It prompted me to share with him something I’ve often thought about recovered religious fundamentalists, as well as my own perspective on belief. My letter to him follows, revised and extended.
You have nothing to be embarrassed about. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Those who perpetrated the lie, who cultivated it, who fed it to the unwary, and who are unrepentant of their scam -– those are the ones who should be ashamed and embarrassed.
You were a victim of religious think from childhood to early adulthood. In fact, while your letter compliments me for my reasoned activism, you have more to be proud of about your having embraced reality than do I. You see, I never had to overcome what you did. I was never indoctrinated, never bombarded with lies and myth at an early age and through my developing years. Thus, I had a head start while you were handicapped.
That you were able to escape from the darkness of unquestioning faith in fable to overcome your handicap speaks to your courage, strength of character and intellect. I've often wondered, had I been in your place, if I would have had the necessary attributes to escape the darkness of religious ignorance and find the door to reason on my own.
As freethinkers we are all “Apostles of Reason.” But people like you who overcame what so many others never will, are -- to paraphrase a verse from the Bible -- among "the most beloved of the apostles” of reason. For that you deserve and have my respect, and the respect of every freethinker.