The people who challenged my atheism most were drug addicts and prostitutes'They prayed whenever they could find 15 minutes. "Preacher Man", as we called him, would read from the Bible with his tiny round glasses. It was the only book he had ever read. A dozen or so others would listen, silently praying while stroking rosaries, sitting on bare mattresses, crammed into a half-painted dorm room.
I was the outsider, a 16-year-old working on a summer custodial crew for a local college, saving money to pay for my escape from my hometown. . .
. . . We are all sinners. On the streets the addicts, with their daily battles and proximity to death, have come to understand this viscerally. Many successful people don't. Their sense of entitlement and emotional distance has numbed their understanding of our fallibility. Sonya addict bronx Sonya with her cross and rosary.
Soon I saw my atheism for what it is: an intellectual belief most accessible to those who have done well . . .
. . . I also see Richard Dawkins differently. . . I see a person so removed from humanity and so removed from the ambiguity of life that he finds himself judging those who think differently. I see someone doing what he claims to hate in others. Preaching from a selfish vantage point. '
For the bits inbetween you'll need to visit:
Chris Arndale - The Guardian 24/12/13