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Jun 20 2010

Sharing the “Good News”

Because now and again, we ought to share one of these letters:

I know you probably won’t have time to respond to this but I just wanted to send a little email saying how much of an impact you’ve had on my belief system and honestly, my life.

I was a Christian for six years, (I’m currently a 19 year old male) and only recently did I start caring about whether or not I had justification for my belief. I had always just gone with what my parents told me. I mean why would they lie or give me bad information? Even though I would occasionally ask questions on WHY they believe, I would be looked downed upon for asking those things. Well I started to do some research and found your myriad of videos. I was always a critical and skeptical thinker (outside of the self justifying circular religious arguments) and enjoyed listening to you guys speak. Finally, the taboo questions my family would tell me to disregard were being addressed. The way you debate and get down to the heart of the issues is simply poetic.

Things like morality, evolution, and the big bang… Things that I was oblivious to because of my upbringing. Turns out my biggest issue was simplpy: knowledge. And a lack thereof. I didn’t know about cosmic background radiation, or what evolution actually asserts. (Funny thing, my high school biology teacher was a Christian and tried to make everything sound so far-fetched, that magic from God was the only rational option.)

The story of Jepthah, and the laws in Leviticus, Exodus, and Deuteronomy. Rape victims who don’t scream loud enough are in the wrong? Laws on how to properly beat your slaves? Even if the argument is “Well it was appropriate for that time period” you’re still siding with an intelligent being who allowed and even promoted those things. Sounds like people of the time period thought it was good.

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get behind a God with the knowledge I have now. It’s finally possible for me to be a good person without being shackled to religion. I can now ask questions and live being open-minded. The answers that once were “God did it” are now “I don’t know”, and those humble three words allow for a search of more knowledge than I never thought possible. How was the universe created? We’re not sure, but we have a pretty decent idea supported by evidence, and let’s try to find out more! Who knows how much knowledge and technology would have come to a halt, had people accepted “Whelp, God did it!”. It’d be plain detrimental to the advancement of humanity.

If you’ve read this far, Matt, I love you, and thanks for doing what you’re doing. You make a huge difference and probably don’t get told that enough…Thank you for the atheist experience.

(Oh and that 10% of my income back really helps in paying the bills.)

And just to add, I didn’t edit one word of it. Note how much more literate this sounds than letters that are critical of us! Sorry, couldn’t pass that up.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Lurker

    "Note how much more literate this sounds than letters that are critical of us!"No kidding.The lack of RANDOM CAPS alone should have been enough to hint that this letter was written by a thoughtful individual, but the actual thoughtful nature of it was a bonus.To the author of the letter – congratulations on making it this far. I'm sure the journey wasn't easy.

  2. 2
    Skrubber

    I very good letter, thoughtfully written and coherent. I admire this young man and his de-conversion. This letter is a bit astray from the ones you get from Theists now isn't it?

  3. 3
    Strangelove

    This letter was quite heartening and I'm glad the writer found a way to break free from his mental shackles relatively early in life.

  4. 4
    ThatAtheistChick

    Very nice! Always nice to see something like this. ^__^

  5. 5
    Guillaume

    Really nice email and, like you said, very articulate one. "Ce que l'on conçoit bien s'énonce clairement…" and so on.

  6. 6
    Adam

    I can really relate to this letter, and Matt's de-conversion specifically. I was a a fundamentalist protestant for many years and then a liberal, evolution accepting moderate for 2-3 years. I stumbled upon AE because of the videos posted by FFreethinker. It make me think more about faith and belief. Then after pouring through the show back-log I discovered that Matt and DJ Grothe were both from the same town as me. It gave me hope that not only could reason win out, but that reason could be a positive force for change. Thanks Traci, Matt, Jeff, Russell, Jen, Martin et al.

  7. 7
    wvbishop

    This letter made my day. I wish I had unwound the superstition hairball when I was 19! I am sure it was a difficult journey for the author. It was for me, and I was only a deist! Realizing I am only looking at skewed evidence, but the intellectual rigor that atheists apply to their “de-conversion” is quite impressive. This is in stark contrast to the religious indoctrination that generally took place when they were children. I with this young man the best of luck in dealing with his family and friends, but it sounds like he will do just fine. Finally, the author brings up a great point. I think the participants of the AE and NPR as well as this Blog realize what a great service they are providing to so many people. I am sure I have a little confirmation bias going on, but the Atheist Community of Austin is my refuge of sanity. I have been a member for three years and I live in California. I only wish there was more I could do for those that volunteer so much of their time with these communication vehicles. Thank you for all of your hard work, it is obviously greatly appreciated!

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