Dear Professor Richard Dawkins,
My name is Pedro Silva. I’m a 32 years old Portuguese living in Lisbon-Portugal. There's nothing interesting to say about me, just say that I’m a 7, born within a religious family (perhaps between 1 and 2).
First of all I would like to apologize for my English. I'll try my best.
I never read any of your books, never talked with you and until the last month did not even know you! All that I know about you got to me through YouTube. Whether you believe or not, long before that, I already shared with you our “”“beliefs”””. When I see the way you deal with life, with death, with the universe, when I hear your thoughts and ideas, it's like I’m looking at myself!
Carl Sagan was my beacon. He died long before I even know that existed. The fact that I not had the opportunity to say him what his teachings meant in my search for the truth, has led me not want to miss the opportunity again, and motivated me to send you this letter.
As you may notice, or not, I have nothing to ask, and much less to teach you, being that we share the same trench, I just wanted to describe you a concern I have. However I admire your courage and determination beyond believe, I‘m not so optimistic. I fear that our struggle on the disclosure of truth will be inglorious.
We both know the reason why 90% of the world population believes in gods. Both also know, that maybe not even half would have the knowledge necessary to understand the facts. But in my opinion, the biggest problem is the fact that most of the world population is in essence composed of spiritual beings. I'm referring to the religious values poured in children, by families and cultures, during the process of learning and growth of the brain. As a biologist, I know that you understand this process much better than me.
And this is where we lose. Eventually we could even manage to explain the facts to an adult or to a teenager, but we never will succeed in a spiritually tampered child. We could perhaps, to those that you mentioned before as being on the fence, demote them off their illusions, but they will never cease to be spiritual beings and return to pour these values to their children.
For me it is so clear that the world would be much better without religion, as it would be better off without terrorists, without AIDS, without weapons of mass destruction, without borders, without hunger. But if tomorrow, somehow, the world woke up from this delusion and in some way the human race could survive the mass hysteria, religious values will cease to be poured in children?
My opinion is that will not. Perhaps the speech would change, but the concept of soul and eternal life will remain. If to an adult is difficult to realize that death is a part, needed and deserved in life, how that same adult as a parent, will pass these values to his son?
Note that I'm still not father, but one day I'll probably be. My children shall know the truth. It was a book that piqued my curiosity when I turned 12 so I know that books are probably the best tool we have. Children education is the best cure that we ever have to fight the cancer of the human race.
Obrigado professor, a minha vénia.
(Thank you professor, my bow to you)
I am an atheist with very proud and I'll scream it to the world to hear, never hid it and never lowered my head. I know one day unlike others, I’ll die. But until the deserved end of my journey comes, I shall thanks for the gift of life and every opportunity I had to contemplate the wonders of the universe. I'd rather live and die with the universe by my hand, than being an immortal dragged by ignorance.
“We are a way for the cosmos to know itself…”