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I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith…

I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith through an Atheist's Eyes

by Hemant Mehta

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Could be read by Christians or atheists. Questioning teens might like this. ( )
  DeweyEver | Apr 30, 2013 |
Interesting concept in which an atheist sells his time to the highest bidder, and at said bidder's request, attends several different churches & critiques the services. Mehta, I think, is sincere but he cuts the charlatans and fools in these churches too much slack. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Mehta is “the eBay atheist,” the nonbeliever who auctioned off the opportunity for the winning bidder to send him to church. Since then, Mehta has visited a variety of churches, from the cozy to the mega churches, and written about his experiences.

If you’re looking for comedy, this is not. The subtitle is “Viewing faith through an atheist’s eyes,” and Mehta, who stopped believing as a teenager, never crosses back over the line.

He begins his book by explaining what it is the nonreligious believe. He touches on prayer, suffering, child raising, and points out that atheism is not merely the denial of a supernatural being; it is a lifestyle. Then he narrates his journey from church to church, describing the events, the rituals, the music and more from an outsider’s viewpoint. At the conclusion of the book, Mehta offers suggestions for making the church experience more attractive and how to reach out to unbelievers.

What would it take for Mehta to become a believer? A miracle. A real miracle, not some “God helped me find a roommate” type of miracle. And I suspect Hemant speaks for a great number of atheists.

In a recent forum, someone made the statement that the believer will never understand the atheist’s mind, and the atheist will never understand the believer’s mind. I’m not sure I entirely agree, because many people grow from believers into atheists and vice versa. But the typical Christian suggestion that atheists work to suppress an inherent belief in God is no more true than the atheist idea that Christians are easily deluded. I have met many incredibly intelligent people on both sides of the line. Mehta’s book bridges the gap and breaks down the stereotypes. ( )
2 vote DubiousDisciple | May 9, 2011 |
I read Hemant's blog, friendlyatheist.com, so when I saw this book at a friend's house, I was eager to borrow it.

It was interesting to read about so many different kinds of church services and what he thought of them from an outsider's perspective. On the other hand, especially in the beginning of the book, there were some poorly phrased sections with common stereotypes and generalizations about atheists. The writing is mediocre at best and the book could have used a good editor. I expect if Hemant wrote it now, with all the experience he's had writing in general and about atheism in particular, it would be much a better book.

I'm glad I read it and I'm especially glad it exists, because I like Hemant's blog and it seems he initiated the blog because of the book or at least because of the ebay auction. However, the book itself is a pretty weak overall. ( )
  bluesalamanders | May 11, 2009 |
In his book, Mehta talks about his eBay auction in which Jim Henderson purchased the ability to send Mehta to churches of his choosing for a specified length of time. Hemant posted his experiences and findings on a website and then eventually wrote this book as a follow-up (money-maker?) to the entire experiment.

The only big surprise I had through reading the book was that Hemant admitted his love for the mega-church experience. I think I expected him to be turned-off to the large, impersonal-ness that is often associated with the mega-church situation.

I don’t know if I agree with Mehta’s consistency of writing that “he is at the center of every church’s target-audience”. As an atheist, his belief (or disbelief, rather) that there IS no God places him in a category of NOT the kind of person I would expect for a church to minister to on a Sunday-morning. I might add that Hemant visited churches in a geographically-similar area (surrounding his Chicago address) with some mega-church visits in other locations. I can’t help but wonder what experience he would’ve had smaller-sized churches in other areas of the country, too…

All in all, I enjoyed the book - I was challenged even as a youth pastor to realize the importance of keeping in check the idea that not everyone in my ministry is from the same background or has the same knowledge-base as me or any other student peer! ( )
  navets | Dec 9, 2008 |
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