2007-07-24 13:03:20.0 Administrator2: We'll begin now -- welcome Bill, and thanks for chatting!
JayH: Hi Bill! My first question is: have you felt at all like a lot of people, whether acquaintances or complete strangers, have made you their "project" since your piece was published?
JayH: By the way, I want to add that I thought your article took a lot of courage to write and publish, whether it felt that way or not. :)
Bill Lobdell: Well, I've gotten something like 1,300 e-mails, many of them encouraging me to stay with my faith -- or at least keep my mind open.
Karen Bro: first, I want to thank you for your soul-baring article. It is rare for readers to be exposed to such personal insight by a reporter. Your article ends in summer 2005; I am wondering where you stand now on the issue of your personal faith?
Bill Lobdell: I'm pretty much an agnostic, leaning toward atheism. My mind isn't closed. I mourn the loss of faith, but that's where I am.
LouLou: Your story on Sunday was so thought provoking. Thanks for writing so honestly about something so personal. Could you talk a little bit about the difference between magical thinking and deep faith?
Bill Lobdell: I'm not sure I know how to answer that. I've seen people who really, really believe in their faith, and their day-to-day actions are quite different that people, such as myself, who called themselves religious. Maybe that's deep faith.
flistr8: I think it's gerat that people such as yourself, Chris Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris et al are appearing in mainstream media and portrayed in a positive light. It's time the world see that people without faith in god are still moral, sensitive and rational. Thanks for your story.
Bill Lobdell: Thanks. But I tried not to come off as someone who has an ax to grind about God. I don't. I think a lot of the institutions built in his name that very corrupt, but I'm not out to be an evangelical atheist.
Peggy Normandin: Bill, you said in your article that people were either born with faith/religion (terms you use interchangably) or not. How can you "mourn" the loss of something you apparently never had?
Bill Lobdell: I love the idea of having faith. It's comforting. I've chased it since I was 28 -- some years ago. I think people often mourn, in a sense, things they don't had.
Karen Bro: Do you make any attempts to attend church or read books by Christian authors, or Christian blogs? Or, for that matter, spiritual matter from any source -- Christian or otherwise?
Bill Lobdell: I don't attend church anymore, but I do still read quite a bit -- both books and on the Internet. And not just Christianity, though that's my main focus.
Gee: Bill, are you an atheist?
Bill Lobdell: Not quite.
WhatSayItAintSO: I found your article poignant. You have gone where I have almost gone, but can not bring myself to go. What effect have people like Carl Sagan, Dawkins, or Hitchens had on your thinking? Is it not enough to stand on the idea that God exists, He is good and worthy of our trust, but inexplicable and one day it will all be made clear?
jody: "He is good and worthy of our trust," That sounds like so much wishful thinking to me.
jody: How do you know "he" is "good?"
Live chat: spirituality and tests of faith
Transcript: L.A. Times reporter William Lobdell took readers' questions in a live chat Tuesday, July 24.
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
Having technical problems? Check here for guidance.