Finding Freedom , Converts, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(1433)

Jan 29, 2013

Dear Professor Dawkins,

I grew up as a Christian. I was a young-earth creationist, born-again Southern Baptist. But wait, this has a happy ending.

My parents, while taking me to church, also cultivated my love of reading, rationality, and science. Despite everything I learned that was factual and proven about the universe, including evolution, I still managed to hang onto my faith. It was unshakable.

At The Amazing Meeting 8 in Las Vegas you spoke about how belief by itself is not of any consequence, but it was deplorable if that same belief blocked science and advancement. Your words held special meaning for me.
I am bisexual, and raised as a Christian it was shameful to me. The Bible uses the word “abomination,” and that’s very hard to hear from a benevolent god. You see, my beliefs were not just hindering my advancement, they were harming me. I spent years with a self imposed guilt eating away at me all in the name of faith. I fell into deep depression.

My mother, who had become an atheist, gave me The God Delusion as a gift. But I resisted reading it because the very title was offensive to my Christian sensibilities. Then with constant encouragements from a certain friend I finally read it, and by the end I had prayed my last prayer to God. My life was my own again, not the property of some invisible tyrant.

Thank you, Mr. Dawkins, for stating the rational truth so elegantly. Instead of being terrified by the views brought by a lack of belief, your book helped me see beauty in the world around me. I can look at all the oceans and cities and people, I can look at all the life and feel more wonder than I ever have. It is all so very beautiful.

Thank you,
Richard Orbeck
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