Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(783)

Jan 30, 2013

I'm another “dawkins convert” of sorts, and it was essentially one sentence that did it for me.

To be fair, Sam Harris started the process. I had been reading The End of Faith and was taking prodigious notes in hopes of emailing the author with praise and a detailed explanation of how my religion (Jehovah's Witnesses) was the exception to criticism with which he had lambasted christianity. I had been down this road before; I was a near expert at pointing out the distinction.

I had not yet reached the parts of the book that would defy my distinctions and exceptions when, while browsing in a bookstore, I opened The God Delusion and read only the opening sentence of chapter two:

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser,; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

Put simply, I could not defend Jehovah from this lucid and devastating accusation because my brain already knew it to be true. The direct and vituperative statement by Mr. Dawkins demanded an answer. It was like one of the well-crafted questions I had been trained to ask people of other religions. These were designed, often by me, to reside in the mind of their recipient, haunting that one's convictions until my “return visit”, whereupon I would ask if they had come up with a sensible reply…

I could neither reply nor circumvent the explications of this sentence.

Thank you, Mr. Dawkins. By your willingness to forego tact where it would clearly have exceeded its utility, you ripped off the warm, protective blanket of my confirmation bias and gave me the key to the prison door that had held me fast for half of my life.

Free at last, free at last.

PS: Mr. Dennett, Mr. Harris, Ms. Hecht, Ms. Armstrong, and the wonderfully irreverent Mr. Hitchens have finished the job.
Don Kennedy


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