Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America

( 16 )

Overview

William Lobdell's journey of faith—and doubt—may be the most compelling spiritual memoir of our time. Lobdell became a born-again Christian in his late 20s when personal problems—including a failed marriage—drove him to his knees in prayer. As a newly minted evangelical, Lobdell—a veteran journalist—noticed that religion wasn't covered well in the mainstream media, and he prayed for the Lord to put him on the religion beat at a major newspaper. In 1998, his prayers were answered...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (35) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $5.65   
  • Used (32) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$5.65
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(4)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
New York, NY 2009 Hard cover New in fine dust jacket. New unread copy; spine cracles; dj has slight shelf wear; gift quality; expeditious processing, satisfaction assured! Glued ... binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 291 p. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Castle Hayne, NC

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$8.00
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:

(110)

Condition: New
New. We ship with tracking number. We do not ship to Guam, Puerto Rico, Hawaii , Alaska and Prison ( Correctional Facility).

Ships from: Bensalem, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
$13.58
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:

(121)

Condition: New
2009-03-01 Hardcover New in New jacket Brand new hardback, new dust jacket, never opened, no marks.

Ships from: Cardington, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Losing My Religion

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$4.99
BN.com price

Overview

William Lobdell's journey of faith—and doubt—may be the most compelling spiritual memoir of our time. Lobdell became a born-again Christian in his late 20s when personal problems—including a failed marriage—drove him to his knees in prayer. As a newly minted evangelical, Lobdell—a veteran journalist—noticed that religion wasn't covered well in the mainstream media, and he prayed for the Lord to put him on the religion beat at a major newspaper. In 1998, his prayers were answered when the Los Angeles Times asked him to write about faith.

Yet what happened over the next eight years was a roller-coaster of inspiration, confusion, doubt, and soul-searching as his reporting and experiences slowly chipped away at his faith. While reporting on hundreds of stories, he witnessed a disturbing gap between the tenets of various religions and the behaviors of the faithful and their leaders. He investigated religious institutions that acted less ethically than corrupt Wall St. firms. He found few differences between the morals of Christians and atheists. As this evidence piled up, he started to fear that God didn't exist. He explored every doubt, every question—until, finally, his faith collapsed. After the paper agreed to reassign him, he wrote a personal essay in the summer of 2007 that became an international sensation for its honest exploration of doubt.

Losing My Religion is a book about life's deepest questions that speaks to everyone: Lobdell understands the longings and satisfactions of the faithful, as well as the unrelenting power of doubt. How he faced that power, and wrestled with it, is must reading for people of faith and nonbelievers alike.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Mark Oppenheimer
There are many great books about finding God. But there are far fewer books, great or otherwise, about finding and then losing God. So Losing My Religion,…feels powerfully fresh. It is the tale of being born again in his adulthood, then almost 20 years later deciding that Christianity is untrue. Today Lobdell prefers the God of Jefferson or Einstein, "a deity that can be seen in the miracles of nature." While Lobdell never entirely rejects belief in the supernatural, his humane, even-tempered book does more to advance the cause of irreligion than the bilious atheist tracts by Christopher Hitchens and others that have become so common. And Lobdell's self-deprecating memoir is far more fun to read.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

A former religion reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Lobdell recounts in this plainly written memoir how he became a Protestant evangelical, nearly accepted Catholicism and, in the end, rejected faith altogether. Central to the arc of this memoir is the unfolding sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, which Lobdell covered in depth during his time as a religion reporter, beginning in 2000. Despairing of the role of priests and bishops in that scandal, he refashions his identity as a crusading reporter out to cleanse the church of corrupt leaders. But after finding that his investigative stories about faith healer Benny Hinn and televangelists Jan and Paul Crouch appear to make no difference on the reach of these ministries or the lives of their followers, he gives up on the beat and on religion generally. Lobdell subjects his faith to the rigors of rationalism. If Christians are no more ethical than atheists, why belong to a church? It's a curious utilitarian argument that sounds more like a rearview explanation than a revealing account of loss of faith. Still, the memoir's strength lies in the wrenching emotional toll exacted by the Catholic abuse scandal. If nothing else, it suggests reporters may have been victimized by the scandal, too. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

