We receive many positive and supportive emails. Readers and visitors continue to send us stories of deconversion, a new understanding of reason and science, and a positive change of direction in their lives. This section is filled with stories of atheists coming out of the closet, struggles with religious family members, and many other situations you might have personally experienced!
Dear Prof Dawkins
First I want to start off by saying, my name is Joey, and I am 16 years old.
I have been an Atheist since I was 12, and I live in Marion, Illinois. Today I went to the bookstore and purchased The God Delusion. To some people this may appear to be no big deal, but for me it is. I have a very radically opressive Christian mother she has tried to force her religion down my throat, without ever giving me a suitable explanation as to why I should believe it. I remember being little, and thinking why do I have to pray? Why is everyone doing all of this for some man in the sky? I remember constantly questioning everyone, and never getting a real answer. With her just telling me because that is the right thing to believe. In the past I had attempted to purchase your book in her presence, and she threatened that if I purchased the book she would punish me and my wonderful piece of literature would be thrown away. I have read several of your other books such as The Selfish Gene, but I have done so in secrecy in fear of losing my book, and being punished. I wake up every day knowing that I live in a house with someone who hates my beliefs with a burning passion. I am forced to attend church every Sunday and Wednesday, and without your website RichardDawkins.net, and TheOutCampaign.org, along with other works of great scientists, intellectuals, and authours such as Isaac Asimov and Bill Bryson, I do not know how I would get through my days in my home, and town.
Thank you so much for writing what you have, and doing what you have done, and continue to do.
Permalink - Posted Sunday, 12 August 2012 at 10:07 PM
Dear Professor Dawkins,
I've just recently finished reading The God Delusion, and HALLELUJAH! (pun intended). I only wished I had read it when it was first published.
After years of "sitting on the fence" in regards to what do I "really" believe, your book has given me the insight and confidence to proudly state that I'm no longer agnostic, and am enjoying discussing with people my thoughts and beliefs about being a person who can live comfortably without a God.
Like many other people who have written comments on this web site about their past religious upbringing, I too was born into a world of Catholic parents, and dragged to Mass every Sunday believing that it was just the accepted thing to do. I've known since my late teens that the religion I was born into was something that I found harder and harder to accept.
In my early forties now, and much more educated on life and worldly things in general, I am annoyed with myself for not taking the bull by the horns at a much earlier stage in my life, and question the Priests, Brothers, Nuns and teachers who poured religion down my throat whether I wanted it or not. The De La Salle Catholic school I attended was full of Brothers who were more than happy to "belt" the religion into you if you dared question the word of God (I wander what they were more frightened of? A belligerent student who dared to question their scriptures, or the fact that they had to use physical violence to get their message of God across?). Needless to say, there wasn't too many students who would dare raise their hand during a lesson to ask "But how is it possible for someone to raise from the dead? Or a virgin to give birth?
I am married to a wonderful Catholic girl who was also brought up in a reasonably strict Catholic home, who still believes in God even after my efforts to try and see my point of view (I tried to get her to read The God Delusion, but no luck.......yet!). We were married in a Catholic church, and have two beautiful children who were Christened. This is as far as I was prepared to go in relation to forcing my parents religion onto my own.
Our children have never been forced to go to Mass like I was, or made to sit through endless hours of lessons from the Bible. Even though my wife still holds a Catholic belief, she isn't a practicing one (like most Catholics I know). My wife, interestingly enough, always thought that I was either agnostic or leaning towards atheism from the moment she met me. I have never hidden from the fact that I was a "non-practicing Catholic". However, I have tended to keep to myself my wavering belief in any God at all, until now!
I'm happy to say that my wife and I are on the same page when it comes to letting our children make their own minds up on whether there is a God or not. They are at that age now where they are able to take in and learn all the wonderful things that this life has to offer, without religion being forced upon them. However, when at the dinner table the odd religious question might pop up from our ten year old son, I sit back and wait to hear what my wife has to offer in reply (usually on the side of religion) then he looks at me for my point of view, to which my wife tells me "don't confuse him". I simply let my wife know that my intention is not to confuse our son, but rather to open his mind to the thought that there possibly is no God at all, and that when he has learnt all that there is to learn, he will one day make his own mind up on the matter. My son simply replies, "I think I'll make my mind up when I'm grown up". I couldn't have wished for anything else. As for our daughter (the very independent, bright free thinking young lady that she is), seems to be leaning towards her dear 'ole dads side of the fence. Again, we have never pushed either religion or atheism onto our children, but simply given them the option to choose.
I was discussing The God Delusion with my older brother recently, and to my surprise he stated that he has been an atheist since his early teens. He told me of the time he sat down and informed our Mum that he didn't believe in God, and that he didn't want to go to Mass anymore (if only I knew that when I was younger). I was eager to find out Mum's reaction (which I thought would be rather "ugly"), to which my brother informed me that she was disappointed, yet respected his decision, and would always love him regardless of his religious beliefs.
If only the religious nations of the world who are in constant war and battle, adopt my mother's acceptance of her eldest son's beliefs, what a peaceful world it would be.
Thank you Professor Dawkins for opening my eyes.
Permalink - Posted Sunday, 12 August 2012 at 10:07 PM
Dear Mr. Dawkins,
I really enjoy the bright future people like Yourself ,Carl Sagan, David Attenborough, Michio Kaku, Jaque Fresco and Steven Hawkings have brought to this planet. Mr Dawkins keep up the great work. This has started a global awakening towards science and the great potential of mankind. Your work along with the above mentioned will be remembered through out history as the people who have worked to make this planet and its species something to be proud of. To all the people who try to bring you down and they will try, just remember the would was flat once. I have found that once a person opens their mind to science the world does become allot more wonderful.
Permalink - Posted Sunday, 12 August 2012 at 10:06 PM
I come from a very catholic country. Growing up in such a country makes it very difficult to deviate from standard beliefs and traditions. So, as anyone would expect, I went to mass as a kid, and learned all about the catholic church's traditions and festivities. I attended a catholic high school, and I was taught to respect God, to repent for my sins, to confess to them, to pray, to have faith... Even though my parents were not very religious, unfortunately their marriage collapsed and that led to my mom using religion as a life boat. So my visits to church with her became more frequent, and I was led to believe that if I prayed enough, my parents would get back together. So I prayed with all my heart. I prayed alone and also sometimes with mom. I talked to God and begged for my Dad and Mom to be a couple again. I cried and the more I cried, I thought my tears would win God's attention. At mass the priest would tell us that faith is everything, that with faith God would reply. But when things got worse, when mom would cry all night long and I felt helpless and my prays went unanswered, I questioned why wouldn't God intervene. Why would he allow this to happen, when my mother was such a good and caring person? Why would he want her to be alone? So many questions in the mind of a young, and only child. I placed my faith on God and it had meant nothing in my life. I was devastated from the feeling of loss in my family, and even more so from not being important enough to God.
