I have been very lucky. I grew up in a home where both my parents taught me to use my own brain, and to make up my own mind about things. As such, I have recently become an atheist, after 15 years of dully following the crowd and saying I was a Roman Catholic along with everyone else.
Here in Ireland, despite a rather secularized society, education is still predominately taught in faith schools. I don't know of any public schools anywhere near me. I am currently attending a fee-paying, all-girls, Roman Catholic convent school, simply because it offers the best education available to me. My teachers have been very understanding; I am allowed to study in the library during Religion class and to not have to sit the State exam. However I do sometimes receive stares in class when I remained seated while everyone stands to pray before lessons start.
A few of my more devout friends are still coming to terms with my atheism; one of them informed me only yesterday that she regularly prays for my soul. And I also had to refuse my cousin's request that I be her sponsor for her Confirmation, which would essentially involve me promising to ensure she is becoming a good Catholic girl. Naturally, I couldn't do that.
I wanted to thank you, as your book presented all the tangled thoughts that were rolling around my head with such clarity and insight, and giving me the courage to tell my friends about my atheism, which I certainly could not have done even a year ago.
A Grateful Teenager In Dublin