Converts, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(1703)

Jan 29, 2013

Professor Dawkins:

At the age of 20, my Catholic faith began to waiver. As I routinely recited prayers and listened to scripture each Sunday, I realized that I was being disingenuous about what I was saying. As a last desperate attempt to justify my religious faith, I made a goal to read the Bible from start to finish to learn more about my faith. I didn’t make it through; it didn’t take long to realize that the answers I sought would not be there.

I subsequently checked out The God Delusion from my college library. What I read in that book made more sense than anything I had learned from my Catholic faith teachings in the past 15 or so years. Furthermore, it inspired me to learn more about evolution and science in general. After gaining sufficient understanding and confidence, I “came out” as an atheist. Immediately, I experienced opposition; my mother threatened to throw me out of the house right then and there. Doubts were raised about whether I would make a suitable godfather to my beloved niece. Celebrating the Christian holidays with my family became awkward and still is, as everyone in my family still practices their faith.

Two years later, my life has improved dramatically since then. Without the guilt of sin haunting me, I became cured of depression. Indeed, at a young age, I remember feeling terrible when the Sunday School teacher told our class that Jesus’s suffering on the cross was, literally, our fault. I also remember a time when I went to confession, and the Sunday after, the priest told the congregation what I had done (albeit he did not use my name) during the next sermon. What a terrible impact these sorts of things have on one’s self-esteem!

I am deeply thankful for your work. Coping with my friends’ and family’s oppositions was hard enough. I can’t imagine how you must feel to have hundreds of millions of people opposed to you, even though your statements are logical and are always backed by evidence. You are putting your life on the line by speaking what the faithful are most afraid of — the truth. I sincerely appreciate that you take such a courageous stand against ignorance.

Kindest regards,
Aaron P.

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