How “Letting Go of God” is Truly a One-Woman Show December 15, 2009

How “Letting Go of God” is Truly a One-Woman Show

Julia Sweeney explains why the label “one-woman show” is a perfect way to describe Letting Go of God. Unlike her previous projects which had corporate backers and some creative input from other people, her show about atheism is hers all the way — right down to shipping the CDs and DVDs to Amazon warehouses.

I moved last year and got to know the folks at my post office. I did absolutely no advertising and no publicity for Letting Go of God over this last year. None. And I would sell somewhere between 100 and 200 DVDs a month through Amazon. I still like taking the boxes to the post office, I still like packing the boxes. I still like touching each DVD with my own hands before it goes off into the world.

It’s really a nice piece that makes you like Julia even more than before 🙂

You can purchase the DVD here, by the way.

You can also now read about Julia’s adventures visiting the Amazon warehouses to drop off her products. Hilarious.

On a side note, I was surprised to read this: Julia needed to purchase “insurance against people like Deepak suing me for defamation.” (In the show, she remarks that Chopra is “full of shit.”)

Then there was this last year, getting the movie ready to show on cable… There are all these things that have to be done, like getting closed captioning, and insurance against people like Deepak suing me for defamation (it’s so ridiculous, public figures are explicitly open to being parodied or made the butt of jokes — I mean I worked on SNL so I know this, it was discussed constantly — but still I had to get insurance just for a nuisance law suit!)

I did not know that type of insurance even existed… it just sounds like something that would backfire again the “defamation victim.” To sue over what someone said about you would bring even more attention to what they said… and since it happens to be true in this case, all the worse for Chopra, no?

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  • ray

    To sue over what someone said about you would bring even more attention to what they said… and since it happens to be true in this case, all the worse for Chopra, no?

    The Streisand Effect is a modern miracle and is replicable, thus making it even more of a miracle 🙂

  • it just sounds like something that would backfire again the “defamation victim.” To sue over what someone said about you would bring even more attention to what they said

    Surprisingly, it’s not uncommon. It even has a name: The Streisand Effect.

  • Angie

    I just saw LETTING GO OF GOD on cable a few days ago, and it blew me away! Kudos to Julia Sweeney for having the bravery to accept truth over comfortable myths, and for sharing her journey with others.

  • MLB

    And so what is the myth there Angie? Bigfoot is a myth. If you are for example referring to Jesus, well, even if you don’t accept Christianity, it is historically documented that Christ lived in the first century, that Pilate lived and was procurator of Judea, they dicovered Caiphais’ bones in his ossuary; in fact many excavations yielding documented proof of what is in the Bible. There were many authors in the first century, for example, Flavius Josephus, who was a Jew, and who wrote of Jesus and his death under Pilate;
    so if you want to compare what is myth and what is not, I suggest you might want to do your homework.

  • Josephus has been proven to be a forgery. So, I guess by your logic, since New Orleans exists and many of the locations described have been found…not to mention locations in Paris, Greece and other places…the vampire Lestat must exist.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    MLB, I think the myths in question are the ideas that Jesus is God, died for sins, etc., not necessarily the Jesus-myther stuff.

    As for the insurance against defamation lawsuits and the Streisand effect, sure, if Chopra were to sue Sweeney, the bad publicity would likely hurt him in the short term, but it would also discourage future people from following Sweeney’s lead–which would be part of the point of such a suit.

    ETA: Judith Bandsma, I suggest you check your facts before proclaiming “Josephus has been proven to be a forgery.”

  • Kaylya

    The existance of Jesus is not nearly so well documented as you might think. Josephus was writing in around 93AD, well after Jesus’ death, and the most relevant passage is widely believed to have been altered in some way (if not a complete later fabrication), which you can read about in detail here.

    Now, you can widely establish that *Christians* and the story of Jesus existed by late in the 1st century, but Jesus himself is considerably more iffy. Absence of evidence is of course not evidence of absence, but the case is not nearly so neat as you think it is.

