Dear Prof. Dawkins,
I would like to add my story to your Converts Corner. I was lucky not to have an especially religious upbringing. My dad was somewhat atheistic, or at least agnostic, and my mum was a non-militant Catholic. Still, I went to religious education classes (in Australia, in New South Wales, it is mandatory to attend RE class. Kids who opt out, are FORBIDDEN to study, or do anything in lieu), and for a long while I believed. I flirted with paganism in my early 20's, but ended up not really knowing what else there was.
I eventually developed a lazy atheism – I thought the whole show (religion) was insanity and rot, but couldn't be bothered pursuing any other strong alternative.
The fire for learning started to flare up, and in a short period of time I read your book 'The God Delusion', Hitchens' 'God Is Not Great', Ehrman's 'Mistranslating Jesus' and DisInfo's scattershot compendium of incredible factoids 'Everything You Know About God Is Wrong'. I also read up on new scientific theories about the origins of the universe, and find these discoveries to possess a complexity, marvel and beauty that nothing in religion could ever have granted me.
Since then, my thinking on religion, atheism and science has become clearer, stronger and much more based in activism. I have taken stands on marriage equality here in Australia – and the seriousness of the issue has made me notice a lot of lazy bigotry. I got blocked from the SBS News online forum because I criticised Christian opinion that condemned same-sex marriage. I registered a complaint when one Christian said we should have Uganda's laws in Australia, still that comment got passed (one that advocated murder!) when mine got blocked. The hypocrisy disgusted me, and I reported them to MediaWatch – a program that uncovers corruption and laziness in the media here in Australia.
We need to take a stand in a world that is increasingly letting the insane butcher drive the bus. I fear we are descending back into a Dark Ages. This fear does not paralyse me, but instead fuels the fire of my activism and advocacy of atheism and freedom from religion.
I don't know if I would have reached this point if I hadn't read 'The God Delusion', but I do know it gave me impetus to find other, interesting works on atheism, and proofs against dogmatic faith. Thank you Prof Dawkins, you are a valuable thinker in a world darkened by dullards.