Dear Mr. Dawkins:
My name is Michael, and I am seventeen years old, living in the US. My friend gave me your book, The God Delusion, to read about a week ago, and I finished just this passed Monday. You book has greatly changed my life. For three years, I was an Agnostic and had been warring with my family all the while. I have a great thirst for knowledge and science, and this is one of the things that led me to become Agnostic.
I was a child of Catholic parents, and while I did go to Sunday School and participated in some church teachings when I was younger, I didn’t really get into Christianity. And so, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would question God’s existence. I found evidence and reason in science, and so I became Agnostic. My family didn’t like that at all. In fact, I remember having countless arguments with my sisters and mother about my beliefs and my rationale. It was the lectures from my father that pushed me over the edge.
Just this passed Monday, on finishing your book, my dad decided to (for lack of a better word) bitch at me for my “insecurity” in my beliefs. It was a one-way conversation where my dad tried to tell me, over and over, that man will never understand the complexities of the universe; that I was insecure about my beliefs or lack thereof; and that, in essence, he was right, and I was wrong, and I am too young to question his authority. But, during that lecture, I only became more and more confident that I was an Atheist and he was wrong. Your book converted me (or took care of some bothersome questions that pushed me over into de facto Atheism, as you call it). For giving me reason, knowledge, and understanding, and pulling away some of the “mother of all Burkas” for me, I wish to thank you and everyone who helped in the writing and publishing of The God Delusion.
My Atheism and Humanism sets me apart from my family and has caused me to lose many great friends and someone I truly loved, but I feel so free and content that this doesn’t phase me. My father will never understand my beliefs, nor (do I think) will he ever accept me fully because of them, but I keep going. You’ve given me confidence to be open about my beliefs, more so than ever before and again, thank you! And thank you for working so hard to help change the world and make it a better and safer place.
P.S. My father and I made a bet that on August 2nd, 2030, that we would meet and if I admitted I was wrong and that I was insecure, I would buy him dinner; and, if I could convince him I was not insecure, he would buy me dinner. So, I was wondering if you would like to go out for dinner on that day: my dad will be buying.