Christian Long

Julia Sweeney: Letting Go of God

In TED Talks on May 20, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Reflection by JENNA K.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Julia Sweeney:  Letting Go of God


With our own student TED Talks approaching, I really appreciated Julia Sweeney’s presentation on letting go of God. The way she spoke was so captivating and her enthusiasm was so contagious. Religion is something that a lot of people find it easy to be passionate about. The love that many people feel for and from God is a very strong emotion, but as Sweeney said, “I feel God’s love…I take shelter in God’s love…but I’m not exactly sure if I believed what I so clearly felt.”

The thing that I find the most interesting is that until Sweeney learned about some of the Mormon doctrine, she was in complete agreement with the missionary boys. Both her and the boys’ faiths believed that God loves them and that all people were brothers and sisters. But as soon as she realized they held a belief different than her belief of the Virgin Mary and so forth, she immediately rejected what the boys were saying.

Why is that? Compare religions. Same basic doctrine, different stories. Religions tend to focus on the stories that encompass their beliefs, but if the focus was on the beliefs we’d all realize that most religions are the same. But unfortunately, people like Sweeney grew up believing in stories like that of the Virgin Mary and such and they find it hard to accept any other story than that.

Sweeney’s story about discovering the “age of reason” demonstrates how, for some people, religion has and always will be a part of their life. But it isn’t always the right religion because they are born into it. These days, religion has become something we pick up from our parents. But what if we feel differently than our parents? What if later in life, when we are old enough to hold our own independent religious beliefs, we are too blinded by the belief system we grew up in to embrace another doctrine?

What does letting go of God mean? To me it means we should let go of the story of God and hold on to the feeling of a higher being loving us and judging us. We should let go of what may or may not have happened in the past and hold on to possible salvation in the future.

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