Hello Richard Dawkins! I really hope that you will read this. I'm a 15 year old American high school student in California, and I used to be a Christian. It wasn't necessarily you who made me convert to atheism, though you did have a part in my transformation from a Christian to an Atheist in the end. I went from Christian, to Agnostic, to Atheist, and the total time that it took to go from Christian, to Agnostic, and finally to Atheist was about 2-3 years.
When I was about 8 or 9, I first started going to church regularly. And when I was about 12 or 13 I first began to have my doubts. I forget what really made me think "Hey, maybe there isn't a god!?" So anyway, when I first had these doubts I, of course, did what they said to do at church: Pray! So I prayed prayed prayed prayed and prayed some more. I was praying constantly for this god to give me a sign of his existence. It never came. I would lie in bed all the time before going to sleep, just thinking. I'd think about, well, everything about life, the universe, and "god." And slowly, over time, after all that thinking, I started leaning more and more to the "god doesn't exist" side. But I was still thinking "Who created God?" "Does Science support God?" "But then, what created the universe?" and so on... But through all that thinking, over months and months of thinking, overall I was moving more and more towards thinking that god does not exist.
Over the period of about a year or so, I was Agnostic, and still thinking. During this time, I was at a book shop trying to find a non-fiction book for school. I came across a book in the Science section called Cosmos, by Carl Sagan. I learned that it was also a show, and I got the show on DVD. Watching the show made me lean even more to thinking that god does not exist. Carl Sagan became my new hero, my idol (and once I became an Atheist, both you and Sagan are my idols), but I still wasn't sure about the existence/non-existence of god.
Then, finally, about 3 months ago I finally made up my mind. I had already by this time been leaning very far towards becoming an Atheist. One more event would finish it and make me sure that there is no god. I was on the Internet, on youtube.com. I watched the video called "Atheist" and after watching a few more videos on the subject I felt as if these videos were right and there was no god, but still wasn't quite sure. I became sure when I came across your site. I read the things that you said about religion, and watched some of the videos on your site, and that's when I finally, fully, and completely became an Atheist. So, I'd like to thank you Richard Dawkins! I see you as being part of my last stage in my transformation of becoming an Atheist. I would also have liked to thank Carl Sagan. But again. THANK YOU RICHARD DAWKINS! And now that I am an Atheist, it's nice to go to your site and others, like americanatheist.com. I guess religion was just never for me. I always find myself thinking scientifically.
Though I am an Atheist, I'm not really "out of the closet." I guess that you could say so, partially. I've only told some of my friends once when the subject came up, but I haven't told anyone in my family. My mom probably would be okay with me being an Atheist, but she doesn't live with me right now. I don't think that my dad would be okay with me being an atheist, especially not his girlfriend or my sister. I don't like my dad's girlfriend at all. She went crazy once she figured out that I read the Da Vinci Code and planned on seeing the movie, and I guess she just didn't understand that I saw the book as fiction. I knew it wasn't true. I'll probably get around to telling everyone I know someday, but not quite yet. I don't know how they'd react, or even how to put it out there...Anyway, again, thank you very much Richard Dawkins, for helping me see the world as it really is.