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When I first listened to Sweeney's monologue I was quite blown away - and I've never been a believer, so I can't really say that I understand what it's like to loose a religious faith. But there is plenty of stuff in 'Letting go of God' that you can relate to anyway. Apart from it being very entertaining and quite touching!


BTW, thanks for the review of Deliver us from Evil. I got it from my local library, and it was phenomenal. The depositions with O'Grady's superiors were damning. The interviews with the families were crushing. Tears welled up at the pain felt by the Japanese father (forgot the name). (I'm getting a bit choked up just thinking about it now).

I'm looking forward to watching Letting Go of God. Thanks for the tip.


I actually haven't seen the film version, but I have listened to the published audio recording of her stage play (which is effectively identical in content, I think); in that light, I strongly, strongly concur.

I think Julia Sweeney is the best communicator the atheist movement has--number one with a bullet. Her ability to come off as both incredibly sympathetic but also hardeheadedly unwilling to accept easy answers or conventional wisdom (such as Karen Armstrong's glibness or "everybody knows Jesus was a swell guy") is little short of miraculous.

And I, too, loves me some hardcore PZ Myers-style mockery of religion. That's an important part of our community's forthright explanation of who we are and what we believe--though Sweeney (with the notable exception of the Chopra bit) doesn't engage in it.

So well said as usual, Greta.


I love Letting Go of God, and I recommend it to anyone because it is so perfectly arranged, accessible, and funny. I listened to the audiobook within months of fully realizing and accepting my lack of belief, and was humbled by how much effort Julia Sweeney put into her journey towards atheism. While I found she hit many of the points that I did (from being a Christian girl with a desire to be an altar boy and a nun, to seeing god in nature, to identifying god as love, although happily I was never drawn to Deepak Chopra's particular brand of woo), I didn't spend nearly as much time or effort as she did on any of them.

I agree that it's powerful and think this monologue is a great resource for showing believers who tend to make such accusations that the path from belief to nonbelief is not about jumping in on new trends to be hip, that many of us have thought carefully about our beliefs and have struggled with reconciling them with our observations, and that we're not all humorless cynics.

Also, lol at your criticism of the grainy quality of the video. That really is about all there is to criticize, isn't it. I own the DVD, and it is also a little grainy, so it wasn't just the projection.

Paul Lundgren

Bravo on both of your reviews. Sweeney's piece is in my car CD-changer right now, and tends to stay there for long periods of time.

the chaplain

I just ordered this DVD. I've been meaning to do so for months - thanks for reminding me of it and prompting me to hit Amazon's Buy Button.


If there was a version of "Letting go of god" in Spanish, I would kidnap all my (Catholic) relatives and force them to watch it. I agree entirely on your choice of one "book" to have believers "read".

Julia Sweeney is one of my two favourite atheist celebrities; the other one is Greta Christina.


I saw Julia do part of this show at the American Atheist Convention a couple of years ago. She was funny and warm. Also was a cool person when I got to meet her for a minute or so.

David Fitzgerald

I can't believe I missed this review until today - Thanks Greta! And yes, there definitely WILL be an Atheist Film Festival in 2010 (and every year thereafter, if we can!)
All the best,
-Dave Fitzgerald
Director, The Atheist Film Festival


I've seen Julia Sweeney's film on Cable many times, and for some inexplicable reason, I re-watch it every time I come across it. It's also available from Netflix She's a very smart, funny, & sympathetic speaker for the cause of Atheism. She gets her point across without any yelling or screaming....talking about her own battle with cancer & life in general. I'd be very proud to have her as a friend.

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