Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(535)

Jan 30, 2013

Dawkins,

I would not describe myself as one of your converts. My atheism is the culmination of a life-time of free thinking and education. However, you do deserve credit on one score: you have inspired me to be more forthright with others regarding the fact that I am an atheist and my reasons for being so. I have only recognized myself as an atheist for about two years. Before that I simply considered myself agnostic. Because of this, I felt it was somehow a duty for me to respect the religious beliefs of others. I thought that even if religion were wrong for me, I had no right to say it was wrong for anyone else. My sister is deeply (and a little psychotically) religious; because our family is vaguely Christian she has always felt entitled to indoctrinate our young nieces or nephews. I never thought it was my right to do anything to counter this unless asked a direct question regarding my beliefs (or lack of beliefs). Now, however, I feel a duty to protect them just as I would if they were threatened with any other sort of danger because you are right: religious indoctrination is child abuse. Furthermore, I believe it is the duty of people of conscience to do that which is within their power to alleviate human suffering of any kind.

So, thank you for clarifying the role of atheists in society and assuring us that it is OK to challenge the absurdities we face daily.

Rebecca Horn
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