Dear Professor Dawkins,
I am no longer a person of faith. I was doubtful my whole life and the church in which I grew up never failed to emphasis that this was a bad thing. As a kid, it scared me to death; I was incapable of blind faith and was at risk of eternal torment because of it. In The God Delusion, you discussed the evil tactic of scaring kids into becoming believers, and this really hit home for me because I spent so many nights terrified that I might die and burn… for thinking! I prayed nightly “please, God, please exist; I want to believe-just give me something!” The church’s hellfire scare tactic is mentally abusive and I am so glad that someone finally spoke out on behalf of kids who are too young to grasp concepts as big as God and the meaning of life, but not too young to fear postmortem torment for thinking the wrong things.
Even now, more than a year after letting go of God, I experience moments of residual fear and guilt from my born-again upbringing. But thanks to your books (and the books of Carl Sagan, which pointed me in your direction I might add,) I’ve come to find spiritual satisfaction in a universe that is awe inspiring without divine surveillance, and in which reason and sanity are not hell-worthy trespasses.
Thank you for doing everything you do.