Dear Mr. Dawkins, dear fellow converts,
thank you Mr.Dawkins for writing “The God Delusion”. I am reading it a second time in succession and my 17-year-old son is waiting with baited breath for me to finish. My stream of quotes have made him sneak looks inside and utz me on to go on and hand it over.
I am daughter to a Methodist mother and a Jewish father, both Americans. I was born and live in Germany, and am a European citizen. Although my religious education was rather dry, intellectual and analytical in the Lutheran tradition of Germany, free from any happy-clappy or fire-and-brimstone clap-trap, I did grow up taught to believe in God. It has taken many years to move on (I am 44 years old), and Mr. Dawkins has given me the essential leg-up. I am no longer stuck in my confused aphasia.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Dawson for healing my aphasia about God (and more). He has given expression to so many issues which for many years have been free-floating around my brain, more felt than conciously perceived. I saw no more reason to believe in God than in Father Christmas; but still kept trying to make that famous “leap of faith” because I somehow felt I should. (My husband maintains that it will keep our kids out of sects if we give them a good boring mainstream Lutheran religious education. He is a psychiatrist who quotes studies showing that religions believers commit suicide less frequently – possibly a good thing – and are less frequently depressed because they have an “Ersatz” family. As it turns out, confirmation classes successfully rid our kids from any further desire to frequent the church.) Anyway, it is a great relief to finally give up trying to make myself believe nonsense, if a little embarrassing to need outside encouragement. Thinking in a sceptical way is constantly in our teachers’ mouths here in Germany; a happy consequence of a country which has lost everything, been given lots of help and has worked mercilessly to learn from their history of being perpetrators of terrible crimes. As a consequence of the world wars, Germany has lost much of its class structure, religion and patriotism: all no loss at all, but instead actually a great gain, which makes me for one feel very fortunate to live here.
Apart from the pleasant experience of having my feelings supported and expressed in such excellent phrases, paragraphs and chapters, giving me the satisfaction of feeling that I have been “right all along”, “The God Delusion” has also has made me deeply uneasy about the world wide effects of Religion, which I never saw as being so terrifying. Obviously, this is not the time for laziness – of the brain or in our deeds.
E.F. from Germany