Dear Prof. Richard Dawkins,
Firstly I am not claiming that I any relation to you, other than In evolutionary theory of course!
I just want to say thank you for what you have done for me and No I am not trying to make you out to be my God!
My Mother and Father were Born again Pentecostals.
As a young man, I was bought up in a Very Christian household. I loved my Parents very much, (and still do) but EVERYTHING revolted around the Church.
On a number of occasions, I would come home from School to find a “Prayer meeting” going on in my Parents front room and would be ushered upstairs.
Every year we went on Holiday to a Holiday camp in Minehead, but it wasn't a real holiday, as everyday we had to go to Church Services, At least twice a day, for the whole week!
The only escape was getting out of the Camp and going down to the beach!
The worse “meeting” was in the evening, when we had to sit and listen to a 3 hour sermon, usually from a “Pastor” from the “Congo” Or some very “great Man of God”
I was only about 7 years old and these meeting used to scare me, as the preacher would talk about going to Hell if you didn't give your heart to Jesus. Or you would be “left behind” was he came to take “saved” People from the earth and leave none believers behind.
I remember waking up in the middle of the night, going to my Parents Room and they were not there! I panicked and was convinced that Jesus had taken them and left me behind. I did of course find them, downstairs on the Sofa Watching a Horror movie with a Bag of Chips!
We would also go on “Bible Weekends” where seminars were held in Big tents.
This was one of the worse experiences, as you were with a Bunch of Christians the whole day, who would suddenly bust out in song, or stop you in your tracks, put their hand on your head and start praying for you.
Or grab hold of you, give you a big hung and then tell you that “It was in the name of the Lord” They did it.
You would be constantly asked by people “what good thing has the Lord done for you today” (Known as testimony)
I remember one day I refused to go to a “Meeting” as I just wanted to be left alone in my Tent. The next thing I knew, I was being baby sat by the Pastors Wife and then got a Lecture from the Pastor himself once he found out that I won't do as I was told.
One year, my Sister and I went away on a “Youth weekend” and I really hated that, as I never really fitted in with the “Clickly” Christan Youth.
I could see through the whole “Cheap Trick” but wasn't confident enough to tell them!
One evening, we had a BBQ and stood around a big fire talking about “God”. On this evening we all went back to our “DOMS” quite late,as soon as we were in our Bunk beds, the Room leader started off my Praying and then everyone took it in turn to pray out loud for 5 Mins.
When it came to my Turn, there was a deadly Silent's, which lasted at least 10 mins. When they finally realised I wasn't going to Pray, the next person did and they carried on around the room.
That evening I vomited all over my Bed and Floor…..Yes, you guessed it, they all said I had vomited because I didn't pray like everyone else. It never dawned on them that it MIGHT have been the partly cooked Hamburgers and under cooked Chicken from the BBQ!
Every SUNDAY was a Bore too, We had to go to Sunday School at 2pm, which would finished about 4pm, we would then would stay in the back of the Church with sandwiches, until the Evening service at 6pm. If my Dad saw a TRAMP walking by the Church, he would invite him in for a Sandwich and a cup of tea, which used to really frighten my Little Sister!
People would always be around our house and the Telephone used to ring constantly, it was an “OPEN HOUSE”.
My Brother was “Football mad” and all he wanted was to become a professional goal keeper. However, My Parents wouldn't let him train on a SUNDAY, so he lost his Place at the Football team.
This is a decision which my Brother regrets until this day.
It wasn't until one day when I locked myself in my Room on a Sunday, that my Parents got the message. Even then, people would come around to the house to “pray” for me,or tell me that I had “Back slidden” And was going to Hell.
Until about a year ago, I had been so “Brain washed” with religion that I still had it in my Head that I was going to Hell! That was until I saw one of your Videos on you tube.
Then suddenly everything started to fit into place, Logic and evidence over came Myth and fairy tales!
I have since purchased some of your books, which I would recommend for people to do and they make much more sense than the one I used to have to read at Church!!
I do hope I can meet you one day and thank you in person,