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Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America and Found Unexpected Peace Hardcover – February 24, 2009
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From 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.)
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*Starred Review* Lobdell’s spiritual life had been a roller-coaster ride. During his late twenties, his marriage fell apart, he drank too much, and he cheated on his new—and pregnant—girlfriend. He was running away from responsibility as fast as he could. So when a friend told him he needed God—he suspended church attendance when a teenager—he listened. Slowly, things turned around. He secured a new job, marriage to his second wife went well, everything seemed to be falling into place. Attributing his newfound success to faith, he became a born-again Christian and, later, seriously considered converting to Catholicism. He became a full-time religion reporter for the Los Angeles Times, a job that exposed him to other faiths and to stories of abuse in mainstream religion circles, especially the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. Before long, he was wracked with doubt and stopped attending church altogether. “My long honeymoon with Christianity had ended.” Finally, he reached a turning point at which he concluded that there is no God. Lobdell’s spiritual journey fascinates, not least on account of the irony of his trajectory from agnosticism to belief to atheism while covering religion. It’s a story that may raise eyebrows among believers and nonbelievers alike. --June Sawyers
Top customer reviews
Like many institutions, it has long since forgotten it's original nominal purpose and is now mainly concerned with it's own prosperity.
So who should believe in the god religions profess if the religion itself doesn't, or at least doesn't seem to?
Or who should believe in the god religions profess if that god lets those claiming to be its representatives get away with behaving that way?
If you are afraid of asking those questions, or are afraid what the answer might be, don't read this book.
Lobdell's book struck a chord with me as I lost my religion and experienced similiar turmoil and strife. I lost my religion while I was researching the origins of the Bible and early Christianities. Lobdell's journey was investigating the corruption in the Church; however, the process of deciphering the facts and coming to a conclusion were the same.
I too have no interest in religion from a religious viewpoint anymore but I am fasinated with the history, drama, and rituals. Sadly this is the main cause of the end of my marriage but I could not continue to just fake it any longer. My kids are all over 18, and they already could figure my thoughts out a long time ago with out me saying any thing. Same thing with the author when he went to tell his kids.