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by James Bishop
Richard Morgan was born in a tiny village in North Wales. He went to college in Nottingham, and lived and taught, as a music teacher, in Nottingham and Manchester. He then moved to Toulouse, France in 1984. There he became an English teacher. What is striking about his conversion story is how he was converted to Christianity on Richard Dawkins’ website, a place where one wouldn’t expect to find such conversions (1).
Morgan was brought up in a nominally Christian family. He attended Sunday school but when he became a teenager he met two Mormon missionaries. He was converted to Mormonism and served two years as a Mormon missionary in France. It was there that he actually began to doubt his beliefs, and a few years later after he returned to Wales he realized that he had lost all his faith in Mormonism. That’s when he first met Richard Dawkins (2), “I moved to France and fairly shortly afterwards I read Richard Dawkins’ book, The Blind Watchmaker, and what was fantastic for me, and this is a real epiphany experience, was to realise that of course, all these years of searching for something spiritual, or Godlike, were bound to be completely frustrating, because God didn’t exist!” He thus saw belief in God as nothing more than something “hard-wired” into the brain, “It seemed to me there were very sound psychological reasons why God existed – the ultimate Alpha Male, if you like… But I think evolution explained why people became to believe in God.”
It wasn’t that Morgan somehow became an atheist after reading Dawkins’ book but rather that it was the first time he realized that he had always been one, “I didn’t feel like I became an atheist, the feeling was more that I realised was that I always had been… I get the feeling that I never actually believed in God or anything else invisible, but I was looking—for some unhealthy psychological reason—and once I discovered and identified that reason and I had good explanations which showed quite clearly that obviously God didn’t exist.”
Having enjoyed the book he went and read all of Dawkins’ other books and “found him to be an absolutely fascinating writer – so easy to read.” Because Dawkins at that time was most well-known for his writings on evolution (and much later his books attacking God and religion), Morgan became very interested in the subject of evolution…
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