Maybe for different people, the awakening to atheism occurs in different ways. For me, it was a matter of survival. The only way I could get out of the depression I was falling into, was to reject the notion of God, as a defense mechanism to my frustration. I could no longer continue believing if it only hurt more and more to feel I was talking to walls. So my curiosity took me to read about the supernatural, unconsciously looking for other "Gods"; white magic, ESP, clairvoyance, telekinesis, out of body experiences... they became a fascination to me. The notion of the supernatural was a painkiller because it was magical. Maybe if I could bend metal or travel out of my body, I would be a special person again. Maybe I had special powers that would make my reality more bearable. Thinking back, there is much potential damage to self esteem that can come from faith in a God. I was a victim of it, and I still think I am an adult recovering from an emotional scam. Nowhere in my years of religiousness, or for that matter, "superstitiousness", did I encounter a single notion that my feelings were my own, and therefore my responsibility. Nothing was there to empower me, but rather to subdue me. If anything, I believe religion is emotional slavery, but that was a conclusion that took me many years and pain to assimilate.
The start of my awakening came one night, while watching TV. A man was talking about the Earth, about animals and about space. And despite the fact that he didn't mention God or Uri Geller, it was inspiring and magical. He explained things that were fascinating and at the same time understandable. His name was Carl Sagan, and the show was Cosmos. I couldn't tell science from fiction then; it was all the same to me. But his words introduced me to the scientific method. To the beautiful balance of imagination and hard evidence that science is. It gave me new meaning, new hope, of being able to understand why things are and to do it feeling that I wasn't headed to a cliff. Science is not perfect, but it has given my life security. It has provided me with certainty that I am very small as are my problems, and there is something a lot larger to discover and to understand. The way I lead my life is my own now, my responsibility and nobody else's.
But still there is a void. With my death my learning and experiences will stop. I know that who I am, what memories I have, will all be gone with my last breath. So there is a certain tragedy in knowing there is no God. The tragedy of something that ends, and so many questions that will be left unanswered. Of course, I prefer the hard truth than a beautiful dream, but I can understand why so many people in the world would turn to religion for immortality. Probably every atheist feels this to some degree. I know that in my case, the only thing I have concluded I can do, is to savor each moment. Each interaction with a friend, each favorite song, rainbow, poem, sunset... I appreciate all of it because it was so unlikely that I would be here writing this, and even so I am. It was a miracle that I would be born into a conscious being but it happened. So it makes the thought of death even more nostalgic. It is a fun but short ride...
Thanks for reading
My purpose was to share my awakening as an atheist and my feelings of joy when I think of how much we will learn as a human race, if we follow the steps of experimentation and constant inquiry.
In that regard, I believe that Mr. Dawkins is one of many heroes that this world needs to push us away from the slavery of faith based knowledge.
Permalink - Posted Sunday, 12 August 2012 at 10:05 PM
Dear Prof Dawkins.
I am writing to you in order to give my total and utter thanks for all that you do. I have recently finished your book, The God Delusion, and could not be more pleased that someone so intelligent is fighting on the side of atheism. You have become the voice that I have been searching for ever since I had turned my back on Religion and faith in a cosmic being when I was a young boy in High School. High School was no peach and going to an all male Catholic High School, with later discovery and repression of being gay, I was lost for a voice that made sense to me. The religion that I was blindly forced into made me believe there was something wrong with me. Everyday I would struggle in my own head, dating girl after girl, going to church and reciting prayer only helped force my inevitable depression. By my senior year I finally became sick of the whole charade, throwing my religion to the side to begin my search for meaning besides the kind in a book written by Bronze Age peoples. Finding you through television and word of mouth gave me the direction to investigate free thinkers, such as yourself. It would be a five year journey, studying, reading, and ultimately being completely rid of the ridiculous beliefs I once held onto. Prof. Dawkins you have been on of the first to give me hope for the future but instill that hope in fact and logic. Five years ago I began my journey to rid myself forever of religion. Today I can happily say I am an atheist, living with my first partner, a fellow atheist, going to college to become a musical teacher. Prof. I will do my part in making the world one of logic, reason, and intellect. Prof. Dawkins I once again say thank you and If you are ever close by I will make it a certainty to meet you in person
Yours truly and thankfully
Permalink - Posted Sunday, 12 August 2012 at 10:03 PM
Dear Mr Dawkins,
I have just read your book "The God Delusion". I want to say to book was awsome and i enjoy it very much.
But i'm coming to you as an 18 year old girl from Scotland.
I'm lucky enough i have a good reading level for my age and tend to act more mature.
As my generation have a low attention span and tend not to care about being a non-believer or even a beLIEver.
I was wondering have you ever considered a book about atheism for teens? To reach out to them from a different aspect.
In all schools in Scotland we are told about god. We never were aloud to question god.
I did rise to the challenge once. I got shot down immediately. I was told not to question and to keep my view to myself.
I've been an atheist for a long time. But honestly i didn't know what an atheist was! because i was never told what being a non-believer was called. only believers had names.
until the age of 16 i was wondering round not really knowing. i had religion forced down me and if i didn't pray or bow my head when i was in school. i got in trouble. i respect believers. Therefore they should respect me.
I have a brave enough teen to question religion. To look things up and really dig deep.
A lot of young people have no idea where to look. (Unless it's given to them)
Thanks for your time!
Permalink - Posted Sunday, 12 August 2012 at 10:03 PM
Unfortunately, your books were not around when I needed them.
I grew up in the protestant church. There was a seminary attached to the local university and it was expected of everybody in town to be christian. I went to Sunday school and was even confirmed in the church, even though I never believed in the scriptures, but I had to pretend due to extreme parental and peer pressure.
I only discovered that there is a vast atheist community, much later in life and things are so much easier now - no sin, no guilt, no delusions.
Keep up the good work. Each mythical soul saved from the clutches of religion is a gold star on your scoreboard of life.
Permalink - Posted Sunday, 12 August 2012 at 10:00 PM
Dear Professor Dawkins
I just wanted to send you an email saying, in short, thank you.
I had always been confused and uneasy with the concept of religion, god, a higher power etc. I was raised in a Christian household but, thankfully, was not pressured into any beliefs. My parents allowed me to think for myself which is perhaps the greatest gift I was ever given. In essence I never felt comfortable with religion but I did not believe its existence was morally bad.
