Dear Richard Dawkins,
I am an 18 year old man and I live in the United States near Chicago. I truly would like to thank you for helping me along my path to reality! I was brought up into a Catholic house and was forced to go to Catholic classes after school because I went to a public school. I never liked the Catholic Church ( because I was born with a brain ) and even at a young age I didn’t care for it. In 8th grade I was brought to a youth group at a local church by a friend. at first I went, as did my friends, to have a good time. After a few months we started to really get into the god part of the youth group. All of this time I was still going to Catholic school and this youth group was christian reformed. The christian reformed church had brainwashed me so badly that I hated the Catholics with a passion. ( I could see how wars have began over religion ).
Right before 8th grade graduation I was ready to go to high school and that summer my grandfather had died. I loved my grandfather, however, when he was alive, there was one “problem” : he was an athiest! ( even an ancient alien theorist). Even though everyone loved him and he was a great man and helped anyone, he was viewed as the crazy one of the family! So when he died I thought and thought and I realized that the bible told me that My grandfather was being tortured in hell and would be forever. Such a great man would burn and suffer FOREVER. I quickly realized this was foolish! Within a week I went from “crazy for god” to “was I crazy?”. And watching you and reading your books has helped me tremendously with proclaiming my Atheism.
For the longest time I just didn’t say anything. Now I actually look forward to a debate with a religious person! I think back to when I was religious and I ask ” what did I think about noah’s ark?” for example , ” Did I think it really happen?” and the answer is: I DIDN’T THINK AT ALL! My mind was caught in the cage of religion and i was able to escape unlike many others. The youth group I attended actually, in a way, brainwashed me into believing in such a stupid thing. I am happier than I have ever been! I have been sober, I mean, nonreligious now for 4 years and I want to thank you for helping me become “saved”,