Dear Professor Dawkins,
I don’t really know where to begin and where this mail would eventually end up, but I shall try to keep it short.
While being born and bred a Christian, I have always had a internal struggle within me for as long as I can remember. To put it more clearly, the struggle I have had was with the concept of “belief in God”. Looking back, I have tried very hard to find this “belief” and for some unexplainable reason, that “belief” was hard to come by. Perhaps I am built skeptical, but I’ve always felt that belief is something that happens spontaneously within when exposed to the stimuli that causes belief. Perhaps I was looking for some divine intervention? Whatever it was, I just could not “believe” just because I was told to.
Having said that, I do consider myself pretty well versed with the various aspects of theology of my religion. The knowledge served well to reconcile the loose ends. Perhaps I viewed it as a means to an end. If I can understand something, maybe then belief would be an eventuality?
To keep the long story short, I remembered the fateful day when I picked up your book – The God Delusion. I remembered quite well my state of mind back then – I was no longer seeking religious understanding but rather a way to reconcile the concept of a belief in God within myself. When I picked up your book, it was with a frame of mind to challenge myself and my understanding of God. Feeling pretty confident with my theological understanding, I was out to challenge the atheistic view.
I read it word by word, page by page from cover to cover. I was dumbfounded.
Something struck me then. It wasn’t the feeling of defeat but rather a feeling of enlightenment. I realized at the moment, how much I really do value rational thought and critical thinking. I can be perfectly fulfilled in pursuing this path. Looking beyond religion, I was liberated. I’ve also realized, that by giving up religion and God, I did not need to give up the values of love, forbearance, patience and morality. In other words, the fundamental tenets of life in which I held dear and associated with religion, are still very much intact, if not reinforced by giving up the belief in God and religion.
Cutting through the smokes and mirrors and finally getting a breath of fresh air!
May I add, since that day forward, my life and thoughts have changed. Where your book was the starting point, I have since fed my insatiable hunger for knowledge through exploration of the ideas/materials from Hitchens to deGrasse Tyson to Hawkings – and what a fascinating and wonderful universe is laid before me!
I truly believe this turning point have shaped how I as a person view and handle situations in my life henceforth. From the feelings of humility in ignorance (instead of forming arguments from ignorance) and turning problems around and looking at it from various different angles to evaluate solutions, this change is, at least by my anecdotal account, to be extremely profound.
Here is my thanks to you. I have now started a blog and would intend to keep it in your spirit – to write of my journey, views and fascinations of sciences rather than religion and hopefully someday be a prominent voice for reason.