I am 42 years old and living near St. Charles, Missouri (where I was born). I want to thank you for your written works: The Selfish Gene, The Ancestor’s Tale, The Blind Watchmaker, Unweaving the Rainbow, but especially The God Delusion. I was raised as a Catholic but have hovered at various levels of agnosticism since the 6th grade, when the answers to my questions in PSR class began to not make sense. I am embarrassed to say that it took 34 more years (when I picked up The God Delusion in the airport) to finally make up my mind.
The question of God’s existence had plagued my mind almost daily for years. Others around me seemed to want to ignore the question, but how can you ignore such a thing – it defines one’s world view. It was very emotional for me to let go. I remember pleading with god in prayer “If you are there, please help me to believe.” Finally admitting that I was an atheist was a huge burden lifted from my shoulders. I can honestly say that, for the first time, I am at peace with my world view. Although I often feel surrounded by creationists, I am confident in my beliefs because they stand on mountains of evidence – evidence that leaves me in awe of the scale and beauty of the universe.
I try to give my children a head start I did not have. I don’t tell them what to believe, just to think for themselves and ask questions. I teach them what I know about religions (plural) and encourage them to research more for themselves. Thank you, Mr. Dawkins, for lifting that burden.