I am 50 today, and, after a life of delusion, became, this year, a Born-Again Enlightened Atheist.
I know - I squirm at 'Born-Again' too - but as I will illustrate - I really do feel that way....
I bitterly resent the invidious, devious calculating process whereby the Christian Church appropriated, or should I say 'stole', even 'raped' me of my childhood sense of wonder by misnaming it a sense of God - and by branding my burgeoning nascent curiosity as reprehensible.
Both your 'God Delusion', and Sam Harris's 'End of Faith' have been an inspiration to me this year as I embarked upon my Science Degree through the Open University.
I am voracious in my appetite for Science now, whereas, in younger years I felt 'blocked' - maybe even 'conditioned' into a negative response to Science as a subject and method. There is something dark at work there - I need to understand.... I remember reading an article by EP Thomson and being struck by the concept of 'Trained Incapacity' he outlined. ..
Having gained release from the Royal Navy as a Conscientious Objector I strove whilst doing a BA (Hons) at Lancaster in 'Organisation Studies', to comprehend the forces and techniques of power deployed to develop my powers of reason sufficient to good engineering yet stunted when it came to any analysis of my officers or orders.... M. Foucault's 'Discipline and Punish' helped with this and took me beyond 'trained incapacity' to the beginnings of a comprehension of the degree to which control of the body controls and conditions the mind.
Both in the Navy and as a Christian, it was as though some part of my critical apparatus was disabled - I could not 'see' how ridiculous my beliefs were. I just laugh out loud when I read simple facts like the proportion of pregnancies ending in miscarriage cast light on God as being the greatest abortionist of all time... how could I not 'see' such glaring inconsistencies before.....
These books have provided a powerful antidote to the religious memes that riddled my addled religious sensibilities!
It is as though a veil has been lifted: I feel a visceral empathy with the proto-human 'Moonwatcher' in the film '2001 A Space Odyssey': as he discovers the multiplying effect bone + gravity imparts to both reach and power; as he smashes a pile of bones to dust. But for me the tools newly discovered are in the field of reason: those of parsimony and Occam's Razor...
Thank You for what you are doing - it is the most pressing matter of our times - all else flows from reason.
I believe it is a matter of great urgency if mankind is to survive this nuclear adolescence.
I had my first book 'Practical Leadership' published this year.
My next will address this issue head-on.
Like Luther "Here I stand and can do no other" - I would willingly fix my ninety-five theses to the cathedral door in Wittenberg or anywhere else!