"" Writer's Wanderings: Does God Love an Atheist?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Does God Love an Atheist?

I ran across an interesting article about Julia Sweeney, a former SNL cast member (http://marty-center.uchicago.edu/sightings/archive_2006/0525.shtml). She quit the show in 1994 to go out on her own in Los Angeles. Shortly after, a series of tragedies including the death of her younger brother caused her to question and eventually give up her faith. She had been a practicing Catholic.

At first she came out with a comedy monologue called, God Said, "Ha!", implying that God had a weird sense of humor. Then when she finally gave up on God entirely, she put together a monologue called, Letting Go of God. The article describes it this way:

Furthermore, she finds that the Bible contains no satisfactory response to her personal tragedies. In a manner at once poignant and comical, she recalls her brother's months of "unspeakable suffering," comparing them bitterly to Jesus' relatively quick death and resurrection: "Someone once said: 'Jesus had a really bad weekend for our sins.'" As the Bible study course progresses, she finds herself turning away from the "bi-polar" deity found in the Bible's "nutty stories." Finally, she accedes to a little voice inside that has been whispering, to her horror, "There is no God."

The line that bothered me was "Jesus had a really bad weekend for our sins." A bad weekend? Perhaps Sweeney is only considering physical pain. She discounts mental anguish, verbal abuse, and a broken heart. Also discounted are the three days he spent in hell. Been there lately? No, neither have I but I can't imagine the horror of that. And, what is time? I can remember an auto accident when a few seconds felt like hours as I watched the windshield splinter ever so slowly before my eyes.

But all argument over whose pain was greater, Jesus or her brother's, aside, Sweeney isn't exactly the atheist she portends to be. After all, she named the monologue, Letting Go of God. How do you let go of something you don't believe exists?

Thankfully, Jesus spent that weekend...and more...because he loves Julia Sweeney too.

5 comments:

Simon said...

Ahhh, poor old Jesus. How about the thousands of others who were crucified? Are they special too. Did they die for us?

Karen said...

He died for them.

Tracy J said...

Saying something isn't there that you know exists is a coping mechanism. We try to deny the things that hurt us the most in an attempt to "get over them." In due time, I think she'll come around.

Donna J. Shepherd said...

Wow. I've never heard the 'bad weekend' remark before. I have a feeling that Jesus knew long before that weekend what lay ahead of Him, don't you?

Thanks for the post. Let's remember to pray for Julia. She's been through a lot.

Phil said...

I found this post, oddly enough, because I was quoting Julia Sweeney and I googled "bad weekend for our sins." I saw her show "Letting Go of God" in Los Angeles last year and was very moved by it.

I'm confused by this sentence: "How do you let go of something you don't believe exists?" I don't think there's anything illogical about the title; the show is about letting go of the belief in God. It's a very poignant show.

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