Dear Dr. Dawkins
My name is Kristina, I'm twenty years old, and I am a female atheist. I grew up and currently live in the state of Texas in the United States, and if you know anything about Texas, I'm sure you understand just how religious and conservative it is. I grew up in a city that holds the world record for most churches per capita and has quite an abundance of fundamentalists; Abilene, TX. Right now I am going to Texas A&M University and and getting my undergraduate degree in psychology, with hopes of attending grad school and getting a PhD in Educational Psychology eventually.
I just wanted to tell you how much your book (The God Delusion) changed my life. I grew up in a very fundamentalist family, who still do not know about my beliefs, and raised me to be very bigoted and judgemental my entire life in the name of the Bible and the Christian God. I didn't truly realize until I moved away to college that I had been experiencing cognitive dissonance my entire life because I never truly believed it was okay to treat people the way the Bible preaches. I was questioning and going back and forth for three years, until I read your book, which finally made my beliefs for atheism concrete, and after an emotional roller coaster, I have come to accept it and am living a much more joyous life as a result. Becoming an atheist has completely changed my life in ways I never thought. I feel so completely free and have adopted better philosophies, especially Buddhist, that have helped me develop my identity that I never would've been able to do as a Christian.
I also wanted to tell you what an excellent person and role model I believe you are. I think what you're doing is amazing; breaking the stereotypes of atheists, spreading the concepts of logic and thinking for yourself, and promoting peace. I've seen some of the horribly bigoted and ignorant people you've been in interviews with, and I'm amazed at how peaceful and calm you remain without being insulting. I know I have definitely not come anywhere close to mastering that and I applaud you for it. I know that the age difference between us is quite a gap, but I wanted to let you know that you are reaching a younger generation and even in the most conservative communities change is happening. I know I still have a lot to learn in this life, but this change has definitely fostered a new beginning for me and I believe has helped mature me beyond my years. I look up to you more than anyone else in the world, and I hope you continue doing what you're doing. And I hope you just look at the hate mail as entertainment more than anything rather than actually taking it seriously, because I'm sure you know as well as I that it's all nonsense.
Anyways, I hope you do actually read this letter and that it can give you some hope for the younger generation in more conservative parts of the world. Change is slow, but it's happening. Thank you for reading and good luck on your future endeavors!