today I am the only one of that trial still alive. The National Institute of Cancer has advised me that cases like mine (i.e.total remission after being diagnosed stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer) are not unique but are extremely rare. Apparently they are one out of every 140,000 cases.
    On the other hand, my life has changed in many of the same ways that your life has. I feel that I am being watched and protected by unseen angelic forces. I have been given the “Crown of Life” and know without a doubt that He Lives. The entire Bible can be summed up with His commandment of Thy shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind and soul and thy neighbor as thyself”
    You might want to add the book: “Edgar Cayce’s Story of Jesus” by Jeffrey Furst to your list of research books. And in the meantime, I’m going to get a copy of your book today. Thank you very much for your book and
    Merry Christmas ,
    Chris Russell MSW, PLCSW
    910-527-8059

  6. Chris Russell says:

    Dear Ann,
    In reading your return to Christ I couldn’t but compare your journey with mine; they are both quite similar including the time frame.
    I have experienced a Face-to-face encounter with Jesus the Christ (in this lifetime) as I was undergoing surgery (pneumonectomy) to remove my left lung. I had been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. According to my doctors, while under anesthesia and very unconscious, I began “talking out loud” to Jesus. I was on the operating table at the Brody School of Medicine in Greenville, NC in the year 2000. Following my conversation with Jesus I died and was pronounced dead by my surgeons. Then, when I returned to my body the first thing I noticed was my surgical team across the operating room. They were in a football-like hudle and were engaged in prayer for my soul! When I was checked again I was cancer free! I have been cancer free for 10 years and know how much longer I have to live.
    I had been entered into a clinical trial with 11 others and today I am the only one of that trial still alive. The National Institute of Cancer has advised me that cases like mine (i.e.total remission after being diagnosed stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer) are not unique but are extremely rare. Apparently they are one out of every 140,000 cases.
    On the other hand, my life has changed in many of the same ways that your life has. I feel that I am being watched and protected by unseen angelic forces. I have been given the “Crown of Life” and know without a doubt that He Lives. The entire Bible can be summed up with His commandment of Thy shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind and soul and thy neighbor as thyself”
    You might want to add the book: “Edgar Cayce’s Story of Jesus” by Jeffrey Furst to your list of research books. And in the meantime, I’m going to get a copy of your book today. Thank you very much for your book and
    Merry Christmas ,
    Chris Russell MSW, PLCSW
    910-527-8059

  7. Janiah LaGrange says:

    Remarkable. I am sending this to my friends, some of whom have decided that after all is said and done, they no longer believe in Jesus. This excerpt from Anne Rice is compelling and now, I must get a copy of that book! With many thanks for emailing this to me…..so I can spread the WORD. God Bless you, Janiah

  8. Kofi Yawson-Adjei says:

    You will agree with me that coming to Christ or understanding God is a very personal matter and that people peceive God according their understanding and yearning.

    Did you make any exploration on Christian Science during your inquest about Christ?…., especially on the book “SCIENCE AND HEALTH WITH KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES” by Marry Baker Eddy. I recommend the book to you in your quest to understand Christ especially the modus operandi of his healing ministry.

    I wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosporous new year.

  9. Kenneth Heck says:

    Dear Anne,

    You have conscientiously investigated the basic questions of Christianity more thoroughly than any person I know. Congratulations on a job well done! One more thing – if you have questions further scolarship can’t answer, I suggest you pray to the Lord to reveal the truth. Pray to the Spirit of Truth. The results may surprise you.

    Cordially in Christ,

    Kenneth Heck

  10. Andy Sims says:

    Dear Ms. Rice,

    I have greatly enjoyed reading this testimony of how you began to search out things. I have debated and produced blogs on myspace concerning apologetics and I came to the same conclusion about the destruction of the temple. I have even played devil’s advocate and sought to disprove or find a chink in the testimony. The little things I can find that seem inconsistent are no more than eyewitnesses who testify in a court of law……each sees certain things or their focus is drawn to certain things. I have felt for some time that if one will be TRULY honest and unbiased then history and logic and the Bible come together. I look forward to reading your book.

