I cannot compete with the great men and women who have done so much to honor Douglas Adams, but I want the world to know that he rescued me.
This is the testimony of my conversion. My parents were Assemblies of God missionaries in Africa. I grew up in total isolation from the world outside of faith. The only English speakers I encountered were other missionaries, the only education available was an oppressive missionary run school. The only books were owned by other missionaries or the school. The school censors made sure that there was little available to challenge belief. Family times were dovotional. These devotions could last for hours. And they were daily. Everyone I knew was really sure (a requirement for missionaries). And yet, I could never believe there was a god. It was a question of expirience. All arround me people would describe empirical intiraction with god. Was I just being ignored by god, because when I closed my eyes there was me. Supposedly, I had asked Jesus into my heart when I was five. Looking back, I can finally begin to realise what kind of child abuse that is. But somehow the school censors hadn't paid close attention to fiction books other than to mark out curse words with white out (can you imagine). I wont list them but there were scince fiction book that presented worlds of unbelief and science and The Hitchhickers Guide. Like sunshine after you've been stuck inside studying for final exams. I drank metaphorically speaking every single book in that tiny library. When we finally left the country, with a lay over @ Heathrow I found a copy of the Salmon of Doubt. We had been so isolated that I hadn't even known that Adams had passed. Posthumously he recommened the Blind Watchmaker, and that book rocked my world. I wasn't crazy and I wasn't alone and there are answers and they make sense and I didn't have to have an imaginary friend. Thank you so much Richard for quoting Adams in the God Delusion. That passage is the most important single life changing thing I have ever read and because of it I met you.
Finally, now that I have internet access, I realise that I am not alone and I am part of a somewhat large and very fun community and I am very interested in meeting some aethists in person.