Having read most (admittedly not all) of your works does not give me the right to address you by “Richard”, but “Mr. Dawkins” or “Professor” seems rather stiff and formal for someone who has changed my life so drastically and positively.
I was raised in what is now the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, taught Sunday School for a while and even substituted as a guest pastor on occasion. In my late 20’s I remember running into an elderly man one day who turned out to be the pastor of the church my family attended – he had not aged well and I did not recognize him at first, but he remembered me.
As we caught up on our lives, I told him that I had received my bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. He was appalled, and told me that he was ashamed of me for pursuing “the devil’s science”. That comment hurt me deeply, and was the start of 20 years of doubt.
Fast forward to my 40’s where I found “The God Delusion”, and like many others felt an instant connection and realization that it was okay to de-convert. I have never felt so liberated and alive!
Sadly, I have found the hard way that family and friends are less than thrilled with my change in religious beliefs. I loaned my copy of “The God Delusion” to my wife and mother, and to my chagrin they both refused to read it.
So, I am sadly enjoying my liberation in silence – and this email is helping. Thanks very much for listening.
Franklin, WI USA