To Professor Richard Dawkins,
I used to be one of the many who looked up at the ceiling at talked to a fictional man with a beard waiting for a reply that never came. My parents would always tell me that this was just the way that God worked and that I must be patient. Whenever something good happened it was because God was looking out for me, and whenever something bad happened it was because it was part of God’s plan for me. I never questioned it when I was little because of course you must listen to your parents and they were always right about everything, even if you didn’t like it.
17 years ago, the morning of Christmas, we were opening presents and I was just about getting the point in my mental observation skills to put things together and rationalize them. I look at a CD player that my brother had gotten, and it said Made in China on it. All the stories said that everything anyone got for Christmas was made in a workshop in the North Pole by Elves with funny little hats and supervised by a jolly old fat man. It was then I realized a lot of what I was told didn’t make sense. I was, of course, still forced to wear uncomfortable clothes and dragged to Sunday morning service even when I rationalized that there was no God. The usual stand up to sing, sit down to listen, stand up to sing, donate to church dinner plate routine. I never really tried to speak up against God or against Religion because it would be an epic barrage of hate throw toward me from all the religious types. It seemed quite amusing that all the people who are suppose to be forgiving and helpful were so mean and judgmental just because I said I was an “Atheist.”
A few years ago I managed to read a couple of your books and found out that all the tiny thoughts I had brewing in my head were not just in the book, but skillfully and very articulately described in fine detail on each page. I’m happy I’m an atheists because I don’t have to keep apologizing for being myself. I am nice to people, nice to my friends, helpful to others and generally a good person all around. Why do I have to go sit in a box on a Sunday and apologize for eating a cheeseburger because I wanted on during a certain period of the year? It’s until recently I met a person, and persons of which she knew that allowed me to express my full appreciation of Atheism and realize that I don’t have to hide who I am like some kind of vagrant or second class citizen.
Thank you very much Mr. Dawkins for spreading the word and being a sort of leader and person to look up to.
Jeff S., Warren, Michigan