Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's friggin' cold.

I can't believe I did the whole hour-long walk with Arden today.  It was really cold, I think it was 8 degrees.  When I woke up, the radio - tuned to NPR - announced the temperature was 0.  ZERO! And with the wind chill factor, minus 20!  Arden was so cold, I think his paws started to freeze.  He would stop occasionally and shake a paw and stare at it.  He looked like he was surprised and that his paw was numb.  I was only going to go as far as I needed to for Arden to rid himself of waste - but we just kept going.  I had no intention of crossing Green Bay Road to the lake, but then did.  And I was so glad.  The waves were rolling and the steam from the lake created this mist wafting above, it was really otherworldly - primordial.  My mouth fell open at the scene but then my teeth began to chatter again.

I keep getting letters from people.  It really is thrilling to read people's response to the show.  One letter I got was from an oncologist who said that he found that people who were religious seemed comforted by their faith at first, but then many had a hard time towards the end, if it looked like they were going to lose their life in their battle with cancer.  And that people who were not religious and had a naturalistic world view, and didn't think their life was going to go on in the hereafter - they had a harder time at first but then an easier time accepting death.  This is just one man's observations, and of course I am inclined to believe it's probably true about people.  I often wonder how much religion and God and the idea of an afterlife helps.  It seems that it would be very helpful in extremely uncertain situations.  I know first hand how the idea of God being "with me" in a crisis was helpful.  But I wonder, was it really?

For example, long long ago I was involved in a...  a... well, I was abducted.  Wow - I was going to say kidnapped but that sounds too dramatic.  In any case, that's what the court called it.  It's a long story for another time, but the bottom line is that I offered a person help and they ended up pulling a gun on me and I was with this man for several hours.  This man told me he was going to kill me.

And, I was totally calm.  I thought it was my destiny - whatever happened. I befriended - or pretended to befriend him so he would have compassion.  I tried to make myself a person to him.  I talked about jazz and the kinds of music I liked - that sort of thing.  The whole time I thought I had God on my side.  I thought this situation was being witnessed by someone who was going to judge me on how brave and smart I was being.  My faith seemed to help me be calm, to help me get through it.

But now that I look back on this, I think it was my blind faith that was partly to blame for me even being in a situation like I was in!  There were many clues that this person was not trustworthy and I ignored them, partly because I felt that God put people in my life for a reason.  I was not cautious and I was not critical.  When I think of Mulan at age 23 (the age I was then) I hope she is more savvy and much less trusting than I was.  Part of this is more about age than philosophy of course.  I don't automatically trust people but that is what happens to everyone I know as they get older.  Maybe religion didn't have all that much to do with it.  I'm not sure, but it's something I like to mull.

I just finished the book about Samuel Champlain today.  His Catholic faith seemed to make him more loving and more open to the humanity of the native americans.  Of course there are so many examples of religion working the opposite way - to make people not acknowledge other's humanity - to be judgmental in the worst ways and superior in all the wrong ways.  Champlain wanted to integrate with the native Americans and wanted them to intermarry with the french.  He respected them - maybe not in all ways, but so much more than his counterparts did.  Was it his nature or his faith that made him this way?

It's something I will probably muse upon for decades - whether religion helps people.  I am inclined to think that religion, when used sparingly - like an aspirin, seems to be okay.  It's just when it's used too much....  No, WAIT,  I cannot say that. I think in the end - on balance, it's not helpful.  In any case, it's too likely to be a lie and can a lie ever be helpful?  (Well, yes.  It can.  When you're hiding innocents in your attic - that sort of thing.  What would you tell a child facing certain death?  The blunt truth?  Oh!  I don't know - I guess I would.  I think I would.  Would I really???)

I also got a letter from a young woman with throat cancer and she faces a stiff battle for her life. She is no longer a believer in God but her family, who is religious,  wants her to believe.  She doesn't know how to respond.  I don't either but I cannot stop thinking about it.  Family members want you to feel better and they believe that believing makes you feel better.  It's like Daniel Dennet writes about so eloquently.  People don't really believe - but they believe in believing.


58 comments:

SubPow said...

I think if we can take religion out of it, God is easier to believe in.

When you mention otherworldly, what does that mean? That human experience you had, maybe some answers lie there. No scripture, just experience.

Jamie Jenson said...

Great post, Julia! And I love the comment above by SubPow. I feel the same.

Anonymous said...

i think that the people who need to believe in god always will....and those of us who do not never can....it is not a matter of want....

Marcia said...