However, it was only after coming into contact with your publications (although I must admit to begin with Christopher Hitchens probably had a greater impact upon my initial decision to “come out” as an atheist) did I truly feel comfortable in my irreligious skin and was able to see the pox of religion for what it truly is. Conversely, your writings also helped me see the glory of existing universe. This knowledge did away with the need to find solace in fairy tales for amazement; all I had to do was look into space to find facts far more incredible than anything found in myths.
I am 24 this year and it has been almost 4 years since I made that decision and there is no doubt that I am happier than I have ever been. Further, since reading “The Moral Landscape” by Sam Harris, I have found that there is clearly more to be learned and taken (importantly now morally and ethically) from science than religion ever had, or ever will have, to offer.
So once again Professor I wish to thank you (and Christopher, of course) for helping assure me that my predisposition towards a godless universe was not only empirically correct but also morally correct.
Permalink - Posted Sunday, 12 August 2012 at 09:59 PM
I must say, Mr. Dawkins, that your work has inspired me to become more outspoken about my antitheistic viewpoint, which has been with me since the age of six- perhaps that is the age at which I learned to think for myself. I am merely thirteen years of age, but I am absolutely fascinated with your work, and I have the utmost respect for you and your collaborators. Every time I read a passage of yours, or watch a documentary hosted by you, I can't help but feel enlightened by the treasure trove of reason that is unleashed. I just now finished watching one of your documentaries, entitled "God Strikes Back", and I really can say, with absolute certainty, that everything you stated was true. Apart from your intelligence, I admire your patience, as well. So many of the people you debate with spout such dumbfounding fallacies that are met with such an intense look of incredulity on my part. Your motivation for this "campaign against religion" is completely just. Intolerance, immoral practices, and oppression are the only things that have resulted from faith, and it is only a matter of time until the moderately logical theists realize that Darwin was right, and science holds the answers to life's undiscovered wonders, and the beauty that stems from it. I wish you a wonderful life, sir, and I do hope that you are able to make the most of it. In fact, you are one of my role models, and I cannot stress how large a part of my life is devoted to spreading our strikingly similar views.
Permalink - Posted Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at 10:07 PM
Dear Prof. Dawkins,
I have a lump in my throat. I was brought here by a book I am reading right now, and the stories in Converts' Corner have moved me to tears. It is truly an honour to be able to relate to those people who have shunned the 'clouds, crowds and smokescreens' of religion - those who can now aprreciate the universe for what it really is.
It was not your books that converted me. It was my cousin, long before I even knew of you. My parents weren't religious, but my school was. In fact, even the teachers and assemblies taught little more than hymns to us, but it was the outside speakers who regularly gave assemblies that had me believing in God. We were often visited by preachers who targeted us youth and bombarded us with religious anecdotes. Being the only reason for me to believe, my faith was not strong. No-one I had regular contact with was significantly religious; nor was I. All my conversion took was one afternoon in the back garden, aged 7. My cousin was round, and he asked me if I had noticed the many contradictions in the Bible. I had not - I had, in fact, only looked in a bible three or four times. He told me some of them, and within a matter of minutes, I was an atheist. I remember from then on, I only mouthed hymns in school and never sang, I felt like I was Christian if I did, and I did not want to be Christian.
I don't remember what it was that triggered such a keen interest in religion, but around the age of 12, after those 5 years of being somewhere between agnosticism and atheism, I began looking into religious debates. One of the earlier programs I saw was the televised God Delusion, which flared a passion in me for reason and logic. The reason and logic argued by yourself so elequently was inescapable, and by now I was truly an atheist.
Religious debate is one of my favourite topics of dicussion now, I find it intriguing and, moreover, vitally important. In parallel, I am also keen on chemistry, and last month, I bought a whole collection of books after quite a sudden realisation of my interest in science. Aswell as 2 books by John Emsley, I bought the Selfish Gene, The God Delusion, and Why God Won't Go Away, by Alister McGrath. I have now read the God Delusion, and it is inspiring to read. I conciously challenged every page, but in the few instances where I could think of counter-arguments, you would debunk them on the next page with something like "It could be argued this, but..."
I am now reading Why God Won't Go Away. It is from a Christian perspective, and I bought it to again challenge my own views. It discusses The God Delusion, but time after time I find that the arguments simply do not hold up. And then a passing quip about your site brought me here, to find that once again, it simply wasn't true. A claim that your site was simply publicity for yourself has led me to read one of the most moving things I have seen - Converts' Corner.
I seriously challenged my atheistic views, and I'm all the better for it. My opinions are all the stronger and I am more satisfied with them.
Permalink - Posted Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at 10:02 PM
I received your book from my son for Christmas. Kind of funny when you think of it. I was raised Catholic, but never really took it seriously. I guess I was of the ‘hedge my bets’ variety. I’ve always been perturbed at the violence perpetrated in the name of religion. I don’t really know why I am sending this. People I love, or loved, dearly, were very religious, and I saw no harm in it. My head was in the sand.
Reading your book brought the terrible devastation wrought by religion clearly to the forefront, and I thank you for that.
I never really thought about how faith was so destructive, until moving to Toronto, where religious fanatics abound. Just yesterday I was approached by two young men who invited me to some sort of spiritual gathering to accept god into my life. Their main hook was the promise of everlasting life!
The thing that got to me most was the harmful nature of foisting religion of our youth. That blind faith was preferable to the expectation of evidence that god exists.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for giving me the chance to realize how foolish my former stance was. I am a non-believer now, and feel that a weight has been lifted.
I’m bringing the book to my son for him to read.
Permalink - Posted Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at 10:00 PM
This is been one hell of a year for me. I am a 28 year old man who has spent 27 years of my life as a devout mormon in the jaws of Utah. I successfully met all the proverbial notches (served a two year mormon mission, came home and was married by 22, and started having children the following year, attended church every week and held a position of high importance within my congregation, gave 10 percent of all my money to the church, did my best to obey the current prophet and 12 apostles in SLC, etc...). but things began to unravel when i discovered that a canonized book of LDS scripture, the book of abraham, had quite a bit of controversy surrounding it. after thoroughly researching this, i came to the conclusion that joseph smith lied about the origins and authenticity of the scrolls with which he translated the book of scripture from. this led me to question many other tenants of my precious faith, so i continued to research. eventually it became quite clear that joseph smith (with perhaps the help of a few other men) fabricated the whole religion. but leaving mormonism is no small thing. you are ostrasized by your family and friends. alienation and judgement are placed upon you. essentially you are outcasted. i felt a strong desire for the communal sense i once enjoyed, so i started looking into christianity. but as I listened to a pastor, it felt like very much of the same thing. i was beginning to think the superstitious beliefs have no valid platform with which to stand; an opinion, mind you, that is held with viscous disdain here in utah county. i was feeling very alone inside of my head, with questions circulating every few seconds. I was introduced to Richard by a friend of mine, and i began watching his youtube clips. i was so captivated by this man of reason, that I wanted to learn more. I finally purchased a copy of the God Delusion, and quickly devoured its contents. by the end, i felt at peace with my doubts, and an overwhelming sense of enlightenment resulted.