    God Bless, Andy

    • Bert Pursoo says:

      Dear Ms Rice,
      After having read many of your books in your true crime series, I am completely baffled as to how you can attest to a God who could stand by and permit the very acts that you so so eloquently chronicle!
      History has proven over and over again that religions are for want of a better word evil. No religion is exempt. Monotheism is no better than multitheism. All religions contaminate and restrict human development. The terms “acts of God” is no more or less than that – a term.
      Since you claim to have done a great deal of research on the subject, perhaps you can explain how Mary can be the mother of God the sole creator and of his only “begotten” son Jesus at the same time. And who or what is the third part of the supposed Holy Trinity – The Holy Ghost. Of course there is the question of Lucifer and who created him and what is his connection with God.

  11. Poch Suzara says:

    If Jesus as the Son of God made any sense at all, he could have easily explained why the day we are born is the day we begin to live in a dying body. More to the point, each and every one of us – coming out of mother’s womb – we had no religion. In fact, we are all born as atheist. No baby is born a Catholic, or Muslim, or Jewish.

    In the meantime, short, and brief, and fleeting as it is – life is but a sexually transmitted disease with a mortality rate of 100 per cent. Poch Suzara

    • nourain ali says:

      Dear Poch Suzara,

      I completely disagree with your statment and you can find all answers about GOD and religion and about us and about universe in the book ” The Devine Truth”.
      Web address : http://www.megafacts.wordpress.com

      Regards,

      Nourain

      • Bert Pursoo says:

        Nourain,
        The book to which you refer: “The Divine Truth”, was written by a person or persons who proffer their own personal concept of “truth” since there is no such thing as Divine Truth!

        Sorry for bursting your bubble, friend!

      • Bert Pursoo says:

        Dear Nourain,

        Please! Not another book. All these books which are supposed to be so enlightening were written by people who are still struggling with the concept of their own existence and mortality. What makes you think that their supposed knowledge is any more than the next person’s?
        Read a little history of man’s inhumanity to man and you may ask yourself what kind of father would stand idly by and permit such atrocities. And please, please don’t tell me about “Free Agency”!

  12. Jim McGovern says:

    I Wonder is anyone ever write a novel or nonfiction detailing the early days of Christianity and the interaction of the Apostles – including a possible comparison of them to the early members of AA as far as spreading the Good news

  13. Thanks

    My belief There was no begining for God. God always exists as a Spirit for there was no physical material prior to creation.
    How do we suspect God exists since we can’t take God into a laboratory to prove he exists as proving salt contains sodium and chloride.

    Premise-if we can show there have been spirits that have been created we can conclude the Creator is a spirit.
    Dr Marco Biagini(Look up his informative article on google)
    Biagini ’s research claims some of the powers of thinking are impossible to attain through our body chemistry. He claims the atoms and molecules of the body do not have the abiity to produce thought.He claims we must have some additional non material aspect.(The soul) The artcle asserts Dr Biagini can mathamaticaly show the body material substance cannot acount for all of human activity.
    So if we have a spiritual soul,God we earlier concluded is a spirit Who exists because science has shown the spiritual created soul exists which could not be reated from the material.

    • Bert Pursoo says:

      So then what is the origin of God? For if he always existed surely there must have been a beginning?
      I don’t think science has done any such thing as prove the existence of the soul.
      Perhaps the old adage of if you look for something you will eventually find it applies here. If a person – scientist or not – starts out on the premise that there is a soul, it is more than likely that all his endeavour would be directed to proving himself correct. And unlike St. Augustine who spent his lifetime attempting, but failing in the end, to prove the existence of God, such a person would more than likely find reasons to support his original belief – but that is not proof and certainly not science.

      • Donald Wengelewski says:

        Your comment “If God always existed,surely there must have been a beginning.” doesn’t make sense.”
        Dr.Biagini states it is mathamatically impossible to derive activities such as thinking from the material make up of man-atoms and molecules. This does not prove the existence of God. Logically if this is true we have part of our make up from something other than material namely the spiritual. Using this logic you arrive at the creator of this spiritual power in man God. No verifiable proof but enough information to cause deep thought. Have you heard the saying “anything self evident cannot be proved.”
        Can you prove you exist?

