Dear Mr Dawkins,
I grew up in a moderately religious family, attended Sunday school and many Christian schools. However, I have to say that I always remained a tad skeptical of various legends perpetuated by the Bible. One of the most prominent examples was the New Testament’s story of Jesus’ sacrifice; it really confused me when I first heard of it. I never knew why the Christian god couldn’t just forgive us, especially since he is supposed to be omnipotent.However, I accepted most of the Biblical stories as true, even though I had a lingering skepticism of their outrageousness. I was especially confused by one Sunday school teacher. Basically, he told us that god knows whether you will choose him to be your lord and saviour. However, I asked him why that was the case, since I believed (from reading the Bible) that god gave us a choice. He just vaguely answered the question, saying that he gives us a choice yet knows what choice we would make, and that this concept is difficult to understand.
Anyway, I kind of drifted through a few years not really thinking about god and such. I stopped going to Church, because deep down I knew that I was not particularly devout and was not ‘worthy’ of being a Christian. I slowly began to distance myself from Christianity, intending to become a devout Christian later in life because I believed at the time I did not have enough faith. It got to the extent where I stopped identifying myself as a Christian, clearly stating that I was in a Christian family but I was not really Christian myself (I didn’t pray or go to Church, barely thinking about god). I was one of those ‘fence-sitters’. I eventually settled on accepting religious ‘facts’ – such as creationism and the existence of a god – yet not devoutly worshiping the Christian god.
Two years ago, I moved schools to a non-Christian one to start high school. I still wanted to keep in touch with my previous friends though, so I attended a sleepover not too long ago (a few months). The host (my friend) was Christian and so was his family. During my stay, his parents wanted to testify their own Christian conversion story because it was a Sunday, and they felt they needed to do something religious. While they were describing their testimony, they mentioned you, Richard Dawkins, and made you out to be some kind of evil man dedicated in converting people to evil atheism. They described how you are quite intelligent, and that sometimes Christians do not always know the answers to your arguments. So, they recommended we read the book “You can lead an atheist to evidence, but you can’t make him think”. They also talked about the classic Hitler vs crusades argument, etc etc.
I didn’t really care about what they had to say (growing up in a Christian environment, I grew insensitive to evangelists), but I remembered the cover picture of that book. One day I saw a youtube video of Ray Comfort attempting to support creationism with a banana. During the video, it was mentioned that Ray Comfort wrote the book “You can lead an atheist to evidence, but you can’t make him think”. I immediately remembered the cover of the book, and this completely destroyed any credibility I thought the book contained (not that I was planning to read it).
However, this piqued my interest. It got me thinking about religion again. I recognized this Ray Comfort guy was an idiot, but I thought that like many controversies, there is convincing evidence on both sides (evolution vs creationism). I searched, and searched, but found nothing convincing. Most of the ‘irrefutable proof’ was “the Bible said so” and “we are complex, thus god made us”. This didn’t quite convince me, so I looked to the evolutionist arguments. I came across youtube videos of you, Richard Dawkins, and was stunned by your systematic and logical arguments. It just made sense.
And so I was converted. The more youtube videos I watched, the more I was convinced of evolution and atheism. I thank you for making me think rationally again. It really opened my eyes when you placed Biblical stories in a modern context, showing how immoral many Biblical stories really are.
I wish there were more people like you. People like you really do contribute to the advancement of humankind, using sheer logic to remove our religious shackles which still bind many to caveman-like thinking. I share the sentiments of another convert in Converts’ Corner: I wish you could live forever!