Dear Mr. Dawkins,
I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic School through the 8th grade. I became non-practicing after entering a public high school, however the intense guilt and pervasive tension of religious indoctrination hung on me for decades. I married a Jewish girl, also non-practicing, and still remember the anxiety I felt when she told me, as we were expecting our first child, that the child would be Jewish. I pretended not to care much, although I did attempt a few weak arguments toward Christianity, but it was the guilt I had to fight to get over. My child would not be Christian!
I recall a time when my wife and I received a new Bible as a gift and we decided to read it together. I was familiar enough with the stories of the Old Testament, but my wife was not as her rather dysfunctional family provided little structure in her childhood. She was absolutely mortified by the atrocities and repulsiveness of Scripture and the book was closed for good. I fumbled along for another decade or so.
I found Taoism several years ago quite by mistake, and then picked up a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, also quite accidentally. I liked the title! I didn’t quite catch the underlying message to HHGTTG until somewhere deep in the “trilogy,” but it did come to me and combined with the Taoism I started feeling myself breaking free. I find it quite fabulous now that I’ve begun reading your books to see that Douglas Adams was a friend and supporter of yours!
I’ve been reading The God Delusion slowly, trying to absorb every word. My eBook is covered in highlights! I’ve watched your videos on Growing up in the Universe and I’ve been reading Mr. Hitchens’ brilliantly articulated journalistic views. Today, for the first time, I felt pieces clicking together in my mind as I drove to a meeting about an hour or so away. I didn’t even realize when my music ended as I was completely occupied putting what I have learned so far into some cogent structure.
I feel truly liberated from my past; from what now feels like the narrowest view of life, the universe and everything. The natural world is beyond awe inspiring, it is truly indescribable in its depth and detail. I have so much more I wish to learn and I feel the door thrown wide open for me. Thank you for your patience, your dedication and your willingness to lay things out simply for the lay person to grasp. I’m pleased to say my children were never indoctrinated and I am taking great joy in teaching them truth.