Amy's Reviews > I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith through an Atheist's Eyes

I Sold My Soul on eBay by Hemant Mehta
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's review
Jan 03, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: bookcrossing, nonfiction, not-to-my-taste-but-worthwhile, read-on-recommendation
Read in March, 2008

Interesting book and an timely read for the start of Holy Week 2008. I thought the premise and original idea unique, but got slightly turned off by the author's self importance and his, at times to my ears, condescending voice when he wrote his observations. It's very easy to learn the customs and traditions of a church before going to the actual service. A little beforehand research would have helped him to understand why certain words are used or why certain actions are performed. I find it a little funny that at the ripe old age of, what-- 24? 26?, and from one or two visits, he is able to be so certain he can accurately and immediately understand all about a community. By the same token, there is some valuable information for people of faith regarding how to approach and dialog with people who choose not to welcome faith into their lives. (And I see faith and religion as two separate things.)

And it's not because he is an atheist that I have my criticisms. I was raised by an atheist and an agnostic. Until I was about 5, I thought the word "God" was something you said before "damn it" when you hit your thumb with a hammer or smashed your toe into something hard. At about age 5, I began to feel that there was some great secret to the world that I wasn't being told. Through books (initially the Chronicles of Narnia) I began to understand that others had this same sense and that the sense had a name and that name was God. I was probably one of the only kindergartners in my neighborhood on a spiritual journey. I soon began to realize that this idea of God also had many other names, and many manifestations in our world, and that it is not a given that the gift of faith blossoms in everyone.

And yes, I believe it a gift. I believe faith is a treasure. I believe that our hearts have to heed the call that our heads and intellect may not be able to understand. That the longest journey a person may take may be from their head to their heart in accepting faith and grace, and that some may never complete the journey.

I also believe there are many paths to God, and that I am not wise enough to say that only one is the right way. I know that this will get me in trouble with many of my chosen religion but I can live with that. My relationship with the Lord is very personal and I try to live my life in a way that I hope is acceptable and pleasing to God. I remember my son, at age 4 or 5 asking me why people fought wars against other people about God. "Don't they know that it doesn't matter what you call God on the outside? It's what's on the inside that counts." The kid should be an ambassador.

Anyhow, I'm about to head downtown what is called the Blessing of the Oils for the Catholic Church. It is a beautiful service and the Mass where all the oil that will be used by the Catholic Churches in the area for the sacraments this liturgical year will be blessed. All the priests in the Diocese of Charleston will be there, as it is also the time when they renew their vows of service to the Lord. I think I will leave this book in the lower church of the Cathedral of St John the Baptist for someone who attends today's service to find.

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