Author of “Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America — and Found Unexpected Peace”

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Good Ink


What would you do if you “discovered” one day that the rock upon which you had built your spiritual house, the the God to whom you had devoted your life and to whom you assigned thanks for all your good fortune, the greatest love of your life, never existed? William Lobdell takes his readers by the hand and walks us through his spiritual life; From it’s joyful birth, it’s often uncomfortable growing pains and maturity to it’s slow weakening and eventual demise. While focusing on his faith and his own spiritual path, the author joyfully throws himself into the role of a religious writer for a major newspaper, not apologizing for downfalls or weakness within the church but rejoicing in stories of perserverance and belief only to find that by the end of the journey he had lost his way. Confronted with the growing evidence of lives destroyed by sexual abuse, phony faith healers and greedy televangelists and the niggling doubts about why God always gets the credit but never the blame, Lobdell struggles to hang on until he can no longer maintain the facade, even for himself. Never bitter or judgmental, Lobdell explores the often misunderstood grief and sense of failure that accompanies the loss of faith. The personal disappointment, but also the sense of failing one’s friends and family who remain within the framework of faith. How do you tell your wife? Your minister? Your best friend? How do you tell your readers? “Losing My Religion” isn’t a recitation of the many evils of organized religion. It isn’t a push by the author to abandon God. It isn’t even a memoir so much as it is a love story, a tale of love found and love lost. (Five out of five stars.)


Mr. Lobdell, I work at a bookstore and I just read the advanced copy (galley, whatever it’s called) And all I can say is Wow. I too was once a Christian (Lutheran), and wanted to learn everything about the bible. BUT, when I was 17 I learned so much about religions, I could no longer say that I was a Chirstian. Now I’m 40, and no one has shown me a good, believable reason to be a Christian.

Well, enough about me. I just want to say, good luck. I can see “Losing My Religion” being on the Best Seller lists. When this book comes out, I will put it on the “Staff Pick” shelf at the independent book store where I work.


“William Lobdell really and truly wanted to believe. When he came to realize that wanting and believing are two sides of the same coin, he decided to take the risk of basing morality on the modest of human reason and solidarity instead of on the self-defeating arrogance of faith.

–Christopher Hitchens, author of “God Is Not Great

“This is the most intellectually honest and emotionally courageous book I have ever read, and it’s a page turner from cover to cover. The new atheist community will embrace it, of course, but I think all Christians owe it to themselves to read [it] … Lobdell is willing to go where few religious believers can. To find out where that place is you must read this book.”

–Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and author

There is one theme to Bill Lobdell’s book and he uses the famous “if-then” proposition to prove that theme. That is, “if” God exists and has transformed the lives of people–especially we church people–”then” we should see Jesus like evidence of this transformation in the lives of professed followers.

–Barry Minkow, senior pastor of Community Bible Church in San Diego

“Written with humor, honesty, and passion, this is a book that should be read by all those who seek to confront, as Lobdell has, the ethical scandals and theological challenges that have shaken Christianity to its core.”

–Dr. Marvin Meyer, co-editor, “The Gnostic Bible”

Bill Lobdell has written a heart/mind/soul-wrenching spiritual autobiography. He has been inspired by followers of Jesus who have served their Lord with integrity. But he has also been devastated by observing, up-close, the ugly, sinful underbelly of a critical, self-serving institutional and individual religion. This is a must read filled with warnings and wake-up calls to those of us in leadership positions. I respect Bill for his honest reporting of his odyssey to this point and pray that someday there may be a future book, just as honest, with a grace-filled conclusion.

As the senior pastor of a church for the last 12 years, I wholeheartedly believe that every Christian who wants to equip themselves to do the Great Commission and not just talk about the Great Commission better think through the passionate and detailed account of Bill’s de-conversion. No longer can I offer the trite answer of “don’t judge a philosophy by its abuse” as Bill debunks that argument with his sincerity and transparency.

Not only do I love and respect Bill, I thoroughly learned by reading his book that I am also a contributor to his de-conversion in my apathy towards the hurting and the needy. No, the book did not harm my faith in the Lord Jesus, it just demonstrated that the Emperor has no clothes and that I am one of the emperors.

One last thing. The cover of Bill’s book says it all. It shows the picture of a candle with a barely lit ember. The optimist in me says that with that little light, there is still hope that Bill will once again regain the faith that he once held. That will depend largely on my love for him and Christ like behavior that is so absent from my life that I never knew of until I read this book.

–The Rev. John Huffman, chairman of the board of Christianity Today


    • OC Metro: The Man Who Learned Too Much
    • Daily Pilot: Faith to be Honest
    • Daily Pilot: Faith Woes Resound on Holiday


    • The original Los Angeles Times story: Religion beat became a test of faith
    • NPR interview: “Paradise lost”
    • Radio Interview: Drew Marshall Show
    • NPR interview: “Reporter’s Religion Beat Leads to Faith Crisis”
    • Live online chat with www.latimes.com readers
    • The religion beat, American Public Media radio
    • Religion writer loses religion, Freethought Radio