Dear professor Dawkins,
Though I normally am reluctant to participate in debates, I have to make an exception this time, as the message in your book the God Delusion is extraordinary important.
A profound transformation of my perception of the existence in this world took place after reading your book, The God Delusion. The reading of this book was initiated by the TV show “Root of All Evil”, which I found interesting and on some points I could agree with the message of the program. Before reading this book, I based my daily living on a firm belief in God. Admittedly, I had to make some 'minor' adjustments with regard to dogma, but otherwise, I based my life on a monotheistic view of the world. As I thought that my faith must be strong enough to allow for âtestingâ, I decided to read your book.
After reading this book, my foundation of thought and faith gradually collapsed, so I read it again and then again. I found myself in a world without meaning; totally empty and without hope and direction. At the same time, I understood that disregards of my perceptions and ideas about the world, it was the same after reading this book as before, and I had to get my thoughts together and find my place in this new world.
Piece by piece I got my world together again and this time all pieces fit beautifully with one another and I did not need to make an effort to make ad hoc explanations, saving a lot of mental energy. This energy-saving mode led me to further elaborations and insights and to optimism and joy. I think the quote in your book: “Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?” is a key. One may wonder what (and who) in the first place stole attributes of beauty, meaning and love from our world and gave it away to fictitious higher powers. Some people clearly benefited from this (in terms of power, money and self-esteem) and I believe, on the individual level, the seductive power of religion is due to the option of surrendering to God, letting go of your own will. Hence, the option of not being responsible. This, I think, is the main factor of religious power and as such immensely dangerous and destructive. It deeply scares me that I attributed myself a critical mind and found myself entangled by an invisible web of religion which profoundly affected my perception of reality. It should be emphasised that my kind of previous religion was by no standards to be regarded extreme. Conclusively, dear professor Hawkins, it certainly happens that people pick up your book to find the roots of your crazy thoughts, and that this reading starts a process leading to personal freedom, personal responsibility and a drastically changed world view.
Dear Sir, I am deeply indebted to you, your generosity and good will.