Thank you Richard for being brave enough to publish this book in a world that is still encapsulated by the paranormal. hopefully your book will began to break down the walls of faith, and introduce logic and reason into the sinews of humanity.
Permalink - Posted Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at 09:57 PM
I have for several years been a fan and advocate of your work, and for several more an Atheist, however on reading the God Delusion and The Selfish Gene I have affirmed life choices and found that I am not alone with those choices. I feel a warmth from knowing there are people like you out there fighting for truth and rationality.
One of my earliest memories is of being in church with my devoutly Catholic Grandmother. I distinctly remember the rough feel of the of the stone font, the smell of the dark fragrant pews, and the sight of the morning sun though stained glass windows. I liked church, especially the stories. However this one occasion after receiving Communion, I retuned to my seat, knelt and prayed earnestly, and sat back down to wait. My Grandmother must not have seen me kneel because I received a silent, but very definite and stern telling off, followed by a not so silent telling off later. Of course, it wasn't her fault she didn't see me kneel, but it sparked a process of questioning which continues to this day. "Why did God let me get in trouble? Why doesn't he help those poor kids on the TV? In fact, what is he doing?!"
I am now in my first year of University studying Biology, to a substantial degree as a result of reading your books and watching your documentaries. So whilst I'm technically not a convert as a result of your work, you have helped me make some serious decisions, and also reassured me with some others.
Permalink - Posted Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at 09:55 PM
Religion and all that jazz
Dear Mr. Dawkins,
I am a 27 old woman living in central South- Africa. Now if you know anything about South-Africa you will know that that the Free State is probably the most conservative part of the country. South-Africa, especially the white Afrikaans speaking South-Africans are very, very religious, and in my mind very close to the the fundamentalists of America.
I've always had a questioning nature, which brought me a lot of trouble especially at church, Dutch Reformed. I read extensively about evolution and have been an atheist for the last 3 years. The thing that was the last nail in the religious coffin for me was your book, The God Delusion. It literally changed my life.
The thing is that living in such a conservative environment means that I have to be a closet atheist. I am quite outspoken about the things I feel strongly about and a few key people are aware of my beliefs- or lack thereof. But at work and with my family, who are super religious, I cannot be myself.
I cannot wait for the day that I can admit being an atheist to any and everyone without being judged solely on religious merit. But sadly I doubt that, that day will come in my lifetime.
I want to thank you for enlightening me, and for being that outspoken voice that I cannot be. To me you are a hero.
Permalink - Posted Monday, 28 May 2012 at 06:20 PM
Karl Marx was right about the opium
Dear Mr Dawkins,
I am now fifty years old. I was raised in the beliefs of the Protestant Dutch Reformed church as practised by Afrikaans-speaking descendants of the 17th C Dutch and French Hugenot immigrants of South Africa. My first suspicions that religion was the source of tremendous human suffering and exploitation dawned on me during my very early teens – perhaps aided by the inherent and very obvious contradictions inherent in the support for and justification of apartheid by the Dutch Reformed church in South Africa. Religion, I argued, was the problem, but not the world of spirit and metaphysics. So I abandoned religions, but not belief in metaphysics. And then, in my mid-twenties, I literally had an epiphany: all this spirit-stuff and metaphysics is a load of hog-wash. I declared myself an atheist.
The only problem was, I found myself cognitively clear that I was an atheist, but emotionally still a closet metaphysicist. After reading THE ANCESTOR’S TALE and THE GOD DELUSION I finally realised that the reason for this double and contradictory life was simply my fear of death. The belief in gods, I realised, was not just an opiate for the randomness of life in general, but one that served very well to numb the terrible dread that one may feel when contemplating the inevitable end of your existence. Then I read UNWEAVING THE RAINBOW and could not agree more - that if anything in human emotion should or could be called “religious” it is that feeling one feels when contemplating the wonderous fact that the universe exists, and that a species evolved capable of cognising the fact that it exists.
But still the fear of the nothingness of extinction remains. (And the argument that I did not know fear during the billions of years before I was born and therefore should have no fear of the billions of years after my death offers little consolation – I was not conscious of the fact that I was going to be born, but I am very conscious of the fact that I am going to die.)
I cannot believe in gods. It offends my common sense and reason. I shall die an atheist, and always fear death. I have therefore come to the conclusion that despite any failings I might have, I am a man of courage, because to live life without the opiate of religion and metaphysical reassurances takes real courage. A soldier who rises up from a trench under enemy fire believing that he or she will "go to heaven" and "live on" should he or she die, is no more courageous than one who does so numbed by an opiate. The real hero is the one who rises up from the trench knowing full well that should he or she die, he or she shall cease to exist.
Permalink - Posted Monday, 28 May 2012 at 06:13 PM
Dear Richard Dawkins,
This is my second letter to your forum after reading your thought provoking book The God Delusion. Recently I have been watching the God channel on TV and have on occasion laughed out loud on hearing some of the absolutey nonsensical rubbish that is spouted by just about every speaker. About two weeks ago I listened in amused amazement to an American presenter of the show who introduced a young man who then proceeded to tell the swooning unthinking audience that he had witnessed two miracles. The first, complete with false grainy b/w film showed how his G/Grandfather as a five year old had died and come back to life. The film showed a small boy in his best suit lying ‘dead’ on a bed with his [fairly] sorrowful looking family praying by his bedside. After a few minutes, the boy wriggled his feet, shook his legs and smilingly came back to life while his family looked on, ‘quite pleased’. The young man then went on to tell how he was once prayed in an [unnamed] ‘English cathedral’ complete with a background of stained glass windows for a young girl after showing a still of her shortened left leg complete with a full size foot and shoe peeping out from under the hem of her dress. Once again with filmed evidence he and the family prayed and lo and behold the girl's left leg quickly lengthened until it matched the other and once again the family looked ‘quite pleased’
One would think that both families would have wept with unalloyed joy and delight at the ‘miracles’ that they had witnessed and I think it reasonable to assume that the rest of the world might have been interested in them but we have heard absolutely nothing. The presenter of the show then concluded by telling the ‘true’ story of how a man whom he knew had died and was placed in a deep freezer for 23 hour after which he came back to life. This is amusing stuff but what is so disturbing is that there are people who actually believe it and they never seem to question the truth or demand more evidence about what they are being told.
