Converts, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(1694)

Jan 29, 2013

Dear Richard,

Thankyou for your books “The God Delusion” and “The Greatest Show on Earth”. I was almost an atheist before I read them.

I thought that maybe there was a God, a creator of our world, but that he couldn’t possibly be like the god of the Old Testament. Who would want to worship such a spiteful, blood thirtsy and unpleasant deity in whose name such dispicable things have been, and are still being, carried out.

Reading your books I realised that I had four choices.

1. Believe the Eric Von Daniken view that we are here because of spacemen, Ridiculous.

2. Believe in Douglas Adams’ The Great Arkleseizure who sneezed the universe into existence and I that should patiently await the coming of the “Great Handkerchief”. Ridiculous in spite of Douglas.

3. Believe the religious views of obscure easter and middle eastern tribes with all of the contradictions and fairy tales involved – the Jews, Muslims and others. Ridiculous.

4. Believe that the very first, simple life on the planet may have been a bit of a glorious accident but from that life all creatures have evolved to be what they are now with no hocus pocus involved at all. If I could believe in quantum mechanics why not this? It’s far less weird and I can see the evidence in museums with no need for a Phd in advanced physics.

I have chosen number 4 because science, logic and my moral sense tell me so.

I had seen that horrible website, “God Hates Fags”, before I read your book. The fact that “Christians” will picket the funeral of homosexuals with no regard to the feelings of the family, who are probably practising Christians themselves, is beyond belief. What good does it do? That person is dead and being punished, if that is what you choose believe.

Well actually it isn’t beyond belief. I have come to the conclusion that some religious people are prepared to do anything at all, no matter how unpleasant.They are content to pick and mix the bits from their holy books to suit their own prejudices. If they disagree with something in their scriptures it is because it is some sort of metaphor. If they agree with it then it is God’s will and must be followed without fail.

I am deeply sorry that Christopher Hitchens is so ill with cancer. No doubt he has received hatemail telling him that it is God punishing him. If so then god also punished my eight year old daughter and all the other children in the ward, at that time, in Addenbrooks hospital, Cambridge. My daughter died believing in the Care Bears and that she would go to Care-a-lot. We didn’t inflict this idea on our daughter, it was what she decided to believe in rather than god. Although it was a bit embarrassing my wife and I saw no reason to tell her otherwise. I believe that the Care Bears did as much for her as God – a comfort in the belief of an after life but nothing else. That was a long time ago and not THE reason for my atheism.

I suppose what I really want to know is what do I do now? It’s not that my life is empty, far from it. I feel “evangelical” about my new beliefs. I suppose I want to know is it possible to spread the word or am I just banging my head against a wall. People who believe in a god believe because they have belief, a totally circular argument from which there does not seem to be any argument of science or logic that can make them listen to reason.

The early christians were persecuted for their beliefs. I suppose I should try and get used to that feeling.

Best Wishes

Stephen
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