      • Tim Sol says:

        Bert,

        If God always existed, then by definition there was no beginning. If you think of our human lives as a section of a straw, it is finite; there is a beginning and an end, we are born, we live and we die. If God always existed, then it’s like having a straw that stretches on infinitely – it keeps going on forever to the right, and forever to the left – there is never a beginning or an end.

        After reading several of your previous comments, is it possible that your own assertion above might apply to yourself? It does not seem in your replies that you are open to the idea of God, Jesus, the trinity, the value in Christian belief, or the value of any religious belief for that matter. Therefore, wouldn’t your perspective and replies be biased as well?

        Any person (even one who subscribes to the Christian faith) possessing an inquiring mind will have questioned the Trinity, how Mary could be the mother of Jesus if he was God, how people could be made in God’s image if He is perfect and we are flawed..it all seems impossible, contradictory, or hard to believe at the very least. However, if you do more research and take the time to learn more about Christianity, the answers to a lot of your questions can be found; but not every question has a concrete answer.

        There are many physical things in this world that cannot be proven by science, not to mention intangible things. Did you know that scientists do not even know all of the effects that aspirin has on the body? All we know for sure is that one component (the salicylate ion) of aspirin is a pain reliever – and aspirin is something so basic in our lives! As for the intangible, can love be proven to exist? No, it is not scientifically possible, but everyone who has loved or been loved knows that love is real. So that leads me to believe that not everything has to be proven scientifically to be known to exist in this world.

        If God was proven to exist, if it was proven that Jesus is God, heaven is real, then everyone would believe and become a Christian, right? Then there would be no argument? Probably not. People will always doubt if they want to, whether something is proven or not. Therein lies the point of Christianity, that a person believes that Jesus is the son of God and saved us from our own sin – that’s why it is called the Christian faith. Willing belief can be stronger than concrete proof. And it is also completely one’s prerogative not to believe as well. That is our free will.

        As the author mentioned above, we will not know the answers to all of the questions we have about God. We are not supposed to because we are human. To expect to understand everything in this world is a fool’s errand, and that is something that has to be accepted, as is the reality that our own opinions are not always correct – that is the beginning of true learning and understanding.

  14. Azhar Chaudhary says:

    Hi Anne Rice,

    Surely you must have passed Islam on the way to Jesus? If you did, what did you make of it?

    Regards

    Azhar

  15. perez says:

    Why did you “forget” the books of Geza Vermes?

  16. DENIS MOGER says:

    Hello,
    If God and Jesus are real, if the ancient israelites, later called jews are Gods first loved and chosen people, and if God loved the world so much that he gave his son up for crucifixion, then why was Hitler allowed to kill millions of Gods jews in the gas chambers, stripping women and children naked first, stealing all their valuables possessions, then packing them into the gas chambers, the women and children screaming for help as they were gassed to death, then teeth pulled out for the silver or gold fillings, then the bodies piled up together in their hundreds, while a bulldozer dug a large pit, and then shoved all the bodies together into the communal grave, unmarked , with no names recorded to mark who they were , or where they were buried.
    How does this relate to a loving God and christ as we are mean’t to believe?
    signed, D Moger

    • constantino g. sawan says:

      Hello Dennis,

      God loves even Hitler as much as He loves you and me and everybody else. But Hitler and you and I and every else out there were given by God Free Will to do as we wish. Just like you chose by your free will not to love God or have faith in Jesus Christ, Hitler freely and willingly chose not to obey God and did as he wished contrary to God’s Will.

      However God is powerful, He is powerless over our will. He respects our freedom.

      Hope this explains.

      Constantino

      • Bert Pursoo says:

        Constantino,

        Sorry, but this nonsense about “free will” simply cannot wash anymore. It should be impossible for any rational human being to state that God loved Hitler as much as he loved the 6 million or so Jews. Obviously your Faith has robbed you of of the process of logical thought.
        I guess that Ok, too!

