Dear Richard Dawkins
I will start this letter with an apology as to whether I am in the right group. I will be honest: I am a Christian, specifically a Roman Catholic, but I have recently read your book “The God Delusion”, which I found fascinating and an engaging read. My difficulty in choosing a category lies in the fact that I do not want to criticise your books or opinions, but I am not an atheist, which I worry is enough in the mind of whoever organises this site to shunt me down the spectrum of “goodness”. I write to you not especially expecting that you shall read it, but to express my thoughts on your work. Although it did not change me from theist to atheist, or even to agnosticism, it did broaden my world view, and forced me to reconsider my religious views.
Unlike many, I was not surprised by the accounts you picked out of the Bible in order to show that we do not (and should not) base our morality on the scriptures, most of which, even if you assume divine inspiration (and in places I definitely do not), were written by humans with their own agenda. However, I was surprised at your treatment of much of the New Testament (many of your assumptions about “what Jesus actually meant by love your neighbour” for example, weren’t backed up by much evidence). I was especially surprised by your apparent view that, because some religious people commit horrendous acts, religion is the cause. That, as I’m sure you will admit, is a logical fallacy (argumentum ad hominem, I believe) and should not have been included in what was otherwise a brilliant and generally unbiased book.
I must say that I do not understand the outright hostility towards you from many religious sectors. I accept completely the facts of evolution, the Big Bang theory, etc. and am a great believer in the the power of science to discover the truth.
I think, all things considered, that your book mainly targets creationists as foolish, and literalists as the cause of much of the evil in the world. I do not see why the majority of religious people need feel persecuted by your views, and I find myself agreeing with many of the points you made, even if I disagree with you on the point that God is non-existent (the arguments you shattered were generally ones that I had never put much stock in, but I am glad that you did shatter them. They encourage people to believe in almost anything that cannot be disproved).
Sorry for the overlong letter, and I do hope that I won’t be pushed over into “bad” or “ugly” simply for not having the same views as yourself, as I honestly enjoyed and firmly recommend your book, even though I was not encouraged to read it by others (in fact, it was my philosophy teacher that recommended it. My mother, a more devout person that I, said I could read it, but only if I borrowed it from a library. She seemed to think that by paying for it, we would be supporting your “anti-theist” views!). I hope I can read more of your work in the future, and I support your work in protesting against woolly thinking and fallacious logic when it comes to making important life choices (which is, after all, what choosing a faith is).