I have only read a few chapters of Richard Dawkins’ book, “The God Delusion”, but am compelled to write now in order to express just how important this book is.
Had I read this book before my conversion to born-again Christianity, (at the age of 19 while at University), I would have been better prepared for the process of proselytization that I had become a part of. I have neither feelings of bitterness at all for those who evangelised their faith to me, nor feelings of shame for my acceptance of the Christian myth. Theirs was an act of genuine sincerity, propelled by the deep convictions of their belief; mine was the typical response of an open-minded, impressionable youth, unprepared and ill-equipped to challenge the plausibility of such beliefs, and ignorant of their origins.
My de-conversion, 15 years later, was a long, exhausting and lonely experience. It began with the simplest of beginnings, while struggling with various questions that simply wouldn’t go away. I found myself daring to ask the following: “How do I know that what I believe about the Bible, and the God it speaks of, as well as the very personal experiences associated with this belief, is actually true?” Furthermore, would I be prepared to challenge what I believe, no matter what the implications? The answer was yes, and though this has had profound implications on my personal relationships with family and friends, I do not regret this personal renaissance for one moment.
As I gradually untangled each thread of indoctrination, I began to see more clearly the reality of my faith. That it was simply a belief, based on an unsubstantiated premise, and nothing more. There was no evidence in the least to demonstrate that any of it was true.
Never was the Biblical axiom “the truth shall set you free” more appropriate to my life, than when I rejected the Bible’s infallibility.
Most born-again Christians would not read “The God Delusion”. They have already made up their minds about its credibility. Only when they are prepared to challenge themselves like I was, will they venture into such territory. There will, of course, be some who read it for the sole purpose of attempting to counter its arguments, using the very same mental gymnastics that Richard Dawkins has exposed in this book.
The fervour with which exponents of religious ideals evangelise their beliefs on an un-informed public, needs to be met with an equally zealous counteract, to educate and inform. For every Gideon’s bible in a hotel room, there should be a copy of this book! It is possible, in fact I would go as far as to say highly probable, that Richard Dawkins’ latest book will spare others the wasted years under religious delusion that I have experienced. That is why this book is so important.