In his twenties, Lobdell's life fell apart. Searching for a lifeline, he attended church services and on the final day of a retreat, "invit[ed] Jesus into [his] heart." He felt whole again. He eventually became the full-time religion reporter for the prestigious Los Angeles Times. By then, he had left evangelicalism behind and was preparing to convert to Catholicism. He was reporting on sexual abuse scandals in the local diocese when he changed his mind about converting: joining the church seemed a betrayal of the victims who'd been sexually abused by priests and had their cases shoved under the rug by the priests' superiors. The more he looked, the darker his view of religion became: priests abused parishioners, and nothing happened; believers didn't behave better than nonbelievers; prayers weren't answered, and God didn't seem as good a father as Lobdell himself wanted to be to his own sons. Eventually, as he describes, he left his post as religion reporter. It is interesting to compare this account with Julian Barnes's recent and eloquent Nothing To Be Afraid Of. Barnes is an intellectual: he never believed in anything at all but still must come to grips with his fear of death. Lobdell's heartfelt account is probably closer to the experience of many Americans whose doubts overwhelmed them, leading them-reluctantly and after much soul-searching-to disbelief. Recommended for most public collections.
—David Keymer

Kirkus Reviews
Veteran journalist Lobdell provides a compelling account of his personal journey toward and then away from faith in God. As a troubled young man, the author turned to religion as a way of finding meaning and order. His faith grew through involvement in a Protestant mega-church and eventually began to mature while attending a more traditional congregation. He spent years in personal turmoil as he attempted to find his spiritual place in the world. This quest led him to pursue, and in the fall of 2000 to attain, a job as religion reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Soon after, he received the first of many assignments connected to child molestation scandals within the Catholic Church. This was personally as well as professionally shocking, since Lobdell's wife was a Catholic and he was in the process of becoming one. His reporting exposed a grim pattern: "Hypocrisy at all levels of the church, innocent people put in harm's way by the church's ‘shepherds,' self-interest triumphing over Christian values, lies big and small and a general lack of courage among followers of Christ, especially those in power, would be recurrent subjects of my reporting." Lobdell soon concluded that this pattern extended beyond Catholicism. He attended a conference of ex-Mormons who told of the harsh, unforgiving treatment they received in their Mormon-dominated communities. He investigated the evangelical Trinity Broadcasting Network, finding evidence of extensive financial and sexual misconduct. These discoveries drove the author away from his faith and toward the bottle. He struggled to blame human imperfection and organizational flaws for the evils he was investigating, but he could not escape the question ofwhy God would permit such things to happen. Pursuing a particularly horrendous story about an Alaskan island on which virtually all the boys were sodomized by Catholic clergy, he finally reached an uncompromising answer: "What had happened to helpless boys at the edge of the world made a lot more sense if there were no God." It's not a cheerful conclusion, but Lobdell's honesty and self-effacement make it persuasive. An important wake-up call to people of faith. Author events in Los Angeles. Agent: Tricia Davey/Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061626814
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/24/2009
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

William Lobdell has been a journalist for 25 years, winning many state and national awards. In 2008 he left the Los Angeles Times after a long tenure. He is on the visiting faculty at the University of California, Irvine. He is married with four boys.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Losing My Religion
How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America-and Found Unexpected Peace

Chapter One

"You Need God"

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
—Jeremiah 29:11

By age 27, I had screwed up my life. I had married my volatile high school sweetheart five years earlier, mostly because it seemed easier than breaking up. When I left her, I didn't follow through with the divorce. Dealing with her in court would be messy, so I just bailed. In the meantime, I happily jumped into an adolescence delayed by my fidelity to the first girl I'd ever loved. Before long, I managed to get a girlfriend pregnant. I loved my newfound bachelorhood, and I was petrified by the prospect of another marriage and my first child (leaving aside the fact that my divorce to my first wife couldn't be finalized for at least six months).

I ran away as fast as I could, concluding that I had only a few months left in the wild before the baby arrived and a lifetime of responsibility would kick in. I needed to pack in as much living as I could. I drank away many nights. I caroused with friends. And I'm forever shamed to admit that I cheated on my pregnant girlfriend.

Other parts of my life weren't much better. My journalism career had stalled at a local minor-league magazine, where I worked long hours for low pay covering "business lifestyles" about which I couldn't have cared less. My digestive system waged daily war on me. I developed acne that I had been spared as a teenager. When I combed my hair each morning at thebathroom mirror, I couldn't look myself in the eye. When I turned 28, I could barely admit it was my birthday. I couldn't stand the person I had become. I found no reason to celebrate my life.

But then our son, Taylor, was born. I found myself staying up deep into most nights, holding my child tightly, staring at his innocent face, letting his chubby fingers wrap around mine and knowing it was time for me to grow up if this kid was going to have a fair chance at life.