  • Bleatmop

    I think it would have a net beneficial effect for both people if a lawsuit were to take place. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Those that agree with Deepak will rally behind him and he’ll be at the front of their mind which will probably translate into more sales. Same goes for vice versa. I guess only tracking sales figures would show if I’m right or wrong.

  • Lynn

    She is so freakin’ cute. Makes me smile all over. 🙂

  • Miko

    To sue over what someone said about you would bring even more attention to what they said

    It’s a mutually-assured destruction kind of thing. They’ll lose on that particular case, but it’ll intimidate the next person into keeping their mouth shut. The church of scientology and the RIAA use this tactic all the time.

  • Mara Jade

    I can’t even recall how many times I’ve seen that show. It’s so wonderful. I love all of her points, I recommend it to all my friends. ^_^ The fact that she’s done THAT much for it just makes me love it even more.

  • JJ Ramsey:

    But first things first. Josephus was not a contemporary historian. He was born in the year 37 C.E., several years after Jesus’ alleged death. There is no way he could have known about Jesus from is own personal experience. At best, he could have recorded the activities of the new cult of Christianity, and what they said about their crucified leader. So, even if Josephus wrote about Jesus, it is not a credible source.

    The first “Jesus Passage” is discussed below. The paragraph on Jesus was added to Josephus’s work at the beginning of the 4th century, during Constantine’s reign, probably by or

    under the order of Bishop Eusebius, who was known for saying that it was permissible for Christians to lie in order to further the Kingdom of God. This behavior is justified directly in the New Testament, where Paul writes in the 3rd Chapter of Romans: “For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory, why yet am I also judged as a sinner?”


    In the closing years of the first century, Josephus, the celebrated Jewish historian, wrote his famous work on “The Antiquities of the Jews.” In this work, the historian made no mention of Christ, and for two hundred years after the death of Josephus, the name of Christ did not appear in his history. There were no printing presses in those days. Books were multiplied by being copied. It was, therefore, easy to add to or change what an author had written. The church felt that Josephus ought to recognize Christ, and the dead historian was made to do it. In the fourth century, a copy of “The Antiquities of the Jews” appeared, in which occurred this passage: “Now, there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works; a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”

    Such is the celebrated reference to Christ in Josephus. A more brazen forgery was never perpetrated. For more than two hundred years, the Christian Fathers who were familiar with the works of Josephus knew nothing of this passage. Had the passage been in the works of Josephus which they knew, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen an Clement of Alexandria would have been eager to hurl it at their Jewish opponents in their many controversies. But it did not exist. Indeed, Origen, who knew his Josephus well, expressly affirmed that that writer had not acknowledged Christ.
    Scroll down.

    Many, many, many more.

  • Glen

    I saw this on cable a few nights ago. It was very moving and very funny. I actually cried for the first time in 5 years. I will be buying this for some of my relatives.

  • RG

    Woo! I’m glad she did.. I ordered a copy of the dvd last week and they said it wouldn’t be delivered until 2 weeks after xmas… but i got an email from amazon yesterday saying it would arrive on the 18th! I love knowing there is a story as to why. I feel privileged.

  • Judith Bandsma, a few things.

    First, you wrote “Josephus has been proven to be a forgery,” as if you were referring to the man or to his whole body of work. None of your sources confirm such a broad claim. Second, if I’m charitable and understand you as referring to particular passages in Josephus’ work, there is still the matter that the sources that you cite are either old or citing old sources, and sources that aren’t even known experts in Greek, ancient Mediterranean cultures, etc.

    If, on the other hand, you look at an academic book like The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide by Theissen and Merz, you find that in one of the two mentions of Jesus in Josephus’ works, the Testimonium Flavianum, there is no consensus as to whether it is wholly forged or merely doctored, and that the other reference to Jesus by Josephus, where he briefly mentions in passing James the brother of Jesus called Christ, is nigh-universally considered authentic.

  • I’m pretty sure it doesn’t say anything about “Christ” when it mentions James the brother of Jesus. “Christ” is a messianic title, and Josephus was a messianic Jew. He would not have only mentioned the savior and redeemer of all mankind in passing.

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