Hello professor Dawkins. I am a newly “converted” atheist. My decision to become atheist is one that was easy for me, although it took 24 years, to make. Prior to about 2 months ago, I was a devout Christian. It was my life, my “belief”, my everything. Yet when prompted to respond to simple questions that were designed to test my faith, I was unable to answer them. At first I sort of shrugged it off and would flip the question, like so many believers do, to imply that the questioner simply did not understand god and that because I was a speaker for god I in fact did not have to dignify them with an answer. When I would later think about the conversations I had with, at the time I thought to be people controlled by the devil, I realized that faith without answers was just silly. However I just couldn’t shake my convictions, and this went on for a number of years until one day I was so angry with myself for not being able to give response to rationally formed questions. Since nothing happens over night, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that as this was going on I was constantly on YouTube watching debates that you’ve had. You along with other great people like Mr. Christopher Hitchens, and Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson shaped my thought process in a way that was foreign to my for so many years. It is because of you all that I am on the other side of the religious proverbial coin. Though I’ve many debates daily, nowhere as eloquent as yours, I am always dumbfounded by the quick reach to pull the “free will” card. From my experience, this is pulled when the religious have nowhere else to go. I’ve some problems with the notion of free will. One of which is that if free will is a birth right, then it is one for everyone. Everyone from an infant to the elderly. I once made the argument: if it’s the will of a drug addicted mother to tweak out on meth and put her baby in a microwave, isn’t the will of the baby to get microwaved? If not then when does a person receive free will? Is it like some present you receive on your sweet sixteen birthday. “Here you go. Here’s your free will. Do with it what you please. But make sure it’s what god wants or you’re going to hell.” Crass it may seem, but I say it to drive home the fact that free will is a logical fallacy. I still haven’t gotten a response to it other than that of disgusted looks. Is my attack on the idea of free will as illogical as free will itself? What is your stance on free will and how would you go about responding to someone who just throws out the idea of it haphazardly and expects you to just walk away?
Thank you so much for your time.
P.s. I love The God Delusion and am anxious to read some more of your work.
Newly “converted” Atheist