I was raised in a religious household my entire life (a Mormon household in Utah).
When I reached an age where I questioned my so-called âbeliefsâ—which were merely my parents beliefs that I âbelievedâ out of fear—I kept coming back to the conclusion that there must be a god. The reason this conclusion persisted was simply, again, because of fear.
When I entered college (2 years ago) I decided to major in Philosophy. Upon deciding to do so, I told myself, âI will only do as such if I promise myself that Iâll never stop believing in god.â I did not want to live in fear and sorrow.
Surprisingly, my faith was not attacked by academia, it was attacked when my parents left the Mormon Church and became evangelical Christians. Upon doing so they persistently criticized my little sisterâs beliefs in Mormonism—which she still holds today. According to their new revelation, Mormonism, and surely every other faith or lack thereof, was incorrect.
Upon witnessing this divergence in belief, I set out to find out âthe truthâ for myself. I was 25 years old at the time and for the first time in my life I wanted to âlook for myselfâ.
I desperately wanted to believe in god. I read every criticism of The Bible and of religion from the viewpoint of atheists, agnostics, Christians, and other religions. I did not want to be bamboozled. However, as I continued searching (still with a bias for the existence of god) it became harder and harder to hold on to that bias. After a couple of (long and strenuous) months, I became âunbiasedâ for the first time. I teetered somewhere between âbelieving in god, but not in religionâ and âagnosticismâ. This proved to be the hardest boundary to leap; I was sitting on the fence, with no real idea how to come down.
At this point in my life, I kept hearing about your book, âThe God Delusion,â mostly from word-of-mouth over the internet and in person, so I bought it. I remained skeptical while reading it… for about 30 pages; but then, it began to happen. For the first time in my life, things began to MAKE SENSE! I canât quite explain the utter relief and liberation that I felt, but can only hope that the other people who have made the jump to atheism can attest. I was not losing hope and purpose in life; I was gaining both for the first time. I didnât acquire a hatred of dying; I obtained an adoration and love for living. The changes from bad to good continue to persist. I was no longer ashamed to state my beliefs publicly. I no longer had to rationalize things such as talking snakes and all of the other weird stories that comprise the majority of The Bible. Things made sense, and I was âborn-againâ into a happiness that had been declining since my corporal birth.
This summer, a few friends and myself are all going to read âThe Selfish Geneâ together for the first time. I can only hope my curiosity in life will thrive for the next 50 years as much as it has in the past 50 weeks.
So hereâs to you, Richard, and to all those who inspired you, and who inspired them… with this revolution of thought, Iâve found the greatest purpose life can offer. I only hope I can continue the tradition and help to inspire many others.