"...it was my blind faith that was partly to blame for me even being in a situation like I was in!" Wow, that really resonated with me! I was never in such a scary situation as that, but I think I spent a lot of years thinking that God would bring things and people into my life that were the "right" kind - rather than figuring out for myself what was best for me and working towards it.

I want to thank you too for "Letting Go of God" - I've listened to the CD many times, and of course I just watched it on Showtime too. It's really helped me clarify a lot of vague ideas and feelings I had been working through for a while. I told a friend he had to listen to it, and he wasn't that impressed - no offense to you, but I think people like him who didn't grow up with religion have NO CLUE how much it affects your whole world view and how much you have to totally change your way of thinking about everything when you no longer believe.

Petra said...

Hmmm. The comment about having people want you to believe in God made me think. My opinion is that once you have come to the conclusion that God is no more real than the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, it seems like it might be impossible to "switch back" so to speak. To me, not believing in God is not something I *chose* but rather who I am. I could PRETEND to be a believer, but that would be no different than someone PRETENDING to be straight - a pretense designed to make some parts of life run more smoothly, but certainly not honest.

: ) P

Rich said...
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Rich said...

I found a lot of comfort and enjoyment and comfort from hearing your stories about religion and family. It's especially comforting to hear so many similarities between your experiences and my own.

GG said...

Hi Julia,
My husband and I caught part of your Showtime monologue this week and can't wait to watch the whole thing. He was raised Catholic--altar boy and everything, and I was raised without a specific faith, but with parents who encouraged my brothers and I to explore. Both my parents had bad early experiences with organized religion--Catholicism in my mom's case and Methodist in my dad's--so we were not "indoctrinated" into anything. I am so grateful to may parents for that. As a child and young adult I was always fascinated with spirituality--still am--and read voraciously about world religions and alternative spirituality. I knew from the time that I was a teenager that I was an atheist, but didn't feel a need to put a label on myself. I describe myself now as an "open-minded atheist," very interested in spirituality!
It disturbs me that "atheist" is a dirty word in our society and that it's still acceptable to most people to stereotype, discriminate against, or just generally malign those who don't subscribe to a theistic faith--Christianity most particularly. I teach college sociology/anthropology and am not averse to telling students my personal spiritual views if asked. Almost without fail I have students who secretly approach me and "confess" that they are nonbelievers too, but are too afraid to tell most people. This too shall pass, I believe, but as with most any form of prejudice, it will take time.
Anyway, thank you so much for your monologues. I always enjoy them immensely. You are funny, intelligent, entertaining, down-to-earth, and a wonderful example of a critical thinker! We need LOTS more of those!

tpratt said...
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tpratt said...

Thanks so much for the Showtime special. Your continuing spiritual journey has similar paths to mine in many respects. The books you mentioned on camera are sitting in my library, and I suspect many others...

However, I noticed you avoided (or unlikely haven't considered) a question that I think science or religion can't answer. The big one... how did everything come into existence?

For me, it comes down to a choice. One in which there is only a little room for grey. It's not belief in the God of religion that you (and I) affirm was created by man. But a choice of belief in how existence came into being. Asking that question to many others, the answers are always reduced to a: we've always existed, or b: something created existence. For example, where did that big rock from the 'big bang' come from?

To my knowledge there is no scientific evidence that allows us to make an educated decision. I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, but before I prejudice yours, I wonder if you care to divulge an opinion?

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia:
I just finished watching Letting Go and I'm at the stage of checking out buddishm in my own search. (Whenever I explore it feels like I'm cheating on Jesus and I just hope "He'll understand.") My family history (and some of my own) are rooted in the Pentacostal church. My grandmother, though a dear kind woman, was extremely religious. Snake handling and all that accompanies (Virginia 60s and 70s). This faith drills it into believers that there is only one path, and that if you don't follow the rules exactly, it's straight to hell! To refuse to believe ALL of the bible is to go to hell. My sister is in a branch of this church now. She is so worried for my soul. In compliance with her church rules, she doesn't cut her hair or ever wear pants. (I have, perhaps unkindly, challenged her to tell me why the creator of all things is so interested in long hair.) Visiting her church is like walking among extras for the Juniper Creek scenes in the show Big Love. She is (for now) being patient with me. She believes that the reason faith didn't stick with me is because I wasn't properly baptized, which requires using only the name of Jesus, instead of "Father, Son and Holy Ghost." This HUGE distinction in her church is the difference between being "really saved" or just thinking you're saved. It is one reason I can't buy it. Why would God choose this distinction to get so excited about? My own journey has taken me into almost every type of Christian church. I'm pretty much done. The thought of "no God" is still very scary to me. I don't want to think we are really alone, but I liked your point that we better start helping others since no one else is minding the store. Thanks for provoking more thought.