        • constantino g. sawan says:

          Dear Bert Pursoo,

          You are speaking in man’s perspective. God’s Love knows no limit. Man’s logic defines the limits because the wisdom of men is foolishness to God. God does not think the way we do. Man’s logic is not His logic. It must be admitted, however, that God’s Love is equal to His Justice. If, at the last second of his life Hitler admitted his sins and asked repentance, God will not refuse forgiveness because His mercy endures forever.

          It may help you to understand God’s love if you read the book “True Life in God”. Just click TLIG and there you will hear God speaking to humanity today about his endless love.

          Try it. There’s no harm reading it. After reading twit me again.

          God loves you, too, to “fooly”.

          Constantino

          • Bert Pursoo says:

            Dear Constantino,

            If God loved Hitler the same as he loved those 6 or so million Jews that Hitler systematically murdered then we don’t need His kind of love. No book would ever be able to explain the atrocities still being committed in the name of this God, whether we say God, Jehovah, Allah or any other name. Perhaps Dr. Stephen Hawkins is right when he says God is not necessary or perhaps “God is dead” as proclaimed by Friedrich Nietzche.
            Eckhart Tolle probably has a good point when he says that the misuse of the word “God” gives rise to absurd beliefs, assertions, and egoic delusions, such as “My or our God is the only true God, and your God is false,” or (even) Neitzche’s famous statement “God is dead.”

            Eckhart Tolle

  17. Has this story been presented once before on this web site ???
    I have read this within the last 5 years,just dont remember where.
    Agreeing ,Anne has gone from one extreme to the other in her quest for truth..
    So was I a Catholic for 50 + years,nearing 74,but have realized the Catholic church has turned into a political and business venture throughout its existence,becoming corrupt to the bone as described in Malachi Martin’s Novel, Wind Swept House,followed with just plain observation of the examples the church has experienced in its pass and many other good resources..
    My belief in GOD,creator of all in this universe and its contents has remained the same.
    The part were Anne touches on Jesus having been Married,dealt with homosexuality etc., was a liberal,etc., baffles me…
    It is just plain common sense and logic that to conceive and bring to birth a child in the NATURAL state man and women have to copulate. Yes, artificial insemnation can be utilized,,but, without the scientific knowledge of research with tools to facilitate,artificial insemnation would not exist.Neither would reproduction of the human race have happened…Jesus being oneness with GOD the Father created the process of human reproduction,not only that but it also served to sustain and encourage the participants to forge ahead to sustain each other by the relationship…
    Much of what Anne discovered and wrote is very good research,,but,,I take exception on the subject of Jesus being Gay..it defies and denies the whole of GOD’S plan and reproduction of everything GOD created…
    There are so many different versions of Christian history,it is mind twisting as to which one is accurate..
    Anne, I do salute your accomplishment..
    And,,by far am I an authority on Biblical principles etc..but, I do my fair share of research..

    GOD BLESS and allow us to get to the truth we so earnestly
    search for.

    Jude

    • constantino g. sawan says:

      Jude,

      Many Roman Catholics will take offense in your sweeping accusation that Roman Catholic Church is corrupt to the bone. I am one of those. Your thinking is a product of a mind corrupted to the bone with hatred. There is no christian love there because your sweeping accusation condemned us all. While there may be a few corrupt individuals in the Church’s hierarchy, there are millions who truly practice their faith
      in accordance to God’s Perfect Will. Judge not so you will not be judged.

      Constantino

      • Bert Pursoo says:

        Dear Constantino,

        Few if any Roman Catholics nowadays will honestly take offense that the Roman Catholic is corrupt to the bone. I exhort you to tudy the history of the Roman Catholic Church and if you are honestly seeking the truth as so may people profess, you will, my friend discover that the Roman Catholic Church is only concerned with power and control -and especially mind control, which in everyday terms is known as old fashioned brainwashing. Judge not so that you will not be judged. But even the very Holy Bible promises that you will be judged on the final day! So?

