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Created on May 04 2010
Dear Dr. Dawkins: I was raised a Mormon and remained a faithful one until I was 35. Although I was taught to believe that my holy books were infallible and not to be questioned, I was also taught to have great respect for science and education. My father was a professor of Astronomy, and I even earned my undergraduate degree in Physics. Its difficult to explain to someone who hasn't experienced it the type of compartmentalization you develop that allows you to hold both of these world views at once, but obviously strong indoctrination as a child is a big part of it. Anyway, a few years ago I decided to study Biology in more depth, since I never really had much chance while studying physics, but have always been interested. I was astounded by your amazing books, especially A Devil's Chaplain and The Blind Watchmaker, and also by the great resources I found online, especially www.talkorigins.org, to help me answer questions and doubts I had about whether Evolution really was the incredible explanatory theory it seems to be. After a year or so of study, I realized I had become, as you put it, an intellectually fulfilled atheist. To put it lightly, this had some large consequences for my personal life. My wife has left me, my parents and siblings are outraged, and many of my friendships are confused and awkward. At the same time, I am much happier living this life to the fullest and realizing it is the only life I have, than I was living for an imaginary, unconvincing life of future bliss. As I have gone through this difficult transition, I have been greatly comforted by books like The God Delusion and by Sam Harris's The End of Faith. Hearing these clear and unapologetic arguments for Science and Reason restores my confidence in humanity. I plan to give copies of The God Delusion and Letter to a Christian Nation to all my family and friends for Christmas this year. I have already de-converted one close friend this way, and am working on a second. Thank you for your amazing books and for taking a public stand on this vital issue. -An atheist in Utah