Anonymous said...

When I was writhing from pain in the hospital. All I wanted was for the pain to go away. I didn't pray because I didn't want to lie to myself. And I felt better being honest to myself.

When I found out I had cancer, I felt totally alone in the universe. Which is essentially what we are. But then, your life begins to have deeper meaning when you let go of illusions.

Still, I find it hard to reconcile the very deep "oneness" moments I've had in my life. And the need to know.

Anonymous said...

"Letting Go of God" changed my life thank you Julia Sweeney

raoul said...

As a struggling believer I have asked the same questions you raise in your show regarding the bible.

It's sort of ironic that your journey has taken you to atheism whereas mine has taken me to a lonely mountain top where I sit and still question everything.

I'm thankful, however, that my belief in God came through empirical evidence based on a-priori thought processes along with the infallible arguments set forth by Aquinas, Augustine, and other from ancient times.

Good luck in your journey!

Anonymous said...

Great post. I know what you mean about age and how you see the world. I was once on my way to work (at about 23) and my car broke down. I was so panicked that I HAD to be at work on time that I accepted a ride from some strange man in a truck. I was a little freaked out and had my hand ready to grab the door handle at any time, but I got lucky and he was a nice guy. At the time, as an evangelical, I'm sure I thought god was protecting me.

What a foolish thing to do. I didn't realize at that age that your car breaking down is actually an acceptable reason to be late for work. I'm pretty sure my ultra-responsible christian side played into my thinking there.

There were times that my religion comforted me. But, in the end, there were more times that it tormented me so I finally examined it objectively.

Randall said...

I too was Catholic. Watching you go through your journey of believer to non-believer(I don't like labels but that's the best way to express it) was frighteningly exactly like mine. You would talk about your thoughts and I would jump up and say YES, that's exactly what I felt. I watched you on another special talking about your families cancer journey so I was already hooked on you and when I saw your face, now I am a believer, wait, no I'm not a believer, I just love you!
Love ya, Randall

Suzanne said...

Caught LGOG on Showtime the other night--LOVED it! I particularly love the bit where you put on the "no God" glasses "just for a minute" then THROW THEM OFF! Such a great metaphor for making that transition.

Patrice O'kanogan said...

My 13-yr-old feline-american companion is dying (faster than before, that is), and I was up late last night taking care of him. How wonderful to find "Letting Go of God" on tv during one of those moments that can make a recovering catholic fall off the wagon of rational thought...it's as though a divine hand guided my TV remote....

;-)

I have found comfort in the now and in honesty. AA is a program of rigorous honesty, and my Higher Power has honestly been undefined most of the last 14 years, or (for a about a year) was defined as Polar Fleece. (Hey, when it's below zero....)

It's been a challenge over the years to deal with others who can seem to accept my having a 'different god' but not 'no god'. I've lied and called myself "spiritual" at times just to either put others at ease, or to get them off my case--I'm not sure which at which times, really.

I just got tired of lying to myself and manipulating myself...I'd spent years wanting to call co-dependence and control issues "devotion" (control was what I found most seductive about thoughts of joining the convent when I was 8) and not taking responsibility for my choices (or seeing them as choices) by calling everything 'divinely inspired' or 'fate'.

The fact is, most of the time I have never really been bothered by not knowing 'what comes after life' or if there's a god or not. It's just such a non-issue to me at a core level. I was just thought I 'should be'....

I think I was mostly afraid to be alone in my lack of spiritual convictions for social reasons. I don't do bars and I don't do churches, so now how would I meet people? I just couldn't lie to myself anymore and go to Unitarian meetings because atheists don't have potlucks and holidays.

It was a great feeling of connection and community to listen to "Letting Go of God". Thanks, Julia, for verbalizing a lifetime of similar experiences, thoughts, and musings.

Anonymous said...

Just saw your "Letting Go of God"... Thank "god" for people like you. Honestly, I'm shocked by the fact that so many people around the world still cling to imperfect and totally outdated ancient text such as the Bible. Perhaps, you have to be really strong to accept the idea that we're responsible for our own choices and actions. I wish you best of luck (even though there is no such thing as luck...) in your journeys. Don't loose your "non-faith". =)

Anonymous said...

Wow, Julia, I just watched "Letting Go of God" and then found your blog. What a cool coincidence as I am at the tail end of a long process of coming to believe (admitting & accepting) there is no God. It has truly opened the door to a much fuller life for me. Thanks for sharing.

