Monday, December 14, 2009

Amazon warehouse

I got underway on my little adventure at about 10:30 a.m.  The Amazon warehouse didn't come up on the Google map specifically, but I figured that Whitestown was so small that it would be obvious where it was.  I had 15 boxes of DVDs and CDs in the back of my mini-van.  I was headed to the town of Whitestown, which is right next to Zionsville, Indiana.


The day was gray and rainy.  The snow is mostly melted.  The view was sad, a smoggy, foggy, dull slate-colored air and water and sky.

Even still,  it's a-day-at-the-spa for me to be able to drive and listen to the radio uninterrupted.  That part was great.

What was depressing was how ugly everything was.  All the industrial areas south of the city, the old buildings with the windows blown out, the steam or smoke coming from the buildings. I thought about the dark underbelly of our consumer lives, and what a beautiful town I live in and how many other places are so sad and depressing looking.  Gary, Indiana was sad, sad, sad.  I've driven past this city a few times and never driven in - that is wrong, I will do that someday.  But still, the drive was sad.  Really, up until I reached Purdue University area, about an hour from my destination, everything was so ugly and blighted with huge billboards for, seemingly, only three things: Christian Churches, Lawyers for industrial accidents, and Casinos.  I fell into a funk.

Oh, yeah, then the Indiana license plates.  Each one says, "In God We Trust."  Wow.  I kept thinking, "Yeah, trust in God.  Certainly your government isn't doing much for you."

I really seethe when I see how much religion is relied on in poorer, more industrial areas.  It's so obvious that religion flourishes in the petrie dish of exploitive business practices, hands-off government policies, and the under-educated and under-opportunized.

And then, on the nigglingly annoying side, there's a lot of toll roads.  I had to pay three times.  I guess I don't really understand the toll roads well enough to condemn them.  But I'm irritated by them.   Out west there are not so many toll roads.  You can definitely drive from Los Angeles to Spokane and not run into a single toll road.

I was pissy and sad about the whole endeavor.  When I got to Whitestown I found that it was a metropolis of mostly warehouses.  Warehouses and warehouses and the vast majority of them unmarked.  Why unmarked?  Military equipment?  Poison?  Hmmm...   As I drove, I noticed many huge, oversized trucks - more trucks than cars.   Is Indiana where all the large trucks come from?  It's like I ran into a race of large trucks.  And no obvious Amazon warehouse.

I couldn't find it.  I finally stopped at a Starbucks...

(I was embarrassed to be SO happy to find a Starbucks - god, I'm a... well - in the old says I would say yuppie - what am I now? An urbanite?  And yes, I admit it, I was glad to find a well-known chain-store for coffee!  In fact, I was hoping to find a little local gem to eat lunch in, but the restaurants I saw were so decrepit, so without customers, so without a new coat of paint in the last fifty years - and not in a good way - that I felt glad to eat a burger from Burger King as I drove.  I forgot how great a Whopper tastes. Oh god, I hate myself for writing this paragraph.)

Anyway, I stopped at a Starbucks.  I asked if anyone knew where the Amazon warehouse was.  I was pointed to another Starbucks employee on a break who was so kind and gentle and sweet.  He took ten minutes and found the address and even sent me the instructions on my iphone.

That's when I reached the nadir of my trip.  I could not find the place, even with the instructions.  It's a veritable NYC of warehouses there.  Only many of the roads don't have names.  There's a new housing development nearby too: "Anson, Indiana" it's called.  There are just a few townhouses, lots of empty planned lots for houses, a school in the middle and three large mega-church sized houses of worship along the outside.  One is called Eagle Church, and it too looks like a warehouse.  A church that looks like a warehouse!  For the people who work in warehouses!  So they can spend their days off at another warehouse!

For about ten or fifteen minutes seriously considering that I would not find it and I would have to drive all the way home with all of my stuff.

