Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(1036)

Jan 30, 2013

Professor Dawkins,

I recall the day I went to pick up your book. I did so with the utmost in disdain for what I thought at the time to be your irrational thoughts, empty rhetoric and unnecessarily sharp tongue. Prior to this day I was on the path to become a member of the clergy, I was attending school to major in Theology and was planning to become a member of the Jesuits. Even in my Christianity, I would call myself somewhat radical. I rejected the concepts of young earth creation, Adam and Eve, etc. I seemed to be able to identify these as completely non-sensical but I'd somehow segregated a portion of my thinking from such criticism.

I looked for your book in my local bookstore and I purchased it simultaneously with a new Bible (KJV), I am sure you can imagine the looks upon the faces of the cashiers.

Though I had intended to read your book only as a means to critique it, and the shallow ground I believed it stood upon, I found myself losing my battle with your thesis. As I progressed through the book I felt as if my brain was unchained, I felt liberated. I was able to identify just why my beliefs were unfounded and irrational. I even realized that my attempted modification of Christianity was nothing more than my upbringing's manifestation of God as necessity; I attempted to reform God to fit a mold which I thought was logical. It was not until I broke this mold, and rejected God outright that I truly felt at peace with my religions (or soon to be non-religious) declaration.

I joke with my friends now that: “I fought the Dawkins, and the Dawkins won.”, and though said as a joke it is the truth.

Your book has not only inspired me to attempt to liberate the minds of those around me (similar in feeling to Plato's allegory) but I have since changed my major to Philosophy of Religion and have taken an extreme interest in the scientific studies, specifically that of Astronomy.

My newfound fascination and appreciation of the world only arose as a result of the exposure to your work and I am thankful.

I do hope that you give a talk in Toronto at some point in your future.

With thanks and best wishes,

Mitchell LeBlanc
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