Learning about God , Good, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(1815)

Jan 29, 2013

Dear Dr Dawkins

You didn’t actually convert me, but I am glad you trailblaze for the unreligious.

I heard about God for the first time aged four, when I started at Infants school, and found the idea very intriguing. It is still fresh in my memory over 50 years later. Heaven didn’t sound a lot of fun, but I figured I might get to Fairyland instead when I died. Naturally I had to put this idea of a supernatural Father to the test by begging with all my heart for a sign – some slight telekinetic movement that should surely have worked by my sheer willpower. But no. The tiniest miracle didn’t happen. He wanted all that worship, all that unquestioning worship from everyone – and what was He going to do with it? So that knocked it all on the head for me on the very same day I learned about God.

Lesson two was learning to keep quiet about it. I still don’t understand why it is so very important to other people that I, in the privacy of my own mind, should have the same beliefs as everyone else. It’s as if belief and worship are necessary to keep God alive. The wickedness of not believing makes me dangerous.

Despite being an atheist I never fail to be bowled over by the beauty of the planet we inhabit. When I see someone pick out someone they know from a huge, moving crowd of people, especially someone they haven’t seen for many years so they will have aged, I marvel. Faces are all so alike; there are only fractional differences. When I see a kid on a skateboard defying gravity, a magnificent sunset over the sea, affection between animals – I am often awestruck, and sometimes moved to tears. I’m not very clever and I know I’ll never find the answers to most things, but the world and everything in it is sufficient to keep me fascinated. I love life, I love being alive, one day I will die and become dust and it won’t matter. And it is enough. Wanting magic and miracles and life everlasting as well as all this seems kind of greedy. There is enough with what is.

Joanna Day

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