I probably am like most of your ‘converts’, but I am compelled to tell my tale anyway. I was born into an extremely orthodox, Hindu family in India. Religion and rituals were not just part of our daily lives, it dominated it completely. As a kid, my mother’s superstitions and blind beliefs used to drive me up the wall (Once, it became so bad that my mother forced my father to return a bicycle that he a got me a surprise gift for my birthday, because ‘the stars were not aligned properly that day’, back to the store.) Nevertheless, unsurprisingly, I did believe in the concept of ‘God’. I went to the temples, prayed reasonably frequently and would probably call myself a moderate Hindu.
All this changed, the day I saw an interview of yours on Youtube. It was only for 10 minutes, but the case you made against religion was so compelling that I completely bought it. I then bought a copy of your book ‘The God Delusion’. The book made me realize that I was NEVER a ‘moderate Hindu’, but someone who never really believed in the concept of a ‘God’, but played along to the tune all the while because that was how I have been, all my life. I then realized that its O.K to be different, its O.K to say ‘I do NOT believe’. Since then, I have never looked back.
I couldn’t thank you enough for being responsible for the single most important transformation of my adult life so far. Before, when the going got tough, I used to pray and ask ‘God’ for favors. I used to get despondent, not knowing if ‘God’ will answer my prayers. Now, I just tell myself to face any crisis with courage and confidence myself, knowing that the only person who can help me is probably myself. This renewed my faith in my own personality has boosted my sense of self-esteem tremendously.
Thank you very much Professor, for being such an outstanding role-model for young adults like me. I know you’re a modest man, but even you probably don’t realize what a transformational role you are playing, in so many peoples’ lives.