Dear Richard Dawkins,
My name is Samuel, I live in West Texas, and I’m in an odd situation.
I was raised in a non-denominational / Methodist household, married a Pagan girl, spent time as a Druid student, and also studied the Tao.
What, you might ask, was the reason for the pinballing between them? My need for truth.
It was while I was a member of a coven that it hit me: it’s all bloody nonsense! It all came at me like a rush. I finally just sat down and asked the basic questions that had been nagging at me since I was a teenager. I felt so stupid for the years I spent In constant spiritual turbulence trying to pin down exactly what I felt and attempting to weave together the contradictions and explain away the troubling facts that my religions were promoting.
My transformation began when I discovered Cosmos by Carl Sagan. I think I found more solace in those pages than in any of the religious texts I ever poured over as a teenager, mostly because it was all true, it was all verified and I could understand it in plain terms. It didn’t try to explain away any gross injustices, or gloss over any unpleasant facts. Dr. Sagan spelled out the wonders of nature beautifully and re-ignited my love of science.
I discovered you when I was watching some videos on YouTube with my 13 month old son. (Symphony of Science. They make you quite musical and my son loves them.) I picked up The Greatest Show on Earth and The God Delusion a couple of weeks later and read them cover to cover. Where Sagan reintroduced me to the science world, you solidified the beauty around me and gave me the strength to admit to myself that I was an atheist.
The biggest challenge I overcame was finally seeing the ridiculousness in Creationism. It was a cornerstone for the longest time. I now see the powerful evidence for evolution and the elegance it bestows upon our journey from a simple eukaryote the complex beings we are now.
Here in Abilene, Texas (smack dab in the Bible Belt) you may or may not be astonished to learn that we have a “science” center devoted completely to Creationism. Is that not disturbing? And the ironic part is they give away free copies of The Origin of Species as support for their position. Ugh. Check out there website if you get a chance http://www.evidences.org/.
I think I feel more like a candle in the dark now than I ever did in the days in the pew.
Thank you for your insights and guidance on my journey from the darkness into the light. I’m sure you get a million letters like this, but I hope it brings you a little peace to know there are some of us out here in the lion’s den keeping the candle burning!