Dear Professor Dawkins,
Thank you so much for The God Delusion; I had a hard time putting it down, I found it so fascinating. I agreed with you before reading it but had never considered many of the facts in it. I have only read small parts of the Bible, for example. I have heard many Bible readings in church but they, as you mention, are selected. I was "christened" in the United Church of Canada, a very loose Protestant church, that does not believe in transubstantiation but has communion four times a year "just in case", I should think. I have never been confirmed in any church and I thank my parents for allowing me to make up my own mind, even though I was a baby Protestant.
I have a short story to tell. You mention "preaching to the choir." Is the original term not "preaching to the converted?" Because the "choir" is mostly made up of mercenaries and people who like the music or the choir director. I spent many years as one of the paid singers and became more and more ill at ease in church services. My real conversion, as it were, came at the end of one summer. I sang at the Anglican cathedral in Montreal and often sang solo verses in the psalms . We had a boys choir at the cathedral and there were a couple of other Anglican churches in Montreal with boys choirs. Each summer they had a choir camp for the boys where they sang and studied church music. One summer they invited a guest choir director from the UK and they prepared his set of responses which were quite difficult. The week culminated in a service at the cathedral. Unfortunately there was nobody in the clergy who could sing these responses and the two lay clerks who often sang such things were on holiday. It fell to me to sing them, including the collects. The vicar then preached a sermon condemning the practice of allowing the unconfirmed to take part in the service! I suddenly realized that he was talking about me! So, although I don’t have as many sermons about me as Satan or the Serpent, I do have one. So, at least, I’m "on the score board!"
Thank you again for such a great book. I have ordered "The Root of all Evil?" and it should arrive in a few days. I’m looking forward to seeing it.
With best wishes,
Winston Purdy, Montreal