Dear Professor Dawkins,
My name is Cian O’Donovan, and I am proud to call myself a humanist and Atheist. I know many people Write to you and many people pour their hearts out to you over their conversion to atheism so I will try to keep this as brief as I can.
2 years ago i was on the verge of taking my own life, I was bullied in school for being a “Geek” and for reading a lot. I went to a catholic school in the South-West of Ireland and was raised in a fairly strict catholic family. At the “Crossroads” in my life as i like to call it, I came by one of your books that my father had on a shelf, I think it was The God Delusion or The Selfish Gene, I’m not entirely sure, at that point in my life I was sad all the time and started to commit self harm, I believed in god, and I would stay awake for hours thinking ” If he was real why would he want this for me?” (as a child i was taught that god wanted what was best for everyone), this lead me into a period of contemplation on the physical existence of a higher power, a most troubling transitional period for a child to go through. It was at this period that i started to really read into what you were saying.
You opened my eyes.
I came to believe that most discrimination form the start of the world itself had some, no matter how distant, co-relation with religion, it gave me confidence in my voice for equality and social justice. I moved to a new school where i met like minded people and most immediately felt accepted for who I am. Thankfully, My family have accepted me even though most of them (bar my father) are Christian. I cannot begin to thank you for… pretty much saving my life, my family knows nothing of the self-harming or depression i went through, and i hope they never here of it as it would cause too much shame for me, You have had such a profound impact on my life and so many others.
I ask but one thing of anyone reading this, do not condemn others for their search for spiritual enlightenment, they merely blind themselves to the truth by looking for this, so pity them, for they have not reached our conclusion but must be guided to the truth and given not spiritual nonsense, but answers and those answers must be complex and complicated. Such is life.
My name is Cian O’Donovan.