Your facility for explanation of profound ideas is uncanny- would that I were blessed with anything approaching that gift.
I will avoid making this a paean of praise- I want explain why your books have been so important to me. My subject line says I was not converted; since Sunday school at the local Wesleyan chapel (age 10) my suspiscion of the bible stories was immediate. How did all those animals fit in the ark, why did God need to drown everyone, etc. No convincing answer was forthcoming and anyway it was SO boring, I wanted to be off playing with my friends. So I never went again despite my devout mother’s threats. When she died early of smoking-induced cancer (I was 11yo) any lingering idea of a merciful God evaporated and my intense hatred of the celestial sadist took over!
Always an atheist, I gave religion no further thought for 50 or so years until the rise of islamic fundamentalism when it became impossible to ignore; then I read The God Delusion and presto! Now I had my motivation & logic for taking a positive stand against ‘faith’ and knowledge of the science to combat the vacuous rationale of the religious. Then came The Blind Watchmaker and The Greatest Show on Earth, followed by the works of Hitchens, Dennett, Harris and others; also reading about the koran and islamic law with its wonderful ‘prophet’…
Difficulties remaining? Yes- it is all but impossible for me to be “moderate”. I don’t enjoy conflict but it is unavoidable given the religious insanity that abounds and I fall into the trap of abusing the stupid and irrational, those who glory in their ignorance and cannot or will not inform themselves, much less consider any alternative. Obviously it demands an enormous effort of will to admit your cherished beliefs are absurd and that you have been a fool to accept them uncritically but surely reasonably educated people must realize they are parroting what others have told them to believe and be offended that their ‘opinions’ are not their own? Mass self-delusion in other instances is recognizable yet not in religion- baffling!