Hi Prof. Dawkins.
I was reading your Converts Corner section and found it both profoundly amusing, and optimistic. My name is Scott and grew up in the Uniting church here in Brisbane, Australia. I know you are exceptionally busy but i hope you get some time to read this. My grandfather was a Uniting church missionary in South-West Bay, Vanuatu during the 70’s he is a wonderful man and accomplished amazing things over there. Till i was about 18 (I am now 30) I got tired of the pad answers to the big questions. Mainly, “God did it!” I started to look around at the people in my congregation and the church community and woke up to the startling realization that the blind faith shared amongst these people was not only irrational, but dangerous. I think what a lot of Religious teachers don’t understand is that religious knowledge in the wrong hands can lead to an inner persecution of such guilt and shame (the whole “we are all filthy sinners who Jesus had to die for” diatribe) that causes a despair of human spirit. I found my true self belief and faith in my own being only began when I stopped asking forgiveness from an mythological unproven deity who demands you hold an outdated methodology and just started living. A rejection of organized religion and blind faith in a god brought me a sense of social responsibility. I get a confidence from doing what i think is the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, and if i go wrong i can make reparations, but i will not feel guilty and shamed for it in the eyes of a absent god. This planet we live on is an amazing place, and the infinite number of accidents that led me to being here is what inspires me to make the very most of it. First there was the earth, and last will be the earth, and I am so proud to have just a relatively small time on it, but I will not spend it on my knees.
Thanks for reading