Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(1189)

Jan 30, 2013

Dear Richard,

I first read The God Delusion a couple of years ago and just wanted to say thank you for writing the book. My dad has been a Christian pastor since I was too young to remember. He was mentally and physically abusive in the name of god. It led to me refusing to stay at his house by the age of 15 (he and my mom split up when I was young). I never even went back to get my things from his house. From then until last year, I lived only with my mom, who is not religious at all. Even after 3 years of living with her exclusively (I was 18 by then) it was hard to let go of all the things he had taught me. I still prayed and sometimes read a little of the bible. I held on out of fear. But I had doubts. I always had doubts, and anyone who says they don't is lying or brainwashed. I never liked the idea that I'd go to heaven only to constantly worship some man I'd never even seen before. I was also interested in science and history.

The first major blow to my fearfully held “beliefs” was learning that the bible was fiction. If you actually read it, really read it, it does not make sense and I couldn't find any historical evidence to support it. Next was science, which made me throw out my bibles (yes more than one). I did well in science in school and did some reading of my own outside of school (I took human anatomy and physiology and microbiology in college). So at this point I was agnostic. I really didn't think there was a god but I was too afraid to say there wasn't. Then I found your book. It gave me the courage to finally say what I knew was true. There is no god. It was such a relief. A weight lifted. No more fear. Then my dad called. He didn't call often but when he did he usually brought up religion. I don't remember exactly how it came about but I told him I didn't believe in god. It probably wasn't the best way to go about things but I didn't care. He never let me be myself or voice my opinions. After telling him, he said I was going to hell and we didn't speak for over a year. Now that we are talking again, I feel like I'd rather not. It's the same old struggle.

I'm now 22 and happy to call myself an atheist. It makes everything so much clearer. Anyway, I had to say thank you because your book has enriched my life! Last night I watched The Genius of Darwin, which was great. I haven't read On the Origin of Species, but it is at the top of my list now. Thank you again, I appreciate and admire your work. I'm sure it isn't easy to constantly be attacked by the religious!

Patricia Harris
North Carolina, USA

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