Now twenty-one and an ‘Oxford-based Glaswegian’, I was brought up by atheistic/agnostic parents, although in a pretty Protestant town, who encouraged me to find things out myself and make my own decisions. When I was quite young – as a keen reader – I attempted to read the Bible, but not only found its prose tedious but the ideas in it nauseating. Did people really believe this nonsense? I didn’t touch the book again for eight years, again, only motivated to by literary allegiance.
Like Mr Adams I was agnostic for many years mainly because I couldn’t find the right sources to banish the last of my doubts. Around five years ago, I came across The Selfish Gene (Ms Ward can be thanked for that – as a keen Who fan it was only through glancing across her Wikipedia page that I came across Richard Dawkins’). I am a buyer rather than a borrower of books and within a month I had purchased The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable and River Out of Eden. These volumes in particular (although alongside others I picked up by flicking through the references in your books) finally liberated me from an already dwindling allegiance to religion.
For this I thank you, Professor Dawkins. I may not have been as tightly entangled in religion as some, but nonetheless, I am delighted to finally be at a stage in which I can fight my corner and help others shake off the shackles of religion.
A student of history, I was delighted to read in The God Delusion the historical inaccuracies of many of the religious texts had not gone unnoticed. However, my biologist of a roommate says she would still really have preferred a casserole dish to the copy of it she received for Christmas.
Here’s hoping she does not attempt to make stew with it.
On a less cheerful note, as a volunteer at the LGBT Switchboard, it saddens me still how many kids we still have calling in due to a rejection from their family, friends and community on a religious basis – too many are under fifteen; emotionally battered, self harming and suicidal. This is what religion does to groups who would otherwise be loving families.
Again, in the unlikely chance you have the time to read through these, thank you for helping myself and so many others, and allowing us not just to disbelieve in god but to challenge it where we can,
PS. To anyone still trying to come to terms with a lack of faith, I would suggest using an e-reader in order to stem accusations of rocking the boat or even of being a pseudo-intellectual before you’re ready to ‘come out’. A friend of mine finds this method incredibly useful.