My 'conversion’ to atheism was a long time coming, at times a vague and misty passage and at other times a painful and traumatic experience. I will, however, try to be brief.
I grew up in a vaguely Christian household. By that I mean my parents did not attend church (Church of Scotland) too regularly, but God and Jesus were evident in my upbringing and education, especially Sunday school, which I was sent to. Although not one of the very bright people you talked about recently with Bill Maher, I did graduate from university and entered a long period (25 or so years) of misty, unspecified atheism/agnosticism. I simply didn’t feel the need to express my beliefs or even think about it that much. I just got on with day-to-day life.
However, I was then unfortunate in finding myself the victim of a stalker. A Muslim man imposed himself in my life in such a way that even my efforts to enlist the assistance of my employers and the police (this turned out to be very little assistance) failed to free me of his insistent demands and harassment. It’s frightening to look back and realize that for a time I was 'delusional’ in beginning to wonder if the stalker had a direct line to Allah and this 'Allah’ was telling him about my movements, my actions, my thoughts and 'leading’ him to me to 'save’ me. I contemplated 'accepting my fate', giving in to the stalker and even possibly becoming muslim. Weird, I know, especially as he was assaulting me and abusing me on a regular basis. This, obviously, was a vey painful time in my life.
It was only when I managed to escape, by moving out of the area (giving up my home and my job), that I began very slowly to work my way through these issues. I began to fall back into the vague mists of the past. But now I was becoming aware of a need to sort out the truths and beliefs of my experience. Then I found 'The God Delusion’ It was like a light, a sun even, shining through that mist. At last, someone expressed what in my 'soul’ I believed. I went on to read some Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris and have not looked back. I suddenly feel alive and passionate in my atheism.
It’s time atheists felt free to stand up unthreatened and proclaim their position in a relaxed and non-aggressive way.
Thank you for 'The God Delusion’.