I am a 16 year old male from Ontario, Canada, and I want to extend my gratitude and thankfulness to you Richard!
Here is my story:
I was raised in a very religious home(still am in it!), always learning about God, the Bible, and Jesus. I accepted this all as truth, prayed multiple times daily, and always attended church. I was even homeschooled for 6 years!I had no doubt in the Creator. I was fed nonsensical information and was given "proof" in the form of biased books(The Case for Christ, my "biology" books that argued evolution).
This all changed when I was 14, I started watching videos and reading about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, I begain thinking about these men who would die for there God, I realized that these people believed in their God(Allah) just as much, or even more, then I believed in my God. I asked myself which God was real, as they both claimed to be the one true Creators. I was lost, and went asking for help in the church. I was told that we know that God is true because it says so in the Bible(this lack of logic was obvious at the time), and that my many questions could only be answers with "We don't know why, God is mysterious, you can ask him in heaven."
My doubts and questions begain expanding, I was curious as to why an all knowing and loving God would let all this evil be in the world, and frankly the "sin entered the world" and "free choice" arguements didn't mean anything to me. I needed answers.
I thought how ridiculous is was that God would make all of Earth until the end have to suffer because two people ate an apple, and he knew it would happen before-hand anyway! Again, I got responded with "God is mysterious" and "We don't need to know" answers.
I attended a church service(as I always did) and the Pastor mentioned Christopher Hitchens new book, "God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything", and began ranting and saying how this was obviously infalliable ect.
I went home and began looking up Christopher Hitchens videos on YouTube. I was more then suprised! Everything made sense!
As I researched and read more, I started reading your "God Delusion" and Sam Harris's "The End of Faith". I watched debates and videos on YouTube almost religously. I was astonished and felt like I was finally able to understand my feelings.
As I came to the conclusion that I did no longer believe in God, or any God, I was shaken, literally. I shoke for days and felt very depressed and lonely. The concept of there not being a God was terrifying. Surely enough though, I snapped out of it, and carried on with my life. I started sharing my thoughts with my friends.
Soon enough I started asking my family questions on their belief in God and presented many great arguements to religion.
I want to thank you Richard Dawkins, for helping me to truely understand the world around me, and to see religion in it's true form(Christopher Hitchens has helped with that aswell :) ). I have broken out of religion and feel free.
I hooe this story is somewhat "inspirational", or can give readers courage and the motivation to investigate your faith, don't allow religion to tell you no. Explore the world. We have answers.
Thank you for opening my eyes to the true beauty of the world.