      • tony bryant says:

        The Catholic Church has excommunicated women for attempting to become ordinated as priests. It has also excommunicated priests for aiding these women.
        However, this church has not excommunicated priests for raping children.
        This church ‘is corrupt to the bone’, to use Constantino’s phrase.

        • perrymarshall says:

          “this church has not excommunicated priests for raping children.”

          Where did you ever get that idea?

          • tony bryant says:

            I got ‘this idea’ as you call it from media articles.
            Clerical abuse continues and priests’ superiors continue the cover-up. Yet another example of corruption.
            And what about the recent revelation that priests and nuns in Spain stole and sold babies in Spain until the 1990’s?
            To quote Nietzche again; ‘ If we believe absurdities we shall commit atrocities’.

  18. Robert G says:

    Hi. I’m just wondering if you’ve been updated on this lady. Your source is from 2006.

    Scripture tells us that a person’s own words will either save them or condemn them. What do her words tell you here? What kind of fruits do you see here? I see rebellion and disobedience. I see a woman who can’t stand being around other believers, which is an absolute contradiction to scripture.

    Exit from organized religion
    On July 29, 2010, Rice publicly renounced her dedication to her Roman Catholic faith, while remaining committed to Christ, on her Facebook page:

    “For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”

    A few hours later she added the following:

    Quote Ann Rice: “In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay (- right here her own words condemn her – the Holy Spirit is void in her as she is unable to bond with the Word of God – ). I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”

    She reaffirmed her faith in Christ with stance of non-adherence to organized Christianity an hour or so later:

    Quote Ann Rice: “My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.” ( – Christ is the HEAD of Christianity, and we are commanded to be IN the Body – no exceptions -)

    Subsequently, in an interview, Rice further clarified her statements:

    Quote Ann Rice: My commitment to Christ remains at the heart and center of my life. Transformation in Him is radical and ongoing. That I feel now that I am called to be an outsider for Him (- contradiction to scripture – no one is called to be an outsider – ), to step away from the words, “Christian” and “Christianity” is something that my conscience demands of me. I feel that my faith in Him demands this of me. I know of no other way to express how I must remove myself from those things which seek to separate me from Him. ( – Satan is filling her with lies and she is taking the bait. We are NEVER to remove ourselves from the body of believers – )

    In an August 7, 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times, she elaborated on her view regarding being a member of a Christian church: “I feel much more morally comfortable walking away from organized religion. I respect that there are all kinds of denominations and all kinds of churches, but it’s the entire controversy, the entire conversation that I need to walk away from right now.” In response to the question, “[H]ow do you follow Christ without a church?” Rice replied: “I think the basic ritual is simply prayer.
    (- Again…she wants her faith to be private…an example of disobedience to God – ) It’s talking to God, putting things in the hands of God, trusting that you’re living in God’s world and praying for God’s guidance. And being absolutely faithful to the core principles of Jesus’ teachings.

    Ann Rice wants her cake and to eat it too. She wants to be a Christian on her own terms and not God’s. Her own words confirm her disobedience and the fact that she has not given her life to Christ wholeheartedly.

    • Barbara Harvey says:

      Apparently you have failed to read the verses in the New Testament, specifically the 6th chapter of Matthew, where it says, in Jesus’ words, “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues (churches) where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the recognition they will ever receive. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.” (New Living Translation) If Jesus Himself instructs us to pray in secret communication with God, then how can Anne be “disobedient”????

      • Robert E says:

        Where is a like button when you need one?!!

      • Sam Chan says:

        @Barbara: That passage from Matthew 6 addresses the self-seeking hearts of the Pharisees, rather than praying in public itself. It was common in the Bible to find people praying in a public assembly. I have to agree with Robert on most points. I wouldn’t go so far as to condemn Anne, but I would say that she should continue to seek the truth in all matters.

    • preston beam says:

      Robert G… I must ask… did Martin Luther remove himself from the “body of believers”?

