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Vampire Novelist Anne Rice Quits Christianity, but Not Christ

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Bestselling novelist Anne Rice, whose 1976 novel "Interview with the Vampire" was way ahead of the current vampire craze, in the last decade reinvented herself as a Christian writer who returned to the Catholic faith of her youth and began writing books such as "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt," which imagined Jesus as a child of 7 or 8 years old.

Now, Rice has shocked her readers again by announcing on her Facebook page that she has "quit being a Christian," though late Thursday afternoon she clarified that her "faith in Christ is central to my life."

"For those who care, and I understand if you don't: Today I quit being a Christian," Rice wrote in a post at 10:36 am on Wednesday. "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."

Five minutes later she added a comment, which illuminates some of her motivations, including a refusal to be "anti-Democrat":
As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I'm out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. 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.
Thursday afternoon, Rice's posts grew more enigmatic, as she began putting up verses from the Gospels.

The first was Jesus' warning in the Gospel of Matthew, that he "did not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34) -- a controversial passage that has been a matter of debate among Bible readers for centuries.

The second posting, also from Matthew (Chapter 6, verse 6), is when Jesus warns his followers against appearing pious and self-righteous. "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen," Jesus says. "Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. "

Rice then continued to drop in other scripture passages, such as the famous passage by Paul in First Corinthians ("If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal"). She also cited the powerful prologue to the Gospel of John, in which the evangelist recapitulates the Genesis story to show that Jesus Christ -- the Word -- was in fact God himself, which is the central theme of the last Gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God..."

In between those posts were two about Amazon's new Kindle, which only amplifies the puzzling nature of Rice's comments.

And late in the afternoon she posted this:
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 C...hristianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.
One clue may be in her posts on her own website in past months, as she chronicled the current wave of revelations of clergy sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church.

On March 27, she felt she had to defend herself from critics, noting that "some Catholics on this site have aggressively criticized me for reporting on the pedophilia scandal in the church. What is their thinking? I'm confused. I feel concerned Catholics should speak up in defense of the victims of clergy abuse, and publicly demand that their church cleanse itself."

A few days later, on Good Friday, she wrote: "I would like to say -- as a loyal Catholic -- to all the victims of clergy abuse: I am sorry. I am sorry for what happened to you. My heart goes out to you. I apologize to you. May our Church, the world over, cleanse itself and reform itself, in response to your witness."

The 68-year-old Rice has always had a flair for the dramatic and the mysterious, and her life has been marked by several painful episodes. Her daughter died of leukemia at the age of 5, and in 2004, two years after her husband died, she left her native New Orleans -- the inspiration for her many vampire chronicles and other tales of the dark side -- to be closer to her son in California.

In 1998, after going into a sudden diabetic coma, Rice returned to the Catholic faith that she had left at 18, "becoming a member and supporter of it with my whole soul," as she wrote. In 2004 she again came close to death during surgery for an intestinal blockage.

In a "Profession of Faith" posted on her website, Rice describes her realization, while sitting in church in 2002, that she would dedicate her art to God.

"I realized that the greatest thing I could do to show my complete love for Him was to consecrate my work to Him -- to use any talent I had acquired as a writer, as a storyteller, as a novelist -- for Him and for Him alone."

She published "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" in 2005 and "Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana" in 2008, about Jesus' ministry. A further novel about Jesus, "Christ the Lord: The Kingdom of Heaven," is reportedly in the works, but there is no publication date. She also published a spiritual "confession" in 2008, "Called Out of Darkness." Her two most recent works she describes as "metaphysical thrillers." The first was "Angel Time" and the second was "Of Love And Evil."

While she did not explicitly renounce her earlier novels, she said that she wrote "many novels that without my being aware of it reflected my quest for meaning in a world without God."

Perhaps the same could be said for Rice's latest transformation in her religious life.

