Item description for I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith through an Atheist's Eyes by Hemant Mehta...
Overview What does the Gospel sound like to a nonbeliever, and how do Christians come across to those who live outside the faith? Mehta presents an outsider's revealing assessment of how Christianity is presented and the elements that enhance or detract from the presentation.
Publishers Description Unique insights from an atheist's Sunday-morning odyssey When Hemant Mehta was a teenager he stopped believing in God, but he never lost his interest in religion. Mehta is "the eBay atheist," the nonbeliever who auctioned off the opportunity for the winning bidder to send him to church. The auction winner was Jim Henderson, a former pastor and author of "Evangelism Without Additives. "Since then, Mehta has visited a variety of church services-posting his insightful critiques on the Internet and spawning a positive, ongoing dialogue between atheists and believers. "I Sold My Soul on eBay" tells how and why Mehta became an atheist and features his latest church critiques, including descriptions of his visits to some of the best-known churches in the country. His observations will surprise and challenge you, revealing how the church comes across to those outside the faith. Who better than a nonbeliever to offer an eye-opening assessment of how the gospel is being presented-and the elements that enhance or detract from the presentation. Mehta announced prior to his churchgoing odyssey that he would watch for any signs of God's existence. After spending Sunday mornings in some of the nation's leading churches, what happened to the man who sold his soul on eBay? Did attending church change his lack of belief? The answers can be found inside.
From Publishers Weekly Mehta, an atheist, once held an unusual auction on eBay: the highest bidder could send Mehta to a church of his or her choice. The winner, who paid $504, asked Mehta to attend numerous churches, and this book comprises Mehta's responses to 15 worshipping communities, including such prominent megachurches as Houston's Second Baptist, Ted Haggard's New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Willow Creek in suburban Chicago. (Mehta ranks Willow Creek as the church most likely to draw him back.) Mehta, who grew up Jain, offers some autobiographical context, then discusses nonreligious people's approach to topics such as death and suffering. But all that is just a preamble to Mehta's sketches of the churches he attended. He doesn't find much community in churches; families sit far apart from other families, and people race "out the front doors to their cars" as soon as the service ends. Churches earn high marks for Mehta when they offer great speakers and focus on community outreach, but they also do many things wrong, including singing repetitive songs and alienating non-Christians by ubiquitously proclaiming them to be "lost." Mehta's musings will interest Christians who seek to proselytize others and who want to identify their evangelistic mistakes. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Citations And Professional Reviews I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith through an Atheist's Eyes by Hemant Mehta has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 03/12/2007 page 55
CBA Retailers - 03/01/2007 page 40
Library Journal - 03/01/2007 page 63
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Hemant Mehta is an honors graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he helped establish the organization Students WithOut Religious Dogma (SWORD). Mehta also is chair of the Secular Student Alliance s board of directors. His story has been featured in the "Wall Street Journal," the "Chicago Sun-Times," the "Seattle Times," the "Village Voice," National Public Radio, andFOX News Channel, among other major news outlets. Currently, Mehta is working toward a masters degree in math education at DePaul University in Chicago."
Reviews - What do customers think about I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith through an Atheist's Eyes?
Misleading Apr 13, 2010
I purchased this book based upon the descripton, and editorial reviews. I was rather disappointed after reading it. The reviews did not, to me, accurately describe the content of the book, I found the content rather more shallow than I expected.
A refreshing point of view. Jan 28, 2010
"Don't go through life overlooking your neighbors and co-workers who are not religious. I've come across too many people who claim they've never met an atheist, much less spoken to one. I find that hard to believe, since the atheists I know come from all over the country and from all walks of life. It's time we started talking to one another."
This was the first portion that I underlined, and one which I feel sets the tone for the remainder of the book. While some reviewers may have given a lower rating since it was not directed toward their line of thinking, one should also take note of the wide array of viewpoints who have given a higher rating; i.e. everyone from religious to the non-religious. To me, this says a lot about the book, which does have the ability to place everyone on speaking terms.
Yes, there are countless other books currently in print which take a much more hard-lined approach, but screaming at someone while telling them they're wrong doesn't do much in the way of dialogue. Mr. Mehta provides a much more positive approach, which based on the variety of reviews here, I would surmise is working. I only wish this book were more widely read.
Five stars for the refreshing perspective, the gentle tone, and the ability to start a productive conversation.
A non-scary non-believer Nov 24, 2009
When Hemant Mehta was in his early 20s, he began to visit various Christian churches, and to blog his reactions to their services. Although an atheist, he was not out to tear down anybody else's beliefs, but simply to explain his own point of view, and let others know how their practices affected him as an outsider. The book is calm, reasoned, and likely to be helpful to both Christians and any others who are curious about how Christianity is practiced in the United States or what it feels like to be an atheist in this country.
He really is the Friendly Atheist Aug 31, 2009
I found Hemant's book through his excellent blog, The Friendly Atheist. I am an atheist. And I love the book. It is directed at christians but is also an interesting read for non-christians like myself. It's written in a fast reading, personal style. I myself have not been to a wide variety of churches, so his comments on similarities, differences and atmosphere appealed to me. I carried the book into work today, and it already caught the attention of two co workers, both christian, who want to read it now. One is a good friend, and she and I already had a lively discussion about two of the preachers mentioned in the book. Now we're batting around the idea of road tripping to see Rob Bell's Mars Hill Bible Church. In the office we played music by Desperation Band from [...] all morning. Hemant saw the band and was impressed by them on a visit to New Life Church. They really are good. It's good to expand your horizons, and Hemant shows us how to open a dialog and appreciate each other as individuals.
Unique perspective Feb 19, 2009
I heard a preacher reference this book. I bought it and just finished reading it. I think Mehta brings out a lot of things that churches do that both attract and repel seekers. I don't think any of them were earth-shakingly new, but I did think it noteworthy that he did notice them after only attending churches for a relatively short period of time.
HE noted the trade off between small churches and big churches which is something that every person who goes to church in a town with a variety of sizes struggles with.
His description of the churches he attended was rather humerous and all to familiar.
As for his concerns and questions for the most part I sympthathize with him because that unfortunately that he is looking for he won't find until it's to late. Mehta seems like a very analytical man who needs evidence before believing. IF that happened then no FAITH would be required, and in Christianity FAITH is absolutly required.
I did enjoy the book, and it's is a very honest description of Mehta's search for truth(I believe).