I’m not really a convert; I suspect I was unable to believe in any god at birth. However, like most of your converts I relate to being forced by parents to attend Sunday school and eventually be confirmed into the Lutheran faith the same year I graduated from high school – all those years, I cried and fought but in the end I gave into their demands. Briefly, I’d like to add that I have experienced the kind of damage this can do to children and young adults. When I entered high school, I wanted badly to be accepted into a precision majorette group. Sounds unimportant, right? I went to tryouts, made it through three cuts with only one more to reach my goal. Hundreds of girls wanted to belong – these were state champions year after year. On the day of my final trials, the minister of my church scheduled my confirmation interview. He would not let me change dates and my parents would not let me miss this so-called “important” event. Of course I wasn’t there the day of the last cuts, but I have always felt very sure I would have been chosen as the teacher/supervisor of the group liked me and walked through every trial at my side, reminding me what the judges would want to see. The girls of this troop were highly admired by the entire school body and were dated by the young men from good families, with great potential in their futures. Please note that finding a “rich boyfriend” is not what this is about. It was simply a desire to improve myself and raise my own standards. If you remember highschool, you will understand the importance of decisions made during those years. This one event might have changed my life. It might have presented opportunities I never got. Instead, I ended up married to the guy I dated through highschool who turned out to be a violent drunk and the marriage lasted only 13 years (which was much too long). I will always believe that this outcome would have been a very different story had I not been forced to sit in the minister’s office while my destiny went on without me.
Thanks for your books. I’ve lost a lot of possible friends since I quit hiding my non-belief. I now put it right out there and if people don’t like it, I feel sorry for them, not intimidated by them. They seem to think I’m a freak – I think they are just stupid. Your books are the books I’ve always wanted to write but you have a better background to make the truth more credible so I thank you for doing it. Let’s hope the day will come when we grow beyond the need for a man-made god. Like Sigmund Freud said way back in the l940-s, we are better off believing in Santa Clause than in god. He alluded to the fact that we must learn to be good for the sake of being good, not under the threat of a god who will punish us….that hasn’t worked….and we will never reach our potential so long as we believe in that god.
I’m now 66 years old and have been reading everything I could find on this subject for a lot of years. Even took the philosophy of religion in college (I finished my degree at age 40! ) so I was old enough to really absorb what I could.