Richard Dawkins and Sidney Johnson, age 11, together recently in Indianapolis. Sidney has read The Greatest Show on Earth and is halfway through The Ancestor’s Tale (2nd Edition).
Richard says, “This young American reader, who also asked one of the most intelligent questions after my talk, gives me hope for the future.
A Letter from Sidney to Richard Dawkins
Dear Richard Dawkins,
December 5, 2016
You probably remember me from Indianapolis. Because of the limited time and the amount of people (and mostly my nervousness) I didn’t get to have a full conversation with you. I am around a lot of evolution-deniers, at school, in the neighborhood, even some of my relatives. I also don’t hide that I am an atheist. I wear a darwin pin and one that reads Atheist on my shirt constantly.
I have had kids who have tried to fight me because of my beliefs.I also get a lot of people attempting to persuade me to be religious, telling me why god Is happy and nice and not the horrible, aggressive, evil person he is in the bible.Every single time that this Happens I prove them wrong using your’s or my own reasons.
One time in particular a girl said I was going to hell because I was an atheist. The girl was very religious, she carried around a bible in her backpack. We were on a bus so we had a lot of time to converse, I said a lot of the evil things the bible says thatthe church lies from her, slavery, hell, ext. She denied it and went on believing her fantasy of a god. The next week all of 5th grade went to a pre-civil war reenactment, me and the girl were in 5th grade at the time. We went through many of the actors, One of them was enthusiastic about slavery . She stated a lot of reasons but one of them she quoted the bible, She quoted from ephesians 6:5, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ”. The girl was crushed, she cried and cried. Now she’s an agnostic or at least less religious than before. She couldn’t believe how mean the god she worshiped was, her view as distorted, grabbed and pulled by the church and her parents who only show the good side of the bible and changes or uses “god’s” words differently.
Very few believers that I know actually know what the bible said or what evolution is. There was another girl who was also very religious. This girl like millions of people are just into religion because they like the idea of it. They somehow are finding comfort in parts of it. My argument is what about all the other parts? The bad, mean, horrible parts. It simply doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t add up.
Youmay also be happy to know that I have converted some people, not to atheism directly, but to science. I have lended them my copy of River out of Eden, and a few other books, By them reading books and me explaining real science to them they believe less and less in god and more and more in science as their questions about how life began, how creatures get their features, ext. Get answered. I think it is important to approach younger people or kids to spread science and atheism because their minds are easier to change and they haven’t been exposed to religion long enough for it to be as important to them as with adults.
Every single kid that I know who learns about evolution believes and loves it. I myself find your books, and science in general way more interesting than any novel, story, or bible.