I live in the United States of America, and I was raised by two devout Roman Catholic parents who honestly believe everything in Genesis is literally true. As such, I was not taught about evolution until high school, and what I was taught was not enough to convince anybody that Genesis is wrong. My school, a public school which is one of the best (if not THE best) schools in Michigan, barely teaches the basics of evolution.
For these reasons, I did not find out about the truth of evolution until I was in college and took it upon myself to research it on my own time. My motivation for researching the theory was that over a period of several months, I had secretly been researching a number of topics that my parents don’t want me to think about (or know about), and I have only been an atheist for a couple of months (secretly), but it wasn’t too long into being an atheist that I heard your name brought up. I kept hearing/seeing your name in atheist web sources, so I decided to check out your YouTube channel.
You have taught me almost everything I know about evolution. Because of you, I know the truth of why we’re here, and life has never seemed so amazing, so beautiful. If I had any say in the matter, your lectures on Growing Up in the Universe would be played in every school in America! If I wasn’t afraid of being kicked out of the house, I’d be preaching to everyone I know about you. You’ve inspired me. I daresay I’m beginning to love evolution as much as you do. It truly is a beautiful theory- a beautiful fact. I’m so saddened and frustrated that the rest of my family is ignorant about it!
I think my family agrees with you, Richard: evolution and religion are incompatible. I think that is why my parents fight against it, why they tell their children it is a lie. But their encouragement of disbelief has backfired- instead of disbelieving evolution, as they wanted me to (how absurd! I can’t believe I ever didn’t believe it!), I now disbelieve Genesis and their (my parents’) entire religion!
It is my hope that my siblings will come to similar disbeliefs, or that once I am moved out, that I can teach them about the wonders of nature, as you have taught me. Perhaps I will be able to persuade them, over time, that evolution is true (because it IS!), and that once they accept that, their religion will slowly fall apart, and they’ll start appreciating how precious life really is.
You’ve become a hero to me, Richard.