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23 Comments

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callawebdesign

Maybe her decision was based on sermons such as this from Rev. Michael Rodriguez: "I sincerely hope and pray that all El Paso Catholics will take to heart the precious and infallible teachings of Holy Mother Church in the moral sphere, particularly those most relevant to our city at this critical juncture. Remember: Every single Catholic, out of fidelity to charity and truth, has the absolute ...duty to oppose (1) the murder of unborn babies, and (2) any and all government attempts to legalize homosexual unions." (full story here: http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_15649815?source=most_emailed)
This church and I know many others are pushing a political agenda into their sermons. That is NOT what church is about. And, why I too do not believe in organized religion. They decode the Bible to serve their own purpose and "Thou Shalt Not Judge" is the last thing people remember in a church environment and beyond. I am "Spiritual". I believe in God, but I prefer the philosophies of Buddhism for how I live my life. They don't judge, don't tell you you're going to hell if you do something wrong, etc. It's all about peace and love. That's how I would prefer to live my life for sure! Even Jesus never intended on all these ridiculous gold gilded churches, meeting up in a field was good enough for him. Evidently, not for us. So, it doesn't seem like people have learned much from the teachings of 'the church'. They certainly don't apply it to everyday life. (most people, not all). I will continue to live my life knowing I am the best person I can be; kind, loving, generous, peaceful and balanced. Organized religion is not the place for me to find that.

August 06 2010 at 3:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
xonon1

You're going to die and that's it, period. There is nothing beyond.

August 01 2010 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to xonon1's comment
plansmaker

Ever since the begining of human history, civilizations and cultures poundered the question of after life. Egyptians build dynasties base on after life. Chinese cultures worships of ancestors and life after. Romans, Mayans believes God of underworld. Hindu's of after life is the reincarnation. Christians and Muslims believes in life after death....So how can so many be so wrong and you are so right?

August 01 2010 at 9:30 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
plansmaker

This is an important moment in the mindset of many "Christians". How to find "grace" as Christain while church leaders has failed. Do we throw out the baby with bath water? Faith in God is not a shopping experience of pick and choose. I do not think God cares what we call ourself, Christians, Muslims, Buhddist or Jews do you?. Organized religions are products of humanity not divinity. Therefore Christian Church far from perfect. However the teaching of Christ (The Bible and its studies) is an independent faith journey between you and God. Thus its central to life of faith. Religion lables aren't as important but the content is everything.

August 01 2010 at 12:58 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
tistolaugh

Rice's reasons for 'quitting' Christianity are silly and absurd, but she is certainly free to be whatever she believes is right for her. Christians need not pander to organized churches, they only need believe in Christ as Savior, as Rice purports she does, and follow his teaching by example. That, Ms. Rice IS Christianity, and there is a huge fellowship that agrees that it is a personal spiritual journey. Belief and ethical behavior can be outlined and preached but not dictated. That is up to every individual in and out of church.

July 31 2010 at 11:46 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
bellerophon85a

A life of faith is difficult. But Ms. Rice should not deny herself companions for the journey.

July 31 2010 at 8:51 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
mspeed44

you go girlfriend!! I understand what Ms Rice is saying--its all about religion and "members of religion" who don't give a rats pootie about anyone or anything else.

July 30 2010 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wheelzroller

Well I think Miss Rice should go out to the desert for 40 Days and Nights and see if she can actually come up with a reason for being spiritual.

July 30 2010 at 5:40 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Amanda

Religion is only mentioned in the Bible 5 times; 4 of which were negative. Salvation and religion are two different things, though the separation is not always clear. Religion is simply law, but what is law without love for Christ? Repent your sins, ask God to save you, and accept Him into your heart and you will spend eternal life with Him. The person who associates religion with heaven should open a Bible - "ye must be born again."

July 30 2010 at 3:38 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
obama fools

PLEASE....YOU MUST BE CHRIST LIKE TO BE A CHRISTAN .............. KNOE YE NOT GOD IS NOT MOCKED...................

July 30 2010 at 1:42 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
bdarrell

In her and E-comments and faictional works, author Anne Rice embodies the 'everyperson' quest for the meaning of life. Her works embody the New Testament and Old Testament iconic themes of journey; of courage; discovery, faith, sacrifice, and redemption; of confession and renewal. Rice adheres to and develops the central Story (or metaphor or symbol, for some on journey). I am grateful that she does not place profit and reputation above integrity, honesty, truth-seeking. Yet, Rice is an absorbing
journey-narrator!

July 30 2010 at 12:55 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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