Dear Dr. Richard Dawkins,
Questioning religion and god was not quickly done for one who was preached the fires of hell by missionaries as a child, educated by nuns in a high school for girls, married my first boyfriend at 19 and had 4 babies in 3.5 years. Still, at 32 as a single parent after a confession I decided to put religion on hold. If an army of celibate men couldn’t help me with my babies and an ex-priest professor of philosophy could, well, we joked at calling ourselves a better pair of misfits. The religious deprogramming began. My monthly MS. Magazine helped. For 37 years I forgot about religion. Then with my Protestant husband, not the ex-priest, we moved near a Catholic church. The Sunday church bells were calling and we timidly attended mass. Everyone was invited to an after church breakfast where the priest sat with us and visited our home. We were taken in. I needed an annulment to remarry my Protestant husband before receiving communion. The annulment process became an Inquisition. I was brought back to tears and to where I had started. I dropped the process telling our friendly priest that I was satisfied with being a good person instead of a good Catholic.
On CBC Tapestry I heard Tom Harpur’s interview on his book The Pagan Christ. His book questions the existence of Christ. But Harpur made sense. Then my son told me about Sam Harris, A Letter To A Christian Nation. Oh My? To question the existence of God? But Harris made sense. Then Tapestry interview Richard Dawkins. I was ready for him. Whow! I highlighted his book, took notes, listened to you tubes, bought more books. Who can get enough of Professor Dawkins?
Richard was surprised when a young woman told him she got angry when she became enlightened. Obviously Richard was not as brainwashed as we were; or being Richard, he was intelligent enough, even at a young age, to question. When a child in third grade is laughed at for still believing in Santa Clause he rushes home in tears and anger to have a few choice words with his parents. How could they? Especially woman can get angry when realizing how religious conditioning has influence so many aspects of her life. Guilt, feared of God, a girl’s reputation and church are powerful tools.
Now I am free at 73. I am grateful that I won’t die believing in Noah’s Ark like my peers in Florida. At a church that I attended with a relative I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. At lunch a member was convinced that wood from Noah’s Ark has been found and, yes, that the earth is 6 thousand years old. So it’s all about FAITH. OK. Another subject.
Richard you have no idea how much I appreciate the luck of being born since I read your book. With luck I made it here on this beautiful planet. Soon I will have to die, and you help me to see that’s OK. You, Hitchens, Harris and Dennet (saw you-tube The Four Horsemen”) are brave and heroic for sharing your intelligence with the world. My bright husband, a scientist, chemist, shares your views, but you guys have the speaking and writing tools to educate. Bravo!