Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(892)

Jan 30, 2013

Dear Prof. Dawkins,

I did not become an atheist due to your books. I hadn't even heard of you before becoming an atheist (I am only sixteen). That said, don't be discouraged. I suppose I was always an atheist, but I didn't even realize it. My father was never really religious, and I suppose you could follow an exponential decrease in religious faith in my family. That said, religion was never really brought up. We'd go to mosque maybe once or twice a year, but that was more to humor my grandparents than anything, I think. I was so pathetic in knowing why we were going, that he'd have to re-explain it to me every year. As I got older, my friends went to sunday school and I was left out of it. Naturally, I wanted to know what it was all about, so I asked them to explain it all to me. This they did, and I said, “You really believe that?”. Some of the things they told me were so absurd and contradictory.
I suppose, as an aside, I should mention that I've been interested in science since a very young age. Everyone else would watch cartoons on saturday morning, I'd watch Bill Nye, the Science Guy. This rationalized a lot of things for me that my friends were still taking as unexplainable. The sort of ruining of the magic show type of experience, I suppose. Now, needless to say, they didn't take as much interest in these things as I did, so they didn't really question them. I'm assuming this is what made religious belief easier for them. When they told me that water could be turned to wine, I asked, “Without a grape plant to take it in and subsequently turn into juice which could be fermented and aged?” They didn't understand what that meant, so they simply said, yes.
The debate that is going on in the comments section of many YouTube videos concerning evolution is what really got me positive that I was an atheist. The videos themselves were convincing, but also seeing many other people treating creationism the same way I regarded the turning of water to wine. I fought vehemently in favor of evolution, displaying the facts, dispelling myths, etc. I then came upon a video featuring you being “stumped” by a creationist question. I then looked into your background, because I was wondering what about you being stumped was so definitive in disproving evolution. I watched a christmas lecture of yours called “Climbing Mount Improbable”, and was greatly impressed. Since then, I've been reading and watching just about everything with your name in the title. I'd like to thank you for the work you've done, and helping me recognize myself as an atheist, I didn't even realize it was an option. I thought religion was like hair color. You're born with it, and you can change it later, but it just hadn't occured to me that I could go bald. Thank you for your time.


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