I saw one warehouse that I figured just had to be it.  But there were no signs for Amazon anywhere.  However, there was a line of very, very large trucks - mostly Fed-Ex and UPS among many others in line at a booth outside a gated parking and loading area, also filled with trucks.   I got my car in line.  Me in my mini-van, about to be trampled between two big, gigantic trucks.  At the booth, the gate-man was confused by me.  I suddenly felt weird and "kooky" and silly.  I said I had some boxes to deliver.  After much calling back and forth between the booth and someone in the warehouse I was directed to enter and go to loading dock 11.  It was hilarious.  The loading dock was made for a very large truck.  I felt like I had landed on another planet.  Everything was oversized, I mean - even  in my mini-van, I felt like an ant.

That's when everything changed.  I was greeted by this really nice-but-officious woman who was in charge of receivables.  First she told me I was completely wrong to just drive in with my stuff.  They don't do that. You have to register with them to deliver, and then get assigned a number and then you have to make an appointment.  There were dozens of trucks unloading and everything was on a time schedule.  You have to print something out before you arrive.  That's what the guy at the booth needs.  On top of all of that, this is their busiest and mostly scheduled time of year and this day was practically their busiest of the busiest.  I felt a like a boob.

Then the woman took my stuff, pointed to another door and asked that I repark my car and meet her there. I was a little afraid I was going to be reprimanded more severely.  But that's when I saw the inside!  I had to stay behind this fenced-in area but I could see everything, (that's the picture I took with my phone above) and I'm telling you, it was just like I imagined it - no, wait. it was much better.  It almost did look like Santa's workshop.  There were people emptying boxes and inputing the contents into a computer system and then putting the cardboard on a conveyer belt that takes it off to be recycled.  There were people on two higher exposed floors, walking around with little carts - you know, like at the library, filling it up with books and CDs and other smaller stuff to fill orders.  There were people zipping around on segway-like contraptions and beeping before entering aisles.

I told this woman how seeing the inside of this place was really a thrill for me and she lit up and smiled. She explained how this part of the warehouse was for smaller items.  She pointed to another end where there were people wrapping packages.   She told me they work for free and then Amazon donates the money paid by customers to have their packages wrapped to the charity of the person-who's-wrapping's choice.  Does that convoluted sentence makes sense?  (I wondered how many donations were for churches, but still, what a great policy!)  She told me how Amazon's always had this policy.  She told me the whole warehouse was "green" -  had special lighting that turned off if there were no people in the area, how all the desks and all the aisles with goods were constructed from recycled materials.  Then she blushed and said, "I love this place.  I love this company.  And I've worked for some bad ones, but Amazon is great."

I was blindsided.  I did not expect this at all.  The people there DID seem really happy.  People were smiling, music was playing - oh yes!  They had music playing loud, really loud - and it was good.  In fact, they were playing that new Sting song...  God I can't remember the name but it's from the new album - "If On A Winter's Night."  Anyway, the point is, there was music, it wasn't schmatzy Christmas music, it appeared to be a happy work environment.

When I left the man at the booth laughed and we talked for a moment.  He is Kenyan, and came to the U.S. only four years ago.  He said he loved working for Amazon too.  America! What a country!

I had to pinch myself as I was driving off.  It seemed almost orchestrated for my benefit.  WEIRD.

I drove home feeling so happy.  It really was an adventure.  I felt a lot better about Amazon.  The warehouses didn't depress me as I drove home, I felt optimistic.  Even as I got towards Gary again, it was dark and the lights and steam coming from the factories were romantic looking instead of dark and sooty.  I know I was enchanted by my Amazon experience, and that it colored everything, but wow. What a day.

And best of all, now it's listed on Amazon as: available now!  Yeah!  Yippity yah!  It took 8 hours and $40 in gas and $10 in tolls and an extra 2000 calories I probably wouldn't have eaten, but still... I would say it was a day well spent.


Anonymous said...

