My name is Matthew Jeffrey, and although we've never met, I just want
to thank you for all that your writings have done for me. To begin, I
guess I should give you a little backstory first. Well, I live in the
Bible belt of the USA, (Pensacola, FL to be exact), and I grew up a
very, very strong fundamentalist-Christianity based home. My father
was an abuse alcoholic who committed suicide when I was 6 years old.
My mother, in distress, completely committed to the church, and I was
pulled from my public education to be taught "biblical science" at
home. Despite how much I hated it, I was forced to go along- for 11
years of my basic education. I always had a strong thirst for the
truth, and never truly felt like religion had it, despite everything
force-fed into me from a young age. In grade 10, I had finished all of
my high-school credits, and was allowed to dual-enroll at a local
college for the remainder of my high school time in order to get a
head-start on my degree (I wanted Biology, but I was forced to pick
General Studies as my major until I was 18 and changed it myself).
Throughout all the lies I was forced to read all of those years, I
snuck your books, the local University's Biology text books, etc into
my room to read at night. This was for no other reason other than the
desire I had to know the truth. At age 16, I renounced all faith and
committed fully to science, reason, and the pursuit of truth. My
status as an unabashed Atheist has never been more firm.
I am 19 now, and I am serving in the US Army as a Medical Specialist.
I have been accepted to Penn State University in the Biomedical
Studies program, which I am earning concurrently with my enlistment.
My life has never been better.
A lot of my former friends no longer contact me, and a lot of my
family writes me off, despite me being the first to go to college. I
find it hard to care.
Mr. Dawkins, for inspiring me to learn the truth, I will be forever grateful.
Pvt. Matthew Jeffrey