DM said...

First of all: Nostradamus demolishes "atheism"


____________________________________________________
wait, wait...


I forgot something...


you little shits even talk about me....


GOATS ON FIRE....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssFaIhJkLsk



LIBERATION!


Sing from the rooftops:

"Atheism is dead!"

http://www.conspiracycafe.net/forum/index.php?/topic/25104-atheist-apocalypse/page__pid__117856_

Anonymous said...

I do believe in God, just not all the rules that go with believing. I thought your show was just great. You never once tried to talk people into thinking your way, it was more like food for thought. You did bring up good issues an I am just thrilled at someone speaking up as you did.

Anonymous said...

Did My brother died of aids because god was mad at him?
no he died because he dident use safe sex.

Fifi said...

Just finished watching "Letting Go of God" a few minutes ago, saw the blog address at the end of the credits, and just needed to let you know how much I enjoyed the program.

My spiritual search was not as extensive as yours, but the same conclusion was met. I have to admire your bravery in speaking about a subject that is hard to talk about, even on a personal level with friends. To admit to a disbelief in God is tantamount to being somehow "worse" than every other human being on the planet.

Here is something I think about pretty regularly: Will there ever be a politician running for office that will admit to disbelief? And on the flip side: How do I ever trust someone to run my government who is not even cognisant or honest enough to question their supposed faith? If the Secretary of State or President or Mayor or Governor is SO brilliant, why do they have to make a show of believing in something that us lesser mortals consider fairy tales? Umm, yes, I already know the answer!

Loved the show, keep up the great work!

Patrick Hurley said...

At some ungodly hour of the morning, an extremely wet cat jumped up on my bed and awakened me from a sound sleep. Apparently my wife had let him in from the rain. So, as I often do, I put on the TV with the hope of finding something that would quickly restore my somnolence. Maybe this thing called "Letting Go of God" would do the trick. But I quickly became hooked.

And then you mentioned Marycliff high school. Wow, I thought, I used to date girls from a school by that name many years ago. And then you said something about Spokane. My God, I was born there. And then you mentioned G Prep. Good grief, I graduated from that place, and I had a Jesuit uncle who was connected with Prep for years.

Turns out that our lives have overlapped almost perfectly, from alter boy to skeptical philosophy student, to non-theist. Except that you grew up on the south side (I suspect) and went to Lourdes, while I lived on the north side and went to Saint Al's. And to top it off, when I was looking at the credits (I normally never look at credits), I saw the name Naomi Rohatyn (Assistant Production). Naomi is the daughter of Dennis Rohatyn, my close friend and colleague at the Univ of San Diego. So you see, there are genuine coincidences.

You mentioned the importance of critical thinking. If you will send me your address, I have a book I want to send you. phurley@sandiego.edu

Best, Patrick Hurley

bondservant4jesuschrist said...

(There is three sections to this comment, this is the first)

Dear Mrs. Sweeney:

I am writing you because I saw your special called, "Letting Go of God," normally I wouldn't have even seen it, but I think some one recorded it to watch it, perhaps my father.

I watched it and I was touched, appalled and delighted all in the same sitting. I wanted to write you with my understanding of God, even if you don't believe it, I hope you you will read the whole thing.

I think there is information you are missing that might make the whole thing of God and the bible make more sense.

Well one thing first of all you were taught that the bible was just stories (maybe the people who told you really think they were). The bible is not suppose to be a stories, it is more like a history book, history has good and bad, for one thing.

Also it is called the Old and New Testament, the sections. It is the testament of Jesus the whole thing is divided into two parts.

The old testament was a forshadow of Jesus the Christ (annointed one). The new testament was his life and death and resurrection and the disciples spreading about Him.

One very important piece of knowledge you are missing is sins severity.

You know the story about Adam and Eve. God gave them everything they could ever want or need and even gave them each other so they would not be lonely.

But he told them not to eat from the knowledge of Good and Evil, as you know this test is similar to different things that happened later even the picture of Abraham and his son.

God doesn't just only know at what you call the "Age of Reason" what you are going to do and all the sins you have or will commit. He knows them all, he sees you inside and out, he knows your fears, your joy your wants, your needs.

The test was put there to prove whether they really love God more than sin. (God already knew they would fail, because he has all knowledge). But they did sin and because of sin there was put upon the earth a curse.

Because of one man's sin the whole earth was cursed. It doesn't seem fair, I guess you would say. But the thing is God is without sin, he is pure, Holy, set apart from man. Without sin. So one sin is infinately wrong. Sin is like you know summarized in the 10 commandments.

