I am writing to thank you for writing The God Delusion. I have just finished reading your book and although in my case it was "preaching to the choir" in that I shared all your views on religion a long time before I read this, I could never have articulated many of the arguments myself with such intellectual and well researched
viewpoints as you have done in your work.
I myself am from a Catholic, working class background in the North West of England. I was educated as a Catholic although my family never forced religion on me and encouraged me to make my own mind up. I rejected Catholicism at the age of 16, realising it was incompatible with my own teenage idealistic view of the world and soon after following much "soul searching", I came to the conclusion that I never really believed in anything. Any doubts in my lack of belief were eradicated once I pursued a degree in Biological Sciences at University; any of the blanks were filled in by solid evidence or for those questions that remain unanswered, the knowledge that they will be resolved by science, even if not in my own lifetime, negating any need to believe in a God. As such, I corresponded with the Arch Bishop of Liverpool who kindly agreed for me to be removed from the Baptismal Register making me officially without religion.
I am now 25 years old and have experienced tough times in my life, even suffering an acute illness at 17 years old that brought me within hours of death but I never either attributed blame for this or thanked a god for my survival. I fear that if it wasn't for a secular approach to medical research over the years, I wouldn't have survived. If a
religious approach had its way, my illness would have been deemed as god's will and I would have died. People say that facing one's own mortality brings them closer to a god but in my case it did the opposite.
I have read a number of articles in response to your book and the majority miss the point, or respond with supposedly pro religion points that have been acknowledged, them buried by your own arguments. One common theme seems to be artistic work. Much has been discussed about the work of many classical composers which you have discussed, but if contemporary music is considered, music today supposedly in favour of music is bland and uninspiring; however, there are many examples of music today that are beautifully structured and can arouse emotions but have no religious connotation. (not sure whether this will be you cup of tea but you might wish to look up Sigur Ros, an Icelandic band)
I fear that I have rambled slightly here, but I would like to assure you that I am encouraging everyone I meet to read your book. I have stressed that they should use it to make up their own minds, to think about the issues, rather than following your words blindly as this, I'm sure you would agree, would be a just as bad as bible worship.
Again, I would like to reiterate my thanks for this book, I was struggling prior to reading it to reconcile my own views with what other people may be thinking but this has helped me realise that I am not on my own in my beliefs, or lack of them. I look forward to reading your next work.