My name is chris, and I came out to my family and friends about a year ago as an atheist. My family have been great, they didnt view it as a big deal and to be honest I dont think they even cared... Which I guess is a good thing. My friends reacted differently. I attend a catholic high school in the bible belt. This is one of the most conservative educational settings in my state. I have not since gone more than a month without somebody telling me that I am going to hell... A statement which I dearly hope is not fully understood when said. I have remained resolute, and I have also stayed strong on my feelings about equal rights for gays, something which earned me a good deal of condemnation as well. I withdrew and became cynical. I wish one day to meet professor Dawkins to thank him personally. He taught me that life is an unfathomably beautiful thing, and that it is worth living. Had I considered on my course as a catholic... Lets just say that I may very well owe professor Dawkins my life, and I wish to express my gratitude in any way I can. To all you who are persecuted, stay strong. You will make it if you understand that it is enough just to be alive, and that everything else is just a bonus.