I just saw Julia Sweeney's brilliant one-woman show, Letting Go of God. There's one more show at the Groundling's on Tuesday. I'd say catch it if you can. It's funny, smart, honest, emotional--I loved it. It's her trek through bible study, new age, buddhism, and trying to find out if God exists, and how she can believe what she grew up with. You can also listen to a half hour of it at This American Life, as they played part of it last year--it's 6/3/05 Episode--Godless America. Go, go, go. One of my favorite lines, to her daughter: "Oh, everyone thinks you're so pretty. I guess you won't have to develop a personality like your Mother did." And this one "So basically Jesus had a really bad weekend for our sins." Or when she tells her mother she doesn't believe in God anymore, and her mother responds, "I hope this doesn't mean you're not going to Church!"
As a lifelong spiritual searcher, I found her quest refreshing, not only her honesty, but her willingness to ask questions and deal with the answers when they were difficult. The Deepak Chopra is full of shit section was hysterical. She manages to find the base of confusion, and control in most religions, and still is able to respect the religions themselves, as well as the impulses that drive people to believe. For me the triumph of the show is the compassion with which she is able to look at organized religions and belief systems, asking questions, but never ridiculing those who believe. And I love her discovery of science--that in the end, science for her acknowledges the mystery and the lack of answers in a way that no religion can. That was a surprising and satisfying conclusion to come to. I certainly left not sad about her conclusion, but filled with the true sense of wonder that we are here at all. Wonderful show.