I am a 22 year old from Jackson New Jersey, USA. I was raised by to very religous christians, my mom and dad. Every other word out of their mouth was about god and up until I read your book I have been a christian. As a christian I felt threatend by education, and their for had none other then what I learned in high school. Whenever a question about science came up, I didn't care about the answer because god would just tell me when I get to heaven. When I turned 17 I started to hear voices, I had a very bad case of schitzophrenia. My voices went side by side with my spiratual world beleifs. When I asked for help, I was told time and time again that it was demons or the devil. I was prayed over, splashed with holy water, had sages burned in all corners of my house and of course my problem got worse. I turned into an alcohalic from the stress. It wasn't until one day that I saw a show called Cosmos by Carl Sagan that i realised that my religoin was probably made up, doubts started to arise in my mind. I was going to be sent to a christian brainwashing/rehab in about a week. Thankfully for me I didn't go. The organization is called Teen Challenge or Keswick. You don't need to be a teen to get in, they will brainwash anyone looking for help as long as you work all day and night for them, raising money to brainwash others. Anyway I went to a real rehab and got help for my alcohal addiction and while I was their I talked to a real doctor about my schitzophrenia, he gave me a pill and the voices and transes were gone in less then a half hour. In American rehabs they push religoin on you really hard. Theirs one in New York state that is run by a group of christian monks that is really bad. All of the salvation army rehabs force you to go to church and worship christ. If your an athiest looking for recovery its not easy because even your peers will be rooting against you to watch the athiest fail without god to help him.
The second you mention that you don't beleive in god all of your so called friends turn into enemys. I was thrown out of these rehabs more or less for being athiest. When I was on the street after getting thrown out with no place to go, you had to sit through hours of church before you were aloud to eat anything. Its their way of brainwashing the weak and needy by using things they need to control them. Anyway, I was never very certain at all about the non existance of god. I had the idea of heaven, hell and the after life so embedded in my head it was hard to imagine anything else. Even if jesus wasn't god, god must still exist, I would tell myself. I imagined god to think just like me, as i think most people do. Maybe a physical law maker that doen't interfere, but for some reason wants my soul and the souls of all the good people. October 10th 2007 I downloaded The God Delusion. I finished the book by the 15th. The book gave me a new outlook on life. For the first time ever, I was afraid to die instead of being suicidal. Life was so short and my life was so messed up. After years of not caring about my time, blaming everything on god, demons and bad luck I was able to look at a clear veiw of reallity. I had no one and nothing else to blame my problems on except for myself. The bad turn of events in my life after closley being annalysed from a realistic point of veiw were mostly my fault. I was also very angry with my parents, my priest, and religoin in general. Its like I woke up one day and found out my entire life so far was a lie. But in any event I started to rethink everything. On November 7th 2007 I quit drinking succesfully for the first time, and i still haven't had a drink since. I was also 280lbs 6'1 and very unhealthy, and now I weigh 215 lbs and exercise every day. I no longer beleive in god and it's the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, thanks Richard!
Your biggest fan