I saw your show three times when you performed it in L.A. and I'm looking forward to the DVD... and I'm so glad your day ended up better than it started. Even if there was Starbucks and Burger King. It's nice to know Amazon's a happy place, isn't it?

Unknown said...

Love your story. I've been checking in with this site for a few years and was sad a year or two ago when you took a hiatus. Glad to have you back. I have a small legal practice and need to do all the little things like filing documents with the court clerks and serving papers on opponents because I need to see how my actions effect me and others. We're weird..., in a good way! You made my day (night).

Anonymous said...

What an adventure is right! I love how you told the tale and glad you shared it here.

I feel the same way you do about all of those nasty billboards and dark sad places in America.

Places where God and religion are used to try to counter the political practices of many in government who represent a larger group of people that have more than they really need and use God and comments about "God's will" to explain away decisions they make that have a negative impact on so many less fortunate people.

I'm not sure that last rambling sentence made sense, but there it is.

It is nice though to imagine the scene you described for Amazon. We order quite a few things from Amazon being that we live in such a rural part of England. Well, rural to me being from Atlanta. I don't mind the shopping limitations especially since I don't have to endure those odious sight filling billboards everywhere.

Petra said...

I am so happy that the trip was all you'd hoped - and as sad as those blighted areas were, they set the stage for an even more joyful experience at the warehouse! Thank you for sharing, Julia!

: ) P

Anonymous said...

Huffington Post, December 11, 2009

Inside The Lives Of Warehouse Employees: Long Hours, Long Walks, And Heavy Lifting -- with photos

Daydream Believer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lanie said...

I can't tell you how excited I am about this. What a wonderful coincidence that I ordered my CD on the same day that you got the idea to go on your adventure. I'm pretty sure I'm the one who tipped the scales in that order! If this isn't God's divine intervention, I don't know what is! (last sentence to be read saracastically).

Catherine Twomey said...

Just been catching up on your adventures and wanted to let you know what a joy it is to read your thoughts and keep up with your life. Thank you over and over for taking the time. And your writing, well, it gets better and better.

I can't believe how difficult it is to write out loud! Oh how I admire your honesty and lack of fear about saying what you think. I've just got to get over those fears - worrying about what everyone else might think. Your strength is so motivating, so refreshing, you have no idea.

A very wise person said to me once, "Your fears are what you were taught. It's from the nuns saying to you over and over: Be a Good Girl, Don't Bring Attention To Yourself, Don't Complain, Be Quiet, You Can't BE A Priest, Let Alone An Alter Boy (you get the idea) - and the thing is, Catherine, you believed them, and you still do..."

So here I am, Ms. Julia, getting over those fears and trying to think that what I say might BE a purpose, what I paint might just HELP people, might just brighten a day or two, like your writing has done for so many.

The Amazon story made me laugh enough to wake Zoey our new black lab puppy up, which is not necessarily a good thing, but worth the laugh, nonetheless.

I picture you on the Dan Ryan, and what - I-80? headed towards the bowels of Gary (and that's such a strange thought - how did Julia get to Chicago on the way to Gary? Why aren't I there, like I was for almost my whole life? How did I end up here where the earth is red, not black?) and I know exactly what you saw.

Flat, gray, billowing smoke, mystery buildings making who-knows-what, which IS a part of the heartlands, but there seems to be no heart there, just a monotone of shapes.

Yet I loved the way it ended up, with people saying they love their job and actually seemed to be happy. Their joy brought to their days, their work. So refreshing. And the sales of your work, literally hand delivered.

Everything nowadays (isn't that how our mothers would say it "now - a - days") is mass made, depersonalized, mass delivered, mass marketed, and here you are in your trusty mini-van, out maneuvering those 18-wheelers up to the docks.

So gutsy, so, so Julia! If I didn't already have it, I might order a few from Amazon mysellf. Maybe I will anyway, now that I know they were personally delivered...

