Gabrielle Carey is an Australian author most widely known for co-authoring Puberty Blues. In a later book, In My Father’s House Carey relates an incident that led to her conversion to Christ. Carey was raised in an atheist humanist household. Her father was a university lecturer with a passionate commitment to the left side of politics. Throughout her upbringing he railed against oppression, capitalism and was a key figure in the anti-war movement during the Vietnam years. He also railed against God and the church, finding it impossible to believe in a God when the world was full of so much suffering.

But that left Gabrielle tremendously burdened. In her book In My Father’s House she writes, “One of the hardest aspects of growing up as the daughter of a humanist was the worry of having to live up to incredibly high intellectual and moral standards. And worse, what happened when it was discovered that you hadn’t? Would you be given a second chance? Could you confess your weaknesses? Would you ever be forgiven? What would my father say if he found out that I was just another brainless, mind-moulded, media-manipulated failure to humanity?”

It was this burden of guilt Gabrielle found lifted when she converted to Christian faith. “Perhaps what I liked most about Catholicism” she writes, “or at the least the Catholicism the abbot had introduced to me, was knowing I could be wrong, knowing I could behave badly, awfully in fact, and that I would still be loved. That all I needed to do was own up and I’d be forgiven…At least with a Catholic God and father you could fail without feeling that it was the end of all hope. And that was such a relief.”

Source: Scott Higgins, based on Carey’s In My Father’s House (Pan McMillan, 1992)