Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Thank you so much for your e-mails

Note: this is written hastily as my daughter tugs at my shirt sleeve and I don't know how to use spell check, so keep this in mind.

I really wasn't prepared for the This American Life show to have such a big impact. I have so much to say back to each and every one of you who has written. I almost hesitate to write this because I don't want anyone NOT to write to me. I read each and every one and today has been such a grand day. I wish I could respond to everyone tonight but I can't!

Many people said they knew I was going to get a lot of e-mails from people who were appalled and angry. This is true. But I would say those e-mails represent a very small minority. I also thought that is what would happen. But, for the recond, what I have found out today is that there are lots and lots and lots of people out there who feel just like I do, have gone through the same things I have. What an amazing thing! I got e-mails from people from all over the United States, I mean all over the place. And I am soooo appreciative. Thank you so much.

But really, this isn't so much about me. What thrills me is that I am finding that there are so many of us who have gone through the same experience or are going through the same experience. I mean, in some ways, because of Bush, he has pushed this whole issue to the forefront, for good or bad, you just can't dismiss your views on religion anymore as being a small matter.

And of course, not everyone has jettisoned God the way I have. And I have so much to say in return.

But I will say this here: many people wrote to say that they didn't think I should have gone from rejecting the Bible to giving up on God. The truth is that I didn't do that. It was a long long journey with many other variations on God and if you could see the whole show, you would see that it wasn't just straight from not-Catholic to non-believer. (my show is two hours and fifteen minutes long and the This American Life excerpt was less than thirty minutes) It took years to explore everything and I hung on until I realized that the only God I could believe in was made up of hydrogen and helium. And then...anyway. I am so re-inspired to write the book and get the CD out and the film done. Really, everyone who has written, thank you soooo much.

Also, YES, my newsletter sign up asks for birthdates and the person's gender and that is really wrong. I don't know how I allowed that. It was a suggestion by the person who designed my website and I'm going to change that immediately. Don't feel you have to put that information in. I have never even looked at that stuff and I won't.

And also, for the Christians who wrote about what those passages mean in the Bible. Yes, I know that the passages I site have all kinds of theories and complicated layers of meaning. I know the theories. I know the ways that people explain those passages. I looked into it. But now, it doesn't really matter because when I, after a long learning curve, really understood how the Bible was put together, which stories were kept and which weren't, what political situations were in place and what was useful to emphasise and so forth, then the Bible became a really interesting historical religious document to me -- inspiring but not sacred. Very much the work of ancient man and not the inspired word of God. So, you see, telling me all about the meanings behind those stories is sort of beside the point at this point.

I am in Hawaii right now, and I am so lucky to be here. My mother is with me and she just had a knee replacement surgery six weeks ago and my daughter is here too and it's a little like having two kids to look after while I'm on a work retreat. Not that I'm complaining, believe me I am not. But my time to resond to e-mail is limited. I will try to, I really will. Because people have the most amazing stories. Everyone's story of how they woke up and saw through the workings of their religion and their faith is interesting, even if they don't give it up in the end.

Also, I got many letters from priests and pastors who told me that they too, don't believe anymore, but what can they do? They are in a profession and they have been at it a long time. This is so heartbreaking to me.
Soooo... no spell check and I'm not even going to read this over, but I felt I had to put something up on the site.


Anonymous said...

I invited a respected friend and work colleague to attend next Sunday's show at the Groundlings, and I gave her your website address, so she could acquaint herself with who is Julia Sweeney. I wanted to make sure she knew your background, so she'd get more of the jokes.
Yesterday she told me she does not want to go because she doesn't think that your ideas are worth listening to, and she thinks you are "uninformed about the Bible and God and religion". I'm quite disappointed at her narrow-mindedness, and sad to realize that there are many people just like her: so brainwashed by religion that they won't even CONSIDER some other ideas or philosophies. I pointed out that "Letting Go of God" was not a sermon, and Julia Sweeney is not trying to CONVERT anyone... just present her experiences and views. It was clear that my arguments and explanations were falling on deaf ears. Have you ever noticed that look people get when they refuse to even consider what you are saying? She had that. So, I guess it's good that I gave her the website and she decided in advance not to go with me. It would have been awkward if she didn't laugh or got mad and stormed out of the theater in a self-righteous brain-dead huff.

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