Converts, Wed, Jan 30 2013 #(934)

Jan 30, 2013

Professor Dawkins,

Before I write anything else, I wish to express to you my sincere thanks. I realize what personal risks you took in writing every one of your books addressing religion and am extremely grateful you took them. The God Delusion greatly helped me in gathering the thoughts that have been floating, repressed, in my mind for years.

I am a 20 year old American woman who was raised in a religious family prescribing to various sects of Protestantism and Judaism. I was brought to a Methodist church by my parents from a very young age and claimed to be a Christian child. I shrugged off my twinges of doubt, which grew increasingly severe as I grew up, because of the tendency of the religious to claim that doubt is an essential part of faith. In general, I was not encouraged enough by the adults in my life to develop my own thoughts on all of the possibilities in the religious sphere, including the possibility that there is no God. All the same, the truth of the matter is that, while my parents and I claimed I was a Christian, I have always been skeptical. Like other inherent doubters, I'm sure I looked at most of my Sunday school teachers like they were crazy at one point or another and sat in silent rage while glaring at a few. In my parents' church it is traditional to hold Confirmation for 13/14 year olds. As the day of my Confirmation approached, I was unsure about what I was doing and ended up saying that I believed in God with the rest of the class. I know now that the knot I felt in my stomach was the result of lying through my teeth.

Last year a good friend introduced me to The God Delusion. I devoured it, feeling as if layer after layer of brainwashing and my own self-censorship was being lifted. I can even say that I took everything in the book with a grain of salt but could disagree with none of the main points and felt nothing being forced on me. In short, a long neglected part of my mental and emotional development has finally been addressed (courtesy of my friend and your book) and, as a mature person, I have considered all of the possibilities, all of the facts, and I can say that I am an Atheist. Like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, I’ve come back down to earth. I didn’t need what was over the rainbow. The rainbow itself is beautiful enough. At first I was angry that the Wizard wasn’t all he seemed to be, but I never needed to "look further than my own back yard" or the ruby slippers on my feet for everything I could ever need.

Thanks and Best Wishes,

Dorothy Gale
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