Before I go on endlessly -and please, cut me off at anytime - the Chicago photos are stunning. That's exactly how I remember Chicago in the winter. It can be so beautiful, so still. Have you heard the lake ice booming yet? It does, especially in January and February. It gets so cold, so frigid, that it cracks and shifts, especially in the early, early morning. It's almost like it's moaning, it's so cold, but it's the most wonderful sound. Nothing else like it.

Simplifying. Yes, it makes so much sense. You just CAN'T do everything, or at least do everything well. I've been tallying up the time spent (spent forever...) on Facebook, on worrying about what other people may think, about how much time there is left and how best to make it time well spent.

What's funny in a funny-odd way is how the intense anxiety about all this is dissipated by writing about it! So that's the crux??!!! God what a relief....

Signing off now as Zoey is banging in the crate and despite the ambivalence of the season, there are lots of packages to send.

Luv to all. ARRRGGGHHH I'm going to send this NOW.....

BJSmeal said...


Lovely adventure! Don’t you just adore finding yourself smack-dab in the middle of a happy ending? It doesn’t happen often that we, as adults, get to find ourselves in that particular position. Your determination may have seemed misguided to some, but it got you there and gave you the gift of experience and the added treat of meeting a couple of people who could help to brighten your day by making what you envisioned suddenly real. (I sound like a dim-witted Pollyanna!) The truth is, I’m not, but I still get excited by a success story that resonates with self-belief and pleasant human contact; two other things that we, as adults, don’t often see.

People are so very guarded these days, and usually with good reason, but nonetheless, it sometimes makes it difficult to enjoy the human experience for the simple, yet remarkable, thing that it is. My adult kids hate that I still talk to strangers, in spite of all their constant cautioning to the contrary, but I like human interaction and can’t help myself. I’m not an idiot…I don’t meander down dark alleyways and ask winos and druggies how they’re doing, but not unlike your busy, “officious” Amazon worker, I can be persuaded into revealing personal aspects of my character if someone shows a little enthusiasm for something I, too, enjoy. I sometimes miss the days when it was “safe” to talk to the other members of my own species, and the exchange could bring some good to both of us. Besides, Amazon is my absolute favorite online shopping experience, and I feel much better about it with this lovely glimpse behind the warehouse walls. (Thanks)

Best wishes,
BJ Smeal

Brenda Green said...

I came out atheist to my mother today. I've ruined the family Christmas she said. For the 1st time in 47 years I have chosen to NOT celebrate this religious holiday with them. Where is the emotional/psychological support groups online?

Brenda Green said...

Wow. Talk about being alienated. Even my daughter is giving me crap.

Anonymous said...

Brenda--doesn't mean you don't have to celebrate it. Just celebrate it for your own reasons. Tim Minchin has this cool song making the rounds this year that expresses why he loves Christmas:

Robin said...

Oh please, Julia....never stop writing!! You just made me so damn happy when I opened up your page to find you had your road trip adventure posted!

I look forward to each post!!

jdb said...

Indiana is a strange place. I'm sorry you couldn't find any local gems. Indiana's not ALL religious hicks though. We've got some sane people too. If you're ever in Indianapolis, I could recommend some fantastic local eateries and places to shop. It's really a great city. Certainly it's not Whitestown :D

Lyra said...

I don't know why, but I really find that sort of industrial wasteland scenery amazingly beautiful. In my hometown of Asheville, NC, I used to go down to the old warehouse district by the river and just drive around looking at all the busted-out brick buildings with their fenced-off loading docks, their rust stains and engulfing vines. When I took the Skyway through Gary for the first time I thought my eyeballs would pop from trying to take in all the intricate, unornamented functionality of it all. The best part is when you go past the Gary Works, there's that one tallish building that has a flame shooting out of the side for some mysterious smelting purpose, surrounded by scaffolds and smokestacks so ugly they're beautiful. It's like a scene from the Lorax (catch, cries the Once-ler). Even though I hate what a place like that represents, economically and environmentally, there is something in the bleak aesthetic of it that affects me so powerfully and positively, I would miss it if we managed to "solve" it away.

