Although I had been a 6.9 atheist before I came across your publications, your work has given me support and even more strength to counter the attacks of the true believers ever since I read ‘The God Delusion’.
The said book was a birthday present from my then-girlfriend and now fiancee. We are getting married next year. Since we are non-believers we feel no need of a church wedding (which, in our case, would be nothing else but hypocrisy). We have informed our families of our intentions to mixed reactions (both our families are Catholic; we are from Poland so Catholicism is considered a norm here – even if people are not practising, they are expected to get a church wedding because ‘it is the tradition’). As in, my fiancee’s family pretty much expressed no objection yet no satisfaction. The problem is with my family – my mother has said that is it very unlikely that her side of the family would be interested in attending a civil marriage only and even she may not come to the wedding at all. The thing is, none of them are really practising. All of them, obviously, claim they are Catholic and that they are believers, but in reality most of them do not go to church regularly. Today’s revelation (that my mother considers not coming to the wedding) has disappointed me beyond belief and this is why I’m writing this now. I told her that it’s both sad and pathetic that she would put a religion before her own son but that did not convince her. Moreover, she does not really care if we believe or not, she’s only interested in us having a church wedding so she would not be accused of ‘being a mother of an atheist’ as if it was some disease or something.
We do not want to have a church wedding because we are doubtful of the existence of any god and we think that it is not necessary to be religious to be good people which we both are trying to be. Nevertheless, our families (and probably the general public as well) consider us ‘evil’ just because we openly express our lack of belief, regardless of our actions or conduct, which makes us feel discriminated and humiliated.
Anyway, just wanted to share my experience with intolerance that religion breeds – one that does not only set nations at variance but even families.
Nevertheless, keep up the good work!
PS. Mr Dawkins, by the way, if you happen to be in Poland for whatever reason next year in June, consider yourself invited to the wedding 😉