Dear Mr. Dawkins
Many thanks to you for your educational and scientific work! My name is Evgene Konoplyov, I live in the small city of Vologda, in the northwest of Russia. I’m 19 years old, and I’m the student-biologist. I was born and brought up in a moderate Christian family, in Russian orthodox church. Since the childhood I took a great interest in biology and other natural sciences, trying to combine it with the belief. In 9th form I have started to participate in the various competitions for schoolboys, and in 10th form have 38 place in the biological competition of Russian Federation. Unfortunately, I then yet up to the end understood all essence of the theory of evolution, and the belief induced me even to deny it, however, as well as many other obvious facts.
Having entered the university, on a speciality biology and chemistry, I was engaged in deeper and detailed studying of natural sciences. In passing I studied the bible, the church legend, and also every possible sects and heresies, both ancient, and modern – first because revealing of their lacks supported my conviction in the validity of Orthodoxy, and secondly because I had to face their representatives, and I as the Christian, sincerely considered as the debt to teach mistaking people, and to turn them into “true” Christianity. I would like to note – in particular for visitors of your site – that Russian orthodox church is much more conservative, than Catholic, and ancient church chanting, ancient ceremonies, magnificent attires and liturgies lasting many hours are supported here in much большей degrees, than in the West. One more – it is possible, the most disgusting feature of the ancient Eastern Churches is the doctrine about so-called “humility” – slavish humility, lack of will before god, about infinite tears which the person should spill, repenting of nonexistent sins, about a constant sense of guilt before god and all associates, about patience of sufferings, and moreover – about their necessity for “rescue” of nonexistent “soul”. Even when I trusted, this doctrine did not inspire me trust, now, when I at last can is sensible think, thought on thousand the people suffering from this infection, and esteeming its blessing, inspires me huge compassion to their condition. Divine service lasts a minimum 2 hours, and is conducted in hopelessly out-of-date language of XV century which practically anybody from parishioners plainly does not understand. At last, 85 % of parishioners make old women which any more in a condition adequately to think, and for days on end mutter prayers and psalms, without understanding their sense.
And here, one fine day, it became interesting to me: yes, I trust it it is good, but whether there are real acknowledgement of my belief? How the scientific facts are combined with the church doctrine? And during this moment I very much needed any studying of sects and heresies because reading about them, I have developed in myself critical and sceptical thinking concerning religion. And a smog them apply to “proofs” of the belief. And with surprise has found out that they are groundless!
I began to try to understand, in what have put, there can be proofs is, but I simply have not found them? I read arguments of priests and seminary students, scientists and atheists, and have come to a conclusion that the belief is unsubstantiated. And if it has no basis why I should suffer sufferings for the sake of it is not known that? One of these days I have read your book “God as illusion” and as the beginning biologist, could estimate all grace of proofs, and the theory мемов became for me the present opening! It has helped me to result my knowledge in system, and I am very grateful to you for it.
I feel that I can help in development of this theory, I am convinced that it will help to make people free and happy. I would like to be engaged in classification and evolution studying of memes. Whether probably to apply to them biological classification with division into kingdoms, types, classes, kinds and others taxons?
If and to visitors of your site it is interesting to you, I could write you some articles about memical pool of my region. Excuse me for my bad English.