Petra said...

Brenda, if you do a little research, you will find that most of what we consider "christmas" has NOTHING to do with the (myth of the) birth of Christ. I celebrate all the secular side of Christmas (Santa, tree, lights) with my family. I recommend a great little book called _Where Did Christmas Come From?_ by Al Remson. It is not intended necessarily for atheists, but it certainly helps put the celebrations into perspective.

In honesty, I think "coming out" as an atheist is as hard, or perhaps harder, than coming out gay. I think most reasonable people accept that homosexuality is not a choice, and it is a part of life in America, despite the fact that many wish it were not. Personally, I don't think of being an atheist as a choice. I cannot CHOOSE to start believing - no more than a gay man or lesbian can CHOOSE to be straight. We could all pretend, but to what end?

Unfortunately, I think that most believers think that belief is a CHOICE. Can people REALLY see the rational side of atheism and CHOOSE to believe? They can choose to ignore the truth but eventually it will come up from behind and knock them upside the head. In the meantime, it isn't easy being an atheist (especially in the south - I live in the virtual BUCKLE of the bible belt - and in fact, I am closeted to many people).

Keep breathing. Your family will come around. And if not, well it is their loss. Good luck.

: ) P

John said...

I watched your show on Showtime and it was fantastic. I'll be ordering the dvd soon.

As a resident of Indiana I know exactly what you mean. I feel depressed driving through state this time of year too. Everything is gray and ugly.

Indiana is a lot like a southern state that happens to be in the north. People just assume you're a church goer. When people find out I'm an atheist they look at me like I eat puppies and babies.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Andrea said...


Also, what I think is the awesomest thing about being an atheist is the freedom to celebrate any holiday you please, any way you please. I am down for Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice and Agnostica this year. I would also celebrate Merlinpeen but I'm a vegetarian, so... (that last is a joke from 30 Rock.)

Andrea said...

Oops, it's, actually, but the .com version redirects you so it's all good.

Specifically, check out:

DSimon said...

Brenda, there's also this website specifically to provide support to people leaving Christianity:

AnnieS said...

Wow! I just found this blog and I am really excited about it. I first heard about the books and the "Letting Go of God" show on FFrF, but I never dreamed you had a blog. I'm adding this to my favorites list right now!

Mark O'Leary said...

Good story, Julia! I will be ordering my copy of LGOG from Amazon. Now I wonder if you can make the leap from "Amazon is a good company to work for and therefore not evil" to "Starbucks is a good company to work for and therefore not evil.

Just sayin'.

RG said...

Julia, I ordered your DVD from Amazon last week hoping I would receive it by xmas, but they said it wasn't going to ship until Jan. 4th. I ordered anyway of course, but I got an email yesterday saying it would be at my (Northern Indiana) home on the 18th! I was so excited. I can't express how sorry I am you had to venture into the depressing (and deeply religious) Northern Indiana, but I'm so thankful that you did!

Regarding the license plates, me and my girlfriend sent a letter to our state officials about that and got a reply from a Governor's aide. He agreed with our concerns and stated that due to the free "In God We Trust" plate, fewer people were ordering the charity plates. I guess it's more important to wear your religion on your sleeve than put your money where your mouth is and donate to one of the several charities with plates.

Anyway, Thanks again for making the delivery. My DVD feels extra special to me now :)

Hope your adventure doesn't discourage you from coming back to the area for a show. Chicago perhaps? I will definitely be there if you do.

Kizz said...

I love that you went on this adventure! You threw a wrench into the works of Santa's workshop, but after a dicey moment they rallied and gave you their Amazon experience, a good one. Better than that I bet you will be the talk of the warehouse for a while. "Remember when that DVD lady came to just drop off her stuff? She didn't even have a printout! She was nice, though."

