Why I Left, Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son (Paperback)

Why I Left, Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son By Tony Campolo, Bart Campolo Cover Image

Why I Left, Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son (Paperback)

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Bestselling Christian author, activist, and scholar Tony Campolo and his son Bart, an avowed Humanist, debate their spiritual differences and explore similarities involving faith, belief, and hope that they share.

Over a Thanksgiving dinner, fifty-year-old Bart Campolo announced to his Evangelical pastor father, Tony Campolo, that after a lifetime immersed in the Christian faith, he no longer believed in God. The revelation shook the Campolo family dynamic and forced father and son to each reconsider his own personal journey of faith—dual spiritual investigations into theology, faith, and Humanism that eventually led Bart and Tony back to one another.

In Why I Left, Why I Stayed, the Campolos reflect on their individual spiritual odysseys and how they evolved when their paths diverged. Tony, a renowned Christian teacher and pastor, recounts his experience, from the initial heartbreak of discovering Bart’s change in faith, to the subsequent healing he found in his own self-examination, to his embracing of his son’s point of view. Bart, an author and Humanist chaplain at the University of Southern California, considers his faith journey from Progressive Christianity to Humanism, revealing how it affected his outlook and transformed his relationship with his father.

As Why I Left, Why I Stayed makes clear, a painful schism between father and son that could have divided them irreparably became instead an opening that offered each an invaluable look not only at what separated them, but more importantly, what they shared.

Tony Campolo (left) is a bestselling author, speaker, and professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University. He has written more than thirty books, including The Kingdom of God Is a Party, It’s Friday But Sunday’s Comin’, and Red Letter Christians. He is also the cofounder of RedLetterChristians.org. He and his wife Peggy live in Philadelphia.



Bart Campolo (right) is a community builder, counselor, and humanist chaplain at the University of Southern California. He is also the founder of Mission Year and host of the popular Humanize Me podcast. He and his wife Marty live in Los Angeles.

Product Details ISBN: 9780062415387
ISBN-10: 0062415387
Publisher: HarperOne
Publication Date: February 20th, 2018
Pages: 176
Language: English

“Rarely are questions of faith genuinely debated with the kind of sincerity, insight, and compassion presented in Tony and Bart Campolo’s thoughtful new book. We can all be grateful this isn’t just a family discussion.” — Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy

“A love story for our time. One of the most honest books of this generation.” — Kenda Creasy Dean, dean of Princeton Theological Seminary and author of Almost Christian

“An indispensable treatise of hope and transformation. In an age when the fastest growing religious demographic in the United States are those who are not formally affiliated with religion, Tony and Bart provide us all with a model for how we engage, interrogate, and reconcile our similarities and differences.” — Varun Soni, Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California

“Bart’s journey—and especially the amazing relationship he’s forged with his superstar preacher dad—will delight anyone looking for an example of how to live a beautiful and good life without God. Tony’s response—to honestly engage without attacking—is equally inspiring.” — Greg M. Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University

“An intellectual feast, an example, and a window into robust expressions of both evangelicalism and humanism. This is an important book for our times. Please read it.” — Rev. Dr. David P. Gushee, author of Changing Our Mind

“The Campolos have done us all a huge favor by discussing their differences right here in the open. A remarkable book.” — Hemant Mehta, editor of FriendlyAtheist.com

“Bold. Gripping. Brutally honest.” — Ronald J. Sider, Palmer Seminary at Eastern University

“This book offers a model that could bring healing to many torn relationships--a thoughtful dialogue into which people from across the spiritual spectrum can enter.” — Lynne Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church

“[Tony Campolo is] one of the most important evangelical Christian preachers of the last 50 years, a prolific author and an erstwhile spiritual adviser to Bill Clinton.” — New York Times

“[Bart Campolo] is a rising star of atheism.” — New York Times

“It is all too easy for believers and secularists to caricature each other [but] both Campolos invite readers into something deeper than a simple clash of worldviews.” — Library Journal

“The Campolos’ dialogue is a template for families and friends who want to move past debate and into fellowship.” — Booklist

“Coming at a time of growing religious disaffiliation, the Campolos’ book casts new light on why belief dies (or is never born) and, perhaps more important, what happens after.” — Tom Krattenmaker, Religion News Service