A month after Taylor arrived, I married Greer in a Las Vegas wedding at a small chapel on the Strip presided over by a drunken pastor and his dutiful wife. They were our only witnesses. We spent the first part of our wedding night watching a comeback concert by Tony Orlando and Dawn. I gave our marriage about as much chance as the over-the-hill singing trio performing in that half-empty casino concert hall. Though she would not say it, I knew Greer had grave doubts about me, too, but she wanted her son to have an in-the-home father—something missing from her childhood—and was generous or desperate enough to give me a chance.

Soon after the wedding, on an especially low day, I had lunch with a good friend named Will Swaim. A fellow journalist of my vintage, Will is rail-thin, with a handsome face whose broad features seem to be made from stone. He has a kinetic energy that brings to mind someone who drinks way too much coffee. He is also one of the smartest and most searching people I know. Not yet 30, his career ambitions had swung wildly from Roman Catholic priest (he decided not to go into the seminary) to punk rock star (he was the lead singer for a group named the Barking Spiders) to aspiring guerrilla fighter (an unexpectedly pregnant wife caused him to give up his one-way plane ticket to Mexico City, the first leg of a journey that would have taken him to Nicaragua to fight with the Sandinistas) to peace activist (he worked for three years to ban nuclear weapons). He finally settled into journalism, where he's made a national reputation for himself as an alternative weekly editor and publisher.

Seated at a booth in an upscale coffee shop under the flight path of the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, he started a conversation in the usual way.

"How's it going, Billy?"

I hadn't told anyone the extent of my troubles. From the outside, my life didn't look that bad. I was married to an intelligent and gorgeous woman, had a healthy baby boy and was president of a local media company. But I was dying inside. And Will was too good of a friend. I couldn't lie to him by saying I was fine. Taking a deep breath, I decided, for once, to tell the truth. I described, with deep shame, every last humiliating detail of my life. It wasn't cathartic for me—it just filled me with more self-loathing.

Will's reaction was unexpected. He didn't seem fazed by any of it. I couldn't detect any judgment or disapproval. His response was matter-of-fact. He first asked if I was suicidal. I wasn't, though I conceded that I did believe everyone in my life would be better off if I were dead. Then, with the certainty of someone describing the law of gravity, he concluded, "You need God. That's what's missing in your life."

God? I hadn't given Him much thought since I stopped going to church the first chance I could, at age 17.

"Everyone has a God-shaped hole in their soul," he continued. "We all try to fill it with something—drugs, alcohol, work, sex—until we stumble upon God. He's the only thing that fills that hole. I was a lot like you until I surrendered my life to God. Why not try it? It can't hurt. Look at where you are with you in control. Get yourself to church, Billy."

It sounded right. More importantly, it felt like a way out. If Will had said in the same confident tone, "You need crack cocaine. That's what missing in your life," it probably would have sounded good, too. I was desperate enough to try anything that would get rid of the pain that had enveloped me like quicksand.

"I'll go to church this Sunday," I said numbly. "Just tell me where."

Losing My Religion
How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America-and Found Unexpected Peace
. Copyright (c) by William Lobdell . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 "You Need God" 1

2 Born Again 5

3 A God Thing 25

4 Answered Prayers 39

5 Shot Out of a Cannon 61

6 My Ten Commandments 79

7 Father Hollywood 91

8 A Spiritual Body Blow 107

9 The Golden Rule 121

10 Millstones Around Their Necks 135

11 A Gentle Whisper Silenced 151

12 "Rebuild My Church" 163

13 Heal Thyself 173

14 The Dark Night of the Soul 197

15 At the Edge of the Earth 215

16 Letting Go of God 235

17 One Story Too Many 253

18 "Welcome to the Edge" 259

Epilogue 275

Index 285

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A thought provoking book

    This was a very thought provoking book. Lobdell is an excellent writer and this book was very readable. It was interesting to read how a person loses his faith while reporting on religion. I found myself wanting to reassure the author that "religion" and Christianity are NOT the same thing. I found myself thinking that perhaps he was trying to get his answers in the wrong place. Many of the people he interviewed about faith were important in the "church". I think if he had spoken to more of the laity he may have gotten different answers to his questions. I know I had different answers of my own to most of what bothered him. However, when it comes down to it, faith is just that - faith - and it can't be measured or learned. You either have it or you don't. I'm sorry about the author's decision (by my beliefs he made the wrong one) but I'm glad he's at peace with his decision.

