Hi Prof Dawkins,
I’m English, raised by an atheist step father and agnostic mother, Neither made a point of denying God’s existence or giving any religious guidance through my childhood.Despite the lack of religion in the home its presence inschool nativity plays, church with girl guides once a month and singing hymns in school assembly were enough to instill in me as a child the sense that there ‘must be something’.
For the next 30 or so yearsI lived,believing that deeply religious people were nuts but not really having a framework in my own mind for my own beliefs. I didn’t know the word Agnostic and know nowthat thatis what I was during this time. I believe many people in the UK arereally agnostic, but they don’t acknowledge it or take the time to consider the matter, maybe fear stops them. I have always stayed away from religious organisations butwas never really free from the sense of religion, the ingrained fear that you were being judged from above and that you shouldn’t question, that isuntil I read your book, The God Delusion.
Whenthe GodDelusion was first published and received a lot of press I considered reading it, but some ‘fear’ stopped me. This year after seeing it listed in the top 10Times Books of the decade I took it out of my library. I was nervousopening it, maybe I thought I would be struck down on the spot, but once I started reading I couldn’t stop it was brilliant. It made everything so perfectly clear,I can now say that I don’t believe in God without fear.
Since reading it I am so much happier, my eyes are open to the true beauty and wonder of the world around me and I enjoy everyday as I am so lucky to be here at all.
For me now it is shocking to realisethat despite an upbringing lacking religion in the home the influence of religion around me, in other small areas of my life, was enough to make me fear opening a book. I admire those that have posted on here that have had strict religious upbringings and have managed to open your books and question what they have been taught to be true. Well done to them all, courageous people.
Keep up the great work.