1.) Don't have any other gods before me (God)

2.) Don't make an idol or bow down to it.

We also make idols in our mind when we make a god in our mind to suit our desires or what we think he is like and not what the bible.

3.) Don't take the Lord's name in vain. (Blasphemy like miss using his name or even using as a cuss word, not giving it's proper due.

4.) Keep the Sabbath Holy (Don't work on it).

5.) Honor Thy Father and Mother.

6.) Thou shall not kill.

We know murder is wrong, but Jesus went one step further says anytime you hate your brother (a person) you are guilty of murder of the heart or even angry at some one with out cause or call them horrible names (flip them off, call them idot). It's because murder starts in the heart.

7.) Thou shall not commit adultery.

Adultery is also lusting after some one that's adultery of the heart, which Jesus mentioned.

8.) Thou shall not steal.

Steal once whether it's big or small is stealing and enough to make one a thief

9.) Thou shalt not lie (bear false witness).

Lying once is enough, call it what you like half-truth, fib, white lie dark lie, lie once makes some one a liar

(just like it takes a rapist once to be a rapist)

10.) Thou shall not covet.

Coveting is wanting something anything any one that belongs to you.

Well this is the way it works. Since God knows all, he knew man would sin, so he came up with a plan so there would ability to forgive sin. God could not forgive sin without a sacrifice. His nature of justice meant there had to be some sacrifice. Like in the old testament they would use animals.

bondservant4jesuschrist said...

(Second section of three comments)

Animals were only a temporary thing for sacrifice, it would not last. Even the old testament people are saved through the same way ever body is saved, through Jesus. God knew that he that the world needed a savior to cleanse it from sin. So he sent His Son (which was also himself according to the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit 3 equal persons in one) as a sacrifice.

Also the reason he needed to be born from a virgin was that man's sin would not be passed down to Jesus, or he would be with sin.

The sacrifice had to be pure without blemish. God himself only fit this requirement. So he came lived among man and died on the cross to be a sacrifice for sins once and all for man kind. But to receive the free gift of salvation we can not earn it with doing good things, he gives it to those who react rightly to His gift, by people turning from sin (repentance) and forsaking, not wanting anything to do with it and putting our trust in Jesus for salvation alone. Like the same way you would a parachute you would put on a plan and no matter what happened you are not gonna take the parachute off, because any moment there will be 20,000 feet jump.

The parachute would be Jesus and the jump would be death whenever it comes.

Also another way of putting it is that God the judge (at the end of our life we will be judged for what we done said and even our thoughts) God the judge gave us a high fine, so high we cannot pay and we would be sent off to prison without paying it. Then some one came in an paid that fine for us. That was Jesus, what he did on the cross. It was a legal transaction, he did the time for our crime on the cross and he will pay it, but he wants us not to stay in our old ways, he wants us to turn from them and forsake them and ask his forgiveness.

He gives us what we don't deserve. For our sin, all the times we did the wrong thing, we deserve what is called Hell. It was made for Satan and his demons. Satan does not live in hell. Satan is not a red guy with horns and hoofs. He is a powerful angel that went bad and he wants us to go to hell the play that burns with fire.

I notice you didn't talk a lot about Satan (the devil) in your special. Satan is in the fight for souls. He know his time short and in Revelation, is talking about Jesus return is where God puts Satan in his place, but also those who have disobeyed and not have been born again through repentance and faith in Jesus for salvation alone.

Being born again means when you do those repent and have faith in Jesus for salvation alone you receive apart of God to live inside you to teach you and guide you and help you understand God's word the bible and will allow you to understand things from God's point of view.

bondservant4jesuschrist said...

(third and last section)

I remember one thing you mentioned that Jesus said if you don't hate your brothers,sisters your own mother or father you are not worthy of him. He did not mean hate. The word, in the greek meant to love less.

If you don't love God more than all them then you are not fit to follow him. God is not stupid, he knows we love people. God hates sin and yes even sinners, because they sin, but he loved them in way that he knew we would sin and He went to the cross and died for us there any way, even though we don't even deserve his love, he loved us, through His sacrifice on the cross.

I think that's missing information you didn't have, that made it more sense to me, the bible and God in whole. To sum it up. Sin causes death and us to be unholy (sin is passed down from the first man Adam through one man Adam all sin was given and through the second "Adam" (figuratively another Adam) Jesus made a sacrifice for all men, the only one worthy enough without sin who could do this, which was also God himself, sacrificing himself for humans, that if they would turn from their sins and put their trust in him forsalvation alone they would receive the gift of the holy spirit the part of God who is counselor and helps us to know more about God through his word, the bible. Read John, Chapter 3 for the whole thing on "born again."

