I can't remember which I stopped believing in first, god or Santa.
I went to church every Sunday and enjoyed the singing and the picnics, but caused a few too many problems pointing out inconsistencies when I was promoted to the bible class. My mother was encouraged to allow me to play Sunday league football and at 14 I did. I was by then a devout atheist, but I could only explain why I was an atheist by saying that religion simply didn't add up. I couldn't put it in an incontrovertible, simple way until I read The God Delusion.
So thanks, not for altering my beliefs, you didn't, but you gave me a way of explaining it.
I thought that I was well educated but I realised that I was unable to express evolution, so I read The Selfish Gene, which answered my questions, but created some new ones, so The Blind Watchmaker was needed and it did indeed answer these. I also read Climbing Mount Impossible, and The Ancestors Tale, which I very much enjoyed.
Although I say you didn't change my beliefs with The God Delusion, that isn't entirely correct. I used to believe that it was right, that people who were stupid enough to believe this stuff, were allowed to, in fact protected in order to, but I have changed my mind. The damage caused is too great and I now believe it is vital that we rid humanity of religion, and although my confidence level in our ability to do this is low, I hope that yourself and others, and me if I can, may be able to push us slightly in the right direction.
I have heard some great arguments from yourself and others about religion and how it simply doesn't add up, but I have one of my own, sort of, and I would like to share it with you.
When I was in the RAF I was told that the welfare system of the military was the chaplains and although an atheist would have to get my advice from the Chaplin, religion was irrelevant. I said why would I take the advice of a man that believes in the existence of god. Why not he says? I said ok would you expect me to take financial advice from a man that believed in Santa? Maybe I should get contraceptive advice from someone that thinks there are fairies at the bottom of the garden. Its not an argument I've heard, but every time I hear about a great man who happens to be religious, all I can think of is how can this persons opinions be taken seriously.
I just don't get it, and I don't understand why religion is allowed this respect and Santa, who at least gave out presents, only gets it from the under 8s.