For Richard Dawkins,
I've recently purchased your book, The God Delusion, in September of this year. The book was delivered to me about three days ago and I'm over two-hundred pages through it at this point. It's written very well and I plan to share it with my family after I've finished reading it.
I consider myself to be so fortunate to have been brought up by two parents who gave me the freedom to find my own way regarding my religious beliefs. My parents never had the expectation of me to believe the way they did regarding religion, and that is what I am so grateful for. A child's mind is so susceptible to indoctrination. I first doubted the truth of Christianity when I was a young boy and I heard my father admit that the Bible stated Jesus Christ was born of a virgin mother, when only a few days prior we had the innocent parent-child conversation about where babies “came from” and how a child is conceived. I was keen to see the flaws of religion ever since, and there are so many!
I see such simple elegance with every page of your book. Acknowledging observable scientific evidence and reasoning has been a much grander, more wonderful experience than my past experiences with Christianity or religious agnosticism. Religion has gotten people to focus on the beauty of a fantasy realm while drawing attention away from the beauty that we are all living every single day on this Earth. We're such marvelous creatures each and every one of us, because we've evolved through natural selection to be this way and especially so because this all happened without divine intervention or intelligent design (or chance). The improbability of life is what moves me because I am living and I am aware of that improbability.
I just wanted to say thank you for making me realize I don't have to be so respectful of religion, and that religious agnosticism for the sake of politeness really is a weak position to have. I was only seven years old when I witnessed the events of 11 September, 2001 happening live on the television and it quite literally changed my outlook on life and religion forever. All of the wrongs that religion has done to the people of the world throughout history in defense of one magical sky fairy over the other makes me sick. I've lived all throughout the United States - from Virginia, to New England (Massachusetts), into "The Bible Belt" (Missouri), then California and now here in Florida - and it's just shocking how people can believe in this fantasy in such high numbers. I remember first hearing about you a few years ago and being a bit uncomfortable with your active stance against religion, but now I realize the world needs more outspoken atheists and I will do my part now by standing up for reason whenever I am greeted by supernaturalism and religion. The people of the world would be so much more gentle, sympathetic, humane, and (dare I say) moral if only they abandoned their superstitions.
Earth is a much more beautiful place than religion allows.
Thank you so very much,
Sixteen years old
Tampa, Florida, United States