Dear Professor Dawkins,
I am an 18 year old Australian girl who has grown up in a largely Catholic family and wider community. I was indoctrinated into the Catholic Church as was the rest of my family, and sent to Catholic primary and secondary schools.
When I was about 14, I began to question my faith in the Church and god, partially because I started to learn about the atrocities that the Catholic Church has committed (being interested in history, it’s a little hard to avoid that subject). It was then that I started to consider myself agnostic, but quickly ‘converted’ to strong atheism as I began to conduct more research on evolution and its opponents.
However, it was only after reading The God Delusion that I was fully able to declare my position in the debate, and argue my point to some extent, although this is still difficult with some people who simply refuse to listen to reason.
I am incredibly lucky to have a supportive and relatively open-minded family, who, when I explained the reasoning behind my decision to renounce the Church fully accepted it and to some extent have even started to consider my arguments. However, some of my extended family and relations do not share this stance. They tell me how ‘sad’ and ‘closed minded’ I am for seeing the world from an entirely evidence-based perspective.
I would just like to say how thankful I am to you for opening people’s eyes to logic and reason and for helping people like me to ‘come out of the closet’, and to ask for your advice; how do you deal with people who try to convert you to a religious view, or a belief in pseudoscientific practices without being disrespectful or rude? My arguments are often dismissed because I am often the youngest member of any given discussion, so it is difficult to be heard unless I approach the issue with extreme sensitivity.
I’m sorry, this is a rather long letter, I feel I have rambled a little!