Regular price: $11.95

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
In Cart

Editorial Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Anyone who thinks that Julia Sweeney is just the comedian who played "Pat" on Saturday Night Live, doesn't know Julia Sweeney. Letting Go of God, an elegantly written and beautifully performed monologue about her loss of faith, made me laugh - a lot - and think even more. Far from being an angry atheistic screed, it is an uplifting journey of the heart. — Steve Feldberg

Publisher's Summary

Julia Sweeney says she was a "happy Catholic girl" when, one day, she walked into church and signed up for a Bible-study course. "What an eye opener that was!" she says. "Next thing you know, I was on a quest for something I could really believe in. I traveled to places like Bhutan, Ecuador, and my local Starbucks looking for answers. Would I embrace Buddhism? New Age pseudo-science? Was I a freak for feeling the way I did, or were there other people out there just like me? I was grappling with serious questions. But, somehow, a lot of the things that were happening to me seemed, well, funny."

Equally comedic and insightful, Letting Go of God is Sweeney's brilliant one-woman show about her struggle with her faith. Grappling with the seeming contradictions in Adam and Eve, Noah, the Ten Commandments, and even the teachings of Jesus - and trying to understand the Bible's messages about morality, family values, and human suffering while faced with door-knocking Mormons and wise-cracking priests - Sweeney takes listeners on her very personal journey from God to "not-God".

This performance was recorded on November 19, 2005, at the Ars Nova Theatre in New York City.

Julia Sweeney was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1989-94, and is best known for the mysteriously androgynous character, "It's Pat!". She has also served as a consulting producer on Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives. Letting Go of God is her third monologue. She performed her first, God Said, "Ha!", in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and on Broadway, as well as in a film produced by Quentin Tarantino. The CD version was nominated for a Grammy.

There's lots more Julia Sweeney available at Audible®! Just click here to download In the Family Way, her appearances on This American Life, her Un-Cabaret performances, and other great programs.
©2006 Julia Sweeney (P)2006 Julia Sweeney

Critic Reviews

"Searing and bracingly funny....Letting Go of God is refreshingly unrancorous, lucid and, yes, inspirational." (The New York Times) "Letting Go of God is a gale-force breath of fresh air into the mostly political dialogue about religion in our time." (Los Angeles Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Warner, NH, USA
  • 12-09-06

A Brilliant Personal Journey of Discovery

You can read Dawkins, Harris, or Dennett and find yourself informed, inflamed, or even affirmed, but none of them is as "humanly" insightful as Julia Sweeney. This is not juat another comic "rant" about the foibles of religion. Sweeney's deep personal journey was not just about her reactions but also about her explorations. She speaks profoundly as someone who both feels the emotional implications of her journey and the knows the intellectual basis for it. If you've ever been anywhere near the route she's traveled, you'll recognize the terrain as if it's being described by an old friend. If you've been afraid to take the journey, Sweeney's caring and poignant account will urge you forward. And if you're threatened by such journeys of discovery, you might just discover there's less to be afraid of that you thought. All of this is delivered in Julia Sweeney's impecable comic timing - she's speaking from the heart but she's also speaking as someone who knows how to get her message across in a way it can be heard and enjoyed. At 2 hours, this audiobook is just the right length to engage you but not overwhelm you. Buy, listen, enjoy, and think.

39 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Entertaining and Thought Provoking

As a former believing Mormon, I could not stop listening to Julia's story. I went through the SAME journey and came to her same conclusions. She is surprisingly well read and has a genuine quest for truth. I really admire her intellectual honesty with herself. I can tell you first hand that her telling of the story from her visit with the Mormon missionaries is spot-on what you would hear from any Mormon missionary, other than the part about Joseph Smith putting his face in a hat to translate the Golden Plates. The church hides that little nugget and 95% of missionaries are not aware of that being in the historical record. She keeps your attention throughout the journey. She often will discuss something deeply thought provoking and then say something extremely funny right after so as to not get too serious. She has truly mastered story-telling skills. I have heard this type of story many times before, but never so entertaining and thought provoking. I listen to this over and over again. It does not get old.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Mississauga, ON, Canada
  • 07-25-07

Brilliant, charming -- sheer genius

Letting Go Of God covers all the bases: the journey from childhood religious indoctrination to freethinking adulthood, the contradictions in the Bible, the silliness of New Age thinking as a substitute for reason, the prejudice against atheists, and, most of all, shows that you can be a good, kind, loving person without God (indeed, it's hard not to be totally in love with Sweeney by the end). It never sneers, never uses condescension, and never once tells anyone else what to think -- it trust that the members of the audience can find their own way. A tour de force; I recommend it highly and wholeheartedly.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wise, touching, and awfully funny

Julia Sweeney has come a long way since her "Pat" days on Saturday Night Live, when she suffered by comparison with a born character actor like Gilda Radner. Instead, Sweeney is a master of the comedy that comes with experience and insight, the comedy of maturity. "Letting Go of God" is a performance by a woman who has grown tremendously as a humorist as well as a person.

This title is a live recording, before an audience, of her one-woman show. It comes without context or introduction, which is a bit startling: after "This is Audible" you're thrown right into the opening story of Sweeney as a 7-year-old learning that her Catholic church now considers her to have reached the "age of reason" (meaning that God starts keeping score).

The rest of the narrative fits squarely into the genre of spiritual autobiography, but not your forefathers' pilgrim's progress: hers is hilarious, and it leads away from Catholicism and belief in God to a confident humanism.

Totally missing from "Letting Go of God" are the stridency and pugnaciousness of this year's defenses of atheism by Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Sweeney honors the part of herself that will always be Catholic, and while she's as impatient as Dawkins or Harris with narrow-minded fundamentalism she doesn't share their tendency to call people she doesn't agree with idiots. (Well, okay, except for Deepak Chopra, but that's like making fun of mimes or something--you just *have* to do it.)

