Letting Go of God

Letting Go of God

Publisher's SummaryJulia Sweeney says she was a "happy Catholic girl" when, one day, she walked into church and signed up for a Bible-study course. "What an eye opener that was!" she says. "Next thing you know, I was on a quest for something I could really believe in. I traveled to places like Bhutan, Ecuador, and my local Starbucks looking for answers. Would I embrace Bud...

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Title:Letting Go of God
Author:Julia Sweeney
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Edition Language:English

Letting Go of God Reviews

  • Eric

    i had heard sweeney's other performance, god said ha!, about her experience with cancer (her brother's and her own), and was completely blown away by that piece. when i had heard that sweeney had another piece about her struggles with faith and her ultimate decision to give up on the idea of a personal god, i knew she would approach the subject with the grace, honesty, humor, and intelligence that she brought to the previous performance.

    i was always aware of julia sweeney as an actress, from snl

    i had heard sweeney's other performance, god said ha!, about her experience with cancer (her brother's and her own), and was completely blown away by that piece. when i had heard that sweeney had another piece about her struggles with faith and her ultimate decision to give up on the idea of a personal god, i knew she would approach the subject with the grace, honesty, humor, and intelligence that she brought to the previous performance.

    i was always aware of julia sweeney as an actress, from snl to pulp fiction and whatnot, but never really knew much about her work as a performance/monologist/whatever you call it.

    i have read a lot of books/essays/pieces on letting go of faith, and i have had problems with nearly all of them. either they were incredibly snarky and condescending, or they were too cold and sterile -- not touching upon the very real emotions that go along with a journey such as sweeney's.

    i was afraid that sweeney's account would be too much about the emotions and not so much about the science or the theology. turns out that, even though this is not a proper book, it is one of the better, and more complete pieces that address the subject. sweeney knows a LOT about the bible, about dogma, and history. she uses very concrete examples, knows her scripture, etc. she also knows a lot about science (although she admits this was her weak spot for many years due to her preconceptions about folks who were interested in science). but most of all, sweeney knows a lot about the intersection of emotion and science. about the wonderful things that religion can offer, and that it does offer, and how to deal with the absence of those things in a secular world.

    i am not a softee. but i found myself almost moved to tears by sweeney's performance several times. she is brutally honest, and incredibly candid, exposing her inner most thoughts and neuroses, and the ridiculous fervor for which she sought the truth of the nature of the universe and life.

    it is an incredibly uplifting piece of work, one that i believe could be appreciated by believers and secular folks alike. believers will certainly appreciate the thirst for knowledge and her anecdotes of growing up as a self-described 'nunophile' in a catholic family as well as her humorous takes on scripture, curchgoing, and prayer. she is not condescending, and she understands the need for religion. nobody could deny, after hearing this, that she has come to a conclusion that works for her, and you have to admire the thorough nature of her journey.

  • Lesley

    Julia Sweeney gave me the best two hours of audiobook listening that I have ever experienced... this is her story of growing up Catholic and then needing to discover her own belief in god and universe. If any of my family wants to hear this hilarious true story of one woman's journey from Catholic to Atheist... let me know I would love to share this!

  • Barbara Kluver

    Loved this book. Julia Sweeney is one of the funniest people on earth, and going with her down the path to non-spirituality is a hoot. I would say it wouldn't be agreeable to staunch Catholics, but I think most people would find something in this to enjoy.

  • Jack

    It should be common knowledge that nobody becomes a great comic without a very incisive intellect. They use it to pierce the veil of the obvious to get at hidden truths, or sometimes to stop looking at non-existent depths to see what's right there on the surface.

    Julia Sweeney is a great comic, and this is her very funny, very poignant story of how her belief in god gave way to her persistent need to exercise her intellect, curiosity and intuition.

    What makes this book unique among atheist polemic

    It should be common knowledge that nobody becomes a great comic without a very incisive intellect. They use it to pierce the veil of the obvious to get at hidden truths, or sometimes to stop looking at non-existent depths to see what's right there on the surface.

    Julia Sweeney is a great comic, and this is her very funny, very poignant story of how her belief in god gave way to her persistent need to exercise her intellect, curiosity and intuition.

    What makes this book unique among atheist polemics is that there's no taking on the world of faith in the manner of a Hitchens, Harris, or Dawkins, or even an Ingersoll. It's not the story of someone particularly ill-used by religion, like some survivor of evangelical cults or Quiverfull movements. Nor is it the story of someone of faith who encounters harrowing secrets and becomes enraged or disillusioned, as in William Lobdell's "Losing my Religion". And it is definitely not an argument from the ranks of professional rationalism, like Victor Stenger or Daniel Dennett.

    Instead its the story of a very sweet person who happens to be a bit of a natural if amateur critical thinker, who looks and looks and looks for some firm intellectual hook on which to hang her religious faith, only to find there isn't one. The path to her atheism is meandering, but compelling, mostly because she runs her skeptical eye as much over herself as over religions and other believers. She roots out the dubious in her own beliefs every bit as much as she finds it in the beliefs of others'.

  • Ana Rînceanu

    original read: 2011

  • Suzanne

    I listened to this as an audio book (essentially a taped stage production of her one-woman show) and it was brilliant.

    I kept saying "Yes! Exactly" I had a lot in common with her background (Catholic, also tried to become an altar boy), searching for other religions that maybe would work better, and then finally accepting that there is no god. And that's okay. Better, in fact, than the alternative.

    Even if you're religious, you'll appreciate and relate to Julia's crisis of faith (who hasn't read

    I listened to this as an audio book (essentially a taped stage production of her one-woman show) and it was brilliant.

    I kept saying "Yes! Exactly" I had a lot in common with her background (Catholic, also tried to become an altar boy), searching for other religions that maybe would work better, and then finally accepting that there is no god. And that's okay. Better, in fact, than the alternative.

    Even if you're religious, you'll appreciate and relate to Julia's crisis of faith (who hasn't read the Bible and at some point said wtf). She's honest, even earnest; a great storyteller; and of course, hilarious. And quite smart. I'll definitely be reading or listening to this again.

  • Matthew Wilson

    When I was a freshman in college and a professor said he was an atheist, I was shocked. He might just as well have proclaimed himself a pederast. I'd somehow come to believe atheist were evil, amoral freaks. This book puts a human and funny face on non-belief. Julia Sweeney makes non-belief sound so normal and reasonable. If you ever thought it was strange, scary, or hopeless to not believe in God, try this book for a different perspective.

  • Beth

    Fascinating

    I really thought this was going to be a one woman stand up act. It wasn't and it was. It was a serious and light hearted discussion on how Sweeney came to terms with how she was raised and her current views on God. Not being raised in the church or organized religion the subject has been difficult for me to come to terms with. After listening to this I realize I've already come to terms. My parents raised me to respect nature, to be kind, and always remember the golden rule. I'll be

    Fascinating

    I really thought this was going to be a one woman stand up act. It wasn't and it was. It was a serious and light hearted discussion on how Sweeney came to terms with how she was raised and her current views on God. Not being raised in the church or organized religion the subject has been difficult for me to come to terms with. After listening to this I realize I've already come to terms. My parents raised me to respect nature, to be kind, and always remember the golden rule. I'll be listening to this book again, I do like her style.

  • Lamski Kikita

    Funny and interesting. My husband and I listened to this on a road trip and it was very entertaining. I guess sometimes you set out there to start a journey to find God, and you just, well, don't.

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