I grew up in a Christian home, with loving-but-misguided parents, attending church regularly. I played along, but it never felt quite right. Still, it’s amazing how “truths” you’re told as a child have deep, pervasive roots. Mostly I believed what I had never bothered to question (and those proved to be the beliefs that lingered longest). I took them (the whole church and virtually every adult that I knew) at their word. And why wouldn’t I? Regardless, I lived quite like many other, non-Christian kids (secretly using “bad” words and doing things with my girlfriends that were patently forbidden!), only plagued by guilt all the while. My actions showed that it didn’t really mean much to me, even if my mind was burdened with conflict and regret.
In my late teen years I started probing further, reading history and anthropology books about the origins of the Bible and Christianity. It soon became clear that the whole mess is just the accumulated folly of generations of frightened, superstitious humans, and nothing more divine than that. To make matters worse, many of the church’s most cherished ideas are not even what was written in their own Bible. They are the result of botched translations amongst other confusions. I recall one lucid moment where I looked up from one of these scholarly books and saw the world with new eyes right then and there… not even the Christians know these things about their own founding documents! Since that moment, I’ve had many conversations with Christians that I know, and it’s quite true. I know much more about the Bible than they do and it doesn’t seem to bother them in the least!
While the foundations of my former belief were already crumbling under their own weight, I read The God Delusion. Dawkin’s words came like a flood of sanity, washing away the few lingering doubts that were hiding in the recesses of my mind – and what a beautiful, sensible, precious world was revealed! I am now more able to thrill at the fleeting magnificence of life (and everything else) than ever before. I now look up at the starry sky more filled with rapture and awe than God could have ever given me, and supporting that magnificent feeling is the comfort of sane, sensible truth. Further readings of works by Dawkins, Sagan and Harris have continued to mesmerize and empower me and I’m thankful to all of them.