Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(621)

Jan 30, 2013

Dear Mr. Dawkins,

I would like to thank you for writing your book The God Delusion, and letting me get a glimpse of what the “other side,” i.e. non-Christians, believe and how they look at the world. I come from a very religious background that includes growing up in a cult, converting to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, attending Wheaton College (an Evangelical school) and a Catholic University, and attending an Evangelical Christian church until a few months ago. My father is a big proponent of the Intelligent Design movement and has even co-edited a book with ID “scientist” William Dembski and is planning on doing another book with him. My father also is the executive editor of a Christian magazine. I had worked for him as an intern for several summers and bought into the Intelligent Design theory. (Interestingly enough, my sister and her husband work for Chicago's Field Museum. She introduced me to Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, which helped open my mind up a little more.)

A few months ago, my husband, who had started reading some atheist literature and had stopped going to church with me, brought your book home from the bookstore. He was afraid to show it to me because he thought I would be mad at him for buying it. I had tried to discourage him from reading the atheist literature because it questioned God himself and, being a Christian, you are not allowed to question God. (Who wants to get the kind of response Job got?)

Anyway, when I looked at your book, I thought, “well, what the heck, it would be interesting to see what other people think about religion.” Boy, was I right! My husband started reading the first chapters to me and I got so ineterested in reading it, I read it during the day while the kids were asleep and finished it before my husband did. But, “interesting” is not the right word. “Mind-blowing” is more accurate. I remember laying in bed at night trying to process all of the new ideas to which I had been exposed and I suddenly had the thought, “If God does not exist, I am free.” And, I just felt a huge burden lifted off my shoulders because I had spent so much of my life trying to make my religion mesh with reality, and this was a constant source of inner conflict. Although I am reluctant to call myself an atheist, at least I can say I no longer believe in the Christian God. I want to teach my kids a morality that is not driven by guilt and a deep capacity for critical thinking. Thank you for opening my mind. I know some people think that you are just “preaching to the choir,” but it isn't true. I was definitely not part of the choir when I first cracked open your book.


Mary Grovesteen

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