November 28th 2013
Dear Mr. Dawkins,
my name is Daniela, I am 31 years old and live in Germany. I decided to write a letter to you in order to give you some feedback for your books and to thank you for your clear and objective words.
Two years ago I got the wish to read about a topic that had been in my mind for a long time and I was wondering if there was someone who wrote a professional book about it. Someone who can analyse it competently. It’s religion. Fortunately I found „The God Delusion“ („Der Gotteswahn“ german title) on one of the popular internet book shops and put it into my virtual shopping cart. I enjoyed reading it, although it was a little bit difficult to understand at times. Nevertheless the book is great and your examples, arguments and facts are comprehensible. They often confirm what I have already supposed to be the truth or let’s say the way we have to handle with religion and god. I have never been very religious and, although the idea of a peaceful paradise and a never ending life is pleasant, I have been critical (besides my early childhood when I was involved in this idyllic world by school and teachers). I must thank you for your objective and clear argumentation. I haven’t been able to put my thoughts about this subject in such wonderful words.
Please let me say a few words to the Christian Church in the western civilisation (I have no experience with the Islamic or Hindu influenced world): I am concerned about the fact that religion has still so many power and influence today. The Christian Church is a rich power apparatus that loses its holiness when you realise that it is part of modern investments, has its own bank and is financed by your tax. Didn’t god admonish modesty? Why do I have to pay for something that is unprovable and even if it does exist why would it want me to pay money for absolution? As if this wasn’t enough I even risk my job leaving the Church but I don’t want to go further into this. I just realise that in the western civilisation the Christian Church the way it appears today is outdated and still too influential. I am asking for a self-determined atheistic life without obligations to todays religions and churches for those who want. I wish people use their intellect to do some good and don’t refer to their religions as absolut ethic authorities.
The second book I read was „Unweaving the Rainbow“ („Der entzauberte Regenbogen“ german title) and this was really heavy stuff for me. The first three chapters were easy to follow but from the middle of the book your explication became more difficult to understand and complicated. My favourite text passages though are your ideas and statements about the probability of our birth, the unbelievable stunning coincidence that we are living. I also love your fictional story about the spaceship that found a habitable planet for its crew and the amazing and overwhelming idea that everyone of us exactly experienced this. It’s so philosophical. Sometimes I have problems to dose the right amount of awe and daily routine in my life. There are so many impressive things on earth and in the universe to think about, so many stunning facts about nature and astronomy, gigantic amounts and time periods that we cannot understand; but everyday life forces you into a job and norms, paralyses you by tv shows and commercials, shoppingcentres and financial investments, bills, life insurances and your finacial debts. You can rarely escape this.
But what you say at the beginning of your book about our lifes is nothing new to me. Before I read it I’d already had a strategy to calm down in very stressful moments by thinking about the overwhelming fact that we are so small and insignificant in this big and endless universe. This mental excursion gives me a kind of relativation of my problems. For a few moments they become unimportant. Of course it does not work all the time. But even balancing it is difficult for me, I am happy to recognise that I am able to do it at all: to escape the paralysation of our every day life at times. I wish more people would to this: consider life as free of any higher power, developed by itself in a very long time period and something that we are coincidently chosen to be a part of.
I am happy to see that there are still people like you, Mr. Dawkins, who develop their theories and argumentation on facts and a realistic, objective consideration. Thank you!
Recently I’ve started reading „The Selfish Gene“(„Das egoistische Gen“ german title). It’s brilliant and reading it a great pleasure. As a Biomedical Scientist I can follow your ideas quite good.