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September 19, 2007

The Religion Beat

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About 10 years ago, William Lobdell was at a church retreat. He felt a warmth spreading in his chest and next he knew, he was raising his hand - he felt he had been saved. His faith gave him new purpose in life. After a couple of years as an evangelical Christian, he began taking steps to convert to Catholicism. Around the same time, he convinced his editors at the Los Angeles Times to allow him to become the paper's religion reporter.

At the beginning, the religion beat was a dream job. But as stories of clergy abuse and religious hypocrisy kept making the news, Bill found himself shaken, increasingly skeptical of both the church and its teachings. He began to question his own faith, and ultimately the existence of God.

This summer, Bill published an article in the LA Times explaining why he left the religion beat and became an atheist. He talks to Dick Gordon about how surprised he was at the reaction - he received hundreds of emails and letters in response to his article, and most of them were supportive.

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