Church of the Godless
Deep in the world’s most notorious cradle of soullessness — Hollywood, California — a community of strident atheists finds something they can believe in.
Illustration by David Biskup
A Eucharistic minister, choral performer and altar girl, Amy Boyle rarely missed a Sunday at her Sarasota, Florida, church during high school.
Two years later, she stopped believing in God.
The year was 1999, and halfway to her theatre degree at the University of Southern California, Boyle told her roommate of her doubts, spurred by an Eastern religions class and the culmination of years of questioning. Her discomfort came with the misogyny and guilt she felt was pushed on her by the Catholic church, and the overarching premise that people are inherently unworthy and must do penance.
Hoping for a glimpse of familiarity or understanding, instead Boyle saw disappointment and fear in the eyes of her Christian roommate, who fled their dorm room in tears. It was then Boyle learned she could not always speak freely about her non-belief.
For more than a decade, Boyle stopped attending church.
In February, the petite blond, now thirty-three, stood on a Hollywood auditor…