Good, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(202)

Jan 29, 2013

Dear Richard Dawkins,

I have only recently been reading your books (and Christopher Hitchens), and somehow the arguments you both make have crystallized my own thoughts about religion but have never expounded or acted on. I am currently working in Nigeria which must be one of the most religiously bigoted countries in the world – both in terms of Christians and Moslems. Every day I attend meetings and protocol dictates we have prayers at start and finish (I just ignore them and look into my Blackberry). My Nigerian colleagues are all profoundly religious and I wonder what they make of this heathen expatriate in their midst, they seem to tolerate me (as long as I don’t question their faith I guess). It is no wonder to me that this country is in such a mess, profoundly divided, there are continuous acts of violence in the name of religion recently perpetrated by extremist Moslems in the north of the country, (Christians have been equally guilty), whichever side, the acts of violence are vile and disgusting, burning people, property, cutting people up, etc…

Religion must be the biggest industry in Nigeria (next to oil), the vast majority of churches have their origins in the US bible belt, the “preachers” are incredibly rich and flaunt their wealth gained from peoples “generosity” they drive mercedez cars, live in big houses behind razor wire (as do I). The churches are huge and often attended by congregations of thousands of chanting people who believe in hellfire and damnation, faith healing and all that goes with it. What I fail to understand is the unquestioning acceptance by people of either faith is that theirs is the only right way. Sunday morning in the city here is like a ghost town, everyone is in church. Then on Monday they go back to work and continue the dirty business of gross corruption on a scale that makes you weep. The rich are extremely rich and cruise around in huge cars (I even saw a Bentley here recently), whilst their fellow man (75% of the population) exist in abject poverty on $1 or $2 a day. Where is the humanity that these religions are supposed to teach? I have never been in such a country where the main interest in life is *money*.

The longer I am here in this “religious” country the more anti-religious I feel. I have yet to have a proper debate with anyone of the fanatics yet, and I would need some inspiration from yourself or Christopher before taking on such an overwhelming number of faithful. Perhaps a well publicized Dawkins debate would be the thing (likely to get banned).

This place says it all, it is a graphic illustration of everything the atheist is arguing against.

Steve Cooper

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