Julia Sweeney – Letting go of God – This American Life
Update: Be sure to read my related post here. It’s the audio from her KUER RadioWest interview that aired in November 2007.
Here is a 28:45 minute MP3 (6.58MB) clip of her show as it aired on This American Life on 3 June 2005. This episode became the single most popular story ever aired on the program.
Sweeney is an atheist, something she brought to light in a one-woman show entitled Letting Go of God. In it, she discusses her Catholic upbringing, early religious ideology, and the life events and internal search that led her to believe that the universe can function on its own without a deity to preside over it.
She began performing the show live in Los Angeles. In May 2006, she performed the piece in Austin, Texas, at The Paramount Theater. The Austin show was followed by a half-hour discussion between Sweeney and Ira Glass (host of This American Life). An excerpt of the show subsequently appeared on This American Life in an episode entitled Godless America. Letting Go of God was released on CD in 2006, and was filmed live on stage in May 2007 (release date t.b.a., pending postproduction).
In 2006, Sweeney was awarded the Richard Dawkins Award and the American Humanist Association’s “Humanist Pioneer” award, and joined the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America. She also does commercials for the Freedom From Religion Foundation on Air America Radio.