Permalink - Posted Monday, 28 May 2012 at 06:11 PM
Dear Prof. Dawkins,
I don’t know if you will read this, but I thought this a proper place to express my gratitude. It is not too much to say, that your books have indeed changed my life.
Though the works of F. Nietzsche made me a critic of the Catholic Church early on, when I read them at age 17, I have to say that way beyond my 30th birthday I still was susceptible to all weird kinds of esotericism (I guess, that is attributable to my catholic upbringing/indoctrination which in my opinion induces the questionable capacity to accept things as real that are utterly unreasonable or even outright stupid - but make you feel good). Reading “The Selfish Gene” put an abrupt stop to that. As Mr. Adams put it so wonderfully clear: “The awe it inspired in me made the awe that people talk about in respect of religious experience seem, frankly, silly beside it”. Plus I felt a lasting surge of freedom and excitement and I felt encouraged to inquire ever more into the fantastic realm of reality equipped with the tools of logic and evidence.
Thank you so much for “The God Delusion”, which is such a fantastic and inspiring read (an agnostic friend of mine who studied theology is still afraid to read it – which in my mind proves it is powerful). Without your books I wouldn’t be where I am now, and I like it here (Though geographically it is rural Austria, it doesn’t seem to be as bad as let’s say Utah :-). I hope so much, that your wonderful books keep on selling and being understood because I am firmly convinced, that they attribute greatly to making the world a more peaceful place to live.
Also thanks for debating publicly with Mr. Lennox (watched it on YT recently), who looks so hilariously pitiable beside you.
All the best
Permalink - Posted Monday, 28 May 2012 at 06:10 PM
Dear Mr Dawkins.
I'm a South African musician and, although I was raised in the Anglican church ( Sunday school, confirmation, the works!) I was fortunate enough to have an agnostic mother who encouraged me not to blindly believe anything I learned in the church but to question all the information they passed on.
Despite her best efforts I still had a "Christian phase". I fell for the emotion, the music.. The guilt, the fear.
Recently I've been sensing that a life without "God" is far simpler and much more satisfying than the alternative.
Your book confirmed and made sense of so many things. It feels as though I'm finally seeing the world as it really is.. And it's beautiful!
Bridget Wilson, Cape Town, South Africa.
Permalink - Posted Monday, 28 May 2012 at 06:07 PM
Dear Professor Dawkins,
I have never believed in god from the moment I was able to think for myself ( 11yrs). I remember long arduous hours in church where I was forced to attend 'once a month' as a child - my duty was to appear on the first Sunday of every month as a 'brownie' (and after that as a ''guide') as was expected of every member of my club at the time, and swear allegiance to 'God and the Queen'. Finally at age of 13 I summoned up the courage to tell my parents I'd had enough and would rather be outside playing on my bike with my friends instead.
My atheism isn't about having my weekends stolen (although it did piss me off at the time). It DID seem ridiculous to sit and sing boring songs and look at a plastic dummy of a murdered person, and I remember always thinking that there was so much more interesting stuff going on outside. Enjoying nature, playing with my dog, messing around by the river and making dens up Horsenden Hill. The main fact of the whole charade was that I just didn't believe what they were trying to make me believe.
I am 38 now. I have never tried to hide my atheism but your amazing work has inspired me to not feel so awkward about it as I have so many times in the past. I have loved reading The God Delusion, the Blind Watchmaker, god Is Not Great by the late great and wonderful Christopher Hitchens, and Breaking the Spell too.
The more I read the more I want to learn (and have learned already) about this glorious place Earth that we all find ourselves on - so THANK YOU for that.
I am an English woman about to move to the US from Hong Kong. I am an Art teacher and am slightly apprehensive about the school systems there and about how I will be expected to approach religious subject matter. I guess I am mainly writing to you to assure you that I intend to educate young students there, inform them and challenge bigotry every chance I get.
Without sucking up (ok I will but I don't care) you are an inspiration to all free thinkers all over the world. I raise my glass to you sir.
ps. The way you read out your hate mail on you tube was a fucking scream haha
Permalink - Posted Monday, 14 May 2012 at 06:23 PM
Your book “ The God Delusion” came up in a wonderfully interesting discussion with an Aussie friend of mine ofa Polish father and a Jewish mother (or was it the other way around, John ?). Needless to say that Polish here could easily be understood something like Royalist in Irish context.
Anyway, he holds your book as “my personal Bible”, as he called it. Please forgive my friend’s slightly inappropriate expression in this. But that’s how I got to know it, and I read it just now in less than a week’s time. It has been very comforting, personally, to read in your words, narrative and clear logic, what I had already thought and found out for myself.
Although you do not succeed in every case to proof the opposite view(s), I hold dear, and agree fully, that it basically comes down to probability. And it is utmost unbalanced in favor of Atheism beyond doubt. It only takes the willingness to use one’s “little grey cells” as Hercule Poirot puts it so nicely. Think for yourself ! That’s all there is to say.
And as a, divorced, father I consider it my prime responsibility to teach and incite my three sons to think for themselves. I consider it my preface to their (holy) Book of life. Forgive me the urge to joke here, however, it is true in e sense.
I do not know if you are acquainted with the Belgian educational system, but it is one with which we should consider ourselves fortunate. It is in respect to this concern, one of the better ones, I have come to understand through discussions with people, reading and hearing debates on television. And my Aussie friend choose to have his children educated here in Belgium, that’s why he lived for so long in this tiny country of doubtful reputation, sometimes, but in one respect a great nation so to speak.
John, forgive me for mentioning you here as I did (Aussie – Polish – Jew ), but you are wise enough to understand this in the context. You have become a real friend, thanks for sharing Richard’s book with me.
Mr. Dawkins, thank you for your elaborate, clear and logical writing. It has meant a great deal to me. As a matter of fact, I just bought The Origin of species because of it. I cannot imagine any longer life without having read it.
PS I have been reading Bertrand Russell before and consider myself, to label, a Scepticus.
