Dear Prof. Dawkins
I trust this message finds you well.
After having read your inspiring book ‘The God Delusion’ – and watched several of your interviews online), I felt compelled to get actively involved in discussions with like-minded people, who are not satisfied with the minimum information we ordinarily receive.
I don’t want to take much of your time, and not knowing if replying to letters is a practice of yours, I decided to get in touch with you, at least to share some personal thoughts.
Born into a Catholic family and enrolled into a Catholic Primary and Secondary school, it was of my own accord that I turned to books for answers (back in Primary 6 or Secondary 1). The questions lurking my mind were originally religious in order, and the clergy at the school I attended were in no way responsive to my queries, a couple of times walking away from me after I had posed a question regarding their faith. The mediocrity of the people that I assumed were best prepared to discuss the ideology they had dedicated their life to was alarming to say the least.
I usually admit liking religions. I enjoy reading their respective classics, out of literary pleasure and because they sometimes deal with ethical, philosophical or political issues I am interested in. Most of all, I’m fascinated with the power of religions to control masses.
I like confronting Christians the most, primarily Catholics, and discussing Islam with them (fully aware that most, if not all, have no idea what their own dogma stands for, let alone another one, such as Islam). For instance, if I believed in Jesus as a redeemer and divine, I would much rather believe the version of his ascension as related in the Qu’ran as opposed to the Christian Bible.
I was recently given a book, Islamic Perspectives on Science, Knowledge and Responsibility, edited by Ali Unal, that argued how Islam, unlike Christianity. encourages people to inquire and do research to understand the creation, in contrast with the fear the Christian Church members would feel as the mysteries they revere would be scientifically explained. I wonder if you have come across other books that try to reconcile faith and science.
I’m an atheist, and I’ve become particularly opposed to the Roman Catholic Church, either because it’s probably the normal thing to oppose that which you are most familiar with, or just because it is the easiest to oppose. I feel especially disgusted at the fact that the history of the popes, as accessible and ridiculously impure as it is, is ignored by their believers, and ironically, they’ve been for hundreds of years the leaders of the religion with the largest number of followers.
I would like to ask you something that troubles me deeply. Just as I think programs initiated by the likes of National Geographic to promote environmental protection are -sadly- practically useless, I believe there has to be a better means to reach the people your book is addressed to. If anyone watches NatGeo, I think it’s a safe bet to say they are aware of environmental problems and are concerned and informed on ways to protect it. Their goal is to instruct ignorant people to care, but showing programs in the channels cannot achieve its purpose, since by definition, those who don’t care about protecting the environment wouldn’t turn the channel on.
Likewise, I cannot help but feel impotent on how to reach and try, with the help of books as yours, to liberate blinded people. You explain very eloquently your arguments, but people who grab your book are already open to use reason in the first place. How then, would you recommend bringing the message to those people who are won’t to read your book or the like, for fear or mental sterility?