      • Eric Clark says:

        From a Reformed perspective, Luther never wanted to be removed from Holy Mother Church, He only wanted to see her reformed. From a Lutheran perspective I think it would be said that the church rejected him.
        It is a basic assumption of Roman Catholicism that it is the one true path to God and that all others are false. If one rejects this fundamental assumption what it means to be the Church can look considerably different, i.e. Eastern Orthodoxy, Protestantism, etc.

    • N. Joel John says:

      I’ve sat here and debated whether or not to add to this particular topic. I shall. And I will be brief. Make no mistake, one’s commitment to Christ is totally different from his commitment to church. The deeper we search the more we will come to that realization.

      Humor me. Try it.

      • constantino g. sawan says:

        Dear N. Joel John,

        I’ll try to humor you but I don’t think you’ll find me humorous. And I’ll be very brief also. I’ll just ask you a question: Can you truly and sincerely say that you are committed to Christ without being committed to His Institution?

        Constantino

    • albruc macleod says:

      I was wondering about her recent comments quoted in the media. Since this site has problems with organized religion, it would seem she fits right in. Her only problem is she seems to think she is alone and has to remove herself from fellowship with believers because of her problems with many of the unChrist like attititudes in the churchianity community; The commentary of the above writer being a good example. She will no doubt be surprised to find that she is not alone and having declared herself I pray that God will lead her to fellowship with other’s who share her insight and abhorance of the culturally infected american church. I would add that having had similar problems with churchianity, I have come to believe that love requires that we stay invovled.
      I think she may also be sucoming to the miopic views found in the american press, which loves to characterize these attitudes as the hallmarks of true christianity. They are not, but stick a microphone in these peoples faces and they will become the embodiment of the Church. We live in a battle zone, the challenge is to walk in the spirit and to love.
      It is good to hear she has heldfast to the faith; and God is failthful and able to keep that which she has committed unto him until that day.
      I recommend the book “pagan Christianity.” we need to sort out the gold from the hay, the truth from the culture. God is good.

      God’s grace and peace to you all,

      bruce

    • jim rapalje says:

      All the things that this author proposes to be ” anti ” to are incorrect except one. No one can be filled with Holy Spirit and agree with all the things that she is agreeable
      to. Especially my own ” pet peeve,” that you can be a TRUE believer and adher to or make decisions according to a political platform, especially a democrat platform. No way !

      But, she IS correct about one admonition, that being to SEPARATE from the organized religious system.( 2 Cor.6:14-18) But, your reasons have to be correct. Anyone who has any relationship with Christ knows that almost ALL the so called churches in the land are off the wall. The true church today is essentially underground and consists of very few people at each gathering. There is so much inconsistency, lies, pandering for money for projects , seminars, salaries, and self ambitions in the organized church ( especially mega churches ) that no one can remain in them and not be a hypocrit if they are honest with themselves. Most remain in them for fellowship and activity participation, which would seem to be a good reason but is not scriptural. It can be a by product but not a reason to attend. The major question for all is , ” how can you attend church when you are to BE the church?” I don’t have to attend anywhere and STILL, I am the church. I TAKE church everywhere I go, not attend it.

      The so called organized church remains the most impotent institution in the earth today and has been for 2000 years.
      Why ? Because the true earthly body of Christ is a ” little flock ” that the Father slowly adds to His heavenly flock daily throughout the ” ages of ages.” One day it will all be consumated in Christ and by Christ for our Father’s good pleasure forever and ever.

    • Eric Clark says:

      I highly doubt that Ms. Rice has completely removed herself from any and all community with other believers. If she feels that she has practical or doctrinal differences with Roman Catholicism then it only makes sense that she would remove herself from that communion.
      However, just because a person gets fed up with a particular manifestation of the Church and chooses to publicly distance herself from her habitual community does not necessarily preclude some sort of community in Christ. After all, wherever two or more gather in His name, He is there with them. Unfortunately, this sort of rogue Christianity to be dangerous and rebellious. Rather than condemning we should pray for and encourage our brothers and sisters who have a crisis of conscience. If the Church is not truly reflecting Christ we must strive to renew it in His image, and that sort of renewal only happens one person at a time.
      Perhaps Ms. Rice is seeking that sort of renewal for herself and a few others. Let us stop judging and start begging God for mercy!

