Letting Go of God
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Letting Go of God

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  965 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Publisher's Summary

Julia 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...more
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Published 2006 by Indefatigable Inc.
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Community Reviews

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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...more
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...more
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.
Latie
Julia Sweeney writes in brevity and wit to match her insightfulness. She shares her thoughts without pushing her opinion onto anyone who cares to listen to her words. Her thoughts are based on experience, research, and careful consideration. I did not listen to the audio book looking for answers, but to discard my ignorance and look at how a world without God can still be meaningful. I’ve always had a respect for Julia because she has the gift of teaching through humour.

Julia likely subscribes...more
Jillian
Just finished this audiobook a couple of days ago, Julia Sweeney is amazing. She recounts her journey from Catholicism to atheism (spurred perhaps not so ironically after attending a bible study group and actually reading and questioning the thing cover to cover). She takes quite the winding journey before reaching Reason, trying out everything from pseudoscience to Buddhism to pantheism - but finds that each has fatal flaws. What I love about Sweeney is that she approaches the subject in such a...more
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...more
Judith
I never heard of this author until I got the audio version of this book. Apparently she was an SNL character, acted in a couple of the Beethoven movies and is a somewhat famous comedian. i found her to be a kindred spirit in her search for and final release from the myth of God. She went through so many of the same steps that I did, with the same thoughts that I had. It made me begin to wonder if there isn't a whole generation of converted atheists out there.

The book is serious and humorous at...more
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...more
Sarah
Just re-listening to this one and I loved it again. I would recommend the audio version and perhaps the video is even better. Hearing her performance style is important for capturing the humor.

This is Julia Sweeney's memoir about how she became an atheist. She grew up Catholic, but in adulthood questions her faith and discusses the spiritual journey that led her to atheism. Her telling of the story is comedic and the information and questions she presents are fascinating. I personally liked lear...more
Elaine
This audio book is terrific but not everyone will be comfortable with it. Julia Sweeney was raised Catholic and she tells her true story of how she went from Catholic to atheist. Its insightful, funny, emotional and really entertaining. If you don't consider yourself religious, or have some doubts about religion, or just struggle with some of the bizarre parts of religious you will likely really enjoy this. Hearing Julia's delivery is terrific so definitely go audio on this one.
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.
Kate
Mar 01, 2011 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kate by: Shannon
There was some good stuff in here about appreciating the wonder that is creation IN ABSENCE of a miraculous / divine creator.

The actual process of "letting go of God" has never been an issue for me but one that I feel I have heard almost too much about over the course of my Unitarian upbringing.

I (surprisingly) almost cried at the dramatic weight loss of her cat (wtf), and then at her attempt to remember her last hug with her father.
Mirm
I listened to this one and really enjoyed Julia Sweeney. She makes it very clear that there were big steps between Catholicism and where she ended up. All of them funny AND sad. I can see how this book could help a lot of people realize what they have believed all along. I have also started listening to Darwin's On the Origin of Species because of her description of reading it herself for the first time.
Roxanna
Get the audio version of this so you can hear Julia Sweeney's own narration. This is the personal story of her quest to make sense of religion when she was unsettled by what she read during a Bible study class. This two-hour tour of religion compresses a lot of research and personal trial into a humorous but thoughtful essay/comedy routine.
Ursula Sindlinger
I loved this short audiobook. Not only was Julia's story engaging but she narrates it too and her voice made it come to life.
I was raised Catholic just like Ms. Sweeney and felt right at home in her religious musings and humorous recollections.
As a fellow searcher, I came to the same conclusions as she did. I will listen to this again.
Mikebliv
I'm already an atheist but having come from a Catholic background (but not strict), I loved hearing Julia's stories, and found it very funny and entertaining too. Always very interesting to hear about the similarities and differences in others' experiences when they realised that there was no god. I watched the video version of this book.
Gina
This isn't a book but sure is a great dvd or audio tape! Julia Sweeney has an incredible gift of being able to insert humor at exactly the right moment. The topic is controversial and quite serious but I laughed throughout. She also did her 'homework' and research before creating "Letting Go of God".
Audrey
May 12, 2008 Audrey rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: open minded soul searchers
Downloaded from itunes. LOVED this book. Julia Sweeney reads on the audio book and her delivery is excellent. I laughed a lot and enjoyed experiencing her religious journey. An inspiration for those of us who have given up on religion.
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.
Eileen
She cracks me up. I listened to her audiobook and am not sure it would be as enjoyable to read since she's so much fun to listen to. I'm sure I will listen to this again someday.
Rhys
This was absolutely brilliant.

