ABOUT LETTING GO OF GOD
I went through a major personal philosophical change around the years 1999 and 2000. It all started because I had had an emotional experience that caused me to feel that God was with me. I guess you would call it a “religious” experience. This had made me curious about religion and God. I’d always – up until that time – had a loving and believing and yet humorous and skeptical kind of faith. I believed in God, when it helped me to believe in God.
I had deep affection and ties to my Catholic culture, I’d gone to twelve years of Catholic school and briefly wanted to be come a nun, but I also could see the absurdity of the faith. However, I hadn’t spent any significant time seriously considering my belief system. I began reading and listening to audio books. It all started with “How We Believe” by Michael Shermer. I’m not even sure how I found him and his book. I discovered that he hosted a lecture series at Cal-Tech in Pasadena and headed the Skeptic Society. I began to go to these lectures, and read, and think. This quest to understand and to develop a solid point-of-view consumed me for a couple of years. I went from reading Shermer to reading Carl Sagan, then to Daniel Dennet, to Steven Pinker, to Richard Dawkins, to Susan Blackmore, to Victor J. Stenger, and others.
I stopped believing in God. It was quite dramatic. I wasn’t wishy washy about it. I wasn’t merely non-religious. But what I discovered wasn’t a world without God, but instead a fully natural world: precarious, messy, cruel, and glorious. I found I had enormous appreciation for a method that gets us closer and closer to truth: the scientific method. What I discovered was simply this: good, solid critical thinking. I began to look at my whole world using that that lens. What I found was a powerful and profound way of looking at life and my participation in it as a live being. This seemingly subtle shift had reverberations that, to this day, still surprise me. I found myself to be more compassionate, more realistic, more concerned, and more meaningfully engaged with the natural world.
Since this experience was the most profound one in my life, and I was a monologist, I wanted to figure out how to tell this story on stage. I wanted to present a compelling drama. This was challenging, because the action takes place inside a person’s mind. The show was not about events, it was about ideas. I began to workshop a show called Letting Go of God. I work-shopped the show for three years before I finalized the wording and then began legitimate runs in theaters.
I did proper runs of the show in Los Angeles and New York. I did Letting Go of God all over the world, from my hometown of Spokane, WA to Reykjavik, Iceland. I filmed the show and the cable venue, Showtime, played it for over a year. You can watch the film here or get it on Netflix or buy it from Amazon. I recorded the show, and have an audio version on CD including a transcript in a pretty little booklet. You can get that here or download the audio here.
Now it’s been more than ten years since I finished writing Letting Go of God. I have begun to write a book about the whole experience – from having it, to writing the monologue, to performing it, to reviewing my logic, to solidifying my opinions of religion in general. This book is in the works and is entitled, My Beautiful Loss-of-Faith Story: A Catholic Girl Goes Rogue. Right now I don’t know when this book will be finished.