My De-conversion from Religious Thought , Converts, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(1340)

Jan 29, 2013

I have to thank you, Richard, for changing my life around for the better. I was raised Baptist and have always lived within a strongly religious and conservative community where one was an outsider if one was not Christian. I used to believe that the earth was ten thousand years old and dinosaurs lived the time of man; yes I was one of those people. I had always hated evolution with a passion but then as I grew older I realized it was wise to look at other arguments and worldviews other than my own. The first thing that sent me on the path to education was Penn and Teller’s bullshit, and their episodes over intelligent design and the Bible. This at first infuriated me beyond belief, but as time passed and I thought more and more I decided to dig deeper out of curiosity.That is when I found your book the Blind Watchmaker. This book is what opened my eyes to the real world for the first time and I began to see how important natural processes within the world truly were. I realized we had all evolved and it still is occurring, I realized that God did not control the weather and natural disaster punishments were not of god but really are predictable, and that the universe was a lot bigger than I supposed (kudos to you). At this moment my love for science blasted off, it was almost that science had replaced religion however both of them differ by an extremity. I admit that I was scared at first and lonely and am still somewhat lonely being an atheist but as I read more of your books the stronger I could feel myself get. I would like to equate the moment I became an atheist (which was over the span of two years), but the moment that I realized for 99% most likely that there was no god(s), I felt as if I had been saved, however more than saved. I was saved when I was younger and felt a moment of awe and understanding, but the moment that I realized there was no god was almost magical in itself, it was a step above, a check and correction of my first experience in understanding the cosmos. My eyes had been opened to the beauty of the real world and my life became that much more precious. I began appreciating everything more, my family, my friends, my home; everything! I struggled for awhile though in loneliness, being constantly surrounded by religious people, which I don’t mind at all as long as their not shoving their beliefs down my throat. I ended up changing majors in college to cultural anthropology at an attempt of understanding the world and why people are the way they are better, as well as religious evolution which I find absolutely fascinating. I know I am sucking up to much to only thank you though, I also have to thank Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher, Bill Hicks, and of course Carl Sagan (RIP). But you were the one that sparked the quest for answers within me. You taught me to love science and the real world and was a sort of light in the darkness and confusion that had set upon me when I had de-converted from religion. It is still tough to be atheist in America, especially the south. People often equate atheism with immorality and even secularism (seriously its ridiculous that people do not know the difference). I have had people snarl their nose even when they found out and I still keep it secret from my family, and only my closest friends know. I do want to come out but it is quite difficult, one may even lose a job over it! (this I do not know for a fact but it seems likely in some contexts). I know that you are infamous on the right in America (cough Fox News and its viewers) however I do have to appreciate the work you are doing to de-convert people and bring them into reason within my country. I thank you again for helping me turn my life to the study of science and hope to one day be a great scientist as well, I can only pray (not really)…. I can only try.

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