If you want more help about this to make better understanding.

There is a website called:

www.hollywoodandgod.com. It's made, especially for celebrities, although intended for everyone else, too.

There is one especially for people who call themselves Atheists and deal with their questions called:

Atheist Central
http://raycomfortfood.blogspot.com

Also their are two ministries that are friends with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron (of Growing Pains)

www.livingwaters.com
www.wayofthemaster.com

Also there's a radio show that directly allows for people who have questions about God and answers them at:

www.wretchedradio.com
12noon-2pm PST Monday-Friday, also they have a daily podcast, in case you miss it.

Also Christians believe in salvation through Christ alone, not the pope, not the priet, not a none. To see more about this see wikipedia and look up "Infused righteousness" which Catholics believe and "Imputed Righteousness," which Christians (you probably would call them protestants) believe.

All I'm asking is for you to consider this and like I said re-read John, Chapter 3. Either way. I ask God to guide you in your studies. I hope and pray your family and friends are well. Thanks for reading and thanks for your special that let me to get to know you better.

Sincerely,
Melissa A. Canchola

I'm on facebook, too.
If you want to see my full
testimony and how I became a Christian it's at: www.freewebs.com/smilesandstuff
(www.smilesandstuff.com)

Anonymous said...

I wish there was a god but accept there is no god. The hardest part about having no belief in an afterlife is knowing I will never see my brother again. Like you, my very beloved little brother died. Your monologue "God Said Ha" really touched me. Very few books, plays or movies address the loss of a very loved sibling, especially from the viewpoint of a sister. Thank you for your work and your courage to share your experiences.

Richard said...

Thanks for you and your thoughtful comments on your Letting Go show. Made me thankful I came across it - you are so smart and reminds me of many people I grew up with in Catholic Church and schools in Cincy. Keep rockin!

Brenda said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your Showtime documentary is very liberating. Now it's just me, and I'm OK with that. More than OK. I'm happy about it.

Anonymous said...

I am praying for every one of you! I do believe there is a God was IS alive and well! God bless your soul when your day comes to meet the Maker of all!

Walkin' with the Son!

TimmyB (Not the religious Timmy) said...

That 0 degree weather must be invigorating. I hope Arden's paws are okay.

I love that your Showtime broadcasts are reaching a whole new audience, as evidenced by the new traffic and commenters here.

It's time to open some minds and get people to think. If they still can after all the Creationist indoctrination.

nerdgirl0722 said...

After watching the Showtime documentary, I was thrilled. It was such a huge burden lifted. And it was very liberating. Now, a day or 2 has gone by and I still find myself struggling with this God thing. So if the big bang theory is true, where did the energy (or whatever) it needed in order to happen come from? I would welcome any and all thoughts on this subject. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

nerdgirl--you can start with "I don't know." Even if you wanted to postulate that some kind of force created the universe (which still leaves you with the question of where that force came from) you have no idea what that force is like. In fact, there is no real evidence for that force so those insisting it exists are a bit silly.

Anonymous said...

Don't be fooled by those who take the words of the Bible and twist them so they can sell DVDs. Specifically, remember when Julia remarked about Luke 14:26 (about "hating" your parents, sisters, etc.), the passage is really saying not to love them more than the poor man, the criminal, the lost, etc. It is saying that you can't just love your own life and serve ONLY your family. It means to be selfless and serve both, especially those that need to be made aware of God's presence in their lives. I challenge you to read the Bible and do some investigating. God knows we are intelligent and says some complex things. Anyone who reads it on the surface and mocks it because it suits their natural instinct to be selfish, is buying into the lies that the enemy whispers in your ear. I know, I believed them once too. Satan is the greatest car salesman on earth. he will make you laugh, stimulate you, REASON with you, and do whatever it takes to make you think that life should be nothing but EASY and FUN. But that's not reality is it? Life is tough, and God wants to give you the tools to navigate it, knowing your true worth. To think you already know it is false, because you doubt yourself sometimes. Not very concrete. But He ALWAYS knows! Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. I mean, look at it! Sweeney is selling something just like Bill Maher! It's a trend to bash God because it sells! God doesn't want money from you or to brainwash you. He wants you to be free from yourself! Its human selfishness that's taken the freedom He's given us and turned the Earth into the selfish place it is! Look into the concept of free will. That is the next step in the investigative process. You are the princes and princesses of a kingdom greater than your own. Be broken of yourself, and be free!

