Atheist in Church – on Heaven and Other Mysteries

Atheist in Church
184 Pages
ISBN 0615629342

In this 2012 memoir, Paula (P. Jo) Riley, chronicles her personal journey to Reno-area churches and a synagogue in search of insights into God-belief. It’s a look at religion through the eyes of a writer who was raised in the Methodist Church but adopted none of its beliefs.

Maybe a person’s religious beliefs are not just nurture, but the product of heredity plus the influences of culture and family. Maybe we couldn’t change our worldview if we tried.

Riley chronicles visits to Jewish, Foursquare, Catholic, Evangelical, and Christian Science services, plus a public Jehovah’s Witness meeting. The author interviews brothel prostitutes; she gathers thoughts on Heaven and muses about religion as depicted in books, lectures, news accounts, and a documentary about God in America. Her most intimate chapters recount childhood experiences in church and describe parents inhabiting opposite poles of the believing spectrum.

Atheist in Church is not a rant. In fact, in it, Riley quotes from a 2010 non-fiction book about the human brain that “set bells ringing” for her, “altering her views about believers and believing.”

Paula (P. Jo) Riley

About Paula (P. Jo) Riley (Reno, Nevada Author)

Paula (P. Jo) Riley

It doesn't surprise me that as an avid reader I eventually became a writer for hire. It took years, though, in marketing, then in child welfare before the opportunity arose to take on freelance writing, then book writing. I suppose anyone can write. All it takes is years of reading widely, a lot of study, and oodles of practice. It helps to love stories. Scenes. Paragraphs. Sentences. Words!

So it is that many local and regional magazines and newspapers carry my bylines (my photos too). I have published two personal narratives (non-fiction), and lead a class now and then for TMCC. I hope to find representation for my fourth novel, now in progress. Book projects, editing projects, self-publishing projects, I like them all.

Look for my stories in Sierra Living magazine, NEVADA magazine, Reno Gazette-Journal, Reno News & Review, Montana Living, Comstock Business, Range magazine, and more. Samples at

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