Permalink - Posted Monday, 14 May 2012 at 06:21 PM
Dear Professor Dawkins,
thank you, you have done something incredible, we live in the same nation, and yet we have never met-but you have managed to affect my life so deeply. I was born and raised as an orthodox Roman Catholic, and attended a Catholic Primary and Secondary school. It was when I went to my secondary school that I started to have doubts, I started to become disenfranchised with the increasingly zealous and prejudiced teaching. What annoyed me the most was that in contrast to my primary school in which I had recieved a fair and balanced religious education, the secondary school curriculum refused to teach anyone the other arguments. The straw that broke the camels back , so to speak, was when my secondary school (the name of which I shall keep anonymous for obvious reasons) had a large child abuse scandal, in which a 50 year history of abuse with the monks at the school was revealed. I was sickened, I already disliked the papacy at this point, but that pushed me to see how horrible they were, forsaking the children they were charged to protect...it is one of the worst crimes imaginable. After that I began regularly speaking out against the Catholic Church in religious education lessons, much to the horror of the priest who taught us. The child abuse scandal was the elephant in the room, but at the moment nobody was quite brave enough to mention it. At this point I was agnostic, and relativley apathetic towards catholicism. I took a semi-deist position, as life and the world seemingly implied a creation, if not an interventionist one.
But this agnosticism was to be short lived, my atheism began when I saw a marvellous "Intelligence Squared Debate" in which Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens argued against the motion "The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world" I was, for the lack of a better word, enraptured. The two speakers spoke with an unmatched eloquence and passion, I was amazed at how swiftly my view changed from a disinterest in catholicism to a hatred of the intolerant, ignorant, and barbaric nature of the Catholic Church worldwide. I sought to learn more, and purchased Christopher Hitchens book "God is not Great". By the end of it I was utterly anti-religious. And after reading your book-"The God Delusion" I was fully atheist, an antitheist I could be called. This is where I must get a bit vague about certain details (because I still go to this school), but I began to give and recommend your book and Hitchen's book to agnostics, atheists and theists alike. I also debated with them regularly and showed them videos of other debates. Through this method I converted one agnostic to atheism and one Catholic to agnosticism. But this was not enough for me, as I became more angry with the hypocrisy of the Church, if only they would debate with me on a level playing field. Taking the initiative, I contacted school officials and set up the debate "The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world." I, like Hitchens and Fry before me, argued against that motion. It was held in the school library and about 60 people attended, a full house. I argued my best, and for the first time anyone had done such a thing in the school, I mentioned the child abuse scandal, and I also (which had never been done in the school before) blamed the Abbot of the school monks for being so negligent, and blamed the Church for the child abuse scandal, linking it to the celibacy of the priesthood, and I condemned how the Church so callously covered the scandals up. At the end of this speech, there was silence for a moment, then applause from the students. When it came to a vote, I only lost by 4 votes, with not a single person abstaining. I imagine I would have won if all the monks and teachers were not present.
I must thank you Richard Dawkins, for introducing me to these arguments and giving me the confidence that they could be won, and that freethinking rational debate could be had with these closeminded irrational people. Were it not for you I couldn't have managed it. Later this year I shall be doing the debate "Evolution vs. Creationism", I was shocked to find that there were still creationists in this enlightened land, and I look forward to beating them with reason, wish me luck.
Thank you Dawkins-you have played a role in making me who I am.
Permalink - Posted Monday, 14 May 2012 at 06:19 PM
Dear Professor Dawkins,
I asked my wife for two books for Christmas, your “The God Delusion” and the late Christopher [an ironic misnomer] Hitchens’s “God is Not Great.” I read both over the Christmas & New Year break. Their logic and clarity, in different individual styles, was convincing in the sense that hot mustard is tasty. I am now totally convinced that God is just Santa Claus for grown-ups. And grown ups can do far more harm with their delusions than imaginative children.
For decades - I’m 55 – what had convinced me of the existence of God was the continued presence – especially in England through 300 years of persecution, roughly contemporaneous with slavery in the Americas – of the Catholic Church. How could all the secular institutions of Rome have passed away centuries ago yet the Church remain, throughout the known world, despite the failings and often obscenely criminal activities of its staff? My answer was: because it was not a human institution but a divine one. The two books convinced me that the whole pack of cards was built upon world-class spin-doctory, the longing of many adult humans for a grown-up comfort blanket and the cynical exploitation of the many by the canny few (“As soon as the coin in the bucket rings, the soul to heaven springs” – it sounds better in German.)
I particularly liked the argument against, in both books, of “belief in belief”, the faith-free attitude that encourages belief in ordinary folk because it’s good for them and /or keeps them compliant. You were quite right recently to appeal to the UK Prime Minister to come clean on this: it is to his discredit that he reacted as he did by praising “traditional Christian values.” Moral behaviour has nothing to do with religious magic or any deity.
My conversion is 50% of a result for your book I think, but I’m sure you won’t mind sharing.
Permalink - Posted Monday, 14 May 2012 at 06:18 PM
Hello Professor Dawkins,
I must first start by thanking you for your books, and your appearances to speak on your work and beliefs. I, for many years, have been on the fence when it came to the belief in god. If anything, I have been agnostic since I was a teenager. Being begged to join a Baptist congregation by a close friend in my early teen years, I found I didn’t buy the rhetoric. My family left the Catholic Church when I was about 8 years old. I've been independent of any church or spiritual beliefs my entire adulthood, since.
Recently, I was exposed to Neil Degrasse Tyson videos on YouTube. My friend that showed me these just recently came to the conclusion that he is an Atheist. I loved Neil's passion for science and understanding of the cosmos. If I had not moved on to go to college for art, I would've went into a field of science, probably biology; which at some point in my education I realized I had an interest in and was good at it in class. In hind sight, I wish I went down that path; I am now in the field of IT, fixing computers, helping people instead of science or art. I'll use my aptitude with technology to help my struggle against ignorance, however. The trail of videos led me to yourself and Neil on stage. You both inspired me, so I continued on and found your other great friends; Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. You people are my heroes! Cheers to the Four Horsemen!
I've always had conversations with open minded friends about how ridiculous religion is, how it contradicts itself etc. It’s never been compatible with reason, in my eyes. Seeing that there’s so many others out there and you wonderful people writing about this, I can’t help but wanting to contribute. I feel offended to think that creationism is being taught to the children of this world, alongside or even in place of Evolution; Faith and unreason, over the truth. It’s disgraceful, to use one of your words; you've made several statements, using it, that I couldn't agree with more.
I’m writing to express my thanks and admiration for you and your work. As Christopher Hitchens answered to an interviewer, to "When are you going to stop this", "Until I drop". It was something to that affect; my apologies if I quoted it wrong. I hope, like him, you never stop spreading the truth and never give into these ridiculous people. I will join you in doing so. When Hitchens won the 2011 Dawkins Award; he was so sick and he was coughing; he was still standing there talking, being a crusader for the truth. It was so sad to see him in that state, you hugging him nearly brought me to tears, but it was so inspiring. I’ve found meaning in that; and for him, if not for reason’s sake, I will never stop fighting the ignorance of humans. I've started a blog, a Facebook page and I regularly post what I find of you on my wall because I want so badly for people to hear you speak. My friend and I are going to create a joint Facebook page and a podcast to spread the word and get information out to the public on science, reason, and just simply show them how ridiculous people are and what horrors people commit in blind faith.
