My name is John, and I an American and a pilot with a engineering bachelor's degree. My parents sent me to a Catholic high school six years ago which was my real exposure to “gloves-off, pull no punches” theology. It was from about that time that I started to view god and any form of religion as less and less of a fulfillment and more and more as a barrier to human potential (laced with circular logic and self-fulfillment which always bugged me).
I was always afraid to tell my parents about this even though I suspected they felt the same way but their staunch upbringing would never let them admit it. My biggest fear involved the fact that I am not particularly adept at debating, and I was afraid I would be lead astray by the loaded, circular questions that- unfortunately- must be answered to “justify” one's apostasy. Your book The God Delusion was an extremely helpful tool because it helped me identify the ridiculousness of hallowed religious rhetoric such as Aquinas' proofs and Pascal's wager (something my parents did use on me which I deftly turned on its ear to prove my point). I am writing to thank you for The God Delusion. The mind of the superstitious and illogical has always stupefied me which made it hard for me to properly articulate my objections to it. The God Delusion helped me gather an understanding of how the religious mind works which gave me the confidence to openly pull away from my parents' religion. Thank you.
I do have one question. I am now open about my atheism which lands me in many similar debates. Several times, I have told someone the reasons why I am an atheist and the problems I have with religion in general only to be countered with a lovely bit of logic. “You are a heathen and therefore there is no need to rebuke you.” How does one counter such blatant cowardice and willful ignorance? People who say this are constantly challenging me, but, when it's my turn to speak, they are are essentially putting their fingers in their ears and closing their eyes. Is it possible to penetrate such a twisted logic?