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Julia Sweeney

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Sweeney is probably best known for her sexually-ambiguous character 'Pat' on Saturday Night Live when she was a cast member in the 1990s.

Michael Shermer recounts a joint appearance with Sweeney on Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect in his e-Skeptic Newsletter for December 12, 2000:

[Julia] was raised a Catholic, did the K-12 Catholic school sequence, etc. But then a few years ago she went to the Galapagos islands and had an epiphany of sorts. Instead of finding God, she found Darwin. She actually read the Origin of Species (a rarity these days, even among evolutionary biologists), and she described it to me as "a page turner." Wow! Then she read my book HOW WE BELIEVE, joined the skeptics, ordered all of the back issues of Skeptic and plowed through them, and has been reading skeptical and free thought literature ever since. On the show she talked about how she realized that all these creation stories are myths, and, in as articulate a manner as I've ever heard, she explained why living in a world of reality is so much more fulfilling than living in a world of fantasy. She is a wonderful ally to have for science and skepticism and I can't wait to watch her video monologue "And God Said, 'Ha!'" and her upcoming monologue she is working on about all these experiences of finding Darwin, science, and skepticism.

Sweeney's own site is located at http://juliasweeney.com.

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A reader writes: In her [recent monologue "Letting Go of God?"] she tells how a visit from two Mormon missionaries prompts her to recommit herself to understanding God. She signs up for bible-study class through her Catholic Church and is horrified by what she learns. Eventually she quits the Church to search for God elsewhere. With every new "lead" in her quest she plunges herself into books studying the underlying ideas and premises, and each time, the more she learns the further from believing in God she gets, until, much to her own surprise, she ends up an atheist.

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Sweeney was featured on Ira Glass' This American Life in June 2005 [1] where she presents an excerpt from her Letting Go of God one-woman show.

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In a August 15, 2005 interview with Sweeney in the SF Gate, entitled "Finding My Religion" [2], she talks about how she became an atheist.

Interviewer: Was there a turning point in terms of your leaving behind religion? Did you just wake up one day and realize you were an atheist?

Sweeney: No. It was a long process. I just became a stronger agnostic, and then I started to realize that everyone who was saying they were agnostic really hadn't thought about it that much. Still, I went with agnosticism for a long, long time because I just hated to say I was an atheist -- being an atheist seemed so rigid. But the more I became comfortable with the word, and the more I read, it started to stick.