Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(822)

Jan 30, 2013

Professor Dawkins,

First of all let me congratulate and thank you for your great work.

I have felt like an atheist for most of my adult life (since about 19) but it was hard to ignore the faith of people around me and be different so I never admitted it. It was only through your work and the work of people like Sam Harris and Daniel Dennet that I found the strength and arguments to express my beliefs (or lack of) to others. The reason being that for a long time following the conflicts in my native Bosnia, I have been considered a Muslim by everyone around me. I was only 12 at the time and easily bought into the religion boom that was going on as a result of the increased feelings of religious and ethnic identity. That movement was short lived however and I found that most (not all) of my friends with whom I attended Madrasa had stopped going to prayer or acting much like Muslims in any way. Despite the obvious lack of faith, nobody ever admitted to not being Muslim because at that time it felt like one had options but none of them were to be an admitted atheist.

From then on I found that I still believed in god and had tried on numerous occasions -through books and publications by various religious scholars – to reconcile my beliefs with science and other religions – mainly Christianity. This worked for a while and while I was still mainly a non-practicing Muslim, I felt like I needed to call myself something and belong somewhere. Since I was still relatively young, I believed what I had been thought about heaven and hell and felt scared to death since I wasn't practicing my religion but at the same time felt that all religions must have come from the same god so he wouldn't allow people of faiths other than Islam to go to hell as it is thought by Islam they would.

It was not until I read your work that I felt reassured in my heresy. I now openly consider myself an atheist and am not in any way ashamed of it. I find I fear death less and appreciate life more now. Religious belonging has lost all meaning to me and I am happy to see people of all nationalities colors and customs living together in Ireland where I now reside. I like to think that some day we will all stop fighting over being Irish, English, Muslim, Jewish, black, white etc. and we can just be human. To paraphrase Russel Peters – Why fight over the color of our skin. We are all eventually going to end up beige anyway. In conclusion I would like to thank you for writing your book as it has made my life better and is no doubt doing enormous good for the world.

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