The quality of the recording is excellent, and the audience response mostly adds to the experience and never intrudes on Sweeney's storytelling.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Funny but true

Julia is halarious and it's hard not to agree with her arguments. She asks the questions that most people growing up Catholic only thought about but were afraid to ask out loud.

Julia didn't let go of God without a fight. She has done her research and is well informed in a variety of fields. In this performance she tells us about her personal struggle with religion, and demonstrates how her doubt and research have led her to where she is today. And she does this all in a very entertaining way.

If you struggle with religion, and especially Catholicism, you will enjoy this. If you are on the other side, you may find it troublesome, although she is not disrespectful at all.

It takes guts to do what she has done and she deserves kudos for her bravery.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Karon
  • Gilbert, AZ, United States
  • 05-21-08

Artfully told

I would not have tolerated this book if it were written any other way than the way she told it. From her experiences, I can see why she has come to the conclusion she did. I learned a valuable lesson from her, my thoughts are my own and I don't have to worry about being judged one day for them. Thank you for clearing my head of the "judgement seat" of God. I cannot let go of God, but I can understand those who have and will not burden them with the mundane questions and comments in attempts to "figure them out". Thank you for gently telling your story with humor and love. I finally get it.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tim
  • College Station, TX, USA
  • 12-22-09

Julia Sweeney isn't "Strident".

For the many believers who avoid reasoned, if undiplomatic, arguments assailing their religion by attacking the messengers, Julia Sweeney is the answer. Julia offered nothing that further shored up my disdain for religion - I didn't need it. The older I get, the more ridiculous religion seems to me. What is clear, however, is how many believers disregard the arguments of Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris by whining about how abrasive these fellows are. And they are abrasive - who can blame them? But let's not go there - because Julia Sweeney does not go there. Where she takes us is on a delightful, heartfelt personal journey during which she finally concludes that she can no longer believe in the unbelievable. She's funny. She's sincere. And best of all, she's right.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Scott
  • Roseville, CA, United States
  • 09-07-08

Sweet Funny Tale of a Spiritual Journey

Julia Sweeney with humor and "textual" evidence direct from the Bible combined with personal experience really makes you understand her need to wander from the "flock" of the Christian-Catholic church. If you're open minded and have enough faith in your personal beliefs you'll withstand the few excellently placed jabs she makes at the Christian/Catholic's "bestseller". However if you are religiously fundamental and think of the Bible as the LITERAL WORD of GOD then you will see this comedian as a blasphemer. As a deist, I found her thoughtfulness very refreshing as she truly struggles to reconcile her visions of God and Jesus as loving beings... with the outright nastiness of God and many other contradictions so well documented in both the Old and New testaments. Even Jesus says/does some pretty surprising things as "the Prince of Peace" Granted the Old Testament writings are "Bronze Age" ramblings and that we should "...leave that book to the professionals." She really WANTS to believe but as she studies the actual Bible and THINKS you can hear the pain evident during her slow transformation. God gave us free will which God may want us to use correctly. Especially to develop a personal relationship with..uh... "him." It's hard to support anything that encourages "cult" thinking or discourages thinking for yourself and developing one's own reasonable set of morals that encourages love and kindness to all. Of course, personal belief is just that. This reviewer has no right to criticize anyone's personal beliefs (as long as they are not violent). But back to this concise wonderful monologue it really will open your eyes and you too may feel her outraged quip as she watches churchgoers with the Bible in their hands: "Have you even READ that BOOK?????"

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Aracely
  • New Fairfield, CT, United States
  • 01-03-08

She could have been telling my own story!

I absolutely loved this audio book! Julia Sweeny does such a wonderful job of explaining a very personal, sometimes painful soul-searching journey into her spiritual beliefs. I loved it because it also mirrored my own journey and took me to the same place in almost the exact same way. She tells her story in a humorous, but very intelligent manner that is very enjoyable. I would recommend it to anyone who has ever grappled with the question, "What if there is no god?"

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

She Nailed It

When you can take a subject this serious and make it entertaining, sensitive, informative, funny, and most of all persuasive, you should be congratulated with lots of superlatives. Julia's journey paralleled mine so closely that I'm surprised we didn't meet each other on the path. Regardless of your religious persuasion, listen to this recording. You owe it to yourself.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Nigel
  • 09-13-12

Thoroughly Uplifting

For anyone who has a doubt over their religious viewpoint please download this audiobook. It is highly entertaining and clearly cuts through the absurdity of organised religion of any denomination. Julias style is light hearted but with a bite when needed. Thoroughly uplifting and highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • D. C. Telfer
  • 04-13-13

What a joy!

I downloaded this recording after seeing Julia Sweeney recommended by Phil Plait (aka Bad Astronomer) and I would strongly echo his recommendation. This is intelligent, moving and frequently laugh-out-loud funny, all in a short space of time. Julia describes her personal journey of discovery from the Catholicism of her early life, through other types of spirituality and finally to atheism. With both humour and humility, she is able to convey the joy and increased sense of wonder, awe and mystery that can be delivered by a deeper understanding of science and freedom from religion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • bds2
  • 05-11-17

For heavens sake

What made the experience of listening to Letting Go of God the most enjoyable?

The houmour, presented by Julia, is great. A good laugh at her belief,and personal history

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Stuart Steel
  • 03-22-15

My repeat listening favorite

Of all the books in my relatively large collection this is the one I find myself re-listening to the most often. A well structured story arc and the perfect balance of humor and thoughtfulness.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Allison
  • 02-23-14

Not interesting

Want to delete from my library. Found it preachy and like the bible thumpers at the door, not interested.