Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(655)

Jan 30, 2013

Richard,

I'd like to personally thank you for the freedom you've simply introduced me to. I was raised in the heart of America (I suppose they call it the heart because it's not capable of thinking!) Anyway, being raised on the shiny buckle of the Bible belt, surprisingly, never made me a Christian. I strongly doubted the local hellfire preachers at the young age of seven. Like most children, I was logical, and saw right through it. As I grew in this tiny town, there was one other boy I knew of that shared my disbelief. We would secretly meet in the lazy shade of the park to discuss this forbidden subject. How freeing it was! Our little minds thought we were revolutionaries, thinking thoughts that no man, woman, or child had ever had in the vaults of their minds. Never did we know, that past the city limits, there was a world of people thinking just like us. Trapped in my little town, I felt like the only one alive in a town of zombies, only I had to paint my face dead white and groan to fit in. I had to attend these zombies' Sunday morning meetings and eat the flesh and drink the blood of their savior, Jesus Christ.

Years later, I hit the dusty road to college in a town hours away from Zombie Town. I stumbled into a course that changed my life forever: Philosophy. I devoured every Philosophy book I could get my hands on. Then my appetite turned towards Astronomy. Then, looking for dessert, I stumbled upon Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene.

After all of this self education, I still socially labeled myself an agnostic, just to be on the safe side of it all. Deep down I was very passionate about my disbelief, but bottled it up as if it were poison. One day, I decided to ask my Mother of her religious beliefs. To my surprise, she told me she is agnostic but never really wanted to say anything until I was old enough to have made my own decision on this grand question. For Christmas (of all holidays) she gave me a gift, your book The God Delusion. She had never read it herself, but knew that my curious mind would enjoy it. I have read it several times, for it comforts me with a sense of pride every time. So I write to you, as a convert from agnosticism to the beautiful life of atheism.

Now it hasn't made me the village atheist, looking for arguments with those pesky believers. But it has allowed me to simply be proud about my deep wonder and curiosity about this majestic universe that I woke up in. It has inspired me to pull together and raise awareness of the reality of this world. To me, this doesn't mean shoving my belief down their throats because that's the same tactic that made me spit out Christianity. As I witness your method of softly and patiently informing people, I can only water the seeds that you've planted in their minds. Someday, we may have more people with flourishing thoughts. A garden of wonder. A sea of ideas!

Regardless of a persons religious beliefs, I would hope they recognize you as an inspirational human being. You are full of patience, curiosity, wit, brilliance, and love of existence. Next to never do I classify a person as a hero, but I must say if there ever was one in my life, you seem to fit the boots. Thank you for everything you've done for us fellow creatures on this peculiar pebble.

Sincerely,

Gregory B. McCormick
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