If I Only Knew I Could , Converts, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(1643)

Jan 29, 2013

Dear Richard Dawkins

I write to you with great enthusiasm.

I hope you are doing well and keep on with your unbelievable journey.

This letter is written with enormous appreciation to you and to what you’ve done as an atheist. Words can never describe how your work, efforts, actions and wisdom had touched me!

My name is Liel and I’m 19 years old. I live in Israel in a city called Holon. I have one brother (16) and one sister (13) therefore I’m the firstborn child to a marriage parents. Currently I serve in the army (IDF) as a soldier’s trainer and try to make the best out of this role.

All my life I lived in Israel-in this problematic and unsafely country.

I was raised, as you would like to name it, to traditional parents. In other words it means I was raised to believe in the Jewish culture, in the Jewish history, in the “holy” book called the bible and of course to the “untouchable” and supernatural god.

My father had 9 brothers and sisters and they were all raised as religious people. My father’s father was a rabbi, circumciser and a slaughterer (I apologies if you’re not familiar with these words). I will make it short and say that my father is a great believer and had never questioned the existence of god. He always took for granted what he was told about Judaism as a kid, although when he left home to live his own life at the age of +20 his connection to the religious world had loosen up a little bit.

My mother is also not an easy character. She lived a traditional life but was never forced like my father to accept this religious world. Her academic degrees were in the teaching of the bible. She was only a teacher for two years but her knowledge is pretty massive. My mother’s only brother became newly religious and has 6 children. He lives a very strict religious life and so is his all family.

Since I remember myself I was always educated and taught to believe in god, to celebrate the Jewish holidays, to feel connected to god’s rules, to pray for him and basically do whatever it takes in order to please him. When I think about it now, in hindsight, I realize my education was one big mistake (Putting it mildly).

The reason why I’m telling you all of that matter is in order to give you a taste of the religious influence on my life since I was born (not including the fact that I live in Israel and my environment was completely fool as well). I hope you can imagine how hard it was for me to live such a fake life without any structure of true values, principles and believes.

At the age of 16, like every other teenager who search for his own truth, I became an atheist. It was a big moment for me. I suddenly felt pure and happy like never before but at the same time I felt completely disappointed and betrayed by everyone. I felt lonely. I don’t know what the exact reason for this change was but I know it’s amazing that I was able to see beyond and managed to clear my mind from the brainwash.

Now days, I feel so lucky considering my circumstances and the amount of impact I had during all my life, with all the traditions, the holidays, the lessons of the bible in school… All of it has made me such a blind person who couldn’t see a thing. I realized, as time passed, that I lived in a huge “protective” bubble. It’s so sad to say that but I feel almost like I’ve lost 16 years of my life.

Well, but people say “it’s never too late”, right?

In the last two years I had to create myself from zero. To find principles and codes that will be embraced into my life. It wasn’t easy at all I’m telling you and it’s still quite hard. I’ve seen your videos on YouTube and I’m reading your book “the god dilution” this days. I felt a strong need to send you a letter that will show my support to what you’re doing in life. The people you talk to, the interviews on TV, the books you wrote etc. I absolutely admire you and the people who are working with you. Hopefully you will be able to visit Israel one day and present them the real side of life.

I’m sure your books will spread in the universe and more and more people will know there is an option to choose how to live life, to know that they can.

I may be an atheist and I may feel complete about my life but it doesn’t make me happy to know there are so many people out there that live under a spell or denial. It’s too sad to watch people waste their lives just like that.

I live in a country where every second person is a believer in god. Sometimes I feel like I’m about to freak out but I try to remember myself “I’ve got to respect their beliefs”. In most on the cases I shut my mouth or try to leave in a politely way but I can no longer imagine myself living in a place like this. I know my family would have to except my emigration either way but as long as I’m here, doing my military service I am struggling. The only thing that keeps me here is my atheist’s friends.

Thank you again for every step, action and move you make. You inspired me and gave me strength to convince other people to as well.

Thank you!

Liel Atsraf.
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