My dad had brought us up as Jehovah’s Witnesses and being measured
against a standard I could never hope to reach caused a lot of
friction between us during my young life. Unfortunately, my father
died when I was 18 and the issues between us were never resolved.
Dad died, believing that he was going to a better place. For years, I
had to live with the knowledge that my dad would probably made it to
the ‘better place’ and, if he could, then I never would. From a
religious standpoint, he was a far better person than me. I believed
but cheated all the time – smoking, lying etc.
Dad’s religion didn’t believe in hell. If you didn’t live a righteous
life, you simply would not be resurrected. Strangely, I actually
really hoped my dad was right – that way, he would get his just reward
and,as I would not be resurrected, would never know I hadn’t been.
Then about 10 years ago I realised I did not believe in God. To say
it was a release is an understatement. I had suffered with night
horrors for years – specifically from thoughts of the Devil. During
my childhood I’d been told that he lay in wait for us, ready to steal
our souls, if we let down our guard for even a second. Imagine how
powerful a ‘bogey man’ he is – especially to a child. Any time I felt
anger, or too much pride, or vanity, or I lied etc, it was because of
his influence – or so I believed at the time – but with the loss of my
belief in God, came a loss of my belief in the Devil.
I always felt though that I might be wrong not to believe in God and I
admired and respected those who did. In hindsight, I guess a part of
me still believed that even if God did not exist, those who had the
moral fibre and faith to worship Him him were better people than me.
Reading The God Delusion has turned my thinking upside down. Rather
than being ashamed of my non-belief, I am proud of it. And, I am
surprised to find, I am actually rather angry. I’ve wasted a huge
part of my life feeling that I was simply born too corrupt or too
sinful to believe in God or live by His laws.
This book has been life changing and liberating. I now believe myself
to be an enlightened person rather than a morally inadequate one.