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The structure of the phrase "I felt relieved as I read it, vindicated, almost personally understood…" is not very clear to me.

It appears to explain why "I felt relieved", because I read it and almost understood it. The problem for me is the meaning of "vindicated" - "(I) vindicated"? It seems that before reading the book (The End of Faith), the author thought it was guilty to criticize religious moderates who respect other people's different faith; as the author went further in reading it, he understood the book's view and vindicated/proved the author of the book.

I am not sure I am on the right track.

What does "vindicated" mean here?

The End of Faith articulates the dangers and absurdities of organized religion so fiercely and so fearlessly that I felt relieved as I read it, vindicated, almost personally understood… Harris writes what a sizable number of us think, but few are willing to say in contemporary America… This is an important book, on a topic that, for all its inherent difficulty and divisiveness, should not be shielded from the crucible of human reason.

Source: The New York Times Book Review

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vindicate (verb) from Merriam-Webster

  • to free from allegation or blame
  • (1): CONFIRM, SUBSTANTIATE (2): to provide justification or defense for : JUSTIFY
  • to protect from attack or encroachment : DEFEND

With the use of "vindicated", the author wants to express his feeling of relief and confirmation as his own convictions and beliefs agree with those displayed in the book "The End of Faith".

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