Dear Mr. Dawkins,
I hope you have time to read all of these letters because I suspect you will find this both amusing and sad. I come from such an extremely religious background that the words “evolution,” “Darwin,” and yes, “Dawkins” make me physically ill by association- even writing them just now. As a much younger girl I saw “The God Delusion” on display at the bookstore and I felt revulsion and hatred for a petty little man who was attacking morality and goodness. I know at this point you can only shake your head at the same misinterpretation you’ve heard a thousand times but I was literally programmed to hate anti-theism. As a little girl, I wanted to be an oceanographer or marine biologist, but when I found out how much Darwin contributed to marine biology it was like a seed was crushed and I became scared of it. Those painfully conflicting desires, which led me to desperately cling to any shred of “creation science” I could find to justify my love of science, were the beginning of a long, slow crawl towards reason. I was finally forced to confront my very deep-seated religion head on when I took a year’s study of astronomy at university and had the fortunate opportunity to use real radio astronomy equipment and a world-class optical telescope… and learned about the vast majority of the cosmos that was literally never talked about by my Christian educators.
I just finished reading “Greatest Show On Earth” and I wanted to let you know that, as I look at the butterfly outside of my window just now, I feel a little more at peace with the world. Maybe someday I will even be able to say your name without all those horrible memories rising to the surface.