Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(1276)

Jan 30, 2013

Richard,
The first 38 years of my life have been spent as a practicing Anglican Christian.

However many are left will be spent in the company of rationality, intellectual integrity and honesty, thanks to the clarity of your explanation in The God Delusion, which I have just read. (By the way, I became aware of the book, and of you, through news reports about the “arrest the pope” campaign.)

I think that for a few years I have started to have intellectual doubts, and have certainly moved away from the position I had as a member of the Christian Union at Cambridge. But my cultural desire to hang on to the belief in which I was brought up prevented me from allowing myself to do the root canal work necessary to think the matter through fully and honestly. But I now realise that religion is not only probably misguided, but also dangerous.

My gratitude to you is matched by my anger at the systems that have caused, and continue to cause, children to be indoctrinated with whatever bollocks happens to be in favour in the particular time and place into which they were born.

I am particularly struck by the notion that, if one chooses say the 30 most popular current and recent (i.e. few thousand years) religions, nobody says or could say that they are all right. So the choices are either (i) that they are all wrong, or (ii) that one is right and the other 29 are wrong. But if one chooses any one of the thirty, the supporters of that particular religion are out-voted by the supporters of 29 others all of whom say that the particular religion in question is wrong and who usually consider its teachings to be quite weird. The fact that they are all nonsense is so shockingly obvious when one gets there that I am genuinely embarrassed as a Cambridge graduate that it has taken me 38 years to work it out (or, perhaps more accurately, to have the courage to think about it).

As a parent I am also struck by the Darwinian explanation for the necessity of children believing what their parents tell them, due to not having enough lives to learn for themselves that crocodile-infested rivers are to be avoided. The lesson that we have a responsibility to enable our children to develop rational, enquiring minds, and not to confuse this with superstition, has had a powerful effect.

Richard H.
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