    • Sophie says:

      Robert, I pray that one day you will learn to appreciate the hole and stop worshiping the drill.

    • Bert Pursoo says:

      We make far too much of Anne Rice and her ramblings about Christ and Christianity. The lady seems totally confused as to what she wants or does not want, what she believes or does not believe. Since Christianity is based on Christ and his teachings, I fail to see how one can break away from Christianity but profess to love Christ.
      Of course so much of her statements are just plain babble that one is unable to take anything she says seriously. Surely she has been tossed about a bit too much on the sea of confusion by the winds of uncertainty!

  19. Hello Anne,

    With an Irish Catholic background similar to yours, I have recently found “Christ Returns – Reveals Startling Truth” as the most fantastic information about Christ, his life, the Bible, etc. This information is purportedly Christ channeled by an 80 year old woman in South Africa whose Catholic education was ‘cleansed’ from her in order that she might be a suitable channel.

    • perrymarshall says:

      Sounds fishy to me.

      • constantino g. sawan says:

        Dear Perry,

        There are many similar claims of visions, messages, revelations from heaven circulating around. What E. Thomas Costello informed about “Christ Returns….” reminds me of the book “True Life in God” which I am reading and urging you and others to read. I have read the book and I believe the messages in there are from heaven because they have drawn me closer to Jesus. I can be wrong. Knowing that ” the spirit of the Lord is in you” and you are an objective seeker of truth, your comment on the book may help me, and others who believe in the messages, get out of my belief if the messages are false and edify me if the messages are true and may help all of us unite in Jesus. It is in the website “TLIG”. The book says, or more aptly, Jesus says in the book that the Wrath of God will be poured out on humanity (soon) because of the division in His Church and because of our generation’s apostasy. The web has a link where the reader can access to any word in the message which is of interest to him. Since many of us who blog here cannot agree on which is the true church, I suggest you click on the word “Peter” where many (alleged) discourses “of Jesus” about His Church and about unity can be read. The writer of the book is Ms. Vassula Ryden, a Greek Orthodox, not a Roman Catholic.

        Hope you deign to my request. Thank you!

        Constantino

        • Bert Pursoo says:

          I agree with Perry this time. All those claims do sound rather fishy!

          • constantino g. sawan says:

            Dear Bert,

            There’s a saying that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Similarly, the proof of a book is in the reading. To know if the book “True Life in God” is fishy, please read it. It is 4 alphabets (TLIG) away from you.

            Constantino

            • Bert Pursoo says:

              Constantino,

              Good adage. There are many such sayings. The Chinese has one which says (my translation): I have never eaten pig meat )pork) but I have seen the pig walk.
              If you know a place is dark, it is unnecessary to light a candle to prove the darkness.
              Remember God is myth – albeit a useful myth. That makes the Holy Trinity a myth, the holy family and everything associated with God, heaven in the sky, hell below the ground, Lucifer as the fallen, and Jesus as the saviour (and I am yet to know what we needed saving from)part of the myth. Santa Klaus is a myth – a nice myth, of which we are at least honest. Perhaps the time has come to see things as they are. But then what will we debate?

              • constantino g. sawan says:

                Dear Bert,

                There’s nothing to debate about, really. I am just sharing information, sort of lighting a candle in the dark, hoping to shed some light to anybody walking in the dark.

                I don’t buy your opinion that God is a myth. He is real and there’s so much evidence from my experience of his Real Presence.

                Have you browsed for the book True Life in God?
                You should. When you read it, you will know God is not a myth.

