Dear Dr Dawkins
I just want to say a huge thank you! For many years I was a Christian, attending pentacostal / baptist churches. I struggled for years with the basics of religion, praying was impossible because I just simply did not believe there was a God to pray to. I was told that everybody had doubts and at some point it would come to me, so I kept going in the hope that it would all become clear.
I attended healing sessions and watched bemused as seemingly sane and rational people ran out of the congregation like contestants on the price is right, only to fall down when they reached the front. When Canon J.John came to our church as a guest speaker one of his sons claimed he had cured a woman. She had been in a car crash and as she lay covered in bandages in her hospital bed he had touched her arm and she was cured. The whole church erupted with hallelujahs and I sat silently thinking of the paramedics and hospital staff who actually probably had saved this woman life, long before he got there, assuming she even existed. Our pastor claimed he had cured a woman of depression by pouncing on her and wrestling her to the ground after claiming 'the poor woman has a demon!'. As someone who suffers from depression, I was horrified. Not only by the lack of understanding of what really is a quite a common illness but by the thought that if he found out I was receiving treatment I also might be subjected to one of his wwf smackdown style assaults.
When the youth pastor preached about children he claimed that religion should be taught from an early age because it would lead them to growing into good Christian adults with morals. This left me confused because as well meaning as his intentions were; I could see this was blatant indoctrination
The final straw for me came after a sermon by Trevor. I have no idea what position Trevor had in the church, apart from playing the guitar badly and wearing a big hat. His sermon was all about The God Delusion and how Richard Dawkins is an idiot. Obviously he wouldn't be quoting from it because he hadn't read it, he just knew it was bad, whereas the bible is good. Book bad, bible good, see? An inspiring sermon! I was interested in what had got Trevor so fired up so I went out and purchased the God delusion the next day and suddenly the clarity I always wanted about my religion was in front of me, I finally faced up to the fact I knew all along. It was bullshit. I just wanted to say thank you, (not for making me an atheist because I've always been one, I just didn't know it), but for confirming my beliefs and inspiring me to speak out about them. I am truly grateful!