I have always been a skeptic, and I was raised Roman Catholic. I was forced to go to lengthy religious education classes every week for over a decade, and I was supposed to accept the brainwash they were trying to impose upon me. However, me being a skeptic, I was not OK with this. I raised many questions, and many of them were met with hostility. Being disciplined because I had the nerve to ask a question did not re-affirm my faith, however, it simply made me wonder more why they were so defensive.
Eventually I had to come out and tell my family that I was not a believer, and I was seemingly exiled. I was met with anger, contempt and in general It had left me feeling as if I was wrong, as evident from the sheer amount of conviction they displayed. I can't say that a conversation goes by with a family member, even to this day, where they do not heckle me and offer ethereal threats for my disbelief. Their "guilt tripping" then seemed effective, but I now can only see it as childish and immature.
But I have read your books, along with Hitchens and Harris, and this has kindled a passion for me. Your books have enabled me to fully defend myself, give me confidence in my decision, and understanding of the situation. I thank you. Your books have also inspired me to take an interest in biology. I am not one who is financially fortunate enough to afford expensive education, and indeed I have an upcoming deployment in the Army to survive before I may pursue that interest, but I am motivated. So again, I thank you for all you have done. Do not let the public bring you down, as I'm sure you won't, because you are a man who has enlightened so many people, inspired so many, and I believe has set the path for Agnostics and Atheists to rise and not let religion hinder science and progress. I can see a very bright World in the future because of the thinking you provoke and encourage, and I am inspired to be apart of making it that way.
I'm now glad to say that I am happy to be an Athiest in a foxhole.
Best Regards, Tyler