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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Spiritual Freedom From Religion

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A few days ago, I mentioned in passing comedienne Julia Sweeney's one-woman show, "Letting Go of God." I found this soulful, humorous, and thought-provoking monologue about her intellectual journey well worth the time. (It's a little over two hours long, though. I found it helpful to download it and listen to it in chunks during a day full of errands.) For the curious, there is a shorter talk which is also worthwhile, that might give you an idea of what to expect, "The Gifts of Not Believing in God." I particularly like a point Sweeney makes in the middle portion of the latter, where she states the profound truth that being free of religion helps one appreciate how precious life is. In keeping with Sweeney's thoughts about helping children understand the psychological and cultural force of religion, I plan to recommend the longer show to my children at some appropriate future time.


My own journey towards a better life started around seventh or eighth grade when, as a student at a Catholic school in Mississippi, I privately questioned the existence of God. (I recall admitting as much during Confession.) But for several years, I gave religion the benefit of the doubt. In part, this was because, like Sweeney, I was happy with my upbringing. In addition, I figured, Faith is just a stop-gap for my current educational level: They'll explain everything in college. They didn't, so I quit religion and let go in my own way. Theology class and a fundamentalist roommate served me in the same way that reading the Bible helped Sweeney: The vast difference between the benevolent imaginary friend that my God was and the neurotic monster I was supposed to accept on faith helped me understand that I was making the right choice.

-- CAV

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