    This book would make a very good book club or Bible study read. It raises interesting questions about faith and religion. However, I don't know that I would recommend it to someone suffering from their own crisis of faith until they had reached their own decision.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Poignant and Gripping

    When I picked up this book from the shelf, I was surprised to find positive reviews on the back of the book from prominent Christians as well as skeptics and atheists. Both the chairman of the board of "Christianity Today," Rev. John Huffman, and Christopher Hitchens agree that Lobdell's account is honest, gut-wrenching, and worth reading.

    Not all of you will agree with the conclusion that Lobdell, a former "Born-again," Evangelical Christian comes to by the end of the book: that there is no god. Not all of you, skeptic and religious person, will accept the logic that led him to this conclusion either. (As Lobdell, a reporter covering the "religion beat" for years for the LA Times, was preparing to convert to Catholicism, the Catholic sex scandal broke. As part of his work, he thoroughly researched the scandal and interviewed and met many of its victims. The pain and suffering he saw, coupled with the Church's responses to the victims, played a large role in his decision to turn away from religion.)

    Even if you don't agree with Lobdell, you should still read this book if only to understand why somebody would make such a shift in theological perspectives. You cannot help but empathize with him as he chronicles his journey. His writing is simple and clear, but thoroughly evocative and engrossing. This book is really a page-turner. It will make you think about your own beliefs, and about how moral your life really is.

    My only quibble with it is that there is no bibliography or appendix of sources at the end of the book (why I knocked it down to 4 stars for "Research"). It is obvious that Lobdell has done his research, and he mentions some sources within the text itself. It would have been nice though, if he had included a formal list of sources that we may look toward.

    "Losing My Religion" is a very passionate and relatable personal reflection. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in religion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 22, 2009

    Have Faith

    I have kept my Catholic faith because of its rich history and because of the communion of the Saints. Mother Teresa, and Pope John Paul II are two of my heros.
    Terrible things have happened throughout history.
    Faith lives on in the faithful, even in the toughest of times and situations.
    I believe this author's faith journey is not over.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    Interesting

    He makes a case for losing his religion.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

    a good read into one person's soul

    excellent insight into the unraveling of one's faith. great for those questioning their own faith or for those who believe their own faith is strong but would like to know what would make anyone turn away from god.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A journey worth your time...

    This is honesty - in a way most of us are afraid to reveal. As a faith-filled reader, Lobdell's story has given me permission to seek more deeply and ask my God 'why'?

    I recommend this book highly - to people who want to find real faith.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing

    After several trusted, book-reading friends recommended this book, I found it disappointing. Lobdell rightly condemns the Roman Catholic Church for its sins and correctly observes other denominations are just as guilty. But by basing his judgment on faith and religion on those areas, he misses the whole point on faith in God and the greater questions which faith asks.
    Lobdell's indictment of the church rings true but his faith experience seems shallow at best.
    I would recommend this book to those looking for ammunition on the church as an institution not to those looking for questions about faith.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 20, 2009

    The Conversion to No God

    This is a excellent book and brings into it many of the struggles I had to make in the same direction. Its honesty with the subject matter is stark and refreshing. The tug of war with ones self on matter of faith and reality is brought home in masterful prose. I heartly recommend it to anyone with and without faith to understand the journey from faith to life with out God.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Outstanding Book.

    William Lobdell's journey from believer to nonbeliever is the best book I have read in the past 12 months. The subject matter is engrossing and the writing is world-class.

    As a new believer, Lobdell saw that the huge topic of religion was not getting the correlating amount of press and prayed to God that he would be able to write religious articles fulltime. His prayers were finally answered albeit many years later.

    His investigation and reporting on Catholic priest sex abuse and mega-church preachers over time eroded his faith. Through years of reporting on hundreds of stories, he noted a wide chasm between the views from the pulpit and the actual behaviors of the believers. Further investigation showed him that atheist - as a whole - were more moral than believers. For me, I believe the final straw was the bishops blind eyes toward the sexually abused youngsters.

    Losing My Religion is the most honest book I have ever read. I am a believer for several reasons. This book did not turn me into an atheist nor cause me to question my beliefs. However, after reading this, I can fully understand why others and especially Lobdell would chose to release their belief in a god or gods.

    I have seen a few Amazon reviews that rate this book less than 5 stars. It seems the rating is based on their own view of the supernatural and really has little to do with the quality of this book. That is sad because they may be keeping others from reading of the best tomes in years.

    I hope you find this review helpful.

    Michael L. Gooch - Author of Wingtips with Spurs:Cowboy Wisdom for Today's Business Leaders.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)