Dear Professor Dawkins,
I've been reading through the countless email stories of other people's convertions and felt compelled to share my own.
I was born Catholic and raised Mormon until my mid teens. (I know…what a combination!)
my parents always encouraged me to ask questions, find things out for myself and come to my own conclusions.
I had a sunday school teacher when I was a child who kept saying women's lib and I had no idea what it meant.
It was only when I went to secondary school and learned about suffergettes did I start to understand the effect that religion has had on women.
Yep…I was a feminist first.
At the tender age of 14 I was at church and the lesson in the young womens sunday school class was on how to prepare to be a good mother!
I immediately asked if there was going to be a lesson on staying in school, getting good grades and preparing for a great career.
When the teacher, fumbled with her teaching manual and failed to come up with a satisfactory answer that was the beginning of the end of my faith.
I began to look more closely at church doctrine and not just the stuff they give you to read when you are a teenager in the church.
I'm talking the heavy stuff. I had no idea that the belief system I was being raised in was based on the most obvious cock and bull story ever invented.
And all the stuff about women not being able to reach the “Celestial Kingdon” without a husband sickened me, and being eternally pregnant with spirit children to create a new world for my husband to be God of….
Did they really expect me to buy that? or want that?
Around the same time there was more and more people in Ireland coming forward about sexual abuse they had suffered at the hands of priests, nuns and bishops of the Catholic Church.
I was also involved with Amnesty International and a number of relief aid charities during my teens. I could not equate what I knew of religion and the world with a benevolent, loving God.
He just couldn't be real. I finally came to that conclusion when I was studying politics and International relations a few years later. Wars, genocide, famine, child soldiers, countless inhumane acts and
weapons of mass destruction. God was used as an excuse for all of them! So quoting the enigmatic Mr Charlie Chaplin, “by simple common sense, I don't believe in God.”
That was back in 2002. It was only after reading The God Delusions. watching, listening and reading everything about it and around it did I finally find my “Atheist voice”. The no nonsense science and what felt like a tidal wave of rational, purely logical argument really put my mind at ease. I had been so worried that I might be wrong. I gave it to my mother to read who now shares my appreciation of it and would put herself comfortably at a level 6. My Dad now has it on his bedside table.
While the book did not convert me it gave me the confidence to “come out” as a non believer and if I had not read it or any of your other books on this subject I would have my convictions but there would be no strength behind them.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.