(Photo: AP Photo / Jennifer Graylock)
Interview with the Vampire author Anne Rice declared Wednesday that she “quit being Christian.”
The long-time “Christ-haunted atheist” wrote in her Facebook fan page that she found it “simply impossible … to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group.“
“For ten ... years, I've tried,” the 68-year-old author wrote. “I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”
One day earlier, Rice posted a news article about comments made by the head of a youth outreach ministry, who reportedly described Muslims who call for the execution of homosexuals as “more moral than even the American Christians.”
“This kind of thing makes me weep,” Rice wrote in response. “Maybe commitment to Christ means not being a Christian.”
Hours later, Rice posted a quote by Mahatma Gandhi, who reportedly once said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
She consequently questioned the word “Christian,” asking when a word becomes “unusable … so burdened with history and horror that it cannot be evoked without destructive controversy.”
The next day she concluded that she was “out” and announced her refusal to be anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-artificial birth control, anti-Democrat, anti-secular humanism, anti-science, and anti-life in the name of Christ.
“In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian,” she concluded Wednesday.
While some viewed Rice's announcement as an abandonment of her relatively newfound faith, the famed author made clear the following day that her 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,” she wrote in her Facebook fan page Thursday.
But to the former Vampire author, “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,” she concluded.
After having grown up in a Catholic home as a child back in New Orleans, Rice came to reject her faith when she was 18 to gain freedom and search for knowledge.
In 1998, however, after nearly four decades of denying God, Rice returned to the Catholic Church, saying she was finally ready to surrender to Him.
She has since devoted her time writing books that are “directly to God and devoted to Jesus Christ” rather than the vampire novels that gained her fame and wealth.
Some of her Christian book titles include Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana, and Angel Time: The Songs of the Seraphim. In 2008, Rice released a memoir titled Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession.
Since her decision to "quit Christianity" Wednesday, Rice says she’s received a lot of mail – mostly positive and “a small amount … negative.”
“[O]ne thing is clear: people care passionately about belief. They care about living lives of meaning and significance. And that is a beautiful and reassuring thing,” she remarked.
Rice said she plans to write more on the subject in the future.