Anonymous said...

I just watched "letting go of god." I just wanted to say, thank you. Being chatholic never goes away. Beliving in an old tired literature does and than the beauty of the world is opened. I do not move in a big social circle and sometimes feel as if I am on an island, listening to your acount and having had some of the same thoughts and expriances... just ...thank you.

Rick LaRue said...

Dear Julia My name is Rick LaRue my phone # is 559-251-1233 I watched your documentary on letting Go of God. I found it very interesting as my faith has all but gone in the last several years. Though the most shocking thing for me was seeing my depiction of Christ in the closing credits. That drawing was stolen from me by an artist who I do not want to disclose at this time. He was going to take it and show it for me. I could never get it back from him. I had forgotten about it until I watched your Letting Go of God. If you can plese help me , the people at cph.org who are selling it will not even speak to me. Though I assure you Richard Hook did not do that drawing. I'm compiling proof at this moment. Please contact me I need an advocate on my side. Thank you

Rick LaRue

Jeff said...

Hi Julia
Your comment on "Near death experience"that the temporal lobe can be stimulated to give the "light at the end of the tunnel "the outer body experience and so forth.
There are two known documented Near death experiences that would challenge your statement.
first is a woman blind from birth,who had a NDE and saw color for the first time. this is her story http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HbtoX3Q5OI the second is a woman that had a tumor removed from her brain. To remove the tumor the doctors had to flat line her "No brain activity" She was clinically dead yet she had an outer body experience and watched the operation from above. this is her story.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA37uNa3VGU
Jeff
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rusty said...

Julia, I just saw your show " Letting go of God" and I'd have to say that it was very touching. The truth can set us free, but being raised in church can make that realization a bit lonely and scary. Like you, even though I was raised in church still God wasn't making a lot of sense ( for more reasons than I have time to mention). Like you I am a person who, when I don't understand something I must read up on it. The more I studied it seemed the less I believed in a omni-present God. It just wasn't science books that changed my mind, it was the bible itself that hastened this change. It is a little unnerving, I mean all my life I depended on God for purpose and direction. No wonder their was so much unanswered chaos.
I just thought it was inspirational and touching to find out someone else has went though the same thing in their life and seems to have made peace with what is the truth. (God exists as a desire of our minds) !! It's funny in a way that religion itself ( because of all the loopholes and contradictions in scriptures ) changed my perspective on God.
I'm from the bible belt ( Kansas ) and my new outlook on life is not a very popular view, with community or family and sometimes it can feel very lonely, but with every day I can feel myself getting stronger and more acclimated. I'm also in my forty's and it was inspirational to have heard and realize I'm not alone, other people also have and are struggled with this issue.
Thank you for speaking out on this very controversial issue!!!
I sincerely hope you and Mulan have a wonderful day ! ( Every Day )

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I am not alone! Thanks ever so much...I'm another forty-something midwestern chick who looked at the bible and religions differently than anyone I knew. Raised by agnostics who were afraid to even talk about their disbelief, I always dated Catholic guys and had fun with that. While staying with my college boyfriend's family I discovered, while prowling for a book, "The Guide to Married Life" for young couples, printed in 1967. It was HILARIOUS. Apparently young husbands must be on the lookout for lascivious behavior from their young wives as all women take after Eve and will naturally stray due to their instinctive sexuality. Because the male is stronger and purer (much giggling here) he will be called upon to help her control her impulses. Having had access to, well newspapers, history books and MEN, throughout my life, I found it cute. Ran upstairs to share it with my friend's mom and have a laugh together: Big MISTAKE. Lesson: Even open-minded Catholics want nothing questioned. I could see in her eyes the fear of even standing near me after that. My heathen cooties terrified her. Guess it's easier to face your own Eve-inherited crazed horniness than have even one honest conversation! Ended up marrying another Catholic (he's better, Catholic Lite, really, more of the Irish Bronx ritual seeker). Tried to raise our son Catholic but couldn't stomach CCD. Helped out in class a few times and was horrified at what was taught. Did you know that second grade children who lay in bed reading the paper at 11 a.m. on a Sunday are SINNERS and must have a red x drawn on them in a standard worksheet? I asked the teacher if they considered that the little cartoon kid might have gone to Church on Saturday night (they are Catholic!) or maybe, we should consider that he's a KID and can't drive himself to church! Nice way to instill a lifetime of guilt into children dependent on mom and dad for a ride. I could just see Johnny Faithful getting kidnapped because he hitchiked to church in order not to commit a red-x-worthy sin! No, the teacher laughed sympathetically, no one really reads the worksheets, they're more to keep the kids busy while the craft was set up. She smiled at me kindly, so of course, I had to lay out my concern for future guilt. She laughed: "Wow, you really think too much!" Okay, went on to try so very, very hard, Julia, to find Bible stories to inspire my son and nephews. Stayed up reading the children's books of faith stories, three diff. volumes, and still couldn't find any stories that actually said anything, and found lots that horrified me. I'd read the Bible as a kid and thought I just read it wrong. It had to be a problem within me, right? Someone would have mentioned this craziness, right? Bottom line? You can rant about this stuff, but as you said, folks just hug that book harder without thought but only fear. How can they trust in a structure that is so weak it can bear no scrutiny? If there is a god (I still hope she's up there), surely it's obvious she would be above all this petty, pedantic, illogical and negative thinking. I do wish i could sound as kind as you in your arguments. Trying not to rant in New Jersey!

