Going into the God Delusion I was a Christian, specifically of the United Church of Christ denomination. The UCC is, I would argue, the most liberal (or one of the most liberal) branches of the Christian Church. It has no central authority, no necessary rules, and my particular Church was home to both a Jewish man and a Pagan woman, though I don't believe most people know of these members' beliefs. The new pastor my church (CCMI- Congregational Church of Mercer Island) hired is a homosexual and proud of it, whose Jewish partner regularly attends, and whose adopted African son attends even more frequently.
Before I ramble on about my former Church, let me switch to my newfound Atheism. Within just the first few chapters of your book I realized my conversion. It was…. to say the least, astounding. I had for years been holding on to what I believed a Christian faith…. yet was actually an Einsteinian one. I would always think, always question, and always debate my fellow classmates, using phrases like, “God is human connection,” or, “God is in all of us, thus we are all divine, thus we are all equal!” etc, etc. I essentially held God and nature as one in the same… until your book came along that is. I now see only the natural world. I realize now the problem in my thinking during my period of holding faith- I would always think, “How is Christianity rational?” rather than, “Is Christianity rational?” or, “Through empirical observation, can I arrive at a Christianesque belief?” The answer to those last two questions are “absolutely not,” yet the first question would simply cause me to rationalize the shoddy guesswork that is the Christian Faith.
After my conversion at the beginning of The God Delusion, I kept reading, and became increasingly dumbstruck by the natural world and its wonderful and amazing ability to function without any help from some supernatural Deity. I, right now, have no money to buy your other books on evolution (these chapters were the ones that intrigued me the most), for I spent it all on The God Delusion, Godless by Dan Barker, and my membership to the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I now spent all my lunch periods at my table talking to my classmates about religion. Out of the around eighteen 16-18 year olds that sit at our table, two are atheists: myself and my friend who will remain unnamed- let's call him Paul (just for fun ; ) ). The rest are Christians, Catholics and Jews by their own choice/testament. Over the course of two months my friend “Paul” and I have taken down every single religious argument put forth, and have supported successfully every Atheist one we assert. We both happen to be quite good at informal debate: myself being the calm, intellectual of the conversation, Paul being the slightly more vulgar, to-the-point one. As an example, just yesterday a conversation occurred about whether the US was a strictly Christian nation. I went on a long excursion talking of the Secular Constitution, the First Amendment, Religion's evils and past Secular decisions of our government. One of the Catholics at the table then whipped out a dollar bill, which sure enough said, “In God We Trust,” and started almost screaming his argument. I let him finish and then went on to discuss the Constitution, when Paul, my very witty friend, snatched the dollar from the Catholic, wrote in large letters the name for a particularly useful male body part right under In God We Trust, and then showed it off to the table. I, quite impressed with Paul (for I had not thought of this), proclaimed, “And now, according to the dollar bill… we worship pyramids, eyes, Eagles, words, numbers, God, and Male Genitalia.” And that was the end of the argument.
I no longer can see the reason for religious belief. Although I have utterly destroyed all religious arguments asserted, with Paul's help, no one has changed their minds.. and this to me is simply astonishing. When my arguments fell through, I happily proclaimed my Atheism… yet when my friends' arguments fall through, they simply close off their minds. I should however, make myself clear. I am not attempting to assert that Atheism is the only correct viewpoint, and that everyone should “convert” to it promptly, but I am simply being unequivocally stubborn in making people think. Extremely intelligent youth around me simply don't base their beliefs on evidence, and it is disgusting to me. They have not a single argument left for their Faiths… yet can't simply let it go. It truly saddens me to the pit of my soul- watching intellectual curiosity bottled and ceased simply because of irrational connections to the Supernatural.
Thank you for opening my mind and astounding me with our natural world.