I first read William Lobdell’s Losing My Religion back in 2009. As I re-read Kevin Roose’s The Unlikely Disciple earlier this year, I felt compelled to re-read Losing My Religion as well.

William Lobdell spent many years as a Christian, moving from a non-denominational church to Presbyterian, and finally undergoing courses to convert to Catholicism. He was an enthusiastic Christian, praying and reading his bible frequently, attending church with his family, and working as the religion reporter for the Los Angeles Times. While most of Lobell’s religion and faith reporting is upbeat and shows good things about faiths of all kinds, things start to change for him as he begins to see that oftentimes, the faithful don’t live morally and that in many instances, there is little difference between the morality of atheists and the faithful. As Lobdell begins to investigate the child abuse scandal within the Catholic church and the antics of numerous evangelicals associated with organizations like the Trinity Broadcasting Network, he begins to ask more and more questions and finds that the more he asks, the less his faith can answer.

I found Losing My Religion to be a very authentic read.  Anyone who has ever dared to question their faith knows there are only two possible outcomes: questioning leads to deeper faith, or turns you away from it altogether. And when you’ve depended on faith for many years, when you’re surrounded by people who are faithful, if you turn away from it, you find it is a very lonely journey.  People rejoice when someone is “saved” but few are as happy for you when you walk away from that salvation.  Lobdell doesn’t get self-righteous about his weakening faith. In fact, he seeks answers that could keep him in his faith. But ultimately, he has to go with what his head and his heart tell him.

Unlike Richard Dawkins, who can be patronizing to non-believers, Lobdell is respectful of people who maintain their faith. He doesn’t attack anyone for believing, he simply articulates his own thoughts and feelings.  He brings up many of the same questions that many doubters raise- the questions that either have no answer at all, or answers that are at best unsatisfying.

Anyone who has gone on their own questioning journey, and who has come out the other side feeling more contented and at peace than when they started will appreciate this read.