I had seen Julia Sweeney's TED talk in the past, maybe a year or so ago. But had never thought to listen to the entire book.

It's just a tad over two hours long but you could probably read the whole thing in much less if you found the transcript, although, having followed the transcript at some points, there were some minor differences.

I suggest listening, however, as Julia Sweeney is a magnificent orator. There was one stage about halfway through when she stuttere...more
Lynn Brown
This book is EXACTLY how I feel. I could have written it~ except without her wonderful humor! If people can honestly evaluate what they believe or 'think' they believe in, they will come to the same conclusion. This has been a very difficult journey for me and it is sad.... as her Mother says, "but aren't you sad all the time?!"
Julia's 'awakenings' really hit home with me~~ "but how can a person know how to behave without God?"! Her struggles to find some kind of an answer... something to belie...more
Leajk
Jan 15, 2013 Leajk marked it as might-read
Shelves: religion-atheism
I saw most of her act on YouTube before they took it down. This woman is really funny! Especially the episode where she lets two Mormon boys into her home and they make their pitch about the foundation of Mormonism including the evil Indians and the golden plates after which she wants to exclaim:

"Don't start with this story! I mean even the scientologists know to start of with a personality test before they start telling people all about Xenu the evil intergalactic overlord."


Since this is a par...more
Moad
I have to admit that she is a good speaker, entertaining as well, I agree on most of what she had to say, about how the bible is contradicting and how the religious institute tend to cover it up with lame excuses such as "metaphors" and "poetic verses" and to not be taken seriously, which then resulted in people not taking the WHOLE BIBLE seriously. I condemn also the society intake of her declaration of Atheism, which happens also here in my country where the family is worried only about their...more
Nancy
Funny, intelligent, heartfelt - loved this almost as much as "God Said Ha!" I recommended the audio version that the author narrates.
Mcav0y
Unlike most of the books that I listen to, this was a taped stage production of her one-woman show. Julia explained her personal journey into questioning religion and eventual determining of her own religious sense. Her humor and wit shone through, but if you are listening for a comedic story, I would look elsewhere. Overall, it was an excellent personal story- one that I think most people can related to on one level or another, even if their conclusions are different than hers. I kept thinking...more
M Pereira
This is a pretty heartfelt story and gives the perspective of a woman brought up with catholicism, noting the inconsistencies of living Catholic and the irrationality of spirituality and religious belief. One thing that Sweeney notably identifies is the positive cultural impact of religion on a religious person's lifestyle, which she learned from being 'disowned' from her family. This story has many sad moments and funny moments, and is perhaps a less-intellectual and more everyday account about...more
Tamara
I listened to, and loved, the audiobook as read by the author, Julia Sweeney. She's the perfect person to take a serious topic and find the humor in it too. Because her delivery is so great, I highly recommend going with the audio version. Sweeney is also smart and insightful. She managed to create a humorous and poignant retelling of her soul search for God and subsequent appreciation for the natural world. If you enjoy this author, I highly recommend listening to the album "God Said Ha!" becau...more
Ashley
I came across this after reading The God Delusion. I was starting to become more comfortable with the idea of identifying as an atheist. Sweeney's experiences told me that I wasn't alone. Especially the part where she's taking the Bible study course and reacting to certain stories as an adult. I was only 11 when I decided to read the Bible cover to cover, but even as an indoctrinated tween, I found so much of it to be problematic. It's just so validating to see that someone else shares those sam...more
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Julia Sweeney is an American actress, comedian and author best known for her Saturday Night Live career and autobiographical solo shows.
More about Julia Sweeney...
If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother God Said, "Ha!" It's Pat: My Life Exposed an Official Saturday Night Live Book My Beautiful Loss of Faith Story: A Memoir Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today's Pop Mysticisms

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