Hello Professor Dawkins!
I hope you are well! I also hope that this email will reach you.
I am currently doing my PhD in cancer biology from the MD Anderson cancer center at Houston (I like to tell it to whoever I meet coz its kind of a big deal for me!). I am from India and belong to the Sikh religion. I am not sure if you have heard of it, but it is one of the modern religions which has started only about 500 years ago. Although, I like few aspects of the sikh religion (like sikh temples, called gurudwaras, serve free food and shelter to anyone who comes there irrespective of what religion or faith they belong to), it was getting increasingly difficult for me to follow the rituals because I saw no point.
I was struggling with the idea that I have to go every Sunday to visit a God who is, by definition, omnipresent. I was wondering why God, if it exists, only dwells in temples, mosques churches, white clothes and noble words. Why is God so selfish and cruel to punish someone (who doesnt believe in him) by making them go to hell and torturing them? I was struggling with the fact that isn’t God supposed to be the exact opposite? The benevolent, ever forgiving entity. I wanted to know why God has this classic animal trait of tit for tat. There were too many contradictions in the idea of God for me to believe in it.
My faith was falling but I was inflicted with guilt by the people around me (accusing me of not going to the gurudwara). The guilt made me hang on to faith for some days. I was not even on the fence, I was hovering over it. Some days I was deeply faithful (perhaps because of the guilt, or genuinely having difficulty giving up a quarter century of belief) and other days I totally rejected any divine presence.
Then I read the God Delusion and realized that the only thing that did perhaps happen by ‘chance’ was me being born into a Sikh family. I am your latest convert. Thank you.
Best regards and wishes,