jules a. slattery said...

I am not alone! Thanks ever so much...I'm another forty-something midwestern chick who looked at the bible and religions differently than anyone I knew. Raised by agnostics who were afraid to even talk about their disbelief, I always dated Catholic guys and had fun with that. While staying with my college boyfriend's family I discovered, while prowling for a book, "The Guide to Married Life" for young couples, printed in 1967. It was HILARIOUS. Apparently young husbands must be on the lookout for lascivious behavior from their young wives as all women take after Eve and will naturally stray due to their instinctive sexuality. Because the male is stronger and purer (much giggling here) he will be called upon to help her control her impulses. Having had access to, well newspapers, history books and MEN, throughout my life, I found it cute. Ran upstairs to share it with my friend's mom and have a laugh together: Big MISTAKE. Lesson: Even open-minded Catholics want nothing questioned. I could see in her eyes the fear of even standing near me after that. My heathen cooties terrified her. Guess it's easier to face your own Eve-inherited crazed horniness than have even one honest conversation! Ended up marrying another Catholic (he's better, Catholic Lite, really, more of the Irish Bronx ritual seeker). Tried to raise our son Catholic but couldn't stomach CCD. Helped out in class a few times and was horrified at what was taught. Did you know that second grade children who lay in bed reading the paper at 11 a.m. on a Sunday are SINNERS and must have a red x drawn on them in a standard worksheet? I asked the teacher if they considered that the little cartoon kid might have gone to Church on Saturday night (they are Catholic!) or maybe, we should consider that he's a KID and can't drive himself to church! Nice way to instill a lifetime of guilt into children dependent on mom and dad for a ride. I could just see Johnny Faithful getting kidnapped because he hitchiked to church in order not to commit a red-x-worthy sin! No, the teacher laughed sympathetically, no one really reads the worksheets, they're more to keep the kids busy while the craft was set up. She smiled at me kindly, so of course, I had to lay out my concern for future guilt. She laughed: "Wow, you really think too much!" Okay, went on to try so very, very hard, Julia, to find Bible stories to inspire my son and nephews. Stayed up reading the children's books of faith stories, three diff. volumes, and still couldn't find any stories that actually said anything, and found lots that horrified me. I'd read the Bible as a kid and thought I just read it wrong. It had to be a problem within me, right? Someone would have mentioned this craziness, right? Bottom line? You can rant about this stuff, but as you said, folks just hug that book harder without thought but only fear. How can they trust in a structure that is so weak it can bear no scrutiny? If there is a god (I still hope she's up there), surely it's obvious she would be above all this petty, pedantic, illogical and negative thinking. I do wish i could sound as kind as you in your arguments. Trying not to rant in New Jersey!

jules a. slattery said...

(...sorry for the double post, my bad!)

Anonymous said...

I grew up a Lutheran. Garrison describes them perfectly. I can make one hell of a hot dish. I never took church or religion seriously. I basically lived my life according to Pascal's wager.
Then in August of 1973 my son was born, at the event was my son's mother, myself and some friends. One of my friends father was a minister (he was also my friend) he knew at that time I did not belong to a church, you know I was a hippie anti establishment long hair. I asked my friends father if he would baptize my son (Pascals insurance) he asked "will you raise him as a christian"? I said I would present that avenue along with others and let him decide, he said "NO I WILL NOT BAPTIZE YOUR SON"
Long story short, I thought long and hard about religion after that encounter and decided I did not believe, my son was eventually baptized (not by my friend) and I kept my promise. I explained different avenues of belief without prejudice to my son and let him decide which road he would take.

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