Converts, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(212)

Jan 29, 2013

Dear Prof Dawkins,

I’m not 100% sure why I feel compelled to send this message, but..

I am a convert which is to say I have finally admitted, to myself, that religion is a lie wrapped up in a fairytale masquerading as the ‘one true way’, which, it clearly isn’t.

I’m not sure whether it matters to tell my little story. But anyway…
Buckle your seatbelt….

About two years ago after a lengthy and somewhat imprecise diagnosis I came away from a meeting with my doctor with a certain feeling that everything would not be the same.
I had been diagnosed as having MS and suddenly I had changed from the ‘boy who was never ill’ to one who consumes 7 pills daily and injects medicine every other day.

I mention this as it sometimes requires events like these to focus ones mind I think.

Some symptoms and plenty side-effects later and I was considering my life. I had just started my phd and had split from my girlfriend. So everything was ‘new’ and perhaps I was a little unsettled. Port and whiskey to the rescue!
But once I had staggered through all this I read The God Delusion. I was a Christian, confirmed no less (at 14!) but I never truly believed. I think I liked the ‘face’ of Christianity.
I had been one to pick and choose verse and chapter and so was my vicar, but now I resolved to read from start to finish The Old and New Testament.
Your book Professor Dawkins was the catalyst but the final nail was driven in to Religion’s coffin by doing this simple task.

I will be grateful to you for starting this….well I was going to type journey, but its my life really. I feel as though you have helped lift the fog from my eyes that I now have clarity and focus to my life. I now focus on the here and now and I don’t have a lazy eye on the ‘afterlife’.

Having watched hours of videos of you, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris on YouTube I have been: impressed by your collective logic; clarity; humour; eruditeness; fair-mindedness and all round awesomeness! The four of you are four men to aspire to. Four men to admire and appreciate for your work.

My phd is concerned with energy in two departments at The University of Sheffield, Mechanical Engineering and Psychology. I enjoy it immensely particularly as I know now, that this is it. That there is no one watching me and tallying all my good deeds and bad ones.
That this moment, this very second, is the only reality and I should savour it. But that the unknown future should also be protected. This, to me, means protecting our environment and educating my future children (I’d better start thinking of my ‘future’ children by finding their ‘future’ mum!).
By all of this I mean to say that we have a great many problems that religion persistently fails to solve and we need to start working earnestly to solve them. We should unshackle ourselves from it as it is dead weight.
Religion persistently fails to deliver because it is a myth and quite often a particularly vicious and despicable one. Daily the news brings horrors from around the world of the latest appalling act, enacted in the name of ‘Religion’.

I want to thank you for helping me personally in that process. You and messieurs Hitchens, Dennet and Harris have really accelerated and enriched that action.

I don’t know if this will ever get to you, and although I do hope you read it its not that important if you don’t. Not really.
If this does get to you and you remember it and if you could mention it to any/all of the other three when the news of Religious atrocities seem too much then that would mean very much to me as there is no other way, that I know of, that I can get to say thank you.

I know there are those who do not want you to continue raising the consciousness of people.
I hope that you continue to do so. It has meant a great deal to me. I am convinced that it will for a great many other people too.

A very sincere, thank you,

James Williams

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