Dear Professor Dawkins,
I can remember the day, date and year, I wanted to ‘Come Out’ and ‘Reach Out.’
I was 30 years of age, I am now 48. My family and long lost relatives were all religious and played an active part in the religious community.
Thinking about it now, the first time I began to question what it meant to go to church, pray and to consider my moral responsibility, was when I was about 15.
What happened in the mean time? Two things. Work and Women or Money and Sex. Things began to change in my life and in my mind, when my daughter was born.
I think that when you see, feel and watch a child develop and grow, it changes you forever. The most important thing for me was the change in my thinking and how I viewed the world.
Another important factor at this time of my life was my work as a photographer, more importantly as a Landscape Photographer. This enabled me to see the world around me, which quite frankly most people do not do. Most people have their heads down, rushing through life not allowing themselves an opportunity to look up and see what a wonderful world we are a part of.
My love and appreciation for the Earth and it’s wonderment, along with the birth of my daughter, are the most important aspects of my conversion.
It was while studying everything ‘Earth’ that I began to see quite clearly how the world existed and how we human beings existed upon it. I began to see the Earth itself as a living being, as a giant, spectacular, proud mother with it’s enormously varied family shrouded and protected by ‘arms’ full of cloud and atmosphere. I also new what we ‘the family’ were doing to mother Earth, maybe not destroying her but changing her, to our detriment. I also knew that ‘she’ would have her own survival instinct and would protect herself. If this meant cleansing herself, so be it. I began to write and take photographs to ‘Reach Out’ to people to show them what a wonderful world we lived on. This was for me, the moment, the eureka of my conversion. I can only explain it like this…
The more I began to look at the Earth and how in awe I was with its beauty, how incredible and amazing the world operated and existed. I thought to myself, this is Heaven! I am in Heaven! there can not be anything more beautiful or exhilarating or spiritual or mind bending than the place we are so fortunate to be a part of. That was it. My mind was made up, it was clear, uncluttered and content.
Since that ‘moment’ I have been confident to declare my new way of thinking and to challenge any ‘believer’ that dare to challenge me. I have to say on one or two occasions ‘they’ have backed down with little fight.
Another very important aspect of ‘conversion’ is dealing with death and more importantly the death of a loved one. When my mother and father both became ill with cancer, I did not start to question my being ‘Out’ or revert to question why, to whom might be listening. I was able to accept and live with the pain and grief for what it was, I did not quote those words ‘how can any God allow this to happen?’ My family and friends now know that I will not be a hypocrite and when it comes to my own death and funeral I am hoping my own beliefs are considered. I shall be writing down how I wish my own funeral to be organised so that there is no mention of god or the afterlife.
Finally I just want to say thank you.
Thank you to you Sir, for providing this vehicle, to enable people like me to have a voice and to try at least, give others a chance to ‘see’ and to Come Out.
Thank you again Professor, you are my inspiration and idol.
Very kind regards