Sunday, March 8, 2009

Review: Losing My Religion by William Lobdell

This is an honest, thoughtful, and fascinating memoir about Lobdell's struggles with religion. The book opens with an accounting of the ways in which his life is going wrong and a friend's quiet assurance that Lobdell needs to walk with God to find the peace he so desires. Taking this to heart, Lobdell starts going to church, eventually becoming born-again. Eager to share his newly minted faith, as he moves from the church that drew him back into the fold, to a Protestant church, and ultimately into RCIA classes to become a Catholic, journalist Lobdell decides that God has called him to write about religion so he pitches the idea to his bosses. Initially he doesn't get the job but eventually, his dream comes true and he starts writing about faith, and not just his Christian faith, in a way that few other journalists have attempted. But all is not well with Lobdell's faith as he starts uncovering the nasty side of organized religion. He was on the front lines as the pedophile priest scandal rocked the Catholic church and he examined in depth a rather seedy (but quite wealthy) televangelist who fleeces his congregation among other stories. And as Lobdell plunges farther into the stories, he starts to lose his belief in God. His journey into and out of faith took him years and I suspect that it isn't quite finished, as Lobdell himself says he's not entirely comfortable with his unbelief but which path the next leg of his journey will take remains to be seen. His writing on faith and its lack is respectful and thoughtful. And he has obviously spent much time reaching the conclusions he has but he never denigrates those around him who have managed to hold onto their faith in the face of what he says is overwhelming evidence that it is unfounded. His writing is direct and honest and his journey is definitely painful. But I for one am glad he allowed us to walk with him, even if I'm not certain I come to the same conclusions he does.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very good review! I think the book sounds fascinating, I've just been talking about faith/religion/ doubt, etc. with my youngest son. He mentioned a documentary he'd watched last night on the Catholic church scandal, Do No Evil, or something like that. He said it was really upsetting and depressing.


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