I wanted to know, if you had time, if you could give us any pointers on how to handle this. If there’s a better way, perhaps than we intend, on how to go about this. I've watched so many of your videos that I realize it’s rather silly to argue with these people. It almost feels more affective to show examples of what’s true; maybe display comparisons, rather than contend with them in the back and forth argument whether there is or isn’t a god. As you said, it gives them status. And it’s so true, that to debate creationism versus evolution, is to partially admit that there’s a chance that creationism is true. And we know that is not the case. If there are any projects you suggest we participate in or something we can join. I want to stop these mad men from imposing their belief systems on the human race, as pure fact, instead of the fairytales they are. The republicans right now, and a good portion of my country, are convinced that there is a god. They want to impose their beliefs on us through in their policies. They are so uninformed, uneducated and unaware of the truths that exist beyond their little world they've created for themselves. That, not believing is an option, and is a choice they can make for themselves. I'm sure you've seen this quack, Kent Hovind; he is a disgrace to the humans of this century. We need to stop these people. I just want to do it the right way. I appreciate your time, sorry for the length though.
Thank you for all you do. Your contributions to the world, I'm sure, will not be forgotten. My friends and I, and people like us will try and spread awareness with you. I intend to never stop.
Permalink - Posted Monday, 14 May 2012 at 06:16 PM
Dear Professor Dawkins,
Thank you so much for all of your writing and advocacy supporting reason and secularism. While I can't quite call myself a convert, as I have never been religious, your work has certainly solidified my skepticism, and encouraged me to stop treating religion with hushed respect.
I am especially grateful for your "out" campaign. Just this morning, two people came to my doorstep to share a "positive message from the bible". Normally I would have been very uncomfortable, and would have avoided their questions about my own beliefs. Instead, I smiled brightly at them, and confidently told them I was an atheist. They seemed thrown by this, and asked if I had always been that way. I said that yes, our household was completely secular. I would have welcomed further discussion with them, but they just turned around and left. For the first time, I was open and positive about my atheism, and it feels wonderful. I will certainly not be going back to the closet.
Many thanks, and warmest regards,
Permalink - Posted Tuesday, 01 May 2012 at 04:12 AM
I’ve not been converted. I’ve never had a god or faith. I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the idea since the time I first heard it in religious education classes at primary school (incidentally taught by a priest later to be found with prior pedophilia convictions).
I had also never been inspired at school by science teachers. Now having a friend who works as a school biology teacher with no scientific background or education (or particular interest in biology), only a Diploma in Education, I understand why.
Currently in my thirties, I have recently read and reread The Selfish Gene and The Ancestors Tale, as well as all of your other wonderful books (excepting The Magic of Reality, which I have earmarked as birthday presents for my nearly-three-year-old niece, and nearly-one-year-old nephew in coming years). Getting to the point of this email, I am grateful for the inspiration that your wonderful work has given me. I am currently studying science as a consequence and am continually filled with joy, inspiration and wonder. Thank you for your inspiring work.
Permalink - Posted Tuesday, 01 May 2012 at 04:10 AM
Dear Professor Dawkins,
My first recollection of you talking about science was actually on Steve Reich's video opera "Three Tales". To be honest, at the moment, I was intrigued by one single phrase you said "...Darwinian natural selection" and the moment when you, via a very clever audio editing, became a human maraca.
I am a musician. Thankfully I had the good fortune to grow up in a home were science was once (and the reason for why I use the word "once" will become apparent very soon) respected, constantly studied and discussed. My father, a medical doctor, introduced me at quite a young age to the principles of gravity, how it affects us all, how we -through evolution- became aware of how we came to be, and many other wonders and beauties of our universe. This early introduction to science was the perfect antidote to the vast shroud of pseudo-science and mystical thought that, sadly enough, falls upon my line of work (I do believe that most of my colleagues confuse artistic sensibility with other stuff that is neither artistic, nor sensible.) During my childhood, and teenage years, the fact of being an atheist was exciting and rewarding. For some reason, as I grew up, the excitement faded out, and the pessimism kicked in. Science was relegated to a very occasional reading now and then, and all that was left was the fact that I was going to be dead soon, never to walk around the world. I try to find explanation to this change of attitude towards atheism in the fact that growing up is no picnic...
In short, I have been raised to be an Atheist. Those little remains of "supernatural" thinking (which I happen to believe, are really hard to shake off of your mind, even when you are raised an Atheist) were finally removed by a tragic moment in my family history: my mother and older brother were kidnapped by the ELN guerilla (this is probably the time when I should mention that I am from Colombia, South America) in 2004. I will not dwell on the subject; it was a terrible moment for all of us, but eventually both my mother and my brother came back home after six months of absence. I mention this because, curiously, this very event (the kidnapping) while it pushed me further from the reach of the imaginary god's fingers, sadly (and paradoxically), drew my own, former atheist father to him, thus becoming a Christian. I understand perfectly how under situations of the utmost desperation and stress, our psyche can play tricks on us (as it did with my father, no doubt.) I must add that my brother and mother also came back to us "transformed by the grace of our lord" (by the way, typical of "our lord" to act on mysterious ways, revealing to my whole family, but depriving me of his sweet presence.)
For many years, since the reunion of my family, I have kept my distance, allowing them to go on and on with their readings of the bible, their biblical studies at church and whatnot. Since I moved from my family home quite a few years ago, I thought that I should not antagonize, I only see them a couple of weeks every year (and of course, Christian or not, I love them all to death). I thought, "well, I'll just get leave my atheism out of the dinner table conversation and that's that."
Then I read your book "The God Delusion," and my vision regarding this particular issue changed dramatically. This message is written to the Converts' Corner, but you, Professor Dawkins (and I am assuming you actually read this), did not convert me. You did something far more valuable: you gave me the tools to defend the fact that I am an Atheist, you gave me the possibility to rejoice in the fact that the world leaves us constantly in a state of awe and that this is the only moment in time in which we can think, discuss and read about the wonders of being alive (before your book, as I said earlier, I was a rather pessimistic kind of atheist, the kind that don't bother to think, discuss and read about the wonders of being alive because all is going to end up soon anyway so why bother.) You, Professor Dawkins rekindled my love for science and for the contemplation of our world, and also, made me realize, that I was not being a very good atheist after all, that I could do better. That I can stand up to my parents and defend my positions and invite them to think about them carefully; that I can show my friends and colleagues the beauty of understanding the world through the accurate lens of science, and that devoting some time of one's busy scheduled to the reading of books on science will not compromise one's "artistical sensibility", but will actually help in realizing how wonderful is to have an "artistic sensibility" in the first place.
