Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(678)

Jan 30, 2013

Professor Dawkins,

I grew up Catholic with an over-bearing father who did everything he could to get a free pass to heaven by stuffing one of his seven sons into Catholic primary school, then enrolling me in a Catholic Seminary high school. Believe me, your description of religious indoctrination of children as child abuse is not far off the mark.

I have been a fan of yours since being introduced to your work through Douglas Adams' South Bank Show special. Seeing you and Douglas conversing on that show was my own personal “Road to Damascus” moment. Studying natural selection in public high school biology made me realize that something in my previous education was badly amiss. For the next 10 years, as Douglas Adams mentions in The Salmon of Doubt, I thought and thought about things but didn't really have enough to go on in replacing my former ideology.

After rediscovering clips of that South Bank Show on Youtube where you and Douglas discussed Puddle's Comfort and The Electric Monk, then checking out The God Delusion and your public talks I finally have reached the clarity that Douglas celebrated after reading The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. Ideas I had only held in a vague and general way have crystallized and I can clearly see what you and Christopher Hitchens are driving at in that organized religion makes the world safe for religious extremism and intolerance of the most frightening kind.

It would be frightening to see how mainstream religion is worldwide but for the fact that people like you, Douglas Adams, Christopher Hitchens, Penn & Teller, Robin Ince and Roy Zimmerman cut through the fog of obscurity on these matters in ways that are equally insightful and entertaining. I know in the long run secularism will win the day as it requires no central authority and is something any objective person would come to.

Thank you for being a beacon of clarity in a world full of fog. Your influence has been profound and wonderful and I deeply thank you!

Sincerely,

Deane Crilley
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