I'm glad that Amazon is nice. I think I would feel especially awful if it wasn't.

Laura said...

Those stupid In God We Trust plates. Hhhhhhhh. The BMV tried to give me one, without asking if I wanted it, when I registered my new car last year. When I asked to have the other standard plate, the lady at the BMV kept insisting "But this plate doesn't cost anything extra!" As if the only possible reason I wouldn't want an IGWT plate would be if there was an extra fee for it.

RG said...

@Laura - OMG, that happened to a lot of people. My friend had to tell the lady 3 times that he DID NOT WANT the IGWT plate. She just kept saying, but it's free, why wouldn't you want it.

People in my family used to always get the "Kid's First" license plates, which gives money to a fund that helps prevent child abuse and neglect. Now NONE of them do since there is so much ignorant pride in displaying the God plate.

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!

Lanie said...


shady charbonnet said...

Thanks, Julia. I just finished watching "Letting Go of God" and I needed to convey my gratitude for making it easier... for helping me to not feel like such an outsider. Well, to make a long story short, my Sicilian-American mother used to be a nun. You should be able to see the rest of the picture since you grew up in Catholicville too. So, thanks, Julia.

RG said...

@Anon - "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"

I've read the passage, I'm not seeing anything you're referring to. Maybe you are just assuming that's what it means in order to hold onto your beliefs? Maybe not, what do I know.

Henda Al-Biatty said...

Hi Julia,

I'm currently watching your show on TV right now instead of studying for my final exam.
Your story is a story that each of us goes through to some extent. The search for truth, justice, what is religion?, why do we believe in God? Does God even exist? etc. With all these questions running through our head and we have constant information being forced at us to think in a certain direction. During this time we neglect to ask the basic questions. Now putting God on the side humans have an innate character of seeking truth,having morals and seeking justice. Now this is all relative to how you interpret those characteristics but there is a universal commonality that we want peace within ourselves and within our world. Go towards good and reject the bad. It occurs on even in the animal world. But if humans take these instincts and combine our ever growing intellect don't you believe that at one point there would be something missing from our logic? Science tries to prove the existence of God using physical, methodical techniques you would you use in lab.But when science does find all these discoveries regarding nature, animals etc and then finding nothing regarding the existence of God they reject the null hypothesis that He exists. Science thinks, functions and understands things in terms of cause and effect and we humans have been brought up to think in the same systematic way. But we if we look at things closely not everything in this world can be boiled down to cause and effect there are somethings that are beyond the our human understanding such as the existence of God.
We humans have been geared to think of God in the wrong way, that He is only a loving and compassionate being, that He plays no role in our life or the we don't have a hand in how our life should be conducted, and that science and religion are separate dogmas of thinking. If you ask an advocate of science including myself, you will know that if only one invisible atom was taken out of balance then there will be pure destruction of this universe. Now, how can we say that such perfect order and creation is accidental? We can't because our logic will be searching more information to understand this phenomena. The reason science is constantly coming up with new theories is because its how the methods of the scientific experiment work. Your hypothesis is right until proven wrong. So with increase of technology and new outlooks on the meaning of this universe theories of gravity, relativity are all requestioned.Now,there are many things in science that are absolute such as metamorphosis of butterfly. But we have been given something that can make us the most superior being on earth or the lowest of the low and that is intellect. Finding conviction in truth is what we need to do.

I hope to hear from you soon.
thank you for reading my comment.


Brenda Green said...