                Constantino

                • Bert Pursoo says:

                  Dear Constantino,

                  Of course the entire approach here is a nice debate or a discussion if you want to be semantic. I doubt that you or any of the other participants in this interesting ongoing dialogue can enlighten anyone since both major groups are starting out with its own promise. The one believes that God and Jesus and the Holy Trinity and all the associated paraphernalia are true and untouchable from a belief standpoint, The other major group thinks that the whole God thing is basically hogwash. Neither of these two group can be convinced one way or the other because the fact is that Faith is stronger than Truth and so like the song says “what we believe is true”.
                  The last which is the fringe group is more like an auditor or bystander looking in and trying to find the thread of logic in the discussions.
                  You may say I want to believe but the truth is there are too many glaring inconsistencies in the the whole godhead concept. For example, no one will ever be able to convince me that the Father can be the son and the son the Father at the same time. Nor can the Mother be the mother of the father and of the son at the same time.
                  The glib statement that God works in mysterious ways and that we are incapable of comprehending is stale and outdated. For example that God could love Hitler with the same fervor that he loved the millions of Jews that Hitler eradicated is beyond any sane person’s comprehension.
                  That what is taking place in the Middle east today; that the atrocities of man upon man is sanctioned by God does more than beg the question.

                  • Daniel Paul K says:

                    Bert Pursoo,

                    When you question trinity, son of God and mother of god you are right.Those beliefs are the result of wrong interpretation of Bible.But when you ask is there any God?, the God of Israel says to you, “Yes,I am the God and besides me there is no other God”. And when you ask how can you prove you are the only one living God? The God of Israel says,” Israel is my son and seeing Israel you can believe that I am the only one living God”.

                    I cannot prove this god in a small email.If you want to know whether the claim of this God of Israel is true and right read and study Bible and history of Jews carefully.
                    You will get answer from Bible and history of Jews to your questions Like why the holocaust happened and where was the God at that time?

                    Standing on the desert if you say I don’t see any oil here so there is no oil at all, will it be right? You should drill deep, deep, and deep where there is oil to find out oil, isn’t it? You cannot find out oil however deep you drill if there is no oil in that place, remember you have to drill deep wher there is oil.

                    If you Search God in Bible deep and deep some times you may find out him if you are lucky and blessed by god.Forget about Christian religion and its dogmas and try to see God through his son Israel, bible says God reveals himself to the world through Israel. God has given you freedom to believe or to disbelieve, use your freedom rightly.

    • leon grzesiak says:

      Been a christian for 35 yrs brought up a catholic, all I can say is the catholic church, is the biggest christian cult on earth, If you delete my comment, so much for free speech on this site…have a nice day…see you all on Judgement day…

  20. geo millior says:

    Am concerned abut the authenticity of Anne Rice article and numerous proofreading gaffe’s. Do you need the services of a proofreader?

    http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/anne-rice-atheist-christ/

    Vast Landscape of Jesus Scholarship
    8. Now six years later, I have produced a book which is obviously inspired by that scene which Fredriksen wrote, and I can only offer my humble thanks to her and acknowledger {LEDGE} her influence.

    Health Crisis
    4. Before that he had manage {MANAGED}, though half paralyzed, to create three amazing paintings.

    Contempt for Jesus & the Sneer of Secularism
    4. They approach her in other ways. They don’t even apply this sort of dislike or suspicion or contempt to other Elizabethan figures. If they do, the person is usually no {NOT} the focus of the study.

    2000-Year Embarrassment
    1. upon the civil war in Rome in the ‘60s which Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., so well describes in his work Before Jerusalem Fell {ITAL};

    3.But I am convinced that the key to understanding the Gospels is that hey {THEY}were written before all this ever happened.

    Notable Jesus Scholars
    6. The scholar who has given me perhaps some of my most important insights and who continues to do so through his enormous output is N. T. Wright. N. T. Wright {HE}is one of the most brilliant writers I’ve ever read,

    The Highest Task of the Modern Writer
    7. I am certainly trying to be true to Paul when se {HE} said that Our Lord emptied himself

    My Journey from Atheism to Faith
    6. Well, what happened to me on that Sunday that I returned to faith was this: I received a glimpse in to {INTO} what I can only call the Infinite Mercy of God.

    Faith Does Not Negate Reason or Exploration
    9. And of course I wonder if it isn’t this way with every human being; it’s jus {JUST} that most of us can’t see it most of the time.

    12. If Diarmaid MacColloch is right in his immense history, The Reformation {ITAL}, we had plenty of Christian scribes

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