For this radical change in my life, I will be thankful all my life.
Permalink - Posted Tuesday, 01 May 2012 at 04:09 AM
I was brought up a Protestant in Liverpool and only really went to Church for Christenings, Weddings and because I was in the scouts and had to!
Every time I went to church I was literally pissed off with the way they talked to the congregation. It all seemed so false and actually quite scary. I remember shitting myself because I thought that I was going to hell. I am a very moral well brought up person but still the thought of not being able to tell the odd white lie for my own protection when I had done something wrong (Childish) as a child. My only get out clause was that I learned that as long as you repent and start to believe in god before you die you would be ok. Because of this I vowed to ask for forgiveness of my sins just before I die so I can get the best of ´Both Worlds´ This was foolish and a childish way of thinking however it was all I knew and I thought quite clever of me.
Growing up I have always been confused by bible bashers and why they are so insistant on making everybody else think the same as they do. I have however, just finished reading The God Delusion to my delight! I was unable to put it down and my girlfriend often found me with my face in the book laughing. Everything it says makes so much sense and I love your way with words. I have now actively tried to get into conversations about religion just to trump the fools. So far they have an answer to everything but the answer is almost always FAITH and that I cant change that. To be honest if that´s what they want to think fine but as long as they are not extremists then its no problem. One guy said to me that you are the same as them. They stand on their soap boxes preaching to others about believing and you do the same (On TV or in books) about none belief. I just told the fool that at least Richard Dawkins and other atheists have evidence to support our claims and finished the argument their.
I would like to thank you for making this absolutely amazing book which made me laugh and feel good about myself for not believing in a silly childish story about a creator who is also his son and a holy spirit that cannot be described who also sent himself down to earth to be punished for all the white lies and other sins us moral people may have committed so we too can all go to heaven as long as we simply believe without question.
Permalink - Posted Tuesday, 01 May 2012 at 04:03 AM
Your facility for explanation of profound ideas is uncanny- would that I were blessed with anything approaching that gift.
I will avoid making this a paean of praise- I want explain why your books have been so important to me. My subject line says I was not converted; since Sunday school at the local Wesleyan chapel (age 10) my suspiscion of the bible stories was immediate. How did all those animals fit in the ark, why did God need to drown everyone, etc. No convincing answer was forthcoming and anyway it was SO boring, I wanted to be off playing with my friends. So I never went again despite my devout mother's threats. When she died early of smoking-induced cancer (I was 11yo) any lingering idea of a merciful God evaporated and my intense hatred of the celestial sadist took over!
Always an atheist, I gave religion no further thought for 50 or so years until the rise of islamic fundamentalism when it became impossible to ignore; then I read The God Delusion and presto! Now I had my motivation & logic for taking a positive stand against 'faith' and knowledge of the science to combat the vacuous rationale of the religious. Then came The Blind Watchmaker and The Greatest Show on Earth, followed by the works of Hitchens, Dennett, Harris and others; also reading about the koran and islamic law with its wonderful 'prophet'...
Difficulties remaining? Yes- it is all but impossible for me to be "moderate". I don't enjoy conflict but it is unavoidable given the religious insanity that abounds and I fall into the trap of abusing the stupid and irrational, those who glory in their ignorance and cannot or will not inform themselves, much less consider any alternative. Obviously it demands an enormous effort of will to admit your cherished beliefs are absurd and that you have been a fool to accept them uncritically but surely reasonably educated people must realize they are parroting what others have told them to believe and be offended that their 'opinions' are not their own? Mass self-delusion in other instances is recognizable yet not in religion- baffling!
Permalink - Posted Tuesday, 01 May 2012 at 03:59 AM
Thank you for your excellent book "The God Delusion", which I have all but finished reading, and your commitment to science, reason and critical thinking and showing how liberating it is. I more confident today, after reading your book, that God does not exist. I simply see no evidence to demonstrate the existence of God and your book helped me refine my thinking. That said I conclude that I am an atheist.
I was not brought up in a religious family, which allowed me to think critically. But I spent enough time in the southern U.S. growing up to fear Hell. Once I got over that in my teens the rest was easy. I called me mother and thanked her for giving me the freedom to think on my own. And I thank you for boldly challenging myths and legends.
We have an extraordinarily long way to go convince people that logic, reason, facts, evidence and clear-thinking is much more fulfilling than religion. But your work and the work of many others keeps us on the right path.
Permalink - Posted Thursday, 02 February 2012 at 01:43 AM
Dear Mr Dawkins/RDF Staff,
I am 46 years old and I have always believed I did not have a scientific mind, having only ever worked in the arts. When pointing out my Christian fundamentalist girlfriend's 'blind faith' to her, given she had no tangible proof of the existence of god, she (rightly so) pointed out that I could not argue in a scientific manner, the logic of evolution and so therefore I also only had blind faith, thus I was a hypocrite. She pointed out that I could only stand by other people's findings and was not able to back it up with any findings of my own. This embarrassed me, because it was true.
In truth, I have never bothered to look into it very deeply because I have always considered the whole argument to be a bothersome waste of my time. I just thought it best to just stay away from these people and make the best of my 70-80 years alive on this planet (if I am lucky). But a romance with an otherwise intelligent Christian girl, which gave me an insight into the damage caused by her spiritual advisers and her own misguided beliefs led me to think about my own complacency about the whole matter.
Yesterday I bought myself a copy of 'The God Delusion' and also a text book of mathematical equations, starting with very simple examples and working up to more difficult ones. Hopefully I have made a start into what seems to be really difficult field of study. I really don't know where else to begin. Mathematics, physics and science has always seemed out of reach for a mind like mine.
I realise that the main impetus for wanting a deeper understanding of science is to qualify my own stance on the religious debate. Whether this is noble or not, I don't know. Maybe in my search, something far greater, that only science can explain, will become apparent to me and the whole god debate will be left behind altogether.
Lastly, I just want to point out a strange anomaly. As an atheist, it baffles me that much of my favourite music is heavily steeped in religious faith. I expect there is no answer other than to point towards my own tastes and sense of beauty, but I am always disappointed when I hear a musician thanking god for their 'gift' when I see their talent as a result of drive, hard work, dedication, and unique understanding.
Kind regards and much respect to all at The Richard Dawkins Foundation
Permalink - Posted Thursday, 02 February 2012 at 01:42 AM