Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(1105)

Jan 30, 2013

Dear Professor Dawkins,

I am a true convert. I spent the first 35 years of my life as a Christian, and finally gave it up just a few years ago. Unfortunately I am unable to give you any of the credit for my (de-)conversion, as I only discovered The God Delusion shortly after I gave up Christianity. Your book, however, did ring very true to me as a new atheist. I felt I had an interesting perspective as I read through The God Delusion since I could relate very personally to much of what you wrote.

Without a doubt the most difficult stumbling block for me in the process of giving up the religion of my upbringing was the fear of hell. It is impossible to overstate this fear when indoctrinated as a child. Even as an adult who intellectually accepts that death is the end of my existence, the fear of hell occasionally still haunts me. What a relief, however, to finally realize that there is nothing to fear in death, and even more importantly that this is the only life we have and must therefore make the very most of it. It was only once I stopped looking at life through the perspective of a Christian that I realized I had been completely wasting my life. How very glad I was to come to my senses in my 30s rather than realizing in my 70s or 80s that I had wasted it all serving an imaginary friend.

Now that I have left religion behind, I look back and consider myself very fortunate to have realized the truth about life. The grip of religion on the psyche is far too strong, and perhaps it is difficult for those who have never been religious to understand just how difficult it is to leave it. It was only after years and years of carefully and logically analyzing my beliefs (all the while with fear that God would condemn me for doing so) that I came to realize they made no sense. Now that I have left it, I look at religion and see only illogical falsehood and dogma, but when I was a Christian it all made sense to me. What makes me sad about this is the knowledge that it is very unlikely any of my family will break free of the spell. In fact, I can not even discuss this issue with family for fear of losing my relationships with them, and for fear of every conversation turning into an attempt to re-convert me to Christianity.

My sincere hope is that we can make the world a better place by peacefully removing the illogical and often hateful beliefs of religion from our society. I have hope that human society can reach its full potential if only we can continue to rid the world of the childish stories of religion.

Sadly, I can not sign this email with my name and prefer to remain anonymous for the reasons mentioned above.

A

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