Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(932)

Jan 30, 2013

Richard

I would like to thank you for your bravery. In a society where satirical cartoonists, family planning doctors and homosexuals are being lynched, damned and hunted it takes a special kind of courage to stand up. You are now as much a freedom fighter as a biologist and for that i commend you. The only difference between yourself and the archetypal freedom fighter is that you are attempting to destroy violent reactionary fundamentalism with sheer reason and knowledge.

I was born into a loosely christian, church of england society, and though frightened by fairy tales of hell and heaven, i remain relatively unscathed. I studied religion with great interest through to A level and although i never said 'i don't believe this nonsense', it never struck a chord with me. When i went to university i was of the 'hopeful agnostic' variety, sort of looking for signs and open to the comfort that some of my friends enjoyed. I went along to church with my Christian friends, again nothing touched me, the stories the preacher told were simply stories. I was suprised when i spoke to my friends after the service and they were keenly discussing the message of Zephaniah, Leviticus etc. These stories, these fables, were the basis of their lives. The more i attended church the less i agreed with what i heard, i was often downright offended by some of the sermons. The sermon that enraged me was the one where the preacher told us that all sins are equal. It was a concept i'd heard before but not really thought about to any great extent, so let's all think about this- murder, rape is on the same level as working on a sunday or proclaiming 'oh god'. This is a seriously misguided and dangerous ethical system which, when taken hand in hand with the principle of forgiveness of sins, justifies murder.

Anyway, late at night in my university bedroom, browsing 4OD i came across 'The root of all evil'. Thank you. Those two words express more than a meandering paragraph can. Simply, 'thank you'. I have just finished reading 'The God Delusion', at first i despaired at the loss of an afterlife, a comforting blanket that i had always hung onto when frightened. Then it hit me, this is the truth, it's almost like losing Santa Claus. The tale of the fat jolly chap leaping down the chimney and finishing off the whiskey didn't particularly hang together when scrutinised (not least because we didnt have a chimney in my childhood home, i once asked my dad, a policeman, if it didnt sound a lot like breaking and entering) but it was a nice thought. Religion, or at least church of england religion, is a nice thought for some people but its simply not true. There is no evidence to support it and a mountain against it, if it was a courtcase it simply wouldnt stand up (isn't it ironic that people would swear on the bible to 'tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but' and then go home and tell their children the earth was created in seven days).

So thats the long and short of it, religion is a comfort blanket used to smother the weak. And on a final note, i offered my mum the chance to read 'The God Delusion' to which the fair weather theist replied 'i don't dare, it's the word of satan'. There is a genius in the suffocating web they weave to ensnare the weak, 'listen to our lies and don't question them or an eternity of pitchforks and brimstone awaits'.

'Doubt is a demon'

Richard Dawkins, i thank you.

Daniel Brunsdon, 20, Beccles, Suffolk.
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