I am writing this letter to both share my story of conversion and what changed in my life after such a realization.
I’ve always been a curious man throughout my life. When I was a kid, instead of playing with my toys, I used to open them up and try to figure out how they worked. I still question things that disturb my mind and I believe that it is essential to observe ideas, beliefs, statements or anything in different perspectives in order to grasp and understand them without a bias.
Anyway, let’s continue with my background. I was raised as a Muslim and almost all of my family is composed of strong believers. Since being from Turkey (your website is still banned by the way *sigh*), I had to take mandatory Islam classes during primary school, middle school and high school. Even when I was attending primary school, I constantly questioned religion, god and all the other principles that the imam thought us during the mandatory religion classes. Most of my questions were answered in vague ways which didn’t satisfy me at all. I was also finding a lot of inconsistencies and loose points while I was reading the Quran (it would be more accurate if I say I was forced to read the Quran, since I had to take an exam on Allah in order to get through high school!) . For example, when defining Allah the Quran says things like “He is the only God, he is unique and inherently one, omnipotent and he begets not, nor is he begotten”. But then I ask “then why did he create us ? and the universe?” all the answer I can get is that “he created us to worship him”. Thats just unacceptable for a logical man like me. Why someone that unique and that powerful would need someone to worship him? My dog practically worships me, and I like to see his submission. Isn’t this a humanly need? Why would a powerful deity that can create and destroy universes has the same psychological complexes that humans have? Doesn’t make sense at all. And this is one of the utmost important fundamentals of religion. There are a lot more conflict when you go in detail as you know.
My curiosity continued during my college years. I had to prepare a presentation on the Epic of Gilgamesh for one of my history courses. While I was reading the part about Utnapishtim, I had a Deja Vu. I felt like I read that story earlier in my life sometime. Then I noticed that the sotry of Utnapishtim was almost same as the story of Noah’s Arc. Basically the two stories were the same, with the names and deities changed. Noah’s Arc was like a students essay who plagiarized it from the Epic of Gilgamesh. Then I totally forgot about my presentation and focused on doing some research on the similarities between ancient epics and today’s religious books. The results were pretty frightening. That’s the day I agreed that religion was a man made diversion and became a Deist.
Thanks to my curiosity I was able to find logical explanations about my doubts on religion. However, there still wasn’t a logical or scientific explanation for creation. So I continued my hunting. This is where you and your books came into my life. All I need to say is “Thank you.” . Thank you for giving me the opportunity to think and reach logical conclusions. Your way of questioning things is very similar to mine, and thanks to your scientific knowledge I had a chance to obtain solid answers to many questions that I had. A small example would be your latest book “The Greatest Show on Earth”. I always knew that something called evolution existed on Earth, but I was lacking proper examples and scientific facts to defend my point of view.
After reading your books and the books that you suggest throughout your books, I became an Atheist. I don’t pray anymore, I don’t go to the Mosque even on sacred holidays, I don’t couple the events in my life with god or destiny. Nothing went different than it was before. In fact, I am more of an optimist as I realized that things go well in your life if you don’t focus on the bad.
However, later I became an atheist something gone missing in my life. Please don’t get this wrong, I don’t mean to blame anyone or anything; nor I regret where I stand today. I would’ve eventually become an Atheist even if I didn’t read your books. It was unavoidable for a man of my nature to become an Atheist. Your books gave me what I was looking for and that’s it.
I just want to share my experience with people who can empathize. It would be very wrong to say that “my life has no meaning now”, but I have a feeling which is similar. Let me explain…
Subsequently I realized that the religions were totally made up by humans and there wasn’t even a single reason for a deity to exist on top of everything we can experience; my curiosity on this matter did not end. Since I am a man of reasoning, palpable facts and logic; I still need a scientific evidence on things related to creation. Unfortunately, science today does not possess the capability to presents facts on “the beginning of life on Earth” or even bigger : “the beginning of the universe”. That’s why my mind is not in peace and that’s the reason why I feel a bit doubtful and empty ever since I became an Atheist.
I am almost sure that science will obtain palpable facts on questions related to existence in the future; as science today answered things like evolution, disease, fire, climates etc. with precision. Hundreds, thousands of years ago people thought that Gods were creating the rain, snow or earthquakes. Today even the simplest man on our society is well aware of the fact that the Earth is spinning around the sun and that’s the reason why the climate changes during a year.
The same thing will happen with the theories related to existence today and they will turn into facts. Science will improve and prosper, but sadly I won’t be around to see it…
That’s why I sometimes honestly wish that I was more of a believer than I was a scientist. The life then would have been much more simpler. Yes, my mind would have been surrounded with false delusions, but it would’ve been in peace…