First ... thank each of you for your comments and your links. I AM going home for Christmas and they all know that instead of praying with them, I will be respectfully waiting in the next room, quietly thanking MOM for the great dinner! And yes, coming out atheist is harder than coming out lesbian, I've now done both. :-) I wonder what else I'll get to come out as before my life ends? LOL

Secondly .... uh, I was going to say OMG, but I guess I can't technically use that one anymore (teehee). Anyway ... "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!" Tell the TV evangelists god doesn't want money. And maybe god doesn't want to brainwash you but the Baptists sure do!! I know from first hand experience one such Baptist group that did that to my ex girlfriend of 11 years. In fact, her finally waking up to the fact that she HAD been brainwashed is part why our relationship ended and why I am here today proclaiming I am done with this fantasy of god. And OMG (geez, old habit) I don't want to be FREE from myself; I have spent 47 years trying to find myself and I finally have!!! Thank you Julia.

Anonymous said...

Saw your wonderful performance on Showtime yesterday, Dec. 16.

I started my journey Letting Go of God 40 years ago while I explaining what I believed to my non-believer husband. He just listened and let me talk, never contradicting me, just letting me hear myself. Over several months, as I explained my childhood beliefs to him, I could see that those beliefs no longer made any sense to me. My childhood religious education was all very positive with emphasis on "God is Love" so now I believe Love is "God," whatever that is. I did laugh when you related your mother's reaction to your declaration that you no longer believe in God. When I told my mother, she said, "But you still take communion, right?"

Amazing to see how people shrink from the word "atheist" as though it is a disease. I am just starting to read Good without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe by Greg Epstein. Sure hope that book will be read by people who think one needs a god in order for people to be good. As my husband would say, it is good those people believe in God otherwise they probably would not be good.

Thank you for Letting Go of God -- it is humorous, compassionate, and enlightening. Sure hope many many people see it.

Laura said...

@RG - I've heard from quite a few people that they had the same experience. Even though we have two standard plates, the BMV tries to go with the IGWT plate first and gives customers the same "but it's FREE" speech when they want the other standard plate. Though to be fair, it's hard to say how much of this is motivated by religion and how much is motivated by the BMV employee not wanting to get back up and/or redo any paperwork.

It's such a shame that people have let their desire to show off their religiosity (Matthew 6:5, anyone?) take donations away from charitable causes supported by specialty plates. That's the part that makes me the saddest.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia,

I was reading an older book called "how to be an Adult" by David Richo ( ex catholic priest )
He talks about the Shadow that exists in all of us in one chapter.
The short version is that people tend to dislike traits or beliefs of others that they harbor and supress in themselves. Example: they externalze their distress with you about your beliefs, rather than admit and examine their own doubts about god. I hope this gives you some perspective about those who are strongly critical.

I love what you have done and your courage is inspiring


round eyed dog said...


I hope you read these comments! I was dumbfounded when I read this blog entry because I used to live near the Whitestown,IN area and worked for 5 years at the Starbucks that you stopped and asked for directions at! I only stopped working there about 6 months ago. I can't believe I missed my chance to meet you! I laughed at your observations on the license plates and the mega-churches. I am not a huge fan of Indiana. I am sure if I would have been at Starbucks that day I would have been the only person that would have recognized you! There are most definitely a lot of religious people in that area.

I have listened to Letting Go of God several times and LOVE it! It's made a huge impact on me. My story is a long one, but I made the joyful transition to not being religious after 20+ years. Thanks for sharing your story!


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That makes me feel better about using Amazon, too . . .

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Anonymous said...

I saw "Letting Go of God" on Cable today.

While I agree with you on all your points that matter, I contend that while there may be a God (an infinite creator who set up the laws of physics/nature) that's pretty much it.

What mankind is worshipping isn't God, but Religion. Religion was caused by Man's need to understand the infinite -- which cannot be done.

Relgion is a creation of Man. It is flawed, as is/are the god(s) it portrays.

Even if Christian mythology were true (down to the ressurection) it doesn't change that Man perverted it into something smaller and petty.

Religon sometimes brings comfort, but a lot of the time it just brings pain, oppression and more.

It seems Religion always comes with strings. I can't believe an omniscient, omnipotent God wanted something like that.

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Any chance of "Letting Go of God" coming out on Amazon Instant Video?

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