Greetings to Mr Dawkins and Founding members, fellow users,
I have just watched the final episode of "Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life". I am going to make sure I get a copy and watch it regularly. It was frankly beautiful and quite moving - moving me to express my admiration and gratitude for the Foundation and its mission, and in particular Mr. Dawkins, whom I will address as Richard now, if I may.
I am a former Christian minister. I became involved with the Protestant church as a sensitive young adolescent from a non- religious dysfunctional family, in the 60's - "Billy Graham" years. I later became a minister , and in the course of my studies few years as an active minister began to become uncomfortably aware that I had made an error, in the absence of enough information and from the basis of emotional need and coping, rather than reason and fact. I comfort myself with the fact that the minister who converted me, did so from the basis of a strong social conscience and involvement in things such as poverty, the Vietnam war, and a Christian flavored humanism.
Aftyer leaving I never abandoned the search for meaning, exploring different religious understandings and ending up with an amalgam of good science of the quantum sort, of rational Buddhist atheistic philosophy (not religious adherence), and philosophical Taoism.
I saw that much of my religious attachments arose from a sort of wish-fulfillment search, the type you have, without fear and yet with understanding, confronted.
I won't go on, but that final episode brought tears to my eyes as it echoed my own awe of the life itself, of the human quest, of our bondings and our creations, including diverse cultures.. I said my amen to the statements about our meanings arising and being chosen by ourselves. I think that can be applied to religious people too - they are choosing a meaning and values, though you and I feel the meanings are better founded with more reason, and minus some of the seeming trance inducing, escapist sillinesses and self-righteous intolerance.
Thank you Richard for what you are doing. In the face of the concerning surges in places of fundamentalism of all sorts it is well warranted and much appreciated.
I have not lost the sense of mystery and from my own viewpoint, there is a sort of quantum holographic process with no central "entity" pulling strings, yet there remains for me a mystery to life that continually expresses itself. Indeed, an atheist can look at a leaf or the stars at night and feel deep emotion and find meaning in right now - in a zen way, I guess.
Rod L, Melbourne.