Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(830)

Jan 30, 2013

Professor Dawkins,
I'm going to say something very extreme and I mean it
from the bottom of my hyper sensitive, over emotional
hormonal 24 year old female heart, I think you may
have saved my life ( spiritually speaking). I was
deeply submerged in Evangelical Christianity from the
age of 16. I had a very troubling childhood and
adolescent upbringing and I was in desperate search
for some type of stability and sense of belonging, as
an awkward depressed teenager, the Church seemed the
perfect fit for me and even offered a group of
automatic christian peers for me through ” Young
Life.” I went to group bible studies, woke up early to
have my “quiet time” with God, I joined the worship
team and intercessory prayer team, I tried, ruthlessly
to let my friends and family know that I had tapped
into the ultimate truth of life, I self righteously
told people they were doomed to spend eternity in the
fiery pits of hell ( even my own sister!) and yet all
the while, there was this “still small voice” in me
that refused to be satisfied, I had many doubts that I
dared not voice in the presence of my Christian
mentors, God knew, doubt was only placed in us by
Satan, we just had to stick to the truth of Christ and
ignore all doubt. But I got to point where I could
not just ignore the doubt, for starters I began to
notice that the people in my christian community
seemed to embrace their pain and suffering as some
sort of sadistic gift from God, I would often here
things like ” God won't give me more than I can
handle” or ” God must be trying to teach me
something.” or the most ridiculous and my favorite, ”
All things work for the good of those who love the
Lord, who am I to question his will?” and after having
a very upsetting discussion with my Young Life leader,
I was told by him that ( and these were his exact
words) ” God is not concerned with your happiness, all
he is concerned about is whether you love him and are
willing to work for the good of his kingdom.” I
silently disagreed with this statement but continued
to believe, Ironically it wasn't until my mission trip
to India in 2005 that the threads of my faith began to
unwind. Here I was, in this third world country
surrounded by poverty, disease, starvation, crime,
child exploitation and the only thing we were doing
was telling people about Jesus and trying to get them
to pray the “sinners prayer”. I kept thinking, a lot
of good these utterances are going to do! Instead of
offering them a prayer why not offer them money, food,
some sort of education to help them survive? Here we
are telling these people they should accept Jesus
because he loves and cares for them, but if that were
true why would he not have intervened in this country
long before it got so bad? Why would he stand by and
allow these orphaned girls to be turned into temple
prostitutes? I returned home with a very bad taste in
my mouth, and severely depressed. At this point I had
stopped going to church altogether but still could not
bring myself to completely deny god's existence, and I
have no other explanation other than fear of being
wrong, about a year ago my boyfriend had me watch
Root of All Evil? And the more I watched and listened,
the more my sense of relief became. You addressed so
many of the problems I had been silently thinking and
it was refreshing to know that I was absolutely right
in my doubt. I am now reading The God Delusion, ( A
book I would have burned in piles 4 years ago) and I
will admit, it is taking me much effort to get through
the chapters as I have never even been informally
introduced to some of the concepts you are explaining,
I've had to read some pages several times with the
aid of a dictionary and the Internet to get a full
understanding of what you are saying, but by “god” I
am understanding it! For the first time in a very long
time I am realizing that I don't have to live my life
with constant guilt feelings, prostration and penance,
I can simply live! If only the rest of the Christian
community ( or any religious community for that
matter) could look past their self righteous vanity
and accept that lack of understanding does not negate
explanation, the world would be a much happier,
peaceful and more enjoyable place to live. A billion
billion thanks to you!
Sincerely,
N. Mac Millan
United States

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