I scarcely have the words to express the fascination I have with the world around me after reading your books. Though I believe I have essentially been an atheist for a few years now, I did not start out that way, and I was not sure of my lack of faith until I read your books.
I was raised an evangelical, Southern-Baptist Christian, and stayed firm in that belief until around the age of 16 or 17. That is when I fully came to terms with and accepted my homosexuality, and I began to see the veil of religion being lifted away. It took a while; first, I convinced myself that Jesus loved me despite my homosexuality. After reading books that supported that viewpoint, the seed of doubting the Bible had firmly been planted in my head. After a few years of “finding myself” and a wide ranging college education, I had pretty much abandoned my faith, though I still harbored a desire to believe in something, which manifested itself in a fascination with astrology and the paranormal. This lay in the back of my mind until one day, a few months ago, in a fit of depression and needing answers, I decided to read The God Delusion.
Soon enough, I had finished that book andThe Blind Watchmaker, and found myself halfway through The Greatest Show on Earth. Every bit of faith and superstition I harbored was now firmly in the past. That fleeting faith is now replaced with a fascination with the complexity of life and with Darwin’s devastatingly beautiful theory. I want to know all that I can about it, and I have a newfound respect for the enormous complexity of life around me. I find myself looking at every living thing and, rather than thanking a God for creating it, I stand in awe as I stare my (albeit distant) cousins square in the eye.
I also see the damage religion can do, more than I ever have before. At one time, I was a “coexist” kind of person, one who believed that all religious belief systems should be respected and honored. While I still support the right of my fellow Homo sapiens to believe what they will, I now clearly see the danger in affording religion a level of respect that we afford no other belief system, and I thank you for showing me that. I feel so enlightened and, indeed, I now shutter whenever I hear the term “Christian Child” or “Jewish Child” and so forth. I have taken the liberty of spreading this message to anyone of my family and friends who will hear it, even lending out my copies of your books for them to read, and I’m happy to say you may have a few more converts soon.
Thank you for being so fearless in getting your message out to the world. The work of you and your contemporaries makes me hopeful for a world where religion finally takes a backseat to reason and rationality. Keep up the good work, and I look ever forward to your next book.
Savannah, GA, USA