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Created on May 04 2010
Dear Dr. Dawkins,
I want to reassure you that you are making a difference. You and others like you, from the pugnacious Sam Harris to the revolutionary Daniel Dennett to the heroic James Randi, are freeing minds at this very moment. Few legacies will deserve more credit than yours come the day humankind eradicates this psychological cancer we call religion.
I think I've been an atheist my whole life, though I can't be entirely sure of that. I began applying myself with determination to a study of the Bible, using the methodology that felt by far the most natural to me: rational analysis. Unfortunately no-one had warned me that Christianity is not amenable to such inspection of its philosophy. I still remember how deeply shocked I was -- and believe me, I was by no means naive at that point -- by the extent of the irrationality and unpleasantness I encountered in those stories. My eventual desperation led me to attempt a new methodology more favored by liberal theologians, but the intellectual convolutions so provoked my already shrieking intuition that I was forced very quickly to abandon that approach.
Then, for years, I tried not to think about it. My social circle consisted at that time almost exclusively of fundamentalist Christians, which made this somewhat challenging, to say the least, and when the topic arose I'd shift uncomfortably in my seat while remaining uncharacteristically reticent. It was not a happy period of my life.
Then I read The End of Faith, and it gave me back my voice. It freed me from my intellectual solitary confinement. It raged like a hurricane through those neglected, embarrassing corridors of my worldview and ripped away everything that wasn't sound. And in its wake, The God Delusion filled in the cracks and made even better than new the edifice of reason upon which I'm now convinced my existence must rest.
Both books made me angry. They made me active. They made me want to show others the transcendental sense of hope and wonder I found in a godless universe. You helped make that possible.