Dear Dr. Dawkins:
I was never one of the fundamentalist Christians that I have come to despise in the United States, but I did attend a Catholic school for my elementary and high school education. I was a believer in God, even though I had many questions that were never fully answered by the people who were supposed to be experts in biblical theology. I always assumed that God would one day show me the answers to these questions that I had. As time passed and I started college, I put religion in the back of my mind and never went to church.
It wasn’t until the Muhammad controversy reappeared in “South Park” last year that I became critical of Islam. While surfing YouTube, in the weeks after the whole controversy began, I started finding videos of you and others such as Christopher Hitchens being as critical of Christianity as I was of Islam. I was initially turned off by these videos, thinking (and I sincerely apologize for this) that you were just one of those “angry atheists” who was just pissed off at the world. Over time, I was more and more curious of the things you had to say and I began listening to the arguments you presented. The more I listened, the more it became apparent that I had no idea about what I believed. After realizing that religion made no sense to my logical brain, I rejected religion earlier this year.
It wasn’t until this May that I fully became an atheist, and since then my life has become so much better. I wear my scarlet A pendant and “We are all Africans” tee shirt with pride. I look into the wonders of nature and of life and I think of the processes that lead to this point in time. I think about how the cosmos came about and how lucky I am to be in this world in this point in time where information flows at the speed of imagination. However I also see the dangers that religion released on the people of this planet. I truly believe that my generation has the ability to do something incredible; world peace is possible if we want it and work for it. With the internet and social media changing how we view the world, there is no more reason to succumb to superstitious fears and ideological intolerances.
Next summer I will get my degree in Geology from the University of Oklahoma, and listening to you thrash the claims of creationists has helped me realize how important my field is to science. I hope to peruse a career in my field that will be fulfilling to me as well as promoting scientific literacy and education to children here in the US and around the world. Your work, as well as the work of other great intellectuals such as Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Christopher Hitchens, has been an inspiration to me to become the best person I can be since this is the only life I know I will have.
Thank you so much Professor Dawkins, you and others like have changed my life forever, please continue to do what you do, I am an example that it does work. Religion poisons the mind. Logic must prevail. I would like to conclude with one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Sagan, talking about how the human brain evolved:
“No longer at the mercy of the reptile brain, we can change ourselves. Think of the possibilities…”
Jacob from Oklahoma
PS: Please